Dan Gallas, a veteran coach who was formerly head coach at three different high schools in Colorado, was named the head coach at Cheyenne South on Tuesday, KGWN-TV and the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle reported.

Gallas was head coach at Smoky Hill High School in Aurora from 1999 to 2002 and again in 2014. Previously, he coached at Grand Junction High School from 1990-95 and at Northglenn High School from 1985-89. He compiled a 101-70 record, including a state runner-up finish in 1994, KGWN reported.

Gallas replaces Tracy Pugh, who coached the Bison for their first five seasons of varsity football. Pugh went 3-42.

–patrick

Ten Sleep head football coach Andy Ray has resigned under pressure, the Northern Wyoming Daily News reported.

Ray reluctantly submitted his resignation on April 11 after being notified his contract would not be renewed, the Daily News reported.

Ray had been Ten Sleep’s coach the past three seasons. The Pioneers, members of the Class 1A six-man West Conference, finished 4-18 in Ray’s three seasons and went 1-6 in 2015. Ray was also previously the head coach at Wind River, going 16-4 in two seasons as head coach of the Cougars.

A replacement has not yet been named.

Ray is the third coach in Wyoming to step down this offseason, joining Cheyenne South’s Tracy Pugh and Star Valley’s Chris Howell.

–patrick

I posed a simple question on Twitter on Friday:

I asked the question because, honestly, I didn’t know the answer.

But I had a plan to find out, at least unofficially.

Now, after a few hours putting together some estimates, I have an answer — well, the best answer I can surmise up to now.

Unofficially, the Wyoming high school football stadiums with the highest capacity are Cheyenne South (about 4,096), Kelly Walsh (about 4,077), and Natrona (about 3,924). Cheyenne East also has a capacity of 4,000 in its stadium; East and South are expandable to capacities of 4,360.

Estimated capacities for most other stadiums in the state (that I could get capacity for) is less than 3,000, down to the smallest capacity stadium at Meeteetse (seating capacity 115).

How I calculated the capacities: Using satellite images from Google Maps, I looked at the seating for every stadium. I calculated the length (in yards) of each seating area at the stadium; I multiplied that number by 36 (number of inches in a yard) to get the total number of inches; I divided that number by 20 to figure out the number of available seats per row (average seat size in most major college and pro stadiums varies between 18-22 inches, so 20 seemed like a good compromise); I counted the number of rows in that seating area; finally, I multiplied the number of available seats per row by the number of rows to get the seating capacity for that seating area. Most stadiums have more than one seating area, so I repeated the process as many times as necessary for each stadium before adding all the capacities together.

Obviously, this method has its limitations. Two schools (Big Piney and Farson) couldn’t be included because the satellite imagery fell short for one reason or another. The images were also subject to time differences — for example, some teams use portable seating that’s only put out during the season. If those portable stands weren’t out when the satellite took the image flying over the town, then that added capacity wasn’t added to my total. The seating totals also don’t account for variations in aisles or for the presence or absence of portals.

For example, Meeteetse uses portable stands behind its visitor bench during the season. Those stands do not show up in Meeteetse’s Google Maps view of the stadium. Therefore, they weren’t counted — and Meeeteetse’s capacity of 115 people, the state’s “smallest,” is likely off by at least a couple dozen.

Other stadiums — such as Lyman and Shoshoni — had stands that washed out in the satellite imagery, and I had to use my best guess (based on depth of seating) as to the number of rows in a particular seating area.

Other stadiums — such as Burns and Cheyenne Central — have undergone renovations since the last time the satellites passed over town. The capacities shown here are for the stadiums prior to renovations (although Central’s updated capacity has since been provided).

And, of course, these capacities don’t account for standing room alongside the seating.

In short, these stadium capacities are my best guess with what I had available to me at the time: Google Maps satellite imagery on April 23, 2016. At best, they’re educated guesses. For smaller stadiums, seating capacities could be off by a few dozen; for larger stadiums, capacities could be off by as many as a couple hundred. Capacities could be even higher than this if people squeezed into 18 inches per seat instead of 20 inches.

It goes without saying, but, just in case you tl;dr: These capacities are unofficial. They’re a lot of fun, though…

Class 4A
Cheyenne South: 4,097 (capacity provided by school officials gave a capacity of 4,000; expandable to 4,360)
Kelly Walsh: 4,077
Cheyenne East: 4,000 (capacity provided by school officials, not by Google Maps estimate; expandable to 4,360)
Natrona: 3,924
Cheyenne Central: 1,458 (prior to addition of north stands; capacity provided by school officials after addition of north stands is 3,222, expandable to 3,582)
Rock Springs: 3,024
Laramie: 2,916
Gillette: 2,790
Sheridan: 2,462
Evanston: 1,688

Class 3A
Rawlins: 2,988
Green River: 2,952
Buffalo: 2,700
Worland: 2,534
Lander: 2,255
Powell: 2,106
Douglas: 2,052
Riverton: 2,009
Cody: 1,757
Torrington: 1,593
Star Valley: 1,190
Jackson: 806

Class 2A
Glenrock: 2,187
Lovell: 1,647
Thermopolis: 1,370
Kemmerer: 1,237
Wheatland: 1,123
Newcastle: 1,089
Pinedale: 819
Greybull: 810
Mountain View: 792
Lyman: 720
Big Horn: 630
Burns: 594 (prior to renovation last year)
Moorcroft: 423

Big Piney’s capacity could not be calculated; satellite photos showed the current Puncher Stadium under construction.

Class 1A 11-man
Pine Bluffs: 918
Tongue River: 853
Wright: 742
Rocky Mountain: 706
Upton: 518
Shoshoni: 454
Saratoga: 450
Lusk: 425
Sundance: 414
Southeast: 328
Wind River: 324
Wyoming Indian: 202
Cokeville: 162

Class 1A six-man
Guernsey-Sunrise: 860
NSI: 617
Lingle: 612
Riverside: 504
Burlington: 490
Hanna: 464
Midwest: 313
Dubois: 297
Snake River: 288
Hulett: 270
Kaycee: 225
Ten Sleep: 175
St. Stephens: 162
Rock River: 158
Meeteetse: 115

Farson’s capacity could not be calculated; temporary stands used on the field were not present in the satellite photo.

Other interesting stadium seating notes: The longest stands in the state belong at Cheney Alumni Field at Natrona, where the stadium seating stretches from goal line to goal line — 100 yards. Natrona’s stadium is the only one in the state with seating stretching from goal line to goal line. Laramie’s 90-yard seating stretch, from one 5-yard line to the other, was the second-longest. Green River’s unofficially stretches 82 yards, while Kelly Walsh, Rock Springs and Cody have stands that stretch from the 10 to the 10, or 80 yards. … The tallest stands are those in Rawlins, which unofficially stretch 26 rows high. Worland unofficially goes 22 rows high; Gillette, Lander and Rock Springs unofficially go 21 rows high; Buffalo, Douglas and Green River go 20 rows. … The smallest 11-man stadium is at Cokeville, which measured out to a seating capacity of 162.

Which stadium is your favorite? Your least favorite? Is it because of the seating? Leave your comment and let’s talk locales.

–patrick

Updated 7:45 a.m. April 28 to add Cheyenne East information, as well as info for other Cheyenne school stadiums. Thanks to David Bartlett for the help!

No one knew it on the evening of Sept. 11, 1970, that this particular football game would represent something historic.

That night, Natrona played Lusk — the last time a school now in Class 4A played a school now in Class 1A.

Natrona won, 50-7, an unsurprising margin given the difference in size between the schools.

That’s been a common result when little guys try to take down the big guys.

Sheridan (16-0), Laramie (10-0-1), Cheyenne Central (9-0) and Rock Springs (1-0) are undefeated in their games against current 1A opponents. Natrona (17-1-1) only has one loss to a current 1A team in its history, a 12-0 loss to Midwest in 1926.

That Midwest victory is the only time a current 1A school has beaten a current 4A school not named Gillette. Gillette was once classified as a Class A school, but occupied the same conference as future Class B (and later, 1A) schools Midwest, Upton and Sundance. The Camels have extensive series with all three schools, playing Midwest and Upton 34 times apiece and Sundance 29 times. Gillette has also played Lusk, a former Class A East Conference rival, 17 times; Lusk actually leads that series 10-6-1, the only 4A-1A series in which the 1A team leads all-time. All-time, Gillette is 75-32-7 against current 1A teams.

The other four Class 4A schools (Cheyenne East, Cheyenne South, Evanston and Kelly Walsh) have never played any current Class 1A schools.

Of the current 1A schools who have played current 4A schools, the team with the most success to its name is Midwest. The Oilers, a Class A school through the 1940s and Class B/2A through the early 1980s, beat Gillette 12 times and Natrona once. However, Midwest also lost a lot, with just the 13 victories in 64 tries against 4A competition (13-48-3).

Lusk has 10 victories against 4A schools, while Sundance has nine and Upton five. All of the victories for those three schools came against Gillette. All-time, Lusk is 10-17-2 against 4A competition; Sundance is 9-24-2; Upton is 5-27-1.

Hanna (0-5), Sunrise (0-1), Lingle (0-1) and Saratoga (0-1) are winless in their attempts against 4A competition.

The other 21 Class 1A 11-man and six-man schools (Pine Bluffs, Southeast, Tongue River, Wright, Cokeville, Rocky Mountain, Shoshoni, Wind River, Wyoming Indian, Hulett, Kaycee, NSI, Rock River, Burlington, Dubois, Farson, Meeteetse, Riverside, St. Stephens, Snake River, Ten Sleep) have never played any 4A competition.

Here’s a breakdown of series involving current 4A schools against current 1A schools:

Cheyenne Central vs Lingle: Central leads 1-0-0
Cheyenne Central vs Lusk: Central leads 1-0-0
Cheyenne Central vs Midwest: Central leads 7-0-0
Gillette vs Lusk: Lusk leads 10-6-1
Gillette vs Midwest: Gillette leads 20-12-2
Gillette vs Sundance: Gillette leads 18-9-2
Gillette vs Upton: Gillette leads 27-5-2
Laramie vs Hanna: Laramie leads 4-0-0
Laramie vs Lusk: Laramie leads 6-0-1
Natrona vs Hanna: Natrona leads 1-0-0
Natrona vs Lusk: Natrona leads 4-0-0
Natrona vs Midwest: Natrona leads 11-1-1
Natrona vs Sunrise: Natrona leads 1-0-0
Rock Springs vs Saratoga: Rock Springs leads 1-0-0
Sheridan vs Midwest: Sheridan leads 10-0-0
Sheridan vs Sundance: Sheridan leads 6-0-0

–patrick

The football champions list at the Wyoming High School Activities Association’s website underwent some significant changes last year.

The 2015 state champions were not the only champs added to the WHSAA’s list: So were 40 other programs who had long struggled for recognition from Wyoming’s statewide high school athletics organizers.

For the first time, champions from 1921-30, 1941-47, 1962-67 and the Class A and B/C champions from 1962-74 are now recognized by the WHSAA. Those champions, previously unofficial, are now considered official state champions, WHSAA Commissioner Ron Laird said via email to Wyoming-football.com at the beginning of the school year.

Laird said the decision to officially recognize 40 previously unofficial champions state champions, including three shared championships, was controversy-free.

“(W)e have not heard any rebuttal since we have posted them, so as far as we are concerned, they are official until proven otherwise,” Laird said via email.

The WHSAA has existed since 1931. Prior to 2015, the organization did not recognize champions crowned prior to the organization’s founding. It also did not recognize champions from eras in which the WHSAA, or certain classifications, did not sponsor postseason playoffs. That rule had two notable exceptions: the Class AA champions between 1948 and 1961 (which were decided by conference standings, not by playoffs or a championship game) and the 1939 and 1940 state champions were also recognized by the WHSAA prior to 2015.

Programs gaining official WHSAA recognition for championships include:

Byron (1965, 1968)
Cheyenne Central (1929, 1941, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1965)
Cokeville (1969)
Glenrock (1968, 1971)
Laramie (1962, 1964)
Natrona (1928, 1942, 1963)
Pinedale (1970)
Powell (1966, 1967)
Rawlins (1947)
St. Mary’s (1972)
St. Stephens (1962)
Sheridan (1921, 1922, 1923, 1930, 1946)
Thermopolis (1928, 1929)
Tongue River (1966, 1967, 1973, 1974)
Worland (1924, 1925, 1926, 1927)

The AA (large-school) champions between 1939 and 1968 were decided by conference standings, not by playoffs or a championship game. All champions listed between 1962-67 and Class A, B and C champions from 1962-74 were decided by statewide poll, not by state playoffs or a state championship game. Champions listed for those eras are consensus champions (Class AA/one class champions from 1939 to 1961), AP ballot champions (1962) and UPI ballot champions (1963-74). Champions listed prior to 1931 are consensus champions based on press reports from those years.

This site’s state championship listings are unchanged, but the status of the championships has been updated to reflect WHSAA recognition of the schools’ championships. State champion listings are available here.

–patrick

I’m doing a project for my alma mater, Midwest, and I’ve uncovered a handful of wrong scores I had posted on the site that I’ve since fixed. Small changes, but, hey, I want to get this right.

Upton beat Midwest 48-14 on Sept. 25, 1987. I had 48-12.

Midwest beat Moorcroft 26-14 on Sept. 9, 1988. I had 28-14.

Big Horn beat Midwest 24-13 on Sept. 24, 1999. I had 23-13.

Lingle beat Midwest 40-0 on Sept. 12, 2003. I had 32-0.

Burlington beat Midwest 54-6 on Sept. 17, 2004. I had 53-6.

I also found the date and corrected the score for the Natrona sophs’ 53-6 victory over Midwest on Sept. 24, 2002 (I had 56-6), as well as the date for the Natrona sophs’ 48-6 victory over Midwest on Oct. 22, 2002.

Update 1:28 p.m. March 27: I also fixed the location for Midwest’s game against the Sundance JV on Sept. 9, 2002. It was in Sundance, not Midwest.

I also corrected the spelling of Burlington’s Daryl Peterson on the 2004 1A all-state team and of Ben Michelena and Sean Belliveau on the 2001 1A all-state team playing for NSI.

All the updates have been made on all the relevant pages.

–patrick

Prior to the 2010s, Wyoming had added just two new public, comprehensive high schools since the addition of Kelly Walsh High School in Casper in 1967: Wyoming Indian in the 1970s and Wright in the 1980s.

Two new high schools, though, opened (or are scheduled to open) this decade — Cheyenne South in 2010 and Thunder Basin in Gillette in 2017.

That raises an interesting question: Will we continue to see more new high schools in Wyoming? And if so, where?

For now, my speculation is that Wyoming is done with new high schools for quite a while. No communities have expressed the immediate need or the desire to add a 9-12 facility.

Still, regardless of timing, here are some suspects to think about for the location of the next new high school in the state:

Casper. We’ve been over this before: Casper probably won’t get a new high school for the next three decades. Too many people have too great an investment in making this Pathways (formerly CAPS) program work. A few years ago, there was also talk of making Roosevelt High in Casper a regular high school as opposed to an alternative school. That proposal included athletics programs. However, I haven’t seen that build any steam recently. And, to boot, Roosevelt students will be housed in the Pathways building. Maybe by 2040, when the Pathways building needs a remodel and can be retrofitted to become a standalone high school, we’ll see that third high school. Until then, I’m pessimistic.

Rock Springs. With Thunder Basin’s opening, Rock Springs now has the largest 9-12 enrollment of any town in the state with only one high school. Given the enrollment history in Rock Springs, it will probably be 50 years before it will be ready for another high school, if ever. Unless we get a worldwide trona boom… then, watch out!

LaBarge. The community 20 miles south of Big Piney is just on the Lincoln County side of the Lincoln/Sublette County border — which leads to an arrangement where, as I understand it, Lincoln County pays Sublette County for educating the children who journey from LaBarge to Big Piney for their schooling. The K-5 LaBarge Elementary is where LaBarge students start before moving on to Big Piney for their middle- and high-school education. But LaBarge is big enough to have its own high school, and has been for a while now. LaBarge High would be about the same size as nearby Farson and would be a natural fit in the 1A Southwest. I can’t for the life of me figure out why LaBarge hasn’t had its own high school all these years…. Maybe some folks in Sublette/Lincoln counties can fill me in as to why this hasn’t been done already.

Wamsutter. The K-8 Desert School in Wamsutter supports students for nine years, before the students start to travel the 40 miles from Wamsutter to Rawlins, one-way, to finish their schooling. The once-booming extraction community has slowed its roll recently, though. There was talk a few years ago about Wamsutter adding a high school, but with the decline in extraction industries, Wamsutter’s long-term hopes for a high school aren’t as strong as they were a few years ago. If it opened now, Wamsutter High would only have about 20 students — more than Glendo and Chugwater but fewer than every other athletics-sponsoring high school in the state.

Thayne. This is pure speculation. But it’s based in some existing infrastructure. For grades 4-12, Star Valley students all attend the same schools, but for grades K-3, about half the students in the valley go to Afton Elementary and the other half go to Thayne Elementary. A split on the Afton-Thayne line, if extended from the K-3 level to the K-12 level, could give Star Valley two separate high schools of about equal size, 350-400 students each. Star Valley covers a lot of area — it’s 40 miles from Alpine to Smoot — so maybe a second high school would work. But I think it would take a huge influx of students for anyone in Star Valley to consider splitting up a system that’s worked for a century.

Wilson. Again, more speculation along the western border. But, again, it’s based in what exists. Wilson — six miles west of Jackson — has its own K-5 elementary. Those enrollment numbers show Wilson would be capable of supporting a mid-sized 2A school on its own. However, its proximity to Jackson makes this really unlikely.

Rozet. Technically, it’s 15 miles from Rozet to Gillette, but most of the students who attend Rozet live west of the school — closer to the east edge of Gillette than to Rozet. Right now, Rozet is basically an eastern Gillette elementary. But it’s fun to think that the Mustangs of old (the high school closed in 1958) could rise from the ashes to be a high school of about 200 students, based on its elementary enrollment, and natural rivalries in geography and size could develop with nearby Moorcroft and Newcastle. That’d be fun. But unlikely.

Somewhere in eastern Laramie County. The history of schooling in Eastern Laramie County — east of Cheyenne — is based on consolidation. Egbert High School shut down in 1958; Hillsdale High closed in 1969; Carpenter High closed its doors in 1971; Albin, the last comprehensive Wyoming high school to close, shut down in 2003. However, Carpenter and Albin held onto their elementary schools… and based on this breakdown I did in 2014 of current elementary enrollment, if Carpenter and Albin re-opened, the four high schools (Burns, Pine Bluffs, Carpenter and Albin) could each support decent 9-12 populations — about 132 in Burns, about 81 in Pine Bluffs, about 55 in Carpenter and about 42 in Albin. That would be a blast. For now, though, tight budgets and relatively small distances (11 miles from Carpenter to Burns, 18 miles from Albin to Pine Bluffs) keep LCSD No. 2 at two high schools. And then there’s the historical precedent: No Wyoming high school that has closed has EVER been re-opened.

Cheyenne or Gillette. Actually, Cheyenne might get a fourth high school and Gillette a third before anyone else gets a first or second. I think Casper’s third would come before Gillette’s third or Cheyenne’s fourth. Even so, Cheyenne in particular could be ready for a new school in, oh, another 50 years. That’s the pace it has set: One new high school every 50 years. East in 1960, South in 2010… Who’s ready for Cheyenne North in 2060?

What Wyoming town do you think will be the next to build a new high school? And when do you think it will be? Leave a comment and let’s speculate.

–patrick

Twelve high school players have been named finalists for the scholar-athlete of the year award from the Wyoming Chapter of the National Football Foundation.

One winner will be named from the group of 12 at a banquet March 19 (Saturday) in Laramie.

Each of the 12 finalists — a lineman and a back from each classification, plus two more finalists — earns a $1,200 scholarship, while the top scholar-athlete earns another $1,200 scholarship. The top scholar-athlete will also be Wyoming’s representative for the Western U.S. Chapter Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.

UW players Cameron Coffman (back) and Rafe Kiely (lineman) will also be honored, as will several special award winners.

The finalists are:
Hayden Fauber, Kaycee (1A six-man)
Shawn Shepperson, Meeteetse (1A six-man)
Jackson Linford, Cokeville (1A 11-man lineman)
Jeff Burroughs, Southeast (1A 11-man back)
Elijah Stewart, Glenrock (2A back)
Josh Calvert, Wheatland (2A lineman)
Baylor Beers, Riverton (3A lineman)
Teagan Cordes, Powell (3A lineman)
Theo Dawson, Jackson (3A back)
Skyler Miller, Torrington (3A back)
Blake Godwin, Sheridan (4A back)
Quinn Happold, Cheyenne East (4A lineman)

Special award winners include:
Courage Award: Cameron Myers, Cody
Perseverance Award: Jaxn Kobza, Tongue River
Football Coaching Award: Harold Bailey, Shoshoni (now Greeley, Colorado); Doug Bartlett, Torrington; Bill Lehr, Big Piney
Greatest UW Football Fan Award: Chuck and Katie Brown, Wheatland; Keith Downey, Laramie
Greatest Wyoming High School Football Fan Award: Michael Popeck, Lander; Lee and Donna Shafer, Big Piney
Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award: Danny Watson, Riverton; Dylan Grant, Randy Rider, Terry Rider and Todd Van Rensselaer, Douglas.

Previous award winners are available at the group’s website.

–patrick

Star Valley’s offensive coordinator for the past four seasons will take over as head coach for the defending Class 3A champions, the Star Valley Independent reported Tuesday.

McKay Young will be the new head coach for the Braves, the paper reported. He takes over for Chris Howell, who led the Braves to the 3A championship in November but resigned to take another coaching position in Utah.

In addition to his four years with the Braves, Young was the head coach for three years at Malad High School in Idaho, compiling a 25-6 record there.

Young is the state’s first new head coach to be brought on for the 2016 season. Cheyenne South coach Tracy Pugh has also resigned, but a new coach hasn’t been named yet for the Bison. News of other coaching changes can be emailed to pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Even though Torrington’s 2015 season did not end in Laramie, it still carried significance in the annals of Blazer football successes.

Last year, the Trailblazers won the Class 3A East Conference championship — the program’s first conference title since 1996 and its first outright title since 1994. I wrote about this in October when I looked into Torrington’s eventual conference title; I knew it had been a while.

But Torrington’s 20-year stretch without a conference title actually isn’t all that rare in Wyoming.

Cheyenne South, Wyoming Indian, Normative Services, Rock River, Farson and St. Stephens haven’t won conference titles yet, or in the case of Farson and St. Stephens, none since 1967 (when my season-by-season conference record listings end).

The next-longest drought belongs to Kelly Walsh, which hasn’t won or shared a conference championship since 1981. Other programs that haven’t won or shared a conference title in this century are Pine Bluffs (1988), Hanna (1989), Big Piney (1990), Lander (1995), Wind River (1997), Thermopolis (1998), and Moorcroft and Pinedale (1999).

These listings come with the caveat that, for several years — some classes more than others — power ratings, not conference standings, determined playoff qualifications. So, for several years in the early 2000s, Wyoming did not have official conference champions. Teams that finished atop the regular-season power ratings for their classifications those years are not awarded conference championships in this analysis.

Big Piney has the most curious case, as the Punchers have won five state titles in the span since their last conference title: 1998 (2nd in conference), 2000 (2nd), 2001 (no conferences due to power ratings), 2004 (no conferences due to power ratings), and 2006 (4th).

Several other programs have shared conference titles this century but haven’t won an outright title in the 2000s:

Newcastle (last shared 2011, last outright 1981)
Rock Springs (last shared 2003, last outright 1989)
Worland (last shared 2009, last outright 1989)
Wheatland (last shared 2015, last outright 1989)
Cheyenne Central (last shared 2007, last outright 1990)
Saratoga (last shared 2007, last outright 1995)
Lingle (last shared 2015, last outright 1996)
Moorcroft (last shared 1999, last outright 1997)
Hulett (last shared 2015, last outright 1999)

Lander’s last title in 1995 was shared; its last outright title came before 1967, when my conference standings records stop.

It’s worth noting here that this list will probably grow rather than shrink over the next few years. Class 4A has just one conference, while other classifications have only two conferences apiece. Winning a conference title has gotten much more difficult the past 15-20 years… which is why so many schools haven’t won conference titles in, oh, 15 or 20 years.

Folks in Torrington know all too well.

–patrick

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