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HOT SPRINGS – The Hot Springs Bills youth football teams recently wrapped up their fourth, and by far, most successful season, as each team qualified this year for the post-season, which is a first since the league began in Hot Springs in 2014.

The Bills are comprised of the Mitey Mite (1st and 2nd graders), Junior PeeWee (3rd and 4th graders) and PeeWee (5th and 6th graders). There were a total of 56 football players this year.

“When practice started on Aug. 1 it was apparent these teams were going to be competitive and fun to watch,” said Hot Springs Bills Commissioner Mike Close. “Once the regular season started they didn’t disappoint as every game was competitive and action packed. I credit this to the volunteer coaching staffs that taught these young athletes the fundamentals, installed discipline and made the game fun.”

As commissioner, Close said he couldn’t be more proud of this memorable season the Bills recently completed.

“For the first time in Bills history, each team made the playoffs. I’m excited for the future of the Bills and look forward to our kids contributing to the future success of the Bison Football program. I would like to thank Coach Kramer and Coach Klippenstein for everything they did for the program this year. I would also like to thank the Bison players for helping at practice, helping out on game days and always having time to interact with our young Bills players.”

Following is a summary of the seasons for each team, submitted by their head coach.

Fall River Health Mitey Mite: Coach Ryan Cuny

We started off the season with a couple goals: tackle with our heads in the correct spots; when any coach is talking, we listen and make eye contact with that coach, and always be respectful to the refs and opposing teams. By the time we reached Game 9 and the second round of the playoffs, it would be safe to say that all five coaches, Lincoln Witte, Matt Tschacher, Daryl Reineke, Cedrick Coleman and Ryan Cuny, believed that we reached that goal.

The first half of the season had its rocky spots that gave us areas to work at that very quickly turned to flashes of excitement! We all knew the potential of this team and by our final game it was all coming together just in time for the playoffs. The boys started to play very disciplined on defense, allowing only 1 first down in the last regular season game and a SHUT OUT! And only allowing 3 first downs in the last playoff game, while forcing many 4th and long situations throughout the playoffs.

We had a great season and have a lot to be proud of, like making it to the last round of the playoffs and only allowing scores on broken plays are something to smile about, but the way these boys came together and played for each other and encouraged each other on every snap…. That was my most proud moment by far.

It’s not easy to explain to little boys who played as hard as they did, that even when you play your heart out, sometimes you come up short, and that is OK, because they left it all out on the field and they really did. I do know with all those tears I saw during that last huddle that our community will have something to be proud of for the next 10 years when they represent the BISON with their entire heart!

If you do see a one of these fine young men out in their Bills gear, please congratulate them, they all truly deserve it!

State Farm Junior PeeWee: Coach Jade Konst

I would say the 2017 Bills JPW season was a big success. These boys went from winning 1 game a season ago to now making it to the semifinal playoff game, I’m pretty dang proud. We finished up our regular season with a 4-2 record and went on to win one more playoff game overall ending the year with a 5-3 record. Our defense was definitely an aggressive bunch of boys coming up with multiple sacks almost every game and there was always a big hit from our line backing core to keep things exciting. Our offense was a very smash mouth power based offense; I was very blessed to have the running backs I had as their motto was “it takes 11 guys to tackle me”.

I can’t even begin to explain the amount of improvement these boys showed from the beginning of the season and the amount of love every one of those boys have for the game is incredible. These boys have me excited for next year, we had an outstanding 4th grade class that will be extremely hard to replace, but I think the 3rd graders will step up to be just as tough. Thank you to everyone who was a part of making this season special. I was lucky enough to have a great group of assistant coaches that include Jesse Naze and Shawn White. Special thanks to the Team moms Rgie Wermager and Erica Smith.

Sperlich Consulting PeeWee: Coach Mike Close

These boys never ceased to amaze me. We didn’t have a lot of players (15), we weren’t very big and we lost a lot of talent from last year. This meant every player had to step up and they were definitely ready for the challenge. The boys were sponges as they soaked in everything the coaches taught them. Our offense was exciting to watch and our defense was punishing.

We finished the regular season with an outstanding record of 5-2. We fell short in the 1st round of the playoffs and had a heartbreaking loss to the Steelers. It wasn’t the fairy tale ending we had hoped for but I was so proud of these boys for everything they had accomplished. This wouldn’t have been possible without my outstanding assistant coaches Jeff Janis and Dustin Kleinsasser. Our Team Mom Koreen Hammel was amazing as she took a lot of burden off the coaches.

Already looking forward to the 2018 season,

The Bills would like to thank the Hot Springs Volunteer Fire Department for their generous donation that makes it possible to order the game jerseys every year. Nelsons Oil and Gas sponsored the cheerleaders this year which made it possible to buy the girls warm sweaters to cheer in. The Bills would also like to thank Konst Welding for donating towards much needed practice equipment.

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