Ten Wyoming high school football players are finalists for the state’s top scholar-athlete award from the Wyoming Chapter of the National Football Foundation.

The winner will be announced at the chapter’s banquet March 21 in Laramie, a release sent Saturday from chapter organizers said. The awards are in their 26th year.

Each finalist earns a $1,200 scholarship from the Wyoming Chapter; the winner of the top scholar-athlete award earns an additional $1,200 scholarship and becomes a finalist for regional and national honors.

In all, 79 players were nominated for the awards. The awards are based 40% on football ability, 40% on academic achievement and 20% on community service.

Finalists include Wind River’s Colton Befus; Mountain View’s Briggin Bluemel; Sheridan’s Jacob Boint and Ethan Johnson; Star Valley’s Trent Clark and Chase Merrell; Burlington’s Jarom Davidson; Thunder Basin’s Mason Hamilton; Snake River’s Riggen Myers; and Wright’s Dax Yeradi.

University of Wyoming players Josh Harshman and Logan Wilson will also be honored.

Douglas’ A.J. Yeaman has been named the chapter’s Courage Award winner, while Natrona’s Nick Frimml won the chapter’s Perseverance Award.

The Wyoming Chapter also gives out a handful of special awards recognizing contributions to football. Those award winners include:

Greatest high school football fan: Roland Simmons, Cowley.
Greatest UW fan: Ed Wilson, Gillette.
Outstanding contribution to amateur football: Mark Whitt, Thermopolis; Sally Ann Shurmur, Glenrock.
Coaching award: Bill Fullmer, Cheyenne; Ray Kumpula, Glenrock; Joe Aimone (posthumous), Kemmerer.
Ox Zellner official award: Pat Harris, Riverton.

–patrick

Rosters were released Saturday for the 2020 Wyoming Shrine Bowl all-star football game, scheduled for June 13 in Casper.

Executive director Frank Selby released the rosters Saturday. The South team roster includes:

BIG PINEY: Teagan Elliott.
BURNS: Ben Banville, Boe Clayson, Kaden Lakin.
CHEYENNE CENTRAL: Dawson Macleary.
CHEYENNE EAST: Christian Anderton, Chance Aumiller, Ox Schroeder.
COKEVILLE: Garrett King.
DOUGLAS: Edel Diaz-Jaime, Cooper Gamble, A.J. Yeaman.
GREEN RIVER: Thomas Harvey, Payton Tucker.
HANNA: Conor McGraw, Shane McGraw.
LUSK: Damien Molzahn.
LYMAN: Hagen Lamoreaux.
MOUNTAIN VIEW: Breckin Barnes, Briggin Bluemel, Hunter Gross, Kimball Madsen, Braeden Walk.
PINE BLUFFS: Brian Steger, Kyle Thurin.
RAWLINS: Kadin Forney, Connor Mendez.
ROCK SPRINGS: Randon Gresham, Justis Reese, Carson Tyler.
SNAKE RIVER: Riggen Myers.
STAR VALLEY: R.J. Cazier, Branden McDonald, Chase Merrell, Dean Shaw.
TORRINGTON: Corbin Harris.
Student manager: Jesus Sanchez, Cheyenne East.
Student trainer: Dini Haberman, Douglas.
Athletic trainer: Paige Nolan, Riverton.

South Alternates: Janson Adair, Laramie; Trent Clark, Star Valley; Wyatt Duncan, Snake River; Hazen Erickson, Star Valley; James Erickson, Star Valley; Karter Evans, Snake River; Bryson Jenkins, Star Valley; Aiden Montoya, Big Piney; Chase Petty, Rock Springs; Cody Pinkerton, Douglas; Bryan Pluid, Big Piney; Kobey Preuit, Wheatland.

The North team roster includes:

BIG HORN: Cutler Bradshaw, Will Pelissier, Nolan Rader.
BUFFALO: Dawson Hatch, Hunter Pope, Rowen Ruby.
CODY: Keith Connor, Hunter Hays, Duncan Radakovich, Jeff Williams.
GILLETTE: Vijay Pitter.
JACKSON: Kevin Flores.
KELLY WALSH: Kevin Anderson.
LANDER: Ty Massey.
LOVELL: Coy Trainor.
MEETEETSE: Asa Eldredge.
NATRONA: Johnathon True, Phoenix Wilson.
POWELL: Ryan Good, Carson Olsen.
RIVERTON: Zane Taylor, Caden Werbelow.
SHERIDAN: Garrett Coon, Toby Jacobs, Ethan Johnson, Ryan Sessions.
THERMOPOLIS: Dustin Harvey.
THUNDER BASIN: Blaine Allen, Caleb Driskill, Mason Hamilton, Tanner Richards.
WORLAND: Devon Mercado, Luke Mortimer.
WRIGHT: Dax Yeradi.
Student manager: Alexa Bradshaw.
Student trainer: Iyanna Garcia.
Athletic trainer: Alan Hill, Powell.

North Alternates: Warren Carr, Thunder Basin; Jaydon Caylor, Upton-Sundance; Jevon Davis, Kelly Walsh; Dale Eliason, Gillette; John Fawson, Lander; Zeb Goodrich, Wright; Hunter Harris, Lovell; Jhett Letellier, Hulett; Jarron Mortimore, Thermopolis; Kyler Ostler, Big Horn; Rowdy Pfeil, Moorcroft; Dante Wallace, Natrona.

Coaching staffs for the teams were named in December.

The North leads the all-time series 25-18-3. The North has won the last seven Shrine Bowls, including last year 29-19.

–patrick

A few quick site updates thanks to some expanded yearbook offerings online:

Rawlins’ 1935 season saw three updates:

  • I added the location of the Oct. 19 game with Superior; it was in Superior.
  • I added the score of Rock Springs’ 34-6 victory against Rawlins on Oct. 26; I had Rock Springs winning the game but didn’t previously have the score.
  • I removed a game scheduled with Hanna on Oct. 15; that game was played later in the season.

So, too, did Farson’s 1955 season, plus a bonus:

  • I added Farson’s 18-12 victory against the Reliance JV on Oct. 11 (added to the missing games list because I couldn’t find a location.
  • I added Farson’s 26-0 loss to Big Piney on Oct. 19 in Farson.
  • I noted that Farson’s game on Sept. 23 against Cokeville was canceled.
  • I also added Farson’s coach for 1955; it was Arnold Bowman.

Farson’s 1954 season — of which I had no previous knowledge — also got a couple updates, because it actually existed. It was only two games long, and just like in 1955, the coach was Arnold Bowman.:

  • I added Farson’s 54-19 loss to Big Piney on Oct. 1 in Big Piney.
  • I also added a 32-12 loss to Baggs (Snake River) in Farson; however, I added it to the missing games list because I couldn’t find the date.

Farson also had a football team in 1952. Keith Sorensen was the coach; however, there’s no list of games played or write-up in the yearbook, so for now that season will have to stay off the site.

Some other updates:

Added Superior’s 14-0 victory against Rawlins on Oct 12, 1932.

Added the result for Rawlins’ 25-6 victory against Hanna on Oct. 27, 1936.

Added Rock Springs’ 31-13 victory against Rawlins on Nov. 6, 1925.

Added the fact that Sundance beat Hulett in their game on Sept. 28, 1956, in Sundance. I had to leave it on the missing games list, though, because I couldn’t find the final score.

Noted that the Oct. 14, 1949, game between Saratoga and Kremmling, Colo., was not played.

A net five games were added to the site. All the updates have been made on all the relevant pages.

–patrick

Quick update to the site: I fixed Kemmerer’s game with Moffat County, Colo., on Sept. 18, 1993. Kemmerer lost that game 16-6; I had Kemmerer winning by that score. Thanks to coach John Scott for helping me out on that one! The Rangers won the state title that year with Scott leading the way.

–patrick

When I wrote my way-too-early top 5s last year, I correctly picked three of the five eventual state champions, while another was ranked second and the other fourth. So who’s got the best chance to win Wyoming state titles in 2020? Well, here’s my January guesses for November successes:

Class 4A
Classification: For once, some parity? We finally saw some cracks in the Big Four last year, and even though East, Sheridan, Thunder Basin and Natrona will all be in the running again, it’s no guarantee those four will be the semifinalists — or that one of those four will win it all.
1. Cheyenne East
: The Thunderbirds return five all-staters, more than any other team in 4A, including 4A’s offensive player of the year in QB Graedyn Buell. I’m not sure anyone will be able to match East’s offensive firepower.
2. Cheyenne Central: A program on the move up, the Indians return four all-state picks and a 4A-high seven all-conference selections. However, most of those players are on the outside, leaving a line that will need to fill a couple holes.
3. Sheridan: The defending state champs return six all-conference selections and a ton of program momentum — the kind of stuff that winning four titles in five years can bring you.
4. Thunder Basin: The ‘Bolts graduated numerous key contributors but still return five all-conference players, including RB Jaxon Pikula, who might be one of Wyoming’s best individual playmakers in 2020.
5. Natrona: The Mustangs dipped out of the playoffs earlier than they would have liked last year but still return QB Harrison Taubert, whose experience under center will be a steadying force for NC.
Dark horse: Rock Springs. The Tigers under coach Mark Lenhardt proved they can play with anyone. Now they just need a couple victories against top-tier programs to build their confidence.

Class 3A
Classification: The West is still the stronger conference, and it’s likely the state champ will come from there. But the East will challenge more consistently and, with several West teams needing to replace key contributors, 2020 could be more unpredictable.
1. Star Valley
: As the Braves shoot for their fifth 3A title in six years, it starts up front with two returning all-state linemen, Gabe Nield and Lucas Chappel. More spots than usual need filling, but Star Valley has shown it knows how to reload.
2. Cody: The Broncs, too, have holes to fill, but they return a pair of all-staters in Nic Talich and Keaton Stone and should be a tough team to beat in the West.
3. Jackson: The Broncs will shade young, as both returning all-staters (Sadler Smith and Colter Dawson) are juniors. But Jackson’s program continues to develop and has turned from nice surprise to perennial contender.
4. Riverton: With six returning all-conference players, more than any other 3A program, the talent is there to do big things. Even with a coaching change upcoming, the Wolverines could start the season as the favorites in the East.
5. Lander: The Tigers had a nice breakthrough in 2019 and have four returning all-conference players and all-state linebacker Jack Sweeney on which to keep the momentum rolling.
Dark horse: Powell. Even with only one returning all-conference or all-state player on the roster (lineman Geordan Weimer), the Panthers did play in the title game last year, and that’ll help the program momentum grow.

Class 2A
Classification: Wyoming’s biggest classification (16 teams) will be instantly competitive thanks to the newbies in the ranks. As senior-heavy teams had the most success in last year’s playoffs, anything is possible.
1. Big Horn
: The Rams should have no problems with the shift from 1A to 2A. With two consecutive state titles behind them and six returning all-state players — more than any other team in the state regardless of classification — the Rams will be one of the teams to beat to start 2020.
2. Mountain View: The Buffalos’ dominance from 2019 should carry over to 2020 thanks to returning all-state picks Hunter Meeks and Ashton Schofield, but the squad has a bunch of holes to fill due to graduation.
3. Upton-Sundance: The Patriots get back three all-state players from last year’s 1A-11 semifinal team and should handle the shift to 2A easily.
4. Big Piney: Don’t overlook the Punchers. They return five all-conference players, most in the West Conference, and QB Kaden Raza was an all-state pick last year.
5. Thermopolis: The Bobcats keep steadily improving and should be solid again in 2020 as all-staters Logan Cole and Remington Ferree lead a squad that will be young but will have potential.
Dark horse: Pick ’em. Class 2A should be extremely competitive this year, as Wheatland, Cokeville, Lovell, Lyman and Pinedale all return at least three all-conference players. Any one of those teams could be a surprise championship contender, as could Torrington as it moves down from 3A.

Class 1A nine-man
Classification: As three of the four semifinalists from 1A 11-man last year make the move to 2A, the new 1A nine-man is wide, wide, wide open. Even so, the classification will be competitive and even at the top.
1. Southeast
: From 0-8 in 2018 to potential championship contender in 2020, Southeast could be one of the strongest teams in the new nine-man division thanks to returning all-staters Harrison Hall and Ryan Clapper and three other returning all-conference choices.
2. Rocky Mountain: Rocky has been building to this 2020 season for a long time. The Grizzlies return all six of their all-conference selections, and Tyler Banks and Trace Moss were both all-state picks.
3. Lusk: The Tigers, too, return a pair of all-staters with Drake Lamp and Dylan Molzahn and have four total all-conference players coming back — behind only to Rocky Mountain and Southeast.
4. Lingle: With — what a coincidence — two returning all-staters from six-man in Cordell Forkner and Cooper Hill, the Doggers should transition to nine-man smoothly and be immediate contenders.
5. Shoshoni: Tryston Truempler was an all-state choice last year, and with three all-conference players back, the Wranglers should be in the thick of the race in the West.
Dark horse: Riverside. The Rebels were extremely young the past couple seasons but should be ready to transition to nine-man with an experienced senior class ready to keep the program competitive.

Class 1A six-man
Classification: We could see a bit more parity in 2020 — at least in conference play. The West will once again be the stronger conference, and there’s a chance no one will emerge from that rigmarole unscathed.
1. Farson
: The 2018 six-man champs could be back again in 2020 thanks to three returning all-conference players, tied for the most in six-man, and all-stater Parker Clawson leading the way.
2. Snake River: Last year’s champs lost a ton to graduation, with junior Zander Risner the only returning all-state or all-conference selection. But last year’s backups saw plenty of time on the field and should be prepared for varsity speed in 2020.
3. Hanna: The Miners return two all-state selections, more than any other team in six-man, in senior Devon Grosstick and junior Jase Smith. Plus, they’ve got the confidence that comes from playing in War Memorial.
4. Encampment: Last year’s Tiger team went 5-2 playing a patchwork schedule but proved their mettle by beating the varsities from Meeteetse and Dubois. In their first full year at the varsity level, they should be ready to compete immediately.
5. Burlington: The Huskies return three all-conference players and will have enough playmakers on offense to keep opposing defenses off-balance.
Dark horse: Kaycee. The Buckaroos return a pair of all-conference selections in Dylan Fauber and Rhys Stafford and should compete with Hanna for the top spot in the East.

Who’s being overlooked here? Leave a comment and let’s start talking 2020, because it’s never too soon to talk football.

–patrick

Green River will search for a new football coach for the 2020 season.

Wyopreps.com reported Thursday that Marty Wrage, who had coached the Wolves the past two seasons, will not return as Green River’s head coach. Wyopreps reported a statement from Green River activities director Anthony Beardsley indicating the change.

It was unclear whether Wrage’s departure was mutual. An email sent to Wrage late Thursday was not immediately returned.

Green River finished 2-6 each of the past two seasons. Prior to Green River, Wrage coached in Greybull, where he finished 27-12 over four seasons, including a Class 2A runner-up finish in 2016. He was also previously the head football coach in Ogallala, Nebraska.

Class 3A Riverton and Class 1A six-man Midwest are also seeking a new head coach for 2020. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Before we dive headlong into the 2020s and prepare for another decade of Wyoming high school football, here’s a quick glance back at the eight things that I think made football in the 2010s particularly memorable. In no particular order, they are:

1. Six new programs start football: From 2010 to 2019, six new programs entered the fray — five new programs in Cheyenne South, Thunder Basin, St. Stephens, Encampment and Rock River and one new co-op with Upton-Sundance. The start-up programs had mixed success levels, with Thunder Basin’s trip to the 4A title game in 2019 the best of the bunch, but Upton-Sundance’s co-op has been a consistent contender and won the 1A 11-man championship in 2015. Encampment revived its program in 2019 and played a hodgepodge of schools at six-man; the Tigers will make the jump to varsity in 2020. Meanwhile, Cheyenne South has just one playoff berth since 2011; St. Stephens has yet to make the postseason; and Rock River only completed three seasons at the varsity level before folding the program, apparently for good.

2. Nine-man football returns to Wyoming: In April of this year, the Wyoming High School Activities Association approved a nine-man football division for Class 1A, with the first season scheduled for 2020. The state will remain with five classifications, as 1A 11-man changes to 1A nine-man. The decision prompted some tough choices, and after the dust settled, 16 schools were in Class 2A, 14 in 1A nine-man and 13 in 1A six-man.

3. Six-man sees big growth: When six-man football was re-introduced in 2009, no one was quite sure how long it would last, or if it would last at all. With only eight teams in the first two seasons in 2009 and 2010, those concerns were justified. However, six-man proved a steady, solid choice for many small schools, and the classification eventually grew to as many as 16 teams as new programs started and other small schools made the choice to play the 80×40 version of the game. Also, the Six-Man Shootout between Nebraska and Wyoming all-stars started in 2012, a nice boost to the game for both states.

4. Class 4A’s Big Four sustain dominant status: From 2010-15, the same four programs (Cheyenne East, Gillette, Natrona and Sheridan) reached the Class 4A semifinals, an unprecedented run of success. Although Rock Springs, Kelly Walsh and Cheyenne Central (and eventually Thunder Basin, which usurped Gillette’s role in the Big Four) all made their way into the 4A semifinals once this decade, it wasn’t enough. Sheridan had the most success of the Big Four, winning five 4A championships in the decade to improve their state-best overall mark to 27 championships, while Natrona won four and East one.

5. Laramie claims role of title-game host: Yes, Laramie and the University of Wyoming hosted the title games for the first time in 2009, but in the 2010s, the city and university gained a much stronger hold on the championships. In case you don’t remember, the decision to move the title games was divisive. However, over the course of this decade, the War has become the spot for title games — an experience like none other for Wyoming’s high school players fortunate enough to make it there.

6. Kaycee and Powell make runs at a record: In winning three consecutive Class 3A championships in 2011-13, Powell won 27 consecutive games — within spitting distance of the state record for consecutive victories, Laramie’s 34 set from 1959-63. That march stopped early in the 2014 season; however, Kaycee came even closer, winning 30 straight games from 2015-17 while notching three consecutive Class 1A six-man titles.

7. Lincoln County dynasties keep rolling: Three programs in the 2010s — Sheridan, Star Valley and Cokeville — won four championships in the span of five years. The last two just happen to hang out in Lincoln County together, where football dynasties continue to flourish. The 3A Braves won titles in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019, while the 1A Panthers won theirs in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. Together, they’ve combined for 34 titles (22 for Cokeville, 12 for Star Valley).

8. Multiple dynasties stake their claims: In all, 24 programs won state titles in the 2010s, down slightly from the 26 in the 2000s and the 25 in the 19990s who won it all. In addition to the programs already mentioned (Sheridan, Natrona, Star Valley, Powell, Cokeville and Kaycee), five other programs won at least two state championships. Big Horn won four state titles, Mountain View and Snake River won three apiece and Cody and Pine Bluffs each won a pair.

What was your biggest takeaway from the past 10 years of football in the Equality State? Leave a comment and let’s talk about the ways.

–patrick

Ten assistant coaches, five for each team, have been named for the 2020 Wyoming Shrine Bowl all-star football game.

The North squad will have Thunder Basin’s Trent Pikula, Worland’s Ryan Utterback, Lovell’s Nicc Crosby, Wright’s Larry Yeradi and Meeteetse’s Zeb Hagen join head coach Aaron Papich from Powell on the coaching staff.

The South squad will be represented by Cheyenne East’s Paul Garcia, Douglas’ Wes Gamble, Mountain View’s Michael Collins, Pine Bluffs’ Will Gray and Farson’s Trip Applequist, as well as head coach Brent Walk of Mountain View, on its staff.

A release Monday from Frank Selby, the Shrine Bowl’s executive director, announced the choices. The release also said the respective coaching staffs are now reviewing player nominations to form the teams for the annual game, a fundraiser for the Shrine Hospitals.

The game will be June 13, 2020, in Casper.

–patrick

One of the cooler things about soccer in the United Kingdom is how some of the stadiums are named. Places like Elland Road, Bramall Lane, Portman Road and others are named for the street or road they’re on rather than for some corporate sponsor, some dead person or some mascot.

I think that brings a certain amount of charm to the grounds — the name of the stadium is also how to get there. Quaint AND convenient.

If we were to do that for Wyoming high school football fields, the results would vary. Some stadiums would end up with really cool names. Others, as you’ll see, are worse off for shooting for this kind of quaintness.

Here’s how Wyoming football stadiums would be renamed with this occasionally used U.K. method, ranked from worst name to best name. As you’ll see, there is indeed one clear winner:

SchoolU.K. stadium name
LymanI-80 Business Loop
PowellRoad 8
Rocky MountainUS 310
FarsonHighway 28
Torrington25th Avenue
SundanceSixth Street
Snake RiverNorth Street
Ten SleepOld 10 Sleep Highway
NewcastleCasper Avenue
BuffaloMain Street
Cheyenne CentralEducation Drive
ThermopolisSenior Avenue
WrightWright Boulevard
CodyCody Avenue
Tongue RiverTongue River Road
Big PineyPiney Drive
Kelly WalshWalsh Drive
LuskPearl Street
LingleCanAm Highway
ShoshoniCalifornia Street
UptonBoundary Street
DouglasSonora Avenue
Rock SpringsJames Drive
SoutheastLacy Street
MeeteetseHayes Avenue
KayceeHolt Avenue
HannaHarrison Street
WheatlandRowley Street
DuboisCarson Street
RawlinsBrooks Street
Thunder BasinChristinck Avenue
HulettSager Avenue
MidwestEllison Avenue
Pine BluffsMaple Street
NatronaAsh Street
SaratogaElm Avenue
RivertonSunset Drive
LaramieBoulder Drive
CokevilleSage Street
WorlandWashakie Avenue
LanderTiger Drive
Wind RiverCougar Drive
GilletteCamel Drive
Star ValleyWarrior Way
GreybullRailroad Street
Mountain ViewRiver Bend Drive
PinedaleValley Road
EncampmentMacFarlane Avenue
JacksonGregory Lane
KemmererDel Rio Road
RiversideArlington Avenue
SheridanMydland Road
LovellGreat Western Avenue
MoorcroftLittle Horn Avenue
BurnsWyoming Avenue
GuernseyWyoming Avenue
EvanstonChamps Avenue
Big HornHigh Street
Cheyenne SouthAllison Road
St. StephensMission Road
Wyoming IndianBlue Sky Highway
Cheyenne EastForest Drive
Green RiverHitching Post Drive
BurlingtonFarmer Boulevard
GlenrockOregon Trail
NSILane Lane

Note: Some Wyoming football stadiums are bound on two, three or four sides by streets. I tried to pick the street closest to the stadium parking lot and/or the name that sounded the coolest.

–patrick

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