Lyle Valdez, a former assistant coach and trainer at Wyoming Indian, will be the new head coach at St. Stephens.

Valdez confirmed his hiring via telephone Sunday to wyoming-football.com.

Valdez takes over for Melvin Blackburn, who led the Eagles during their first two years of varsity football since 1965. The Eagles went a combined 0-16 the past two years.

Valdez spent about five years, off and on, helping with the football and basketball programs at Wyoming Indian as both a coach and trainer. He said his primary coaching focus areas at St. Stephens will be tied to technique and to building the players’ confidence.

“I just hope we can get these kids to win, and (learn) how it feels to win,” Valdez said Sunday. “Once that happens, maybe we’ll get more kids to come out to enjoy the game of football.”

Valdez, who works as a substitute teacher and teacher’s aide in Fremont County, will be joined by assistant coach Keenan Groesbeck.

Valdez is one of two new head coaches in Wyoming’s six-man ranks, joining Lee Kremers in Kaycee. Other new head coaches in Wyoming this fall are Todd Weber in Worland, Jason Ferrarini in Kemmerer, Ryan Nelson in Lusk, Mykah Trujillo in Wind River and Aaron Papich in Burlington.

–patrick

Since six-man’s restart in 2009, every season has started with a clear favorite. Even though that preseason favorite didn’t always win the state title, at least there was consistency when coaches tried to answer the question of who was the team most likely to win it all.

This year, though, the predictions vary widely. That lack of certainty means a variety of teams have real chances to win it all this year. Talent, experience and past successes are evenly distributed across several teams.

In short: Six-man will be really tight at the top this fall.

Four questions to answer

Can Guernsey repeat as state champion? Maybe, but six-man’s trends suggest otherwise. Repetition has proven challenging in the classification, as six-man hasn’t had a repeat champion since Snake River in 2011. Dubois won it all in 2012, Meeteetse in 2013 and Guernsey in 2014.

Will the classification have another undefeated champ? Probably. Since six-man was reinstated in 2009, every single state champion has been undefeated against in-state competition. Those regular-season losses have all proven fatal to a team’s title hopes.

You’re dancing around the obvious question: Who’s the favorite? Right now, Meeteetse, Kaycee and Guernsey have the coach’s votes. Six-man only has six returning all-state players coming back this year, and five of the six are on these three teams.

What program is the darkhorse in all of this? Farson. The Pronghorns could be one of the surprise teams in six-man this year if everything goes right. They lost some key players to graduation and to transfers, but if they can overcome or recoup those losses, they might host a playoff game for the first time in program history.

Four (OK, five) players to watch

Taylor Rouse, Kaycee. Rouse is the only two-time all-state selection playing in six-man this year, and by the time this season is done, he’ll likely have three. He ran for 1,584 yards and 24 touchdowns last year and scored a whopping 205 points (22.8 points per game). He’s the keystone in Kaycee’s state title hopes this year.

Braden Duncan, Snake River. Duncan’s rushing totals last year — 2,129 yards, 25 touchdowns, 13.9 yards per attempt — were gaudy, even for six-man. And despite leading six-man in rushing, he still couldn’t crack the all-state team. But opposing coaches know about him, and his presence makes the Rattlers an automatic contender.

Zac Rose, Dubois. If the Rams want to make it to their fourth championship game in five years, it’ll be on Rose’s back. The all-state selection is Dubois’ leading returner in rushing, tackling, scoring and kick returning. His role is critical on a team that lost four all-state selections to graduation.

Dalton Abarr and Carter Johnson, Meeteetse. Abarr, a junior quarterback, and Johnson, a senior receiver/running back, make up six-man’s most dynamic aerial threat. They combined for 640 yards and 12 TDs a year ago, nearly half of Abarr’s 1,328 passing yards. Oh, and they’re the Longhorns’ top two returning tacklers, too.

Four key games

Kaycee at Guernsey, Sept. 4. The Buckaroos’ first East Conference game of the season is on the grass of the defending state champions. The trajectory of the East race will be set right here; the loser will play catch-up all season long.

Snake River at Meeteetse, Sept. 4. Similarly, the West Conference’s pace will be set in the conference opener between the Rattlers and Longhorns, two teams that each want to prove they’re the favorite.

Farson at Meeteetse, Sept. 25. The Pronghorns nearly pulled off a miraculous comeback last year against the Longhorns, eventually coming up one point short. Both teams will have that game in mind this time around in a game that will have huge playoff implications.

Hanna at Kaycee, Oct. 23. This Week 8 game could be huge. The Miners are eager to prove they’ve got what it takes to hang with the state’s best teams, and a victory here could go a long way toward a deep playoff push.

Predicted order of finish

East: Kaycee, Guernsey, Hanna, Midwest, Hulett, NSI, Rock River. West: Meeteetse, Snake River, Farson, Dubois, Ten Sleep, St. Stephens.

Preseason top five: Kaycee, Meeteetse, Snake River, Guernsey, Farson.

Way-too-early title game score prediction

Kaycee 54, Meeteetse 52. The state’s six-man coaches are split — about a third say Kaycee is the team to beat, about a third say Meeteetse and about a third think someone else could come in and surprise everyone. Expect a tight one in Laramie. But expect the road to Laramie to be full of parity and problems, and don’t be surprised if one of those dark-horse teams pulls off something six-man doesn’t see too much: a playoff upset.

Six-man’s wide-open nature this fall should provide some excitement and may lead to another thing that Wyoming has yet to see: a six-man title game that’s actually close late in the fourth quarter. Do you think it’ll actually finish that way? Post a comment and let’s talk about the 80×40 version of the game.

Next week: Class 1A 11-man.

–patrick

In September — as it does every two years — the Wyoming High School Activities Association will begin discussing reclassification of its schools.

The discussions are usually pretty straightforward. After all, enrollments are what they are, and the lines are set where they are set.

Because of that, if we know where to look, we can get a preview of what changes might be headed down the pike this fall.

Enrollment data from the Wyoming Department of Education, which the WHSAA uses for reclassification, shows only a couple small changes for football classifications but some potentially big changes for other sports.

Football

Based on the enrollment data I see, the football changes I anticipate are small. Wright and Moorcroft will switch places, with Wright moving to 1A 11-man and Moorcroft to 2A, and Lingle and Burlington will switch places in 11-man and six-man. This is significant only in that it will now be Burlington, not Lingle, that will have to petition the WHSAA to stay in 11-man (if they so choose), and Lingle will be in 11-man automatically instead of having to opt up. I also anticipate that Cokeville will still have to continue to opt up to stay in Class 1A 11-man.

Burlington’s choice is interesting. If the Huskies opt up, I envision similar conferences to what we have now: eight teams in the 1A 11-man West and seven in the East (with the continuation of the Upton-Sundance co-op) and seven teams in the 1A 11-man East and six in the West. However, if Burlington opts for six-man, that will give both 1A 11-man and 1A six-man seven teams in both their East and West conferences, which would mean a balanced and full schedule for every team in both divisions of 1A.

If Burlington decides to go to six-man, conferences could look like this:

1A 11-man East: Wright, Upton-Sundance, Lusk, Southeast, Pine Bluffs, Tongue River, Lingle.
1A 11-man West: Rocky Mountain, Riverside, Wind River, Wyoming Indian, Shoshoni, Saratoga, Cokeville.
1A six-man East: Hulett, NSI, Kaycee, Midwest, Guernsey, Rock River, Hanna.
1A six-man West: Snake River, Farson, Dubois, St. Stephens, Burlington, Ten Sleep, Meeteetse.

Other sports

I anticipate four-class sports, like basketball, volleyball and track, will see more significant changes: Based on the numbers posted, Lyman and Thermopolis would move from 2A to 3A; Lovell and Glenrock would move from 3A to 2A; Upton would move from 1A to 2A; and Saratoga would move from 2A to 1A.

Lyman, Thermopolis, Lovell, Upton and Saratoga have all made moves like these recently, but Glenrock’s move from 3A to 2A would be the Herders’ first such move in about 40 years. The Herders made the move from Class B to Class A in the 1970s and have been a Class 3A/A school ever since…. but I anticipate that will end with the 2016-17 school year.

When I made similar predictions in 2013, my predictions were right on the mark. But, of course, that (and this) doesn’t mean anything yet. These numbers could change by the time the WHSAA puts out its ADMs, or it’s possible I read the wrong numbers. And I had to make educated guesses for enrollment with Lusk, Burlington and Wyoming Indian, which will have their numbers adjusted by the WHSAA.

Let’s not forget, too, that this fall’s reclassification discussions will be complicated a bit more by the proposed addition of a new high school in Gillette, tentatively scheduled to open in 2017 — right in the middle of this two-year reclass cycle.

There’s no guarantee that anything will come out the way I predict it might.

Still, this is a nice little glance at what might be happening when we start talking reclassification in September and when classifications are finalized in November.

–patrick

A couple small recent updates:

Updated the date and location for Pine Bluffs’ game against Kimball, Neb., on Sept. 10, 1954. (It was in Kimball.)

Updated Meeteetse’s coach for 1958; it was Don Trueblood, not Robert Menardi.

I also made the following updates to the Shrine Bowl player and year tallies: Buffalo has 75 players, not 74; Cheyenne Central has 110 players, not 111; Cheyenne East has 100 players, not 99; Gillette has 41 years of player selections, not 40; Tongue River has 23 years, not 24; Worland has 29 years, not 28.

–patrick

When the Worland Warriors take the field this fall, they’ll do so with their sixth head coach in five seasons.

With Wade Sanford in 2011, Curt Mayer in 2012, Josh Garcia and Bryan Bailey co-coaching in 2013, Thor Ware in 2014 and Todd Weber in 2015, the Warriors’ head coaching post has seen more than its fair share of change.

Worland is the first Wyoming high school football program to face this problem in more than a quarter century. However, the Warriors certainly aren’t the first team to face this conundrum, and Worland has actually been through this already.

And other programs have had it worse.

The last program to go through what Worland is facing this season was Rocky Mountain, which went through a stretch of six coaches in its first six seasons as a program from 1983-88.

Two other programs — Sunrise in 1956-61 and Lander in 1922-27 — went through six head coaches in six years. And going through at least five coaches in five years has happened 13 other times.

Kemmerer was the only school to go through the five-coach carousel twice, once in 1942-46 and again in 1960-64. Worland will join that club this year; the Warrior program also went through five different head coaches between 1938 and 1942.

Most of the coaching changes listed here came early in programs’ existence. Lander’s six-in-six span came in its first six years as an established program, while Cody’s five-in-five span from 1921-25 was in the program’s first five years.

Of the situations listed below, University Prep’s is the least surprising: Prep used UW students as its head football coaches and changed those responsibilities annually. In fact, the six-in-five situation Prep faced came in the only five consecutive years in which Prep had an active football team.

An honorable mention goes to Meeteetse, which used five different men as head in a span of seven years from 1996-2002 in which the head coach was different each year: Steven Bailey in 1996, John Fernandez in 1997, Paul Blanford in 1998, Fernandez again in 1999, Curtis Cramp in 2000, Mark Hamilton in 2001, and Fernandez again in 2002.

Below, I’ve listed instances since 1920 where a Wyoming high school cycled through at least five head coaches in five consecutive years. The lists below do NOT include stretches like Meeteetse’s where the same person left and was hired back later, and it also does not include stretches where a coach was unknown.

Six years, six coaches
Rocky Mountain, 1983-88 (John Rogers, Mike Mees, Dave Beemer, Doug Higley, Mike Maughan, Ben Smith)
Sunrise, 1956-61 (Tony Balzan, Walter Koenig, Ted Nichols, Paul Muratore, Jim Mather, Jack Rafferty)
Lander, 1922-27 (Roy Larsen, Joe McDowell, Joseph McClure, George Armitage, Clyde Guschewsky, George Tucker)

Five years, six coaches
Worland
, 2011-15 (Wade Sanford, Curt Mayer, Josh Garcia and Bryan Bailey, Thor Ware, Todd Weber)
University Prep, 1926-30 (George Bright, Eldon Boyd, Burton Clammer, Don Harkins and John Engstrom, Ray Thompson)

Five years, five coaches
Riverton, 1977-81 (Brent Engleright, Neil Mellilo, Ken Boatwright, Bob Miller, Leland Smith)
Manderson, 1971-75 (Gary Sutherland, Rick Case, Ken Keil, William Diercks, John Tate)
Greybull, 1968-72 (Jim Crawford, Skip Anderson, Ed Rohloff, Tom Bernatis, Earl Jensen)
Kemmerer, 1960-64 (Duane Workman, Herb Taylor, Jim Martin, Bill Marsh, Bob Tatum)
Cowley, 1954-58 (Therrill Averett, Grant Smith, Willard Hirschi, C.R. Vannoy, Ed Bunch)
St. Mary’s, 1947-51 (Walter Estes, Bill Quinlan, Brad Erzinger, Bill Hoskovec, Austin Jordan)
Superior, 1944-48 (Norman Mikkelson, Grant Rhiner, Norman Kirby, Dean Jackson, Tony Katana)
Kemmerer, 1942-46 (Jim Jiacoletti, Dean Pomeroy, James Burke, Charles Scott, Roland Caranci)
Worland, 1938-42 (LaVern Jung, Kenneth Boles, Ralph Cottrell, Ralph Crowton, Carl Dir)
Sundance, 1933-37 (K.W. Noddings, M.L. Rickerd, Walter Tracy, Woody Sampson, Frank Supon)
Cody, 1921-25 (Phillips, E.V. Harlow, O.P. Roberts, H.F. Grossman, Paul Sweitzer)
Laramie, 1920-24 (Ed Hitchcock, O.A. Libby, Orion Neff, S.M. Clark, Les Crawford)

–patrick

In part 1 of this two-part series, we looked at schools close in enrollment that haven’t played each other before.

Some of the differences we found there made sense, like Pinedale and Wheatland — right next to each other in enrollment statewide but 364 miles apart on the map. So, despite their nearness in enrollment, it makes sense they haven’t played each other.

Sometimes, though, distance doesn’t make much of a difference. Fifteen schools (Big Horn, Buffalo, Farson, Glenrock, Lander, Laramie, Meeteetse, Normative Services, Riverton, St. Stephens, Sheridan, Southeast, Tongue River, Wright and Wyoming Indian) haven’t played the Wyoming high school that’s closest to them geographically.

Meanwhile, a few schools have done a pretty good job of wearing out their nearby options. Ten programs (Big Piney, Greybull, Hanna, Kemmerer, Lusk, Moorcroft, Pinedale, Star Valley, Sundance and Upton) have played every other varsity program in the state within 100 miles at least once; Kemmerer has played every Wyoming varsity program within 177 miles, the biggest range in the state.

Here’s a glance at the closest opponent that each Wyoming school has yet to play, with distances calculated by Google Maps using state highways (no county or dirt roads, from high school to high school):

Big Horn: Sheridan (11 miles)*
Big Piney: Green River (106 miles)
Buffalo: Big Horn (33 miles)*
Burlington: Powell (34 miles)
Burns: Cheyenne East (25 miles)
Cheyenne Central: Burns (28 miles)
Cheyenne East: Burns (25 miles)
Cheyenne South: Burns (28 miles)
Cody: Meeteetse (32 miles)
Cokeville: Evanston (71 miles)
Douglas: Kelly Walsh (50 miles)
Dubois: Lander (74 miles)
Evanston: Cokeville (71 miles)
Farson: Rock Springs (43 miles)*
Gillette: Wright (39 miles)
Glenrock: Kelly Walsh (24 miles)*
Green River: Lyman (55 miles)
Greybull: Kaycee (174 miles)
Guernsey-Sunrise: Torrington (33 miles)
Hanna: Kelly Walsh (114 miles)
Hulett: Gillette (70 miles)
Jackson: Dubois (89 miles)
Kaycee: Buffalo (45 miles)
Kelly Walsh: Glenrock (24 miles)
Kemmerer: Riverton (177 miles)
Lander: Wyoming Indian (14 miles)*
Laramie: Rock River (38 miles)*
Lingle: Cheyenne East (95 miles)
Lovell: Burlington (36 miles)
Lusk: Kelly Walsh (103 miles)
Lyman: Green River (55 miles)
Meeteetse: Cody (32 miles)*
Midwest: Kelly Walsh (44 miles)
Moorcroft: Buffalo (102 miles)
Mountain View: Green River (61 miles)
Natrona: Kaycee (69 miles)
Newcastle: Hulett (83 miles)
Normative Services: Sheridan (4 miles)*
Pine Bluffs: Cheyenne East (41 miles)
Pinedale: Rock Springs (102 miles)
Powell: Rocky Mountain (22 miles)
Rawlins: Snake River (78 miles)
Riverside: Worland (31 miles) (Riverside including Basin and Manderson records: Buffalo (121 miles))
Riverton: St. Stephens (6 miles)*
Rock River: Laramie (38 miles)
Rock Springs: Farson (43 miles)
Rocky Mountain: Powell (22 miles) (Rocky Mountain including Byron, Cowley and Deaver records: Riverton (164 miles))
St. Stephens: Riverton (6 miles)*
Sheridan: Normative Services (4 miles)*
Shoshoni: Worland (66 miles)
Snake River: Rawlins (78 miles)
Southeast: Torrington (14 miles)*
Star Valley: Pinedale (120 miles)
Sundance: Kaycee (170 miles)
Ten Sleep: Lovell (95 miles)
Thermopolis: Meeteetse (53 miles)
Tongue River: Sheridan (23 miles)*
Torrington: Southeast (14 miles)
Upton: Kaycee (146 miles)
Wheatland: Southeast (48 miles)
Wind River: Riverton (25 miles)
Worland: Riverside (31 miles)
Wright: Gillette (39 miles)*
Wyoming Indian: Lander (14 miles)*

*-indicates that this is the closest football-playing high school to this school

Does it surprise you that any of these pairings, despite being the closest to each other, haven’t been played yet? Any matchups on this list that are actually feasible? Post a comment and we can chat football and geography.

–patrick

When two teams are close to each other in total enrollment, it makes sense that, eventually, those schools will play each other on a football field.

Wyoming, after all, went to great lengths to pool together schools with close enrollments into far-flung conferences (or, in the case of Class 4A, just one classification). Those schools will see each other often in both regular season and postseason play. Schools close to a classification cutoff will sometimes bounce back and forth between classifications, giving them chances to play numerous schools both above and below their enrollment.

Sometimes, though, schools with similar enrollments end up missing each other every season.

For example: Pinedale and Wheatland occupy spots 23 and 24, respectively, in the WHSAA’s enrollment tallies. They’re both in Class 2A for football, but the two schools have yet to play each other. Ever.

Distance — and a history of being in separate classifications — have prevented the Wranglers and Bulldogs from facing each other, even though they’re right next to each other in enrollment.

In other cases, time has been the biggest obstacle. For example, Rock River hasn’t played EITHER school right above (Meeteetse) and right below it (Ten Sleep) on the gridiron. But Rock River has only been a varsity football program for one season.

Something similar is happening for Cokeville and St. Stephens; the two programs are right next to each other in enrollment but play in different classifications (1A 11-man for Cokeville and 1A six-man for St. Stephens) and, obviously, haven’t faced off since St. Stephens resurrected its varsity program two years ago.

Other schools, meanwhile, have pretty much run out of close-enrollment schools to play. Gillette, Rock Springs and Guernsey-Sunrise have played every single available school both above and below their enrollments, with the closest school being 13 places away. (Gillette and Rock Springs don’t have a ton of schools above their enrollment, and Guernsey-Sunrise doesn’t have a ton below, contributing to the wide berths for each school.)

But that’s just the closest. The title for widest range range — the number of total schools, both above and below combined — goes to Thermopolis at 29 schools. The Bobcats have played every current 3A and 2A school, the bottom three schools in 4A and the largest 1A 11-man school.

Ten Sleep and Rock River, at a range of 0, have the smallest. Ten Sleep and Rock River limit each other pretty effectively, as Ten Sleep is the smallest football-playing school in the state and hasn’t played the second-smallest in Rock River.

Pinedale’s one-place range is the next smallest, as the No. 23 Wranglers haven’t played No. 24 Wheatland or No. 21 Torrington.

Here’s a quick glance to see which Wyoming high schools closest to each other in enrollment haven’t faced each other — yet — and how far apart they are in the WHSAA’s enrollment “standings.” (Note: Upton and Sundance are considered separately here.)

Class 4A
Gillette: Jackson (13 spots)
Natrona: Star Valley (11 spots)
Rock Springs: Douglas (13 spots)
Cheyenne East: Star Valley (9 spots)
Kelly Walsh: Star Valley (8 spots)
Cheyenne Central: Star Valley (7 spots)
Cheyenne South: Green River (4 spots)
Sheridan: Jackson (6 spots)
Laramie: Star Valley (4 spots)
Evanston: Douglas (6 spots)

Class 3A
Green River: Cheyenne South (4 spots)
Riverton: Cheyenne South (5 spots)
Star Valley: Laramie (4 spots)
Jackson: Laramie (5 spots)
Cody: Cheyenne South AND Pinedale (8 spots each)
Douglas: Evanston (6 spots)
Rawlins: Cheyenne South (7 spots)
Lander: Pinedale (5 spots)
Powell: Pinedale (4 spots)
Worland: Pinedale (3 spots)
Torrington: Pinedale (2 spots)
Buffalo: Laramie (11 spots)

Class 2A
Pinedale: Wheatland (1 spot)
Wheatland: Pinedale (1 spot)
Newcastle: Pinedale (2 spots)
Mountain View: Torrington (5 spots)
Glenrock: Worland (7 spots)
Lovell: Torrington (7 spots)
Thermopolis: Wyoming Indian (9 spots)
Lyman: Burns (4 spots)
Big Piney: Burns (3 spots)
Kemmerer: Burns (2 spots)
Greybull: Pine Bluffs (11 spots)
Burns: Kemmerer (2 spots)
Big Horn: Shoshoni (8 spots)
Wright: Wyoming Indian (2 spots)

Class 1A 11-man
Moorcroft: Shoshoni (6 spots)
Wyoming Indian: Wright (2 spots)
Wind River: Pine Bluffs (5 spots)
Rocky Mountain: Kemmerer (8 spots)
Tongue River: Shoshoni (2 spots)
Lusk: Wyoming Indian (4 spots)
Shoshoni: Tongue River AND Sundance (2 spots each)
Pine Bluffs: Wind River AND Burlington (5 spots each)
Sundance: Shoshoni (2 spots)
Southeast: St. Stephens (7 spots)
Saratoga: St. Stephens (6 spots)
Riverside: Lingle (3 spots)
Burlington: Moorcroft (12 spots)
Upton: Rocky Mountain (10 spots)
Lingle: St. Stephens (2 spots)
Cokeville: St. Stephens (1 spot)

Class 1A six-man
St. Stephens: Cokeville (1 spot)
Hanna: Sundance (9 spots)
Guernsey-Sunrise: Wyoming Indian (13 spots)
Normative Services: Snake River (6 spots)
Midwest: Riverside (9 spots)
Dubois: Rock River (6 spots)
Hulett: St. Stephens (6 spots)
Farson: Rock River (4 spots)
Kaycee: St. Stephens (8 spots)
Snake River: Rock River (2 spots)
Meeteetse: Rock River (1 spot)
Rock River: Meeteetse AND Ten Sleep (1 spot each)
Ten Sleep: Rock River (1 spot)

++++++

And here are the ranges for each program (not counting the school itself or the schools on the edge of the bounds):

Class 4A
Gillette: 12 (upper bound: none; lower bound: Jackson (14))
Natrona: 10 (upper bound: none; lower bound: Star Valley (13))
Rock Springs: 12 (upper bound: none; lower bound: Star Valley (13))
Cheyenne East: 11 (upper bound: none; lower bound: Star Valley (13))
Kelly Walsh: 11 (upper bound: none; lower bound: Star Valley (13))
Cheyenne Central: 11 (upper bound: none; lower bound: Star Valley (13))
Cheyenne South: 9 (upper bound: none; lower bound: Green River (11))
Sheridan: 12 (upper bound: none; lower bound: Jackson (14))
Laramie: 11 (upper bound: none; lower bound: Star Valley (13))
Evanston: 14 (upper bound: none; lower bound: Douglas (16))

Class 3A
Green River: 15 (upper bound: Cheyenne South (7); lower bound, Newcastle (25))
Riverton: 14 (upper bound: Cheyenne South (7); lower bound, Pinedale (23))
Star Valley: 10 (upper bound: Laramie (9); lower bound: Pinedale (23))
Jackson: 23 (upper bound: Laramie (9); lower bound: Burns (34))
Cody: 14 (upper bound: South (7); lower bound: Pinedale (23))
Douglas: 11 (upper bound: Evanston (10); lower bound: Pinedale (23))
Rawlins: 21 (upper bound: South (7); lower bound: Lyman (30))
Lander: 14 (upper bound: South (7); lower bound: Pinedale (23))
Powell: 14 (upper bound: South (7); lower bound: Pinedale (23))
Worland: 14 (upper bound: South (7); lower bound: Pinedale (23))
Torrington: 14 (upper bound: South (7); lower bound: Pinedale (23))
Buffalo: 21 (upper bound: Laramie (9); lower bound: Burns (34))

Class 2A
Pinedale: 1 (upper bound: Torrington (21); lower bound: Wheatland (24))
Wheatland: 13 (upper bound: Pinedale (23); lower bound: Wyoming Indian (38))
Newcastle: 13 (upper bound: Pinedale (23); lower bound: Wyoming Indian (38))
Mountain View: 14 (upper bound: Torrington (21); lower bound: Moorcroft (37))
Glenrock: 21 (upper bound: Worland (20); lower bound: Shoshoni (43))
Lovell: 19 (upper bound: Torrington (21); lower bound: Lusk (42))
Thermopolis: 29 (upper bound: South (7); lower bound: Wyoming Indian (38))
Lyman: 11 (upper bound: Torrington (21); lower bound: Burns (34))
Big Piney: 11 (upper bound: Torrington (21); lower bound: Burns (34))
Kemmerer: 11 (upper bound: Torrington (21); lower bound: Burns (34))
Greybull: 25 (upper bound: Rawlins (17); lower bound: Pine Bluffs (44))
Burns: 9 (upper bound: Kemmerer (32); lower bound: Shoshoni (43))
Big Horn: 18 (upper bound: Pinedale (23); lower bound: Shoshoni (43))
Wright: 15 (upper bound: Torrington (21); lower bound: Wyoming Indian (38))

Class 1A 11-man
Moorcroft: 11 (upper bound: Lyman (30); lower bound: Shoshoni (43))
Wyoming Indian: 3 (upper bound: Wright (36); lower bound: Tongue River (41))
Wind River: 13 (upper bound: Thermopolis (29); lower bound: Pine Bluffs (44))
Rocky Mountain: 16 (upper bound: Kemmerer (32); lower bound: Upton (50))
Tongue River: 3 (upper bound: Wyoming Indian (38); lower bound: Shoshoni (43))
Lusk: 13 (upper bound: Wyoming Indian (38); lower bound: St. Stephens (53))
Shoshoni: 2 (upper bound: Tongue River (41); lower bound: Sundance (45))
Pine Bluffs: 8 (upper bound: Wind River (39); lower bound: Burlington (49))
Sundance: 4 (upper bound: Shoshoni (43); lower bound: Burlington (49))
Southeast: 13 (upper bound: Wyoming Indian (38); lower bound: St. Stephens (53))
Saratoga: 22 (upper bound: Thermopolis (29); lower bound: St. Stephens (53))
Riverside: 13 (upper bound: Wright (36); lower bound: Lingle (51))
Burlington: 22 (upper bound: Moorcroft (37); lower bound: Kaycee (61))
Upton: 18 (upper bound: Rocky Mountain (40); lower bound: Farson (60))
Lingle: 3 (upper bound: Riverside (48); lower bound: St. Stephens (53))
Cokeville: 14 (upper bound: Moorcroft (37); lower bound: St. Stephens (53))

Class 1A six-man
St. Stephens: 5 (upper bound: Cokeville (52); lower bound: Hulett (59))
Hanna: 19 (upper bound: Sundance (45); lower bound: none)
Guernsey-Sunrise: 22 (upper bound: Wyoming Indian (38); lower bound: none)
Normative Services: 19 (upper bound: Tongue River (41); lower bound: Snake River (62))
Midwest: 16 (upper bound: Riverside (48); lower bound: none)
Dubois: 17 (upper bound: Sundance (45); lower bound: Rock River (64))
Hulett: 11 (upper bound: St. Stephens (53); lower bound: none)
Farson: 12 (upper bound: Upton (50); lower bound: Rock River (64))
Kaycee: 11 (upper bound: St. Stephens (53); lower bound: none)
Snake River: 5 (upper bound: Normative Services (57); lower bound: Rock River (64))
Meeteetse: 15 (upper bound: Saratoga (47); lower bound: Rock River (64))
Rock River: 0 (upper bound: Meeteetse (63); lower bound: Ten Sleep (65))
Ten Sleep: 0 (upper bound: Rock River (64); lower bound: none)

Later this week: Part 2, distance.

–patrick

Last summer, I wrote a series of blog posts outlining the problems with Wyoming’s high school football scheduling, conference alignment and travel.

Part 1 addresses one of Wyoming’s longest road trips, the one from Evanston to Gillette; part 2 looks at the ever-increasing distances Wyoming football teams have to travel; part 3 looks at how the distance problems manifest themselves on the field; and part 4 looks at how smaller conferences might be a part of the solution.

The third post in that series addressed margins of victory, which have been steadily increasing in the regular season since the WHSAA took over scheduling and took a huge jump after 2009.

The numbers from the 2014 season continued to show that Wyoming’s regular-season football games are not nearly as competitive as they once were. Last year’s regular-season 11-man games had an average margin of victory of 27 points, tied with the 2012 season for the highest on record.

The median MOV was 24 points — tied for second highest in the past two and a half decades — with a standard deviation of 16.1.

As the WHSAA addresses reclassification and conference alignment this fall, I genuinely hope the board considers smaller conferences. As I mentioned last year, smaller conferences won’t solve every problem tied to distance and competitiveness, and they create some problems, as well. But the numbers show that smaller conferences sure could help address the regular season’s two biggest problems.

–patrick

 

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