Prep Football: Bulldogs, Vols ready to renew rivalry tonight

Kingman’s Darrell Mitchell, left, and Lee Williams' AJ Herrera, right, will join their respective teams in tonight's rivalry game.

Miner File Photo

Kingman’s Darrell Mitchell, left, and Lee Williams' AJ Herrera, right, will join their respective teams in tonight's rivalry game.

KINGMAN – Seven miles.

That’s all that separates the Kingman and Lee Williams high school campuses. While the short distance is nothing new, the rivalry is still in its early stages as today’s 7 p.m. contest will be just the third meeting when the Volunteers host the Bulldogs.

“It helps with our first week being a rivalry game,” Lee Williams head coach Clint Sasse said. “But overall I think the kids are just excited to get under the lights and play some football.”

The Vols defeated the Bulldogs 28-6 in last year’s season opener. However, Kingman has a slight advantage this year after taking care of Joy Christian, 26-6, in its season opener last week.

“The zero week game is a tremendous advantage,” Bulldogs head coach Cam Wierson said. “We have a leg up in conditioning and a good understanding of our strengths and weaknesses now.”

While Lee Williams didn’t get the opportunity to play a game last week, it didn’t waste the opportunity to test its skills.

“We would always prefer to have a regular game, but we were lucky to play Wickenburg in our scrimmage who is traditionally a very physical team,” Sasse said. “So I feel like that was beneficial in getting those reps in and getting some of the nerves out of the way, as well as building our confidence heading into this week.”

There’s no doubt that Kingman also has a tremendous amount of confidence heading into tonight’s contest, but Wierson isn’t focused on that fact.

“Winning a game is a huge boost of confidence, but confidence is a fragile thing for anyone,” he said. “I’m not all that concerned about having a ‘confident’ football team. Confidence can come and go like the wind. It’s not important to the foundation of a good football program.”

Instead, Wierson reiterated that the Bulldogs’ effort is the most important concern tonight and going forward.

That doesn’t mean Kingman hasn’t spent this week working on improving. Wierson mentioned that the team has focused on ball security.

Lee Williams, meanwhile, has worked on its execution and physicality.

“If we execute and get off the ball with a purpose, we will be just fine,” Sasse said.

The Vols and Bulldogs have definitely put in hard work all week to prepare for tonight’s contest, but Sasse also knows how much the summer will play a role in which team succeeds.

“Our team is ready,” he said. “We have put in a lot of hours this offseason and I know that will shine through.”