This might be the biggest week in the four years of Upton-Sundance football.
Not because of who the Patriots face on the field this week — although, admittedly, their game against Lingle is huge. The Patriots and the Doggers are the only two teams left unbeaten in Class 1A 11-man East Conference play.
Instead, the Upton-Sundance co-op agreement faced some scrutiny in a Casper board room this week.
When the Wyoming High School Activities Association’s board of directors met on Tuesday for the first of its four quarterly meetings in Casper, it encountered two letters of complaint about U-S from other schools. Both letters expressed their frustration with the classification of the U-S co-op, which is for now scheduled to stay in Class 1A 11-man in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Why does that matter? Well, together, Upton and Sundance have a combined enrollment of about 205 students. The school slated to be the biggest in 1A 11-man next season is Tongue River at about 150.
That disparity has some schools upset. So they started a little letter-writing campaign to the WHSAA.
The issue comes in how the WHSAA counts students for a co-op. The host school — in this case, Upton — has all of its students counted. The school joining the co-op — in this case, Sundance — only has students in the gender of the sport counted.
Roughly, this gives the U-S co-op a count of 146 students, with Upton’s 87 and half of Sundance’s 118. That is smaller than Tongue River’s 150 and enough to keep the Patriots eligible for the playoffs in 1A 11-man. However, the actual student counts next summer — not ADMs right now — will determine the Patriots’ ultimate playoff eligibility fate.
So are the Patriots a 1A 11-man co-op or a 2A co-op?
That’s a question for 2016, and the WHSAA.
For what it’s worth, the WHSAA barely broached the Upton-Sundance topic on Tuesday. Barring some sort of change in the district meetings in late October or a new proposal addressing enrollment and classification of all co-ops in all sports, the Patriots will probably be in 1A 11-man if the schools’ enrollments hold steady.
This season, Upton-Sundance is definitely a Class 1A 11-man program. One of the best, at that. The Patriots are unbeaten; Shoshoni is the only other 1A 11-man school that can say that. With a victory against Lingle on Friday, the Patriots will move into sole possession of first place in the East Conference and into position to host games in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
The Patriots have a huge opportunity this week on the field, no matter what happens off the field.
Other awesome Week 5 games (not that the others aren’t, but these ones have some extra tangy zip on them this week):
Yeah, the Energy Bowl is Friday night in Gillette. And I was going to write about it. Then I realized the Energy Bowl was my game of the week in 2014. And 2013. You have plenty of opportunities to read up on the history of Camels vs. Broncs. That said, these teams are both 5-0 and this is the biggest 4A game of the regular season, full stop. This one deserves your attention. Just like it does every year. …
The Oil Bowl (Kelly Walsh-Natrona) and Capital Bowl (Cheyenne Central-Cheyenne East) are tonight, too. Big games in Wyoming’s big cities, and clear favorites in each. …
Yes, really: Green River actually has a chance to knock off Jackson in Jackson. The Wolves have been easy to overlook but could improve to 2-0 in the 3A West if they can pull the surprise. Jackson is the favorite, but Green River won’t be as easy a W as the Broncs might have anticipated in August. …
Hulett — which missed the playoffs last year — controls its own destiny in the 1A six-man East Conference as the only team left without a conference loss. This week, the Red Devils face Kaycee in Kaycee in what might be a make-or-break game for both teams. …
The last time Torrington beat Douglas in Douglas was 2002. The Bearcats won’t let that streak end easily. …
Most underrated game of the week might be Lovell-Lyman. The Bulldogs were impressive in beating Mountain View 33-0 last week, but Lyman has notched solid conference victories of its own in back-to-back weeks. …
Picks. Bold=projected winner. Of course. (Updated 12:25 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1 to reflect new Tongue River game.)
Evanston JV at Cokeville
Cheyenne Central at Cheyenne East
Evanston at Rock Springs
Kelly Walsh at Natrona
Laramie at Cheyenne South
Sheridan at Gillette
Buffalo at Lander
Cody at Worland
Green River at Jackson
Powell at Star Valley
Rawlins at Riverton
Torrington at Douglas
Big Horn at Thermopolis
Burns at Glenrock
Kemmerer at Greybull
Lovell at Lyman
Newcastle at Wright
Pinedale at Mountain View
Class 1A 11-man
Lingle at Upton-Sundance
Pine Bluffs at Lusk
Rocky Mountain at Wind River
Saratoga at Riverside
Shoshoni at Wyoming Indian
Southeast at Moorcroft
Class 1A six-man
Hanna at Guernsey-Sunrise
Hulett at Kaycee
Meeteetse at Dubois
Midwest at Rock River
Wheatland at Big Piney
Class 1A six-man
NSI at Farson
Snake River at St. Stephens
Natrona JV at Tongue River
Open: Ten Sleep.
For a full schedule including start times, click here.
For the first time all season, Homer beat Tad in the weekly round of picks. Tad has vowed his revenge, though. And there’s a lot of disagreement in their picks this week.
Tad: Sheridan over Gillette; Cody over Worland; Lovell over Lyman; Wheatland over Big Piney; Rocky Mountain over Wind River; Southeast over Moorcroft; Meeteetse over Dubois; Midwest over Rock River; Snake River over St. Stephens.
Homer: Gillette over Sheridan; Worland over Cody; Lyman over Lovell; Big Piney over Wheatland; Wind River over Rocky Mountain; Moorcroft over Southeast; Dubois over Meeteetse; Rock River over Midwest; St. Stephens over Snake River.
Both: Cokeville over Evanston JV; Cheyenne Central over Cheyenne East; Rock Springs over Evanston; Natrona over Kelly Walsh; Laramie over Cheyenne South; Buffalo over Lander; Green River over Jackson; Star Valley over Powell; Riverton over Rawlins; Torrington over Douglas; Thermopolis over Big Horn; Glenrock over Burns; Greybull over Kemmerer; Newcastle over Wright; Mountain View over Pinedale; Lingle over Upton-Sundance; Lusk over Pine Bluffs; Riverside over Saratoga; Shoshoni over Wyoming Indian; Guernsey-Sunrise over Hanna; Kaycee over Hulett; Farson over Normative Services; Tongue River over Natrona JV.
Cheyenne Central at Cheyenne East (Central 42-23 overall, Central 20-13 at this location)
Evanston at Rock Springs (Rock Springs 44-29-5 overall, Rock Springs 23-11-3 at this location)
Kelly Walsh at Natrona (Natrona 41-12 overall, Natrona 19-7 at this location)
Laramie at Cheyenne South (Laramie 3-1 overall, Laramie 2-0 at this location)
Sheridan at Gillette (Sheridan 41-29-1 overall, Gillette 17-14 at this location)
Buffalo at Lander (Buffalo 11-3 overall, Buffalo 4-2 at this location)
Cody at Worland (Cody 42-32-1 overall, Worland 19-17-1 at this location)
Green River at Jackson (Green River 28-10-2 overall, Green River 13-5-2 at this location)
Powell at Star Valley (Star Valley 24-12 overall, Star Valley 15-3 at this location)
Rawlins at Riverton (Riverton 31-19-1 overall, Riverton 14-9 at this location)
Torrington at Douglas (Torrington 54-31-2 overall, Torrington 26-16-1 at this location)
Big Horn at Thermopolis (tie 3-3 overall, Thermopolis 2-0 at this location)
Burns at Glenrock (Glenrock 6-3 overall, Glenrock 3-1 at this location)
Kemmerer at Greybull (Greybull 8-7 overall, Greybull 4-2 at this location)
Lovell at Lyman (Lovell 8-6 overall, Lyman 3-1 at this location)
Newcastle at Wright (Newcastle 6-4 overall, Newcastle 3-2 at this location)
Pinedale at Mountain View (Mountain View 38-27-2 overall, Mountain View 18-13-1 at this location)
Wheatland at Big Piney (Wheatland 1-0 overall, first at this location)
Class 1A 11-man
Cokeville at Burlington (Cokeville 14-1 overall, Cokeville 3-1 at this location) (Cokeville will win this game this week by forfeit)
Lingle at Upton-Sundance (Lingle 2-1 overall, Lingle 1-0 at this location)
Pine Bluffs at Lusk (Lusk 29-6 overall, Lusk 13-4 at this location)
Rocky Mountain at Wind River (Rocky Mountain 19-7 overall, Wind River 6-5 at this location)
Saratoga at Riverside (Riverside 4-2 overall, Riverside 2-0 at this location)
Shoshoni at Wyoming Indian (Shoshoni 25-6-1 overall, Shoshoni 10-3-1 at this location)
Southeast at Moorcroft (Southeast 2-0 overall, first at this location)
Class 1A six-man
Hanna at Guernsey-Sunrise (Guernsey-Sunrise 25-10-1 overall, Guernsey-Sunrise 14-5-1 at this location)
Hulett at Kaycee (Kaycee 3-1 overall, tie 1-1 at this location)
Meeteetse at Dubois (Meeteetse 12-10 overall, Dubois 6-5 at this location)
Midwest at Rock River (Midwest 1-0 overall, first at this location)
NSI at Farson (Farson 1-0 overall, first at this location)
Snake River at St. Stephens (Snake River 2-0 overall, first at this location)
Weekly reminder: Tad picks the series leader; Homer picks the location leader; when a series is tied, both Tad and Homer pick the home team.
Last week’s records: Patrick, 25-5 (83 percent); Tad, 16-14 (53 percent); Homer, 17-13 (57 percent).
Season records: Patrick, 110-26 (81 percent); Tad, 85-51 (63 percent); Homer, 71-65 (52 percent).
The Week 5 schedule is chock full of big games. So which is the biggest of the big? Post your comment and let’s talk week 5, high school football, co-ops, October weather, tailgates full of bratwurst and popcorn….