After two years of consolidation, Lewiston has a football team again -- with a twist
LEWISTON -- If there’s one person to thank for football returning to Lewiston High School, it might be Treyton Hippen.
The senior quarterback wanted more than anything to see the sport return to his hometown, following two years of consolidation with Wymore Southern football. A contract between the two schools had run its course and all Hippen had to do was prove Lewiston could field its own team.
“I had everyone go around and sign their names that they would play next year and took it the school board,” said Hippen outside the Lewiston locker room on Wednesday.
Sixteen signed off on it, enough for Lewiston to put together a team - but with a twist: this year, the team is playing six-man football, a variant of the sport in which teams field six players, instead of 11.
Of the 16 that signed, 15 ended up trying out.
“It’s a different game, a lot faster,” Hippen said. “A lot different strategy. You have a lot more room to work with.”
The Lewiston Tigers will play a home football game in their own backyard for the first time in two years against Red Cloud, today at 3 p.m.
Getting everything ready to go - from equipment to the field - was pretty straightforward.
Helmets and shoulder pads were updated and the team could still use the same jerseys used before its consolidation. The football field, already fertilized and fitted with automatic sprinklers just needed a good mowing.
Lewiston head coach Greg Iverson is just as new to six-man football as his players.
“It’s interesting,” Iverson said. “It makes some offenses really, really fun...and coaching defense kind of makes you want to pull your hair out.”
Strategy is certainly different in the six-man form. The quarterback, for example, can’t run unless another player takes a hand-off.
“So yeah, it changes the way you design an offense or run an offense,” he said. “It’s been a learning curve for sure.”
Iverson, who is from Bassett, Nebraska, helped coach Lewiston when it was consolidated with Wymore Southern. This is his first year heading up the team.
Six-man football was first developed in Nebraska in the 1930s as a way for smaller schools to field a team. Lewiston is no stranger to the game either. Iverson recalled that the school used to play six-man football in the 30s and 40s, and even held a few records.
The team has spent the past week prepping against Red Cloud in practice and watching game film.
“I think we’ll do pretty good, if everyone shows up and [we] do what we need to do,” said Ryan Hunt, senior center and defensive end for Lewiston.
The Class D-6 team plays in the Pioneer Conference and won its season opener at Silver Lake last Friday.
But today’s home game will mean a little more for the town with a population of 65.
“It means a great deal,” Iverson said. “The community is very happy to have football back here - kids are, community members are.”