2023 High School Football Preview: Lander Valley High School

Published: Aug. 24, 2023 at 5:02 PM CDT
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With the season just around the corner, Lander heads into this season with a new coach at the helm.

LANDER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - A couple of Fremont County schools saw some changes to their football programs. Lander is one of those schools, as they come into their 2023 campaign with a new head coach leading them.

After previous head coach, John Scott, resigned from his role, the Tigers were on the hunt for a new head coach. After their search, they landed on Jim Burton to be the next head coach for Lander.

The Tigers have been hard at work since summer practices began, and Burton knows it will take these trials to build trust between him and his team. He said, “The biggest thing is we all show up, we all go to work right? When that combined struggle is where we get a lot of that trust. We’re going to go through hard things, that’s what football is right? As we overcome things, the trust is just gonna grow and grow.”

The Tigers last season finished with an overall record of 5-4, and that was good enough to earn them the third seed in the 3A Eastern Conference. They would lost in that first round to the eventual state champions in Star Valley. That was the fifth year in a row that the Tigers landed a spot in the playoffs.

Burton is rather familiar with Lander, as he is coming over to coach the Tigers from Evanston. He coached the Red Devils for four years, and his best record with them came in 2021 when the team finished with a record of 5-4.

Lander had a couple of All-State players last season, but none of them will be returning as they graduated. This class of seniors however, are very confident in not only their skills, but the trust that they have between each other.

Senior Hunter Smith-Velarde said there’s, “definitely a lot of trust. I definitely feel a lot safer behind my boys than almost anybody else I’ve ever known, and I definitely feel like we’ll keep each other protected.” Another senior Tristen Osborne added, “You gotta put the effort into every practice, every rep, and the effort comes out into the games, and that’s really the winner of the game.”

The Tigers are set to kick off against the 3-a runner ups last year in the Cody Broncs on the 25th.