Thanks to Jim Craig, who’s been indispensible with his help for the site, I’ve been able to make these additions/corrections:
Updated the Lovell-Cody game in 1957, which Cody won 41-6 on Nov. 5. I had the game, originally scheduled for Oct. 12, listed as canceled. However, it wasn’t canceled, it was postponed, and Cody won the rescheduled game.
Added Manderson’s 31-6 victory against Ten Sleep on Nov. 5, 1957. (Added to the missing games list because a location couldn’t be found.)
Added Pine Bluffs’ 33-31 victory against Huntley on Nov. 7, 1958, in Huntley.
Added North Big Horn’s 26-24 victory against the Lovell JV on Oct. 12, 1979. (Added to the missing games list because a location couldn’t be found.)
Added Big Horn’s 12-6 victory against the Buffalo JV on Sept. 23, 1972, in Big Horn.
Added Big Horn’s 35-6 loss to the Lovell JV on Oct. 27, 1972, in Lovell.
Corrected the location for Big Horn’s game against the Sheridan JV on Sept. 5, 1972; it was in Sheridan, not Big Horn.
Added Cokeville’s all-state selections to the 1995 Class 1A Division II all-state team.
I also updated the stadiums page to reflect the new locations of stadiums in Laramie and Dubois for this season, as well as Laramie’s move to artificial turf. I also added the name “Jim Crawford Field” to Greybull’s stadium, which, apparently, has been the stadium’s name since the early 1970s. Thanks to Jordan Hunter on the wyoming-football Facebook page for pointing out that omission!
This fall, 12 Wyoming high school football programs will start their seasons with new coaches.
How long those coaches stay may be tied to the program they’re leading.
Programs taking to the field with new coaches in 2016 — so far — include Cheyenne South in Class 4A; Star Valley in Class 3A; Pinedale, Thermopolis and Wheatland in Class 2A; Rocky Mountain and Saratoga in Class 1A 11-man; and Burlington, Guernsey-Sunrise, Lingle, Rock River and Ten Sleep in Class 1A six-man.
The least surprising of these is Burlington; throughout their program history, the Huskies average a new coach every two and a half years. Burlington’s turnover rate — 28 head coaches in 69 years, through last season — is among the highest coaching turnover rates in the state. In fact, it’s second-highest among programs that have existed for more than 20 years, second only to nearby Meeteetse, which averages a new head coach once every 2.3 years.
The most surprising change based on expected coaching span is at Star Valley, which is 16th in the state with an average head coaching span of 4.8 years per coach, through last season.
The average Wyoming head football coach lasts 3.8 years. Some schools have an average coaching tenure significantly greater than that: Southeast has had only two coaches in its 39-year history, an average of 19.5 years per coach. Cokeville, with an average stay of 7.3 years per head coach, comes in second.
The schools that tend to have the shortest coaching tenures are also programs that haven’t been around long. The programs tied for the shortest average coaching tenures, Rock River and St. Stephens, average one new coach every two years. St. Stephens has had six coaches in its 12 years of existence, while Rock River has had just one in its two years.
Of the 12 programs with new coaches this year, seven programs fall below the average span of 3.8 years. Cheyenne South will fall below the average after this season begins.
Here’s a breakdown of the average tenure length per coach of Wyoming high school football programs, based on the number of years where the head coach is known and the number of coaches in that span. This list goes through 2015 and does not include coaches who will be new in 2016; it also includes both Upton and Sundance as separate programs as well as the Upton-Sundance co-op. From longest to shortest span:
Southeast (19.5 years average span, 2 coaches in 39 years)
Six-man football in 2016, in one word? Adjustment.
Welcome, Lingle, Riverside and Burlington, to the world of six-man football. Your entries make six-man as deep, as talented and as difficult to grasp as ever.
The status quo of six-man just got tossed aside — there’s too much new blood for the old ways to feel comfortable anymore.
And yet… and yet… even among all the change in the classification, the classification’s stability at the top remains unquestioned. The best teams on paper are familiar programs. At least in 2016, it looks like what we’ve come to know about six-man will remain consistent. Or, as consistent as it can be in a year of adjustment.
Four questions to answer
How will six-man’s newcomers affect the state title chase? Not all that much, to be honest. Three programs — Lingle, Riverside and Burlington — will move from 11-man to six-man this fall, but only Burlington will be eligible for the playoffs. Although Lingle and Riverside will be big in the regular season, their influence won’t extend to the postseason. For now.
Who should be in the title chase, then? The usual suspects. Kaycee and Meeteetse, last year’s state champion and state runner-up, have the talent needed to again be contenders. Only six players return from last year’s six-man all-state team, and half of them play for either the Buckaroos or the Longhorns.
Who’s everyone overlooking? Farson. The Pronghorns have some young but talented players returning — the team’s top three tacklers last year were all freshmen — and also draw a favorable schedule, playing what will likely be their most strenuous West Conference games (against Meeteetse, Snake River and Burlington) at home.
So there’s not a lot of parity, then? Wait, wait, wait… I didn’t say that. Actually, coaches say this may be the most wide-open year in recent six-man history, with six or seven teams possessing legitimate ability to run at a title, including under-the-radar teams like Guernsey-Sunrise and Snake River. The difference between the pack leaders and the also-rans is smaller than ever.
Four players to watch
Seth Frederick, Guernsey-Sunrise. Of all players in six-man, Frederick is the one who shows up most often by name when coaches across the state list the top players in the classification. With reason: He’s been an all-state pick twice. And if the Vikings are going to reach Laramie, it’ll be on the legs of Frederick, who is the team’s lone returning all-state player, and a player every coach in the state will devise defensive game plans to stop.
Dalton Abarr, Meeteetse. A two-time all-stater already, Abarr runs the Longhorns’ offense like a surgeon. He led the team in passing (1,391 yards, 30 touchdowns, zero interceptions) and rushing (881 yards, 20 touchdowns) last year. His role on defense was more limited, but Abarr’s leadership in his senior season will be a big piece of the Longhorns’ push for another title game trip.
Mark Largent, Kaycee. The junior was the leading tackler on the Buckaroos’ state championship team last season, and he leads a defense that returns four of its top six tacklers — meaning opponents won’t be able to key solely on him. He’s also one of Kaycee’s top receivers.
Dallen Fleenor, Lingle. The senior was an all-stater for the Doggers at the 11-man level after piling up 872 rushing yards, 78 defensive points and team highs in receiving yards (103) and interceptions (three). Fleenor’s versatility should make Lingle’s transition from 11-man to six-man easier than usual.
Four key games
Midwest at Normative Services, Sept. 9. The Oilers lost just one senior from last year’s team. The Wolves are coming off their first six-man playoff qualification. Both teams are eager to prove they belong, and they’ll settle their differences in the first week of conference play.
Burlington at Farson, Sept. 10. The Huskies’ first conference game in six-man comes on the road against the Pronghorns, a team that could be one of the classification’s best. This will be a good litmus test for both teams.
Meeteetse at Snake River, Sept. 16. The Longhorns and Rattlers finished 1-2 in last year’s West Conference standings, and this Week 3 showdown in Baggs may again decide who takes the top seed into the playoffs.
Kaycee at Guernsey-Sunrise, Sept. 30. Kaycee’s only conference loss last year came at the hands of the Vikings. Both teams figure to be chasing the East Conference title this year, so this one will again be important.
Predicted order of finish
East Conference: Guernsey-Sunrise, Kaycee, Lingle, Midwest, NSI, Hanna, Hulett, Rock River. West Conference: Meeteetse, Farson, Snake River, Riverside, Burlington, Dubois, Ten Sleep, St. Stephens.
Preseason top five: Meeteetse, Guernsey-Sunrise, Lingle, Farson, Kaycee.
Way-too-early title game score prediction
Meeteetse 44, Guernsey-Sunrise 36. The most interesting week in six-man might actually be the semifinals; enough parity exists in the classification to ensure that any team making it that far has a better-than-usual shot at a championship.
Cheesy 80s pop song that should play over the loudspeakers at War Memorial Stadium after this classification’s title game
Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears For Fears. Everybody wants to rule six-man… and what makes 2016 unique is that most of the teams in the classification are actually capable of doing so.
Maybe, just maybe, we’ll finally get a six-man championship game that’s actually close. Since six-man returned in 2009, title-game scores have been 76-16, 67-12, 54-33, 54-30, 65-30, 80-30 and 51-32. Unless you’ve actually made the trip to Baggs or Kaycee or Meeteetse or Farson, you probably haven’t seen just how exciting and competitive six-man football can really be. I think the parity’s in place not only for a competitive regular season but also for a heck of a title game.
Which team do you think has the best chance to hoist the title trophy come November? Leave your thoughts in a comment and let’s chat about it!
The school has yet to be reopened, even though the well near the school thought to be the source of the leak was plugged. Midwest students will start the school year in Casper, and games will be played in Casper as long as the school in Midwest remains closed.
Midwest games will be split between Natrona County and Kelly Walsh high schools, Midwest coach Ken Swieter and Midwest AD Susan Rodabaugh said.
Midwest has home games scheduled with Dubois (Week 1, Friday, Sept. 2); Lingle (Week 4, Friday, Sept. 23); Rock River (Week 5, Friday, Sept. 30) and Hanna (Week 8, Friday, Oct. 21) and also has a home Zero Week contest with Dubois and Snake River scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 27.
The games against Dubois, Rock River and Hanna have tentatively been set to be played at Natrona County, while the Zero Week contest and the Lingle game are tentatively scheduled for Kelly Walsh. Game times and dates would not change.
Hulett and Hanna are also scheduled to play their Week 3 game (Saturday, Sept. 17) in Midwest. Plans for that game were not immediately known.
Swieter said Midwest’s practices will either be at the old CY Junior High fields in Casper or at the park near the former Westwood Elementary in west Casper, which is where Midwest’s kindergarten through eighth-grade students will be housed until the Midwest school can be reopened.
A quick little tally I put together: Wyoming high school football coaches with at least 10 playoff wins entering the 2016 season. It’s no surprise to see Cokeville coach Todd Dayton at the top; however, the fact that he has more than twice as many victories as the coach in the second spot, Southeast’s Mark Bullington, is another testament to both Dayton’s skill and longevity.
In all, 29 coaches have at least 10 playoff victories. Of those 29, only one has a losing record in playoff games.
The list below includes the coaches, the schools they took to the playoffs at least once, and their overall playoff record:
1. Todd Dayton, Cokeville, 67-13
2. Mark Bullington, Southeast, 33-8
3. Steve Harshman, Natrona, 29-19
4. Jerry Fullmer, Lusk, 25-8
5. Joel Eskelsen, Big Piney, 24-14
6. Don Julian, Riverton/Sheridan, 23-9
7. (tie) John Scott, Kemmerer/Gillette/Tongue River, 20-7
7. (tie) Ray Kumpula, Glenrock, 20-10
9. (tie) Jay Rhoades, Douglas, 18-7
9. (tie) Ben Smith, Rocky Mountain, 18-8
9. (tie) Vic Wilkerson, Gillette, 18-10
9. (tie) Don Dinnel, Mountain View/Rawlins/Evanston, 18-12
13. Pat Lynch, Buffalo, 17-11
14. (tie) Bruce Keith, Sheridan/Kelly Walsh, 15-3
14. (tie) Chad Goff, Cheyenne East, 15-7
16. (tie) Jim Stringer, Powell, 14-5
16. (tie) John R. Deti, Laramie, 14-14
18. (tie) Robert Linford, Star Valley, 13-6
18. (tie) Mike Moon, Buffalo, 13-10
18. (tie) Bert Dow, Sheridan/Big Horn, 13-10
21. Bobby St. John, Big Horn, 12-5
22. (tie) Matt VandeBossche, Lusk, 11-9
22. (tie) Carl Selmer, Worland, 11-1
22. (tie) Michael McGuire, Riverside/Big Horn, 11-6
25. (tie) Mike Bates, Snake River, 10-5
25. (tie) Wade Sanford, Worland, 10-6
25. (tie) Andy Garland, Upton/Upton-Sundance, 10-7
25. (tie) Kay Fackrell, Lyman/Evanston, 10-9
25. (tie) Brick Cegelski, Cheyenne Central, 10-15
The only varsity football coach Rock River has ever known has stepped down.
Terrance Reese resigned as Rock River’s football coach late last week. Reese and Rock River Principal Wade Fiscus verified the resignation in emails to wyoming-football.com.
Reese led Rock River for its first two varsity seasons, finishing 1-6 each season.
Reese cited the desire to spend more time with his three children, the travel distance between his home in Laramie and his coaching responsibilities in Rock River, and the time commitment of pursuing a master’s degree as reasons for stepping down.
“I hope a position in football opens in the near future because I love a challenge and being head coach at the smallest and newest football program in state was definitely that,” Reese wrote. “But at this time it is in the best interest of my family to be a father and husband and take care of the responsibilities that the Lord blessed me with.”
Three Wyoming high school football coaches have the chance to become the winningest coaches at their respective high schools this fall.
Cheyenne South’s Dan Gallas, Lovell’s Doug Hazen and NSI’s Anthony Simmons have the chance to win more total games than any other coach in their programs’ histories if they can win enough games this fall.
Each coach has significantly different thresholds to reach.
Hazen needs six victories to overtake Lovell’s all-time wins leader, Roy Strom, who has 59.
Simmons needs nine victories to overtake Mike Gorzalka, NSI’s all-time wins leader with 14.
And Gallas needs four victories to move past Tracy Pugh, the only coach South had known prior to this year, and his three victories.
They’ll join an existing group of 12 active coaches that are already have more victories than any other coach in their program histories. In descending number of total victories, they are:
Todd Dayton, 298 at Cokeville
Steve Harshman, 174 at Natrona
Mark Bullington, 129 at Southeast
Ray Kumpula, 109 at Glenrock
Vic Wilkerson, 101 at Gillette
David Trembly, 78 at Dubois
Larry Yeradi, 74 at Wright
Chad Goff, 65 at Cheyenne East
Michael Bates, 52 at Snake River
Andy Garland, 24 at Upton-Sundance (as co-op)
Trip Applequist, 16 at Farson
Terrance Reese, 2 at Rock River
The coach with the most victories at his current school without being the program’s all-time leader is Douglas’ Jay Rhoades, who has 81 victories but still needs 33 more to catch the Bearcats’ all-time leader, Pete Petranovich.
The biggest deficit to make up belongs to Laramie’s Chuck Syverson, who has nine victories at Laramie but still trails John Deti Sr. by 194.
Saratoga has named Kegan Willford as its new football coach, the Saratoga Sun reported.
Willford replaces Scott Bokelman, who was the Panthers’ head coach for six seasons.
Willford teaches social studies in Encampment and coaches the Encampment high school track and junior high girls basketball teams; Encampment and Saratoga have long had a football co-op agreement. He is a Saratoga native who was an all-state and Shrine Bowl selection as a high school football plaer; he graduated from SHS in 2003.
Willford is the son of former Saratoga coach Burt Willford, who was the Panthers’ head coach from 1992-2002.
Bokelman went 16-33 in six seasons as head coach and took the Panthers to the playoffs in 2011.