Bart Jernigan, the defensive coordinator for Kemmerer, has been hired as the Rangers’ new head coach.

Jernigan verified his hire via email to wyoming-football.com on Thursday.

“We have a great community and great kids,” Jernigan wrote. “I look forward to helping them grow into great young men and make a difference in their lives as well as the world around them.”

He replaces Jason Ferrarini, Kemmerer’s coach the last two seasons. Ferrarini resigned as head coach recently to join his family in a move to Denver, Ferrarini said via email.

Jernigan has been at Kemmerer the past two seasons as defensive coordinator. Prior to that, he spent six years at Layton (Utah) High as the JV head coach and the varsity special teams coordinator; he also spent two years as an assistant at Clearfield (Utah) High.

Kemmerer enters the 2017 season on a 36-game losing streak, the longest in state history. The Kemmerer program is the first 2A program to change coaches this offseason. Class 4A programs Laramie and Thunder Basin, 3A programs Worland and Jackson, 1A 11-man program Tongue River and 1A six-man program Snake River are also either seeking or have hired new head coaches.

–patrick

Green River’s Drew Wilson will join the South squad for this summer’s Shrine Bowl all-star football game.

Shrine Bowl executive director John Cundall said via email Wednesday that Wilson will replace Douglas’ Ty Larson. The game is June 10 in Casper.

–patrick

Worland head football coach Todd Weber has resigned after two seasons leading the Warriors.

Weber confirmed his resignation Wednesday via email with wyoming-football.com.

Weber came to Worland after working as an assistant at Douglas. In his two seasons with the Warriors, Weber went 5-11 — a 2-6 finish in 2015 and a 3-5 finish last year. Worland missed the playoffs both seasons.

A replacement has not yet been named.

Prior to hiring Weber, Worland went through a stretch of five different coaches in four years.

Worland joins Jackson as Class 3A West Conference schools searching for new head coaches. Laramie is also searching for a new head coach, while new coaches have been selected for vacancies at Thunder Basin, Tongue River and Snake River.

–patrick

Laramie coach Chuck Syverson has resigned after four years as the Plainsmen’s head coach.

Syverson’s departure was first reported by KOWB Radio in Laramie. Syverson told KOWB he was planning on taking a coaching job in Florida.

Syverson went 13-27 in his four years with the Plainsmen, including 4-6 last season. Laramie made the playoffs in each of his four years as coach but never advanced past the first round.

Prior to coming to Laramie, Syverson led Thermopolis to back-to-back Class 2A championships in 2009 and 2010. He also was previously the head coach in Spearfish, S.D.

A replacement has not yet been named.

Laramie will be the fifth Wyoming high school looking for a new head coach. New coaches have already been named at Thunder Basin, Tongue River and Snake River, while Jackson is still searching for a new head coach.

–patrick

Pine Bluffs’ Alex Graves, Star Valley’s Kellen Hansen and Buffalo’s Caden Milmine have joined the rosters for the 2017 Shrine Bowl all-star football game.

Graves and Hansen will be on the South squad, replacing Star Valley’s Collin McGinley and Eric Jamerman. Milmine will be on the North team, replacing Rocky Mountain’s Cole Simmons.

Shrine Bowl executive director John Cundall announced the changes Friday via email.

The game will be June 10 in Casper.

–patrick

Jack Cobb, an assistant coach with the Snake River football team for the past eight seasons, has been promoted to be the Rattlers’ head coach.

Cobb, whose hiring was approved in February, takes over for Michael Bates. Bates had led the program since its restart in 2009, and Cobb has been an assistant with the Rattlers each of those years.

Cobb, who was also Snake River’s boys basketball head coach in the 2013-14 season, runs a ranch near Savery.

He is the third new head coach to be hired in the state this offseason, joining Steve Hanson at Tongue River and Trent Pikula at Thunder Basin. Jackson is also looking for a new head coach after James Howell stepped down in December.

–patrick

The scoring records page, where the top season totals for both offense and defense are listed, shows the top defensive performances over one season are mostly populated by team efforts from before World War II. In fact, of the 10 seasons where a team gave up one point per game or less, seven came prior to World War II — and the other three are clustered in the early 1970s. Those eras are historically low points for scoring statewide.

Many teams gave up only a handful of points in the game’s early days, where scoreless ties were common and 6-0 finals the standard. Since World War II, scoring has gone up considerably, thereby making a dominating season-long defensive effort pretty rare.

I went back and found all the defensive efforts since 1946 in which a team allowed 4 points per game or fewer.

The top two defensive outputs in the past 70 years both came in the same season: 1974. Torrington gave up just six points in nine games, while Saratoga gave up six points in eight games. In all, six teams from the 1974 season gave up fewer than 4 ppg — in addition to Torrington’s 0.67 and Saratoga’s 0.75 ppg, Worland gave up 2.63 ppg, Tongue River 3.33 ppg, Kemmerer 3.89 and Rawlins 4.0 ppg that season. But the 4 ppg threshold was only reached six other times in the 1970s, making 1974 the true anomaly of defensive performances in Wyoming high school football. (I still don’t know why. Any theories?)

More recently, seven squads from this millennium have given up 4 ppg or fewer. The most recent is Lyman in 2012, which gave up 3.17 points per game. The others are Lusk in 2000 (1.3 points allowed per game), Wright in 2004 (2.6), Gillette in 2000 (3), Cokeville in 2008 (3.5), Lusk in 2002 (3.5) and Cokeville in 2011 (3.9).

Meanwhile, only two teams from the 1990s — Lusk in 1992 and Mountain View 1997 — gave up fewer than 4 ppg over their season, while seven teams were under the 4 points per game allowed threshold in the 1980s: Lusk 1986, Big Horn 1985, Kelly Walsh 1981, Cokeville 1988, Cokeville 1984, Sundance 1981, Greybull 1986.

Fifteen teams from the 1960s gave up 4 ppg or fewer; however, only four from the 1950s met that threshold. And the four teams that accomplished this defensive feat from the second half of the 1940s all did so in the 1947 season.

For perspective, the top scoring defense in the 2016 season was Tongue River, which gave up exactly 10 points per game.

Here’s the list of all teams since 1946 who gave up 4 ppg or less during a season, in order of average points allowed:

Torrington 1974: 9-0, 6 points allowed, 0.67 average points allowed

Saratoga 1974: 8-0, 6 pa, 0.75 apa

Upton 1971: 7-0-1, 8 pa, 1 apa

Lusk 2000: 10-0, 13 pa, 1.3 apa

Byron 1960: 10-0, 13 pa, 1.3 apa

Glenrock 1972: 9-0, 12 pa, 1.33 apa

Sheridan 1953: 9-0, 14 pa, 1.56 apa

Worland 1956: 10-0-1, 18 pa, 1.64 apa

Mountain View 1962: 6-0, 12 pa, 2 apa

Green River 1963: 10-0, 21 pa, 2.1 apa

Evanston 1964: 9-0, 20 pa, 2.22 apa

Pinedale 1975: 10-0, 24 pa, 2.4 apa

Shoshoni 1953: 4-1, 12 pa, 2.4 apa

Lusk 1992: 8-0, 20 pa, 2.5 apa

Wright 2004: 9-1, 26 pa, 2.6 apa

Lusk 1986: 10-0, 26 pa, 2.6 apa

Worland 1974: 7-1, 21 pa, 2.63 apa

St. Stephens 1962: 8-0, 21 pa, 2.63 apa

Glenrock 1969: 7-1-1, 24 pa, 2.67 apa

Mountain View 1997: 10-0, 28 pa, 2.8 apa

Laramie 1960: 9-0, 26 pa, 2.89 apa

Gillette 2000: 10-0, 30 pa, 3 apa

Glenrock 1967: 9-0, 27 pa, 3 apa

Lusk 1963: 8-0-1, 27 pa, 3 apa

Midwest 1947: 7-0-1, 25 pa, 3.13 apa

Lyman 2012: 12-0, 38 pa, 3.17 apa

Byron 1963: 8-0, 26 pa, 3.25 apa

Kemmerer 1947: 6-1-1, 26 pa, 3.25 apa

Big Horn 1985: 10-0, 33 pa, 3.3 apa

Rawlins 1947: 8-0-2, 33 pa, 3.3 apa

Tongue River 1974: 9-0, 30 pa, 3.33 apa

Kelly Walsh 1981: 10-0, 34 pa, 3.4 apa

Laramie 1962: 9-0, 31 pa, 3.44 apa

Cokeville 2008: 8-2, 35 pa, 3.5 apa

Lusk 2002: 10-0, 35 pa, 3.5 apa

Pinedale 1973: 8-2, 35 pa, 3.5 apa

Shoshoni 1947: 4-0, 14 pa, 3.5 apa

Cokeville 1988: 10-0, 36 pa, 3.6 apa

Cokeville 1984: 9-1, 36 pa, 3.6 apa

Tongue River 1972: 8-1, 33 pa, 3.67 apa

Laramie 1964: 9-0, 33 pa, 3.67 apa

Sundance 1981: 7-1, 30 pa, 3.75 apa

Pine Bluffs 1950: 7-0, 27 pa, 3.86 apa

Byron 1966: 7-1, 31 pa, 3.88 apa

Kemmerer 1974: 9-0, 35 pa, 3.89 apa

Star Valley 1962: 9-0, 35 pa, 3.89 apa

Cokeville 2011: 11-0, 39 pa, 3.9 apa

Greybull 1986: 7-1, 32 pa, 4 apa

Rawlins 1974: 9-1, 40 pa, 4 apa

Lingle 1970: 6-2, 32 pa, 4 apa

Greybull 1962: 8-0, 32 pa, 4 apa

Which one of these seasons do you think is the most impressive defensive effort? Leave a comment below and let’s chat about the best work you’ve seen in stopping other teams from scoring.

–patrick

Our American school system typically follows a basic pattern: numerous elementary schools, a good number of junior highs, only a handful of high schools.

But what if we switched the system? Big elementary schools, numerous small high schools? What if our school system started at the trunk of the tree and branched out instead of starting at the leaves and working toward the trunk?

And what if sports followed the same organizational pattern? Let’s put the education arguments aside for a second and focus instead on the sports. In Wyoming, under this system the school sports in the state would be controlled not by the biggest cities, but by the biggest schools, in part because of how elementary schools are organized.

In Wyoming, under this system the school sports in the state would be controlled not by the biggest cities, but by the biggest schools, in part because of how elementary schools are organized statewide.

Several cities in Wyoming decided to divide their elementary schools by grade level rather than geography. Jackson, for example, has its youngest students attending Jackson Elementary and its older students attending Colter Elementary. Lander, Buffalo, Torrington and Wheatland do basically the same thing.

And at least in the case of Lander, Jackson, Buffalo and Torrington, that decision has them as among the biggest schools in the state in terms of K-3 enrollment. Actually, most of Wyoming’s biggest schools in K-3 terms are in towns we would currently call Class 3A. If we were to organize them and classify them by enrollment, as high schools are now, those communities dominate the top spots. In this scenario, these schools — rather than the Gillettes, Natronas, Kelly Walshes and so on — would be the biggest and baddest progams in the state.

Jackson/Colter is by far the largest at 762 K-3 students, but it’s Lander, Rawlins, Douglas, Buffalo, Torrington, Pinedale and Star Valley’s two schools taking up spots two through nine.

An elementary school from one of Wyoming’s big cities doesn’t show up until Cheyenne’s Saddle Ridge Elemetary slides into the No. 10 spot. And after that, another school from the trio of Cheyenne, Casper and Gillette doesn’t show up until school No. 16, Lakeview Elementary in Gillette.

In our scenario, the power of the large school has shifted. Completely.

+++

The next step is to organize the schools into classifications, just as the WHSAA does currently for 9-12 enrollment.

In classifying these schools, I tried to look for round numbers and somewhat natural breaks. I took the 12 largest schools to make a “Class 4A,” and it just so happened that 300 was the break point on that. The next 75 schools became “Class 3A” with a break at about 180 students. After that came “Class 2A,” another 43 with a break at about 100 students, and finally “Class 1A” and 33 schools rounded out the field.

But there were some challenges to this organization.

Most Wyoming towns use a K-5, K-6 or K-12 model for their schools. The cities that don’t put all of their K-3 students into one school or into a relatively equal distribution into numerous K-4/5/6 schools. Some of these have already been noted, but here are the toughest such scenarios:

  • Riverton: Riverton kindergartners attend the same school (Aspen Early Learning Center) before being split into one of three elementary schools in the city that handle grades 1-3. They’re combined again in grades 4-5 at Rendezvous Elementary before moving on to Riverton Middle School.
  • Douglas: Douglas has Douglas Primary (K-1), Douglas Intermediate (2-3) and Douglas Upper (4-5) schools.
  • Torrington: Torrington students are split between Lincoln (K-2) and Trail (3-5) elementaries.
  • Buffalo: Buffalo students are split between Meadowlark (K-2) and Cloud Peak (3-5) elementaries.
  • Kemmerer/Diamondville: These students are split between Kemmerer (K-2) and Canyon (3-6) elementaries.
  • Wheatland: Wheatland students are split between Libbey (K-2) and West (3-5) elementaries.
  • Jackson: Jackson students are split between Jackson (K-2) and Colter (3-5) elementaries.

Wyoming has 163 schools fielding K-3 enrollments of at least 25 students (or, in the case of Clearmont, Glendo, Chugwater and Rock River, fielding enrollments in locations where high schools already exist). The enrollment totals of 34 more elementary schools with fewer than 25 students were added to the most geographically feasible elementary.

+++

In our “leaf-not-trunk” system, this is how classifications might break down, with K-3 enrollment as listed by the Wyoming Department of Education listed.

Class 4A
Jackson/Colter 762
Gannett Peak (Lander) 571 (with Jeffrey City (5))
Rawlins 561 (with Desert (Wamsutter) (14))
Douglas Primary/Intermediate 508 (with Dry Creek (9), Moss Agate (9), Shawnee (7), Walker Creek (5), White (8))
Afton 435
Thayne 379
Meadowlark/Cloud Peak (Buffalo) 373
Lincoln/Trail (Torrington) 350
Pinedale 342 (with Bondurant (5))
Saddle Ridge (Cheyenne) 331
Uinta Meadows (Evanston) 326
Westridge (Rock Springs) 305

Class 3A
Willow Creek (Riverton) 300 (with estimated 57 kindergarten)
Stagecoach (Rock Springs) 294
Mountain View 289 (with McKinnon (13))
Lakeview (Gillette) 285
Summit (Casper) 284
Dildine (Cheyenne) 278
Verda James (Casper) 278
Paradise Valley (Casper) 277
Sage (Rock Springs) 276
Ft. Caspar Academy (Casper) 269
Afflerbach (Cheyenne) 265
Truman (Green River) 264
Buffalo Ridge (Gillette) 256
Ashgrove (Riverton) 254 (with estimated 57 kindergarten)
Coffeen (Sheridan) 251
Hillcrest (Gillette) 251
Jackson (Riverton) 250 (with estimated 57 kindergarten)
Sunrise (Cheyenne) 247
Libbey/West (Wheatland) 246
Highland Park (Sheridan) 245
Pronghorn (Gillette) 245
Velma Linford (Laramie) 240 (with Harmony (12), Centennial (4), Valley View (5))
Sunflower (Gillette) 238
Oregon Trail (Casper) 235 (with Red Creek (6))
Urie 235
Prairie Wind (Cheyenne) 234
Hobbs (Cheyenne) 233
Northpark (Rock Springs) 233
Conestoga (Gillette) 231
Indian Paintbrush (Laramie) 231
Lovell 227
Crest Hill (Casper) 224
Glenn Livingston (Cody) 223 (with Valley (4), Wapiti (5))
Sagebrush (Sheridan) 223
Newcastle 222
Park (Casper) 220
Spring Creek (Laramie) 220
Moorcroft 218
North Evanston 218
Southridge (Casper) 218
Manor Heights (Casper) 215
Meadowlark (Sheridan) 215
Aspen (Evanston) 213
Cottonwood (Casper) 213
Sagewood (Casper) 212
Wyoming Indian 212
Anderson (Cheyenne) 211
Prairie Wind (Gillette) 211
Southside (Powell) 209
Eastside (Cody) 207
Westside (Powell) 207 (with Clark (10))
Sunset (Cody) 206
Arp (Cheyenne) 205
Baggs (Cheyenne) 204
Paintbrush (Gillette) 203
Desert View (Rock Springs) 201
Kemmerer/Canyon 199
Glenrock 197 (with Boxelder (5))
Rossman (Cheyenne) 197
Harrison (Green River) 196
Overland (Rock Springs) 195
Jackson (Green River) 194
Stocktrail (Gillette) 194
Wagonwheel (Gillette) 194
Lincoln (Casper) 191
Woodland Park (Sheridan) 191
Rozet 190
Freedom (Cheyenne) 189
Goins (Cheyenne) 186
Bain (Cheyenne) 185
Ralph Witters (Thermopolis) 185
Rocky Mountain (Cowley) 184
Arapahoe 182
Fort Washakie 182
Evansville 181

Class 2A
Lusk 178 (with Lance Creek (3))
Henderson (Cheyenne) 174
Pioneer Park (Cheyenne) 171
Slade (Laramie) 171
Tongue River 167 (with Slack (3))
Washington (Green River) 166 (with Granger (3))
Walnut (Rock Springs) 164
Beitel (Laramie) 162
Davis (Cheyenne) 162
Rawhide (Gillette) 161 (with Little Powder (16), Recluse (9))
Meadowlark (Gillette) 159
Pineview (Casper) 158
Big Horn 156 (with Story (13))
Lincoln (Rock Springs) 153
Willard (Casper) 153
Bar Nunn 150
Burns 150
Alta Vista (Cheyenne) 145
Jessup (Cheyenne) 139
Parkside (Powell) 139
Wilson 139
Buffalo Ridge (Cheyenne) 138
Cole (Cheyenne) 138
University Park (Casper) 138
Clark (Evanston) 135
Fairview/Lebhart (Cheyenne) 133 (Lebhart has only K-2, Fairview starts at 3)
Greybull 132
Shoshoni 129
Big Piney 127
Mills 126
East Side (Worland) 125
West Side (Worland) 123
South Side (Worland) 122
Grant (Casper) 121
UW Lab School (Laramie) 121
PODER Academy (Cheyenne) 118
Snowy Range Academy (Laramie) 117
Deming (Cheyenne) 116
Sundance 116
Mountain View (Casper) 111
Wind River 109 (with Crowheart (14))
Saratoga 105
Cottonwood (Wright) 104

Class 1A
Upton 92
Hebard (Cheyenne) 91
Guernsey-Sunrise 88
Lingle-Fort Laramie 86
Pine Bluffs 80
Poison Spider (Casper) 77 (with Powder River (4))
Little Snake River Valley 76
Laura Irwin (Basin) 75
Cokeville 75
Southeast 75 (with LaGrange (14))
Hanna 72 (with Elk Mountain (10), Medicine Bow (11))
Woods Learning Center (Casper) 71
Gilchrist (Cheyenne) 68 (with Clawson (5), Willadsen (2))
Burlington 62
Carpenter 58
Laramie Montessori 52
Farson-Eden 40
Dubois 39
Kelly 39 (with Moran (11))
Midwest 37
Ten Sleep 36
La Barge 35 (with Thoman Ranch (1))
Encampment 33
Kaycee 33
Albin 32
Meeteetse 32
Hulett 27
4-J (Gillette) 25
Alta 25
Clearmont 24 (with Arvada (10))
Chugwater 20
Glendo 18
Rock River 18 (with Notch Peak (1))

++++

Breaking down the schools into conferences proved to be a tougher challenge due to the odd number splits. Some classificiations did not end up with a good, round number for state qualifications, but they’re sound geographically….

Class 4A West
Jackson/Colter 762
Afton 435
Thayne 379
Pinedale 342 (with Bondurant (5))
Uinta Meadows (Evanston) 326
Westridge (Rock Springs) 305

Class 4A East
Gannett Peak (Lander) 571 (with Jeffrey City (5))
Rawlins 561 (with Desert (Wamsutter) (14))
Douglas 508 (with Dry Creek (9), Moss Agate (9), Shawnee (7), Walker Creek (5), White (8))
Meadowlark/Cloud Peak (Buffalo) 373
Lincoln/Trail (Torrington) 350
Saddle Ridge (Cheyenne) 331

Class 3A Northwest (8)
Lovell 227
Glenn Livingston (Cody) 223 (with Valley (4), Wapiti (5))
Southside (Powell) 209
Eastside (Cody) 207
Westside (Powell) 207 (with Clark (10))
Sunset (Cody) 206
Ralph Witters (Thermopolis) 185
Rocky Mountain (Cowley) 184

Class 3A Central (9)
Willow Creek (Riverton) 300 (with estimated 57 K)
Paradise Valley (Casper) 277
Ft. Caspar Academy (Casper) 269
Ashgrove (Riverton) 254 (with estimated 57 K)
Jackson (Riverton) 250 (with estimated 57 K)
Oregon Trail (Casper) 235 (with Red Creek (6))
Wyoming Indian 212
Arapahoe 182
Fort Washakie 182

Class 3A Southwest (13)
Stagecoach (Rock Springs) 294
Mountain View 289 (with McKinnon (13))
Sage (Rock Springs) 276
Truman (Green River) 264
Urie 235
Northpark (Rock Springs) 233
North Evanston 218
Aspen (Evanston) 213
Desert View (Rock Springs) 201
Kemmerer/Canyon 199
Harrison (Green River) 196
Overland (Rock Springs) 195
Jackson (Green River) 194

Class 3A Powder River East (9)
Lakeview (Gillette) 285
Buffalo Ridge (Gillette) 256
Hillcrest (Gillette) 251
Sunflower (Gillette) 238
Conestoga (Gillette) 231
Newcastle 222
Moorcroft 218
Stocktrail (Gillette) 194
Rozet 190

Class 3A Powder River West (9)
Coffeen (Sheridan) 251
Highland Park (Sheridan) 245
Pronghorn (Gillette) 245
Sagebrush (Sheridan) 223
Meadowlark (Sheridan) 215
Prairie Wind (Gillette) 211
Paintbrush (Gillette) 203
Wagonwheel (Gillette) 194
Woodland Park (Sheridan) 191

Class 3A Casper (10)
Summit (Casper) 284
Verda James (Casper) 278
Manor Heights (Casper) 215
Crest Hill (Casper) 224
Park (Casper) 220
Southridge (Casper) 218
Cottonwood (Casper) 213
Sagewood (Casper) 212
Lincoln (Casper) 191
Evansville 181

Class 3A East Cheyenne (8)
Dildine (Cheyenne) 278
Sunrise (Cheyenne) 247
Libbey/West (Wheatland) 246
Anderson (Cheyenne) 211
Arp (Cheyenne) 205
Baggs (Cheyenne) 204
Glenrock 197 (with Boxelder (5))
Bain (Cheyenne) 185

Class 3A Vedauwoo (9)
Afflerbach (Cheyenne) 265
Velma Linford (Laramie) 240 (with Harmony (12), Centennial (4), Valley View (5))
Prairie Wind (Cheyenne) 234
Hobbs (Cheyenne) 233
Indian Paintbrush (Laramie) 231
Spring Creek (Laramie) 220
Rossman (Cheyenne) 197
Freedom (Cheyenne) 189
Goins (Cheyenne) 186

Class 2A Northwest (8)
Parkside (Powell) 139
Wilson 139
Greybull 132
Shoshoni 129
East Side (Worland) 125
West Side (Worland) 123
South Side (Worland) 122
Wind River 109 (with Crowheart (14))

Class 2A Northeast (7)
Tongue River 167 (with Slack (3))
Rawhide (Gillette) 161 (with Little Powder (16), Recluse (9))
Meadowlark (Gillette) 159
Pineview (Casper) 158
Big Horn 156 (with Story (13))
Sundance 116
Cottonwood (Wright) 104

Class 2A Southwest (6)
Washington (Green River) 166 (with Granger (3))
Walnut (Rock Springs) 164
Lincoln (Rock Springs) 153
Clark (Evanston) 135
Big Piney 127
Saratoga 105

Class 2A Casper/Central (7)
Lusk 178 (with Lance Creek (3))
Willard (Casper) 153
Bar Nunn 150
University Park (Casper) 138
Mills 126
Grant (Casper) 121
Mountain View (Casper) 111

Class 2A Cheyenne (7)
Henderson (Cheyenne) 174
Burns 150
Alta Vista (Cheyenne) 145
Buffalo Ridge (Cheyenne) 138
Cole (Cheyenne) 138
Fairview/Lebhart (Cheyenne) 133 (Lebhart has only K-2, Fairview starts at 3…)
PODER Academy (Cheyenne) 118

Class 2A Vedauwoo (8)
Pioneer Park (Cheyenne) 171
Slade (Laramie) 171
Beitel (Laramie) 162
Davis (Cheyenne) 162
Jessup (Cheyenne) 139
UW Lab School (Laramie) 121
Snowy Range Academy (Laramie) 117
Deming (Cheyenne) 116

Class 1A Northeast (8)
Upton 92
Poison Spider (Casper) 77 (with Powder River (4))
Woods Learning Center (Casper) 71
Midwest 37
Kaycee 33
Hulett 27
4-J (Gillette) 25
Clearmont 24 (with Arvada (10))

Class 1A Southeast (10)
Hebard (Cheyenne) 91
Guernsey-Sunrise 88
Lingle-Fort Laramie 86
Pine Bluffs 80
Southeast 75 (with LaGrange (14))
Gilchrist (Cheyenne) 68 (with Clawson (5), Willadsen (2))
Carpenter 58
Albin 32
Chugwater 20
Glendo 18

Class 1A Southwest (8)
Little Snake River Valley 76
Cokeville 75
Hanna 72 (with Elk Mountain (10), Medicine Bow (11))
Laramie Montessori 52
Farson-Eden 40
La Barge 35 (with Thoman Ranch (1))
Encampment 33
Rock River 18 (with Notch Peak (1))

Class 1A Northwest (7)
Laura Irwin (Basin) 75
Burlington 62
Dubois 39
Kelly 39 (with Moran (11))
Ten Sleep 36
Meeteetse 32
Alta 25

+++

We know what 9-12 sports in Wyoming looks like — for now. The Wyoming High School Activities Association is considering some big changes to that system this month. Regardless of how those decisions come down, sometimes looking at a problem from a fantasy perspective — like the WESAA instead of the WHSAA — might give us insights into the systems we actually do have.

I don’t know about you, but a 3A state championship showdown between Stagecoach and Buffalo Ridge sounds pretty fun. …

–patrick

When the Wyoming High School Activities Association handed nonconference football scheduling back to individual schools, reducing travel was the goal.

The schools came through on that end — big time.

A breakdown of the 2017 schedule shows travel is going to be down. WAY down.

The average Wyoming high school football road game trip this year, one way, is going to be more than 20 miles shorter than it was last year. And the average nonconference trip, one way, is going to be 70 miles shorter than it was last year. Even one-way mileage for conference games is down:

  • Average one-way trip for all games: 175 miles, down from 196 last year
  • Average one-way trip for conference games: 183 miles, down from 189 last year
  • Average one-way trip for nonconference games: 147 miles, down from 217 last year

Meanwhile, the median one-way nonconference trip this season will be 137 miles; the median one-way trip in 2016 was 221 miles.

In part, this is because some of the absurdly long trips teams made have also been pared down. In 2016, seven games had one-way trips of more than 400 miles; in 2017, only one game (the ridiculous Torrington-Star Valley game) is more than 400 miles one way.

Also, shorter trips are more numerous. Last season, 24 games had one-way trips of 50 miles or less; this year, 34 such games are scheduled.

A big reason for the mileage reduction is schools’ ability to schedule sub-varsity games in nonconference weeks. Five schools, so far, have taken advantage of that opportunity, and more may do so before the season starts in August.

Another thing that helped reduce the longest trips was Evanston’s move from 4A to 3A, which eliminated the Red Devils’ trips to, or their opponents’ trips from, Gillette and Sheridan — traditionally the longest trips on the Wyoming high school football schedule regardless of classification.

The reduced travel comes with tradeoffs, though.

Namely, eight schools don’t have full schedules. Rocky Mountain, Tongue River, Powell, Evanston, Cody and Wright all tentatively have bye weeks scheduled; Rocky Mountain actually has two open weeks, back-to-back, right now. Also, Riverton and Douglas have a scrimmage scheduled for the opening week of the season, which is far from ideal. No one had a scheduled open week last season.

We’ve seen that competitive equity scheduling increased travel but decreased competitiveness. Those trends continued in both 2015 and 2016. Maybe 2017 will bring us closer games AND reduced travel. For eight programs, though, the tradeoff might be one (or more) Friday night on the couch instead of on the field.

How mileage was calculated: Using Google Maps directions, distances from city to city were calculated for each game of the 2016 season and each scheduled game for the 2017 season. Scrimmages and jamborees were not considered. Games involving Upton-Sundance used the closer of the two schools for road games and the actual site for home games. Travel went “through the park” via Yellowstone when possible. Google Maps’ suggestions were used unless a shorter mileage option that did not significantly add to travel time (15 minutes or more) was available.

–patrick

Big Horn’s Nolan McCafferty was named the state’s to football scholar-athlete in Wyoming for 2016 by the Wyoming Chapter of the National Football Foundation.

McCafferty was one of 12 finalists for this award, which was handed out Saturday in Laramie.

McCafferty was awarded $2,400 in total scholarships; each of the other finalists earned $1,200.

–patrick

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