Two weeks ago, Eric Lindstrom introduced us to a rural high school football team from Eastern Oregon — the Wheeler County Rattlers. They’re a small-town team with big time talent and a unique story.
This past weekend, they made their way to Bend to defend their state football championship in 6-player football and Eric took us behind the scenes and into the locker room.
The boys from Wheeler County arrived in Bend Friday night — cowboy boots in tow — and were greeted by 14 degree temperatures and a frozen turf field at Caldera High School for their final practice of the season.
They were back on the same turf Saturday with the 1A title on the line. And they were facing the same team they were up against last year — the Triangle Lake Lakers.
But this year did bring something different. For the first time, the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) was sanctioning the state title game for 6-player football.
For the Rattlers, the grandstands at Caldera may have been bigger and the field may have been a lot flatter than they are used to. But with a 1:00 p.m. kickoff, the game was still played under God’s light — just like at home.
The first play of the game set the tone — a bomb down the sideline that set up a score.
The Rattlers never looked back, dominating on both sides of the ball and controlling the game from start to finish.
As the final seconds ticked away, the celebration was on. Final score: Wheeler County 32, Triangle Lake 13.
It’s a season three towns from Wheeler County will never forget.
Below are some video extras Eric grabbed from his trip to Wheeler County a couple weeks ago