When I played high school football for Midwest, we had a clear coin flip strategy: If you can, go east to start.

The strategy was based on our field’s orientation: straight east-west. Heading toward the west end zone meant staring directly into what was usually a setting sun. If we could avoid going west in the first quarter, we did it. Usually, the sun was usually down by the end of the first quarter, and if we planned it right, we wouldn’t have to go into the sun at all.

When we went out for the coin flip, we knew… if we win, defer. Kick with the sun at our back. If we lose, and the opponent wants the ball, kick with the sun at our back. If we lose, and the opponent defers… well, dang it. We’ve got to go into the sun. Better run the ball.

I loved playing on Midwest’s field. It’s at the bottom of a weathered hill that has a steep vertical drop. The area is a natural, protected park, used by the community for more than 90 years and in place as the football field since the new school was built in the early 1960s. But the setting dictates an east-west orientation, as the hill bounds the north end and an oil field service road, as well as Salt Creek, hem in the area on the south side. This only becomes a problem in those early season games that kick off at 7 p.m., but the problem was big enough to dictate our coin flip strategy.

Aerial view of the Midwest High School football field. Screenshot from Google Maps.

Aerial view of the Midwest High School football field. Screenshot from Google Maps.

Other fields I played on didn’t have this problem, either because they didn’t have lights and the sun didn’t come into play as much or because they were oriented north-south. However, as I’ve learned, Midwest is not the only school in Wyoming with an east-west orientation.

In fact, eight schools — Lovell, Midwest, Moorcroft, Saratoga, Snake River, Southeast, Ten Sleep and Tongue River — are oriented within 10 degrees of true east-west. Of those, only Lovell, Midwest, Saratoga and Southeast have lights, although Moorcroft and Tongue River are scheduled to add lights by next season.

Meanwhile, the bulk of Wyoming’s high school football fields (38 of the 65 fields in use) are oriented within 10 degrees of true north-south. The remaining 19 fields are oriented somewhere in between, with five fields (Douglas, Farson, Hulett, Kelly Walsh and Wyoming Indian) oriented close to 45 degrees in one direction or another.

 

AimingCircle7

The field orientations of each program’s home field are listed below:

Straight N/S (within +/- 10 degrees): Big Horn, Big Piney, Burlington, Burns, Cheyenne East, Cheyenne South, Cody, Cokeville, Greybull, Guernsey-Sunrise, Jackson, Kaycee, Kemmerer, Lander, Laramie, Lingle, Lyman, Meeteetse, Mountain View, Natrona, Newcastle, NSI, Pine Bluffs, Pinedale, Powell, Rawlins, Riverside, Riverton, Rocky Mountain, St. Stephens, Sheridan, Shoshoni, Star Valley, Thermopolis, Torrington, Wheatland, Wind River, Worland

Tilted 10-35 degrees NE/SW: Evanston, Wright

45 degrees NE/SW (within +/- 10 degrees): Hulett, Kelly Walsh

Tilted 55-80 degrees NE/SW: Hanna, Rock Springs, Sundance

Straight E/W (within +/- 10 degrees): Lovell, Midwest, Moorcroft, Saratoga, Snake River, Southeast, Ten Sleep, Tongue River

Tilted 55-80 degrees NW/SE: Cheyenne Central, Dubois, Glenrock, Lusk, Rock River

45 degrees NW/SE (within +/- 10 degrees): Douglas, Farson, Wyoming Indian

Tilted 10-35 degrees NW/SE: Buffalo, Gillette, Green River, Upton

If you want to check out the locations of every school’s field, look at the stadiums page on the site.

–patrick

Thor Ware has resigned after one season as the head football coach in Worland, the Northern Wyoming Daily News reported today (link good for today only).

Ware previously coached in Oregon and Idaho, winning an Oregon state championship in 2010. The Warriors finished 3-6 last year but went 0-5 in Class 3A West Conference games.

Worland has had four coaches the past four seasons. Wade Sanford stepped down after a 12-year stint in 2011; Curt Mayer was coach in 2012; Josh Garcia and Bryan Bailey were co-coaches in 2013; and Ware led the team in 2014.

A replacement has not been named.

If you know of other head coaching changes in the state, please email me directly at pschmiedt@yahoo.com or leave a comment on this post.

–patrick

The Casper Star-Tribune named its 24th annual Super 25 team on Friday. The Super 25 recognizes the best players in the state regardless of classification, position or year in school. The Super 25 first team for 2014 is made up of:

Tevis Bartlett, 6-3, 210, sr, QB/S, Cheyenne East

Peter Bergman, 6-9, 285, sr, LT/DT, Natrona

Stevann Brown, 5-9, 165, sr, RB/DB/KR, Natrona

Dalton Burgener, 5-11, 170, sr, FB/NG, Douglas

Cade Covington, 6-2, 230, sr, RB/LB, Mountain View

Theo Dawson, 6-2, 215, jr, RB/MLB, Jackson

Calder Forcella, 5-10, 195, sr, QB/LB/P, Greybull

Brandon Fullerton, 6-1, 165, sr, QB/S/KR, Riverton

Josh Harshman, 6-4, 205, sr, QB/OLB, Natrona

Austin Houskeeper, 6-0, 195, sr, QB/LB, Mountain View

Christian Mayer, 6-2, 196, sr, WR/S/KR, Big Horn

Cap McClure, 6-4, 280, sr, OT/DT, Cody

Skyler Miller, 5-11, 180, jr, RB/LB, Torrington

Cooper Mirich, 6-1, 215, sr, RB/LB, Cheyenne Central

Carter Myers, 6-1, 215, sr, RB/LB/K/P, Cody

Bay Parks, 5-11, 220, sr, FB/DE, Douglas

Jace Petersen, 6-0, 205, sr, QB/MLB, Cokeville

Kerry Powers, 6-0, 220, sr, RB/MLB, Big Horn

Joe Shassetz, 5-10, 160, sr, WR/CB/KR, Sheridan

Riley Stringer, 6-1, 260, sr, OG/DT, Powell

Zach Taylor, 5-11, 211, jr, RB/LB/KR, Gillette

James Teichert, 5-10, 155, sr, RB/OLB/K/KR, Cokeville

Derick VandeBossche, 6-0, 170, sr, TB/LB/KR/K, Lusk

Logan Wilson, 6-2, 205, sr, WR/DB/P, Natrona

Ben Wisdorf, 6-1, 185, sr, WR/FS/OLB, Cheyenne East

The Super 25 offensive player of the year, defensive player of the year and coach of the year were recognized at the Super 25 banquet Friday night in Casper. Mayer was named offensive player of the year, Harshman defensive player of the year and Cody’s Matt McFadden was named coach of the year.

The Star-Tribune also selected Super 25 second and third teams.

For a full list of former Super 25 selections back to 1991, click here.

–patrick

Gillette’s Cale Miessler and Big Horn’s Christian Mayer set unofficial total yardage records in 2014, Miessler breaking the state’s unofficial passing yards record and Mayer the receiving yards record.

Miessler threw for 2,319 yards in 2014, breaking the unofficial record of 2,241 set by Wheatland’s Casey Bramlet in 1998.

Mayer had 1,116 receiving yards, breaking the unofficial record set by Central’s Josh Borm in 2010 of 1,111.

Rawlins’ Jace Allard placed third, behind Miessler and Bramlet, for most passing yards in a season with 2,238 yards this season. His teammate, Isaac Jefferson, is now fifth on the single-season receiving chart with his 1,067 yards.

Gillette’s Talon Nelson finished with 1,097 receiving yards, good for third all-time, unofficially.

Mountain View’s Cade Covington finished the season with 229 defensive points, good for ninth all-time.

Allard’s single-game best of 404 yards against Green River this season is unofficially the fifth-best single-game passing performance in state history. Cheyenne South’s Austin Barker threw for 384 yards against Cheyenne Central, good for seventh-best in a single game.

Greybull’s Wyatt Nielson had the best receiving game of the year, 210 yards versus Big Piney, unofficially good for sixth all-time in a single game.

See the full list of top 10 single-game and single-season performances here. If you know of missing games or seasons, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com and include in your email any and all possible documentation to verify the record claim.

–patrick

The 2015 Wyoming high school football schedule, which the Wyoming High School Activities Association released Tuesday at the annual statewide scheduling meeting in Casper, has few surprises.

In fact, the 2015 schedule is a mirror of the 2014 schedule.

Wyoming is in the second year of a two-year reclassification cycle, so the mirrored schedule was expected.

A few highlights of the schedule include:

Week 0: Natrona at Cheyenne Central. The Indians were the highest-seeded non-“Big Four” team last year. Central’s rise will be tested by the Mustangs straight away in Week 0.

Week 1: Guernsey-Sunrise at Dubois. This year’s 1A six-man title game combatants will face each other in the season opener next season. Other key games: Cheyenne East at Natrona; Douglas at Powell; Lovell at Big Horn; Rocky Mountain at Tongue River; Mountain View at Cokeville.

Week 2: Cody at Douglas. Just like in six-man, we don’t have to wait long into 2015 to see a rematch of the 3A title game from 2014. Other key games: Star Valley at Riverton; Wheatland at Thermopolis; Shoshoni at Rocky Mountain; Upton-Sundance at Lusk; Kaycee at Guernsey-Sunrise; Snake River at Meeteetse.

Week 3: Gillette at Natrona. Three weeks, three title-game rematches. The Camels and Mustangs, longtime rivals, meet again in Casper in Week 3. Other key games: Cheyenne East at Sheridan; Douglas at Star Valley; Jackson at Rawlins; Powell at Riverton; Newcastle at Wheatland; Dubois at Farson.

Week 4: Riverton at Torrington. Two on-the-rise programs in 3A face off in what could be their biggest game against each other in years. Other key games: Mountain View at Lovell; Rocky Mountain at Cokeville; Tongue River at Lusk.

Week 5: Meeteetse at Dubois. Step aside, 4A rivalries — this six-man showdown has been huge each of the past three years. Other key games: Cheyenne Central at Cheyenne East; Kelly Walsh at Natrona; Sheridan at Gillette; Rawlins at Riverton; Torrington at Douglas; Lingle at Upton-Sundance; Hanna at Guernsey-Sunrise.

Week 6: Lusk at Lingle. This game has decided the 1A 11-man East Conference title each of the past two years. Other key games: Douglas at Rawlins; Jackson at Cody; Wind River at Shoshoni; Dubois at Snake River.

Week 7: Newcastle at Big Horn. These two programs have had some donnybrooks the past couple years. The 2A East title may be on the line again. Other key games: Natrona at Sheridan; Powell at Jackson; Riverton at Douglas; Greybull at Lyman; Burlington at Shoshoni; Lingle at Tongue River; Kaycee at Snake River.

Week 8: Gillette at Cheyenne East. Two consistently good programs will meet with the memory of a 2OT classic not far from their minds. Other key games: Jackson at Star Valley; Lander at Riverton; Powell at Cody; Big Horn at Wheatland; Lyman at Mountain View; Rocky Mountain at Burlington; Hanna at Kaycee; Snake River at Farson.

Here’s a look at the 2015 schedule, first by week and then by team. Keep in mind that Class 3A-1A teams can add Zero Week games, scrimmages or other contests and may fill any open weeks on their own. Game times and specific dates will be set by the participating schools; dates listed are the Friday of the week when most of the games are expected to be played.

By Week

Week 0 (Aug. 28)
Class 4A
Cheyenne South at Evanston
Gillette at Kelly Walsh
Natrona at Cheyenne Central
Rock Springs at Cheyenne East
Sheridan at Laramie

Week 1 (Sept. 4)
Class 4A
Cheyenne Central at Cheyenne South
Cheyenne East at Natrona
Evanston at Gillette
Kelly Walsh at Sheridan
Laramie at Rock Springs
Class 3A
Cody at Buffalo
Douglas at Powell
Riverton at Green River
Worland at Lander
Class 2A
Lovell at Big Horn
Lyman at Wheatland
Pinedale at Thermopolis
Class 1A 11-man
Lusk at Burlington
Moorcroft at Wyoming Indian
Rocky Mountain at Tongue River
Saratoga at Lingle
Wind River at Upton-Sundance
Class 1A six-man
Farson at Midwest
Guernsey-Sunrise at Dubois
Hulett at Meeteetse
St. Stephens at Rock River
Snake River at Hanna
Ten Sleep at Kaycee
Interclass
Big Piney at Shoshoni
Glenrock at Torrington
Mountain View at Cokeville
Pine Bluffs at Burns
Rawlins at Kemmerer
Riverside at Greybull
Southeast at Wright
Interstate
North Fremont, Idaho, at Jackson
Star Valley at Preston, Idaho
Open: Newcastle, NSI.

Week 2 (Sept. 11)
Class 4A
Cheyenne South at Cheyenne East
Gillette at Cheyenne Central
Natrona at Laramie
Rock Springs at Kelly Walsh
Sheridan at Evanston
Class 3A
Buffalo at Powell
Cody at Douglas
Green River at Rawlins
Jackson at Lander
Star Valley at Riverton
Torrington at Worland
Class 2A
Big Horn at Lyman
Big Piney at Lovell
Burns at Newcastle
Mountain View at Greybull
Pinedale at Kemmerer
Wheatland at Thermopolis
Wright at Glenrock
Class 1A 11-man
Burlington at Riverside
Cokeville at Saratoga
Lingle at Pine Bluffs
Shoshoni at Rocky Mountain
Tongue River at Moorcroft
Upton-Sundance at Lusk
Wyoming Indian at Wind River
Class 1A six-man
Hanna at Hulett
Kaycee at Guernsey-Sunrise
Midwest at Ten Sleep
NSI at Rock River
St. Stephens at Dubois
Snake River at Meeteetse
Interstate
Bayard, Neb., at Southeast
Open: Farson.

Week 3 (Sept. 18)
Class 4A
Cheyenne Central at Rock Springs
Cheyenne East at Sheridan
Evanston at Laramie
Gillette at Natrona
Kelly Walsh at Cheyenne South
Class 3A
Buffalo at Worland
Douglas at Star Valley
Jackson at Rawlins
Lander at Cody
Powell at Riverton
Torrington at Green River
Class 2A
Burns at Mountain View
Glenrock at Big Horn
Greybull at Big Piney
Kemmerer at Lyman
Lovell at Pinedale
Newcastle at Wheatland
Thermopolis at Wright
Class 1A 11-man
Burlington at Wyoming Indian
Cokeville at Shoshoni
Lusk at Moorcroft
Pine Bluffs at Southeast
Riverside at Wind River
Saratoga at Rocky Mountain
Upton-Sundance at Tongue River
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at Farson
Guernsey-Sunrise at Midwest
Hanna at St. Stephens
Hulett at NSI
Meeteetse at Ten Sleep
Rock River at Kaycee
Interstate
Lingle at Mitchell, Neb.
Open: Snake River.

Week 4 (Sept. 25)
Class 4A
Cheyenne East at Kelly Walsh
Cheyenne South at Gillette
Laramie at Cheyenne Central
Natrona at Evanston
Rock Springs at Sheridan
Class 3A
Green River at Powell
Lander at Douglas
Rawlins at Buffalo
Riverton at Torrington
Star Valley at Cody
Worland at Jackson
Class 2A
Big Piney at Kemmerer
Greybull at Newcastle
Lyman at Pinedale
Mountain View at Lovell
Thermopolis at Burns
Wheatland at Glenrock
Wright at Big Horn
Class 1A 11-man
Moorcroft at Upton-Sundance
Rocky Mountain at Cokeville
Shoshoni at Saratoga
Southeast at Lingle
Tongue River at Lusk
Wind River at Burlington
Wyoming Indian at Riverside
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at Hulett
Kaycee at Midwest
Meeteetse at Farson
NSI at Guernsey-Sunrise
Rock River at Hanna
Ten Sleep at Snake River
Open: Pine Bluffs, St. Stephens.

Week 5 (Oct. 2)
Class 4A
Cheyenne Central at Cheyenne East
Evanston at Rock Springs
Kelly Walsh at Natrona
Laramie at Cheyenne South
Sheridan at Gillette
Class 3A
Buffalo at Lander
Cody at Worland
Green River at Jackson
Powell at Star Valley
Rawlins at Riverton
Torrington at Douglas
Class 2A
Big Horn at Thermopolis
Burns at Glenrock
Kemmerer at Greybull
Lovell at Lyman
Newcastle at Wright
Pinedale at Mountain View
Wheatland at Big Piney
Class 1A 11-man
Cokeville at Burlington
Lingle at Upton-Sundance
Pine Bluffs at Lusk
Rocky Mountain at Wind River
Saratoga at Riverside
Shoshoni at Wyoming Indian
Southeast at Moorcroft
Class 1A six-man
Hanna at Guernsey-Sunrise
Hulett at Kaycee
Meeteetse at Dubois
Midwest at Rock River
NSI at Farson
Snake River at St. Stephens
Open: Ten Sleep; Tongue River.

Week 6 (Oct. 9)
Class 4A
Cheyenne East at Laramie
Cheyenne South at Natrona
Gillette at Rock Springs
Kelly Walsh at Evanston
Sheridan at Cheyenne Central
Class 3A
Douglas at Rawlins
Jackson at Cody
Lander at Torrington
Riverton at Buffalo
Star Valley at Green River
Worland at Powell
Class 2A
Big Horn at Burns
Glenrock at Newcastle
Greybull at Pinedale
Lyman at Big Piney
Mountain View at Kemmerer
Thermopolis at Lovell
Wright at Wheatland
Class 1A 11-man
Burlington at Saratoga
Lusk at Lingle
Riverside at Cokeville
Tongue River at Southeast
Upton-Sundance at Pine Bluffs
Wind River at Shoshoni
Wyoming Indian at Rocky Mountain
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at Snake River
Guernsey-Sunrise at Hulett
Kaycee at NSI
Midwest at Hanna
St. Stephens at Meeteetse
Ten Sleep at Farson
Open: Moorcroft, Rock River.

Week 7 (Oct. 16)
Class 4A
Cheyenne Central at Kelly Walsh
Evanston at Cheyenne East
Laramie at Gillette
Natrona at Sheridan
Rock Springs at Cheyenne South
Class 3A
Buffalo at Torrington
Cody at Green River
Powell at Jackson
Rawlins at Lander
Riverton at Douglas
Worland at Star Valley
Class 2A
Big Piney at Mountain View
Glenrock at Thermopolis
Greybull at Lyman
Kemmerer at Lovell
Newcastle at Big Horn
Wheatland at Burns
Wright at Pinedale
Class 1A 11-man
Burlington at Shoshoni
Cokeville at Wyoming Indian
Lingle at Tongue River
Lusk at Southeast
Pine Bluffs at Moorcroft
Riverside at Rocky Mountain
Saratoga at Wind River
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at Ten Sleep
Farson at St. Stephens
Guernsey-Sunrise at Rock River
Hulett at Midwest
Kaycee at Snake River
NSI at Hanna
Open: Meeteetse, Upton-Sundance.

Week 8
Class 4A
Cheyenne Central at Evanston
Cheyenne South at Sheridan
Gillette at Cheyenne East
Kelly Walsh at Laramie
Rock Springs at Natrona
Class 3A
Douglas at Buffalo
Green River at Worland
Jackson at Star Valley
Lander at Riverton
Powell at Cody
Torrington at Rawlins
Class 2A
Big Horn at Wheatland
Burns at Wright
Kemmerer at Glenrock
Lovell at Greybull
Lyman at Mountain View
Pinedale at Big Piney
Thermopolis at Newcastle
Class 1A 11-man
Moorcroft at Lingle
Rocky Mountain at Burlington
Shoshoni at Riverside
Southeast at Upton-Sundance
Tongue River at Pine Bluffs
Wind River at Cokeville
Wyoming Indian at Saratoga
Class 1A six-man
Hanna at Kaycee
Meeteetse at Guernsey-Sunrise
Midwest at NSI
Rock River at Hulett
Snake River at Farson
Ten Sleep at St. Stephens
Open: Dubois, Lusk.

+++

By School

Class 4A
Cheyenne Central: vs. Natrona; at Cheyenne South; vs. Gillette; at Rock Springs; vs. Laramie; at Cheyenne East; vs. Sheridan; at Kelly Walsh; at Evanston.
Cheyenne East: vs. Rock Springs; at Natrona; vs. Cheyenne South; at Sheridan; at Kelly Walsh; vs. Cheyenne Central; at Laramie; vs. Evanston; vs. Gillette.
Cheyenne South: at Evanston; vs. Cheyenne Central; at Cheyenne East; vs. Kelly Walsh; at Gillette; vs. Laramie; at Natrona; vs. Rock Springs; at Sheridan.
Evanston: vs. Cheyenne South; at Gillette; vs. Sheridan; at Laramie; vs. Natrona; at Rock Springs; vs. Kelly Walsh; at Cheyenne East; vs. Cheyenne Central.
Gillette: at Kelly Walsh; vs. Evanston; at Cheyenne Central; at Natrona; vs. Cheyenne South; vs. Sheridan; at Rock Springs; vs. Laramie; at Cheyenne East.
Kelly Walsh: vs. Gillette; at Sheridan; vs. Rock Springs; at Cheyenne South; vs. Cheyenne East; at Natrona; at Evanston; vs. Cheyenne Central; at Laramie.
Laramie: vs. Sheridan; at Rock Springs; vs. Natrona; vs. Evanston; at Cheyenne Central; at Cheyenne South; vs. Cheyenne East; at Gillette; vs. Kelly Walsh.
Natrona: at Cheyenne Central; vs. Cheyenne East; at Laramie; vs. Gillette; at Evanston; vs. Kelly Walsh; vs. Cheyenne South; at Sheridan; vs. Rock Springs.
Rock Springs: at Cheyenne East; vs. Laramie; at Kelly Walsh; vs. Cheyenne Central; at Sheridan; vs. Evanston; vs. Gillette; at Cheyenne South; at Natrona.
Sheridan: at Laramie; vs. Kelly Walsh; at Evanston; vs. Cheyenne East; vs. Rock Springs; at Gillette; at Cheyenne Central; vs. Natrona; vs. Cheyenne South.

Class 3A
East
Buffalo: vs. Cody; at Powell; at Worland; vs. Rawlins; at Lander; vs. Riverton; at Torrington; vs. Douglas.
Douglas: at Powell; vs. Cody; at Star Valley; vs. Lander; vs. Torrington; at Rawlins; vs. Riverton; at Buffalo.
Lander: vs. Worland; vs. Jackson; at Cody; at Douglas; vs. Buffalo; at Torrington; vs. Rawlins; at Riverton.
Rawlins: at Kemmerer; vs. Green River; vs. Jackson; at Buffalo; at Riverton; vs. Douglas; at Lander; vs. Torrington.
Riverton: at Green River; vs. Star Valley; vs. Powell; at Torrington; vs. Rawlins; at Buffalo; at Douglas; vs. Lander.
Torrington: vs. Glenrock; at Worland; at Green River; vs. Riverton; at Douglas; vs. Lander; vs. Buffalo; at Rawlins.
West
Cody: at Buffalo; at Douglas; vs. Lander; vs. Star Valley; at Worland; vs. Jackson; at Green River; vs. Powell.
Green River: vs. Riverton; at Rawlins; vs. Torrington; at Powell; at Jackson; vs. Star Valley; vs. Cody; at Worland.
Jackson: vs. North Fremont, Idaho; at Lander; at Rawlins; vs. Worland; vs. Green River; at Cody; vs. Powell; at Star Valley.
Powell: vs. Douglas; vs. Buffalo; at Riverton; vs. Green River; at Star Valley; vs. Worland; at Jackson; at Cody.
Star Valley: at Preston, Idaho; at Riverton; vs. Douglas; at Cody; vs. Powell; at Green River; vs. Worland; vs. Jackson.
Worland: at Lander; vs. Torrington; vs. Buffalo; at Jackson; vs. Cody; at Powell; at Star Valley; vs. Green River.

Class 2A
East
Big Horn: vs. Lovell; at Lyman; vs. Glenrock; vs. Wright; at Thermopolis; at Burns; vs. Newcastle; at Wheatland.
Burns: vs. Pine Bluffs; at Newcastle; at Mountain View; vs. Thermopolis; at Glenrock; vs. Big Horn; vs. Wheatland; at Wright.
Glenrock: at Torrington; vs. Wright; at Big Horn; vs. Wheatland; vs. Burns; at Newcastle; at Thermopolis; vs. Kemmerer.
Newcastle: Open; vs. Burns; at Wheatland; vs. Greybull; at Wright; vs. Glenrock; at Big Horn; vs. Thermopolis.
Thermopolis: vs. Pinedale; vs. Wheatland; at Wright; at Burns; vs. Big Horn; at Lovell; vs. Glenrock; at Newcastle.
Wheatland: vs. Lyman; at Thermopolis; vs. Newcastle; at Glenrock; at Big Piney; vs. Wright; at Burns; vs. Big Horn.
Wright: vs. Southeast; at Glenrock; vs. Thermopolis; at Big Horn; vs. Newcastle; at Wheatland; at Pinedale; vs. Burns.
West
Big Piney: at Shoshoni; at Lovell; vs. Greybull; at Kemmerer; vs. Wheatland; vs. Lyman; at Mountain View; at Pinedale.
Greybull: vs. Riverside; vs. Mountain View; at Big Piney; at Newcastle; vs. Kemmerer; at Pinedale; at Lyman; vs. Lovell.
Kemmerer: vs. Rawlins; vs. Pinedale; at Lyman; vs. Big Piney; at Greybull; vs. Mountain View; at Lovell; at Glenrock.
Lovell: at Big Horn; vs. Big Piney; at Pinedale; vs. Mountain View; at Lyman; vs. Thermopolis; vs. Kemmerer; at Greybull.
Lyman: at Wheatland; vs. Big Horn; vs. Kemmerer; at Pinedale; vs. Lovell; at Big Piney; vs. Greybull; at Mountain View.
Mountain View: at Cokeville; at Greybull; vs. Burns; at Lovell; vs. Pinedale; at Kemmerer; vs. Big Piney; vs. Lyman.
Pinedale: at Thermopolis; at Kemmerer; vs. Lovell; vs. Lyman; at Mountain View; vs. Greybull; vs. Wright; at Big Piney.

Class 1A 11-man
East
Lingle: vs. Saratoga; at Pine Bluffs; at Mitchell, Neb.; vs. Southeast; at Upton-Sundance; vs. Lusk; at Tongue River; vs. Moorcroft.
Lusk: at Burlington; vs. Upton-Sundance; at Moorcroft; vs. Tongue River; vs. Pine Bluffs; at Lingle; at Southeast; Open.
Moorcroft: at Wyoming Indian; vs. Tongue River; vs. Lusk; at Upton-Sundance; vs. Southeast; Open; vs. Pine Bluffs; at Lingle.
Pine Bluffs: at Burns; vs. Lingle; at Southeast; Open; at Lusk; vs. Upton-Sundance; at Moorcroft; vs. Tongue River.
Southeast: at Wright; vs. Bayard, Neb.; vs. Pine Bluffs; at Lingle; at Moorcroft; vs. Tongue River; vs. Lusk; at Upton-Sundance.
Tongue River: vs. Rocky Mountain; at Moorcroft; vs. Upton-Sundance; at Lusk; Open; at Southeast; vs. Lingle; at Pine Bluffs.
Upton-Sundance: vs. Wind River; at Lusk; at Tongue River; vs. Moorcroft; vs. Lingle; at Pine Bluffs; Open; vs. Southeast.
West
Burlington: vs. Lusk; at Riverside; at Wyoming Indian; vs. Wind River; vs. Cokeville; at Saratoga; at Shoshoni; vs. Rocky Mountain.
Cokeville: vs. Mountain View; at Saratoga; at Shoshoni; vs. Rocky Mountain; at Burlington; vs. Riverside; at Wyoming Indian; vs. Wind River.
Riverside: at Greybull; vs. Burlington; at Wind River; vs. Wyoming Indian; vs. Saratoga; at Cokeville; at Rocky Mountian; vs. Shoshoni.
Rocky Mountain: at Tongue River; vs. Shoshoni; vs. Saratoga; at Cokeville; at Wind River; vs. Wyoming Indian; vs. Riverside; at Burlington.
Saratoga: at Lingle; vs. Cokeville; at Rocky Mountian; vs. Shoshoni; at Riverside; vs. Burlington; at Wind River; vs. Wyoming Indian.
Shoshoni: vs. Big Piney; at Rocky Mountain; vs. Cokeville; at Saratoga; at Wyoming Indian; vs. Wind River; vs. Burlington; at Riverside.
Wind River: at Upton-Sundance; vs. Wyoming Indian; vs. Riverside; at Burlington; vs. Rocky Mountain; at Shoshoni; vs. Saratoga; at Cokeville.
Wyoming Indian: vs. Moorcroft; at Wind River; vs. Burlington; at Riverside; vs. Shoshoni; at Rocky Mountain; vs. Cokeville; at Saratoga.

Class 1A six-man
East
Guernsey-Sunrise: at Dubois; vs. Kaycee; at Midwest; vs. NSI; vs. Hanna; at Hulett; at Rock River; vs. Meeteetse.
Hanna: vs. Snake River; at Hulett; at St. Stephens; vs. Rock River; at Guernsey-Sunrise; vs. Midwest; vs. NSI; at Kaycee.
Hulett: at Meeteetse; vs. Hanna; at NSI; vs. Dubois; at Kaycee; vs. Guernsey; at Midwest; vs. Rock River.
Kaycee: vs. Ten Sleep; at Guernsey-Sunrise; vs. Rock River; at Midwest; vs. Hulett; at NSI; at Snake River; vs. Hanna.
Midwest: vs. Farson; at Ten Sleep; vs. Guernsey-Sunrise; vs. Kaycee; at Rock River; at Hanna; vs. Hulett; at NSI.
NSI: Open; at Rock River; vs. Hulett; at Guernsey-Sunrise; at Farson; vs. Kaycee; at Hanna; vs. Midwest.
Rock River: vs. St. Stephens; vs. NSI; at Kaycee; at Hanna; vs. Midwest; Open; vs. Guernsey-Sunrise; at Hulett.
West
Dubois: vs. Guernsey-Sunrise; vs. St. Stephens; at Farson; at Hulett; vs. Meeteetse; at Snake River; at Ten Sleep; Open.
Farson: at Midwest; Open; vs. Dubois; at Meeteetse; vs. NSI; vs. Ten Sleep; at St. Stephens; vs. Snake River.
Meeteetse: vs. Hulett; vs. Snake River; at Ten Sleep; vs. Farson; at Dubois; vs. St. Stephens; Open; at Guernsey-Sunrise.
St. Stephens: at Rock River; at Dubois; vs. Hanna; Open; vs. Snake River; at Meeteetse; vs. Farson; vs. Ten Sleep.
Snake River: at Hanna; at Meeteetse; Open; vs. Ten Sleep; at St. Stephens; vs. Dubois; vs. Kaycee; at Farson.
Ten Sleep: at Kaycee; vs. Midwest; vs. Meetetse; at Snake River; Open; at Farson; vs. Dubois; at St. Stephens.

–patrick

After a marathon session on Saturday night, the 2014 results have been updated to the site. Look around and let me know if I got anything wrong.

A few things I noticed as I went through my annual updates:

Gillette’s last-minute touchdown in its 30-7 4A title game loss to Natrona preserved a streak dating back to 2005. The Camels have now scored in 113 consecutive games. The last time Gillette was shut out was in the final game of the 2004 season, a 21-0 playoff quarterfinal loss to Cheyenne Central. Gillette’s streak is the third-longest in state history behind Buffalo’s 117 straight from 2001-13 and Cokeville’s current 173 straight back to 1997. Meanwhile, Natrona has now scored in 109 consecutive games, the fourth-longest streak in state history. You can see the longest of those streaks here.

After a 12-0 season, Cokeville coach Todd Dayton’s career record is now 294-52. The winningest coach in state history has won almost 85 percent of his games. Cokeville will enter 2015 on a 22-game winning streak, four short of tying the school record and 12 short of tying the state record.

The six-man title game between Guernsey and Dubois set some title-game scoring records. Guernsey’s 80 points broke the record for most points by one team in a title game (breaking the record of 76 Guernsey set in 2009), while the combined 110 points broke the combined points record in a title game (breaking the record of 101 points in Dayton’s 63-38 victory against Glenrock in the 1953 six-man title game).

A number that gets lost in Lusk’s title-game loss is the Tigers’ home winning streak. Lusk hasn’t lost at home since 2009, winning 29 consecutive games at home. They’re two home victories short of the unofficial state record of 31, set by Byron from 1953-61. (This record comes with the caveat that Byron has numerous missing games and unverified open weeks that could make their streak a lot longer, or shorter, than 31.)

Meanwhile, Natrona has won 19 consecutive true road games (not counting neutral-site games), and the Mustangs are within view of the state record of 25 consecutive road victories set by Rocky Mountain from 1994-2000.

Natrona coach Steve Harshman is now fifth all-time in victories with 166. He passed longtime Cody coach John McDougall during the season and now trails only Dayton, longtime Laramie coaches John E. Deti (205) and John R. Deti (188) and former Lusk coach Jerry Fullmer (174). Harshman could surpass Fullmer for fourth next season.

Meanwhile, Sheridan coach Don Julian jumped to 14th place in Wyoming with 131 victories. He could climb into the top 10 next season, but would need nine victories to do so.

And, for the record, my final picks tally, where I realize I’ve been picking these games for A DECADE:

Last week: 3-2 (60 percent). This season: 251-57 (81 percent). 10-year overall mark: 2,351-604 (80 percent).

Expect me to keep posting throughout the offseason. If you have any ideas for blog posts you’d like to see, let me know. No promises, but I’m always open to ideas. After all, it’s the readers of this site who keep it going. Thursday was the highest traffic day I’ve had in the history of the site. I appreciate all your support this season, and every season.

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This is often a busy season for coach resignations. If you hear of any coaches leaving or changing, please let me know by leaving a comment on the blog or emailing me directly at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

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Also, a little housekeeping on site updates:

I fixed Powell’s record in 1946; the Panthers were 3-3-2 that year, not 4-2-2.

I also added Rawlins’ Willie Jefferson to the all-America listings for 1983. Jefferson was a National High School Athletic Coaches Association all-America pick for that season. I also added Jefferson’s 4A back of the year award, as well as Rock Springs’ Erik Stensaas’ 4A lineman of the year award, to the all-state listings. Thanks to Jefferson’s son Isaiah for letting me know!

–patrick

Friday

Class 1A six-man, noon
Guernsey-Sunrise Vikings (1E, 10-0) vs. Dubois Rams (1W, 8-2)
Series record: Tied 2-2.
Last meeting: Guernsey-Sunrise beat Dubois 60-12 on Sept. 6 in Guernsey.
State championships: Guernsey-Sunrise 3, most recent in 2009. … Dubois 1, in 2012.
Previous title game record: Guernsey-Sunrise, 3-5. … Dubois, 1-2.
The path to Laramie: Guernsey-Sunrise blasted Farson 65-8 in the quarterfinals and rallied past Snake River 72-40 in the semifinals. … Dubois beat Midwest 74-14 in the quarterfinals and topped Meeteetse 68-32 in the semifinals.
The case for Guernsey-Sunrise: When the season started, I called on the Vikings’ Brady Esquibel to lead this team to victory. Esquibel has been stellar, but his supporting cast — especially standouts Austin Quynn and Treasure Hollister — have been the ones to turn far-off championship dreams into actual championship possibilities. And that defense, best in six-man, is rock solid.
The case for Dubois: The Rams started 1-2, with losses to Guernsey-Sunrise in Week 1 and Farson in Week 3, before they found themselves. Since that loss to Farson, the Rams have been unbeatable, winning both close games and blowouts. And the past month, they’ve been unstoppable, winning big every time out. Like the last couple years, though, the Rams’ first few players have to do the job; they’re talented, but not deep.
The pick
: Guernsey-Sunrise beat Dubois 60-12 in Week 1. So this one seems easy. But I’d venture to say that Dubois has improved more since that game than Guernsey has. Now, I don’t think the Rams have improved enough to cover a 48-point, mercy-rule loss from early September, but this one will be much closer the second time around. I still like my preseason favorites, though. Guernsey-Sunrise 58, Dubois 46.

Class 3A, 3 p.m.
Douglas Bearcats (1E, 9-1) vs. Cody Broncs (1W, 9-2)
Series record
: Douglas leads 6-0.
Last meeting: Douglas beat Cody 13-7 on Sept. 12 in Cody.
State championships: Douglas 5, most recent in 2010. … Cody 3, most recent in 1991.
Previous title game record: Douglas, 5-7. … Cody, 3-5.
The path to Laramie: Douglas outlasted Star Valley 38-13 in the quarterfinals and shut out Torrington 27-0 in the semifinals. … Cody destroyed Rawlins 61-6 in the quarterfinals and topped Riverton 42-34 in the semifinals.
The case for Douglas: Defense. Douglas has it. The Bearcats have consistently been one of the best, if not THE best, defenses in 3A. RB Colter Haman and QB Haize Weber lead an offense that’s just diverse enough to keep teams off-balance. And Douglas has already beaten Cody once this year, in Cody.
The case for Cody: What I like about Cody is that they’ve consistently shown improvement — not only from last year to this year, but within the last 11 weeks, as well. After a 1-2 start, the Broncs have won eight in a row, most of those by wide margins. Maybe most importantly, in terms of straight-up talent and athletic ability, Cody has the deck stacked with guys like Carter and Cameron Myers, Noah Rivera, Blake Hinze and Brayden Feusner.
The pick: I think the September meeting of these two teams was a case of two teams prodding for weaknesses with the idea that a postseason meeting might be possible. I don’t think either team showed what it was truly capable of doing, and both coaches kept some plays in their pockets. That’s why this one will be a higher-scoring contest than September’s. Even so, both teams have stacked defenses (the top two in 3A by a wide margin), something you’ll see come up big in the fourth quarter. Douglas 28, Cody 24.

Saturday

Class 2A, 10 a.m.
Big Horn Rams (1E, 10-0) vs. Mountain View Buffalos (1W, 9-1)
Series record: Big Horn leads 1-0.
Last meeting: Big Horn beat Mountain View 47-22 on Nov. 15, 2013, in Laramie.
State championships: Big Horn 4, most recent last year. … Mountain View 3, most recent in 1997.
Previous title game record: Big Horn, 4-8. … Mountain View, 3-6.
The path to Laramie: Big Horn survived in the postseason, beating Lovell 23-12 in the quarterfinals and Wheatland 28-21 in the semifinals. … Mountain View blasted Thermopolis 60-0 in the quarterfinals and Newcastle 52-14 in the semifinals.
The case for Big Horn: After winning each of their first seven games by 25 points apiece, the Rams have won their last three by margins of 13, 11 and 7. It would be easy to look at those results and say the Rams are struggling. I see something different. I see a team that’s learned how to win close games as well as shutouts. I see a team that hasn’t had to lose to regain its focus. And I see a team that takes nothing for granted. Oh, and in case you forgot, this program has won 18 games in a row.
The case for Mountain View: To go undefeated through 2A West Conference play takes something special. Not only did Mountain View do that this season, it did so emphatically; each of Mountain View’s nine victories has been by at least 30 points. The senior backfield pair of Cade Covington and Austin Houskeeper is unparalleled for both talent and experience, and they — and all their senior classmates — have something to prove in their final game with the Buffalos.
The pick: Back in August, I called for this: a Mountain View-Big Horn rematch. And I said if the Rams found consistency under center, they’d win another title. Big Horn has that. So let’s stick with what got us here. Big Horn 34, Mountain View 28.

Class 1A 11-man, 1 p.m.
Cokeville Panthers (1W, 11-0) vs. Lusk Tigers (1E, 9-0)
Series record: Cokeville leads 4-0.
Last meeting: Cokeville beat Lusk 13-12 on Nov. 16, 2013, in Laramie.
State championships: Cokeville 21, most recent last year. … Lusk 5, most recent in 2002.
Previous title game record: Cokeville, 20-6. … Lusk, 5-8.
The path to Laramie: Cokeville shut out Tongue River 55-0 in the quarterfinals and knocked out Lingle 36-7 in the semifinals. … Lusk thumped Riverside 55-0 and beat Upton-Sundance 44-12 in the semifinals.
The case for Cokeville: It’s Cokeville, and in Wyoming, that’s basically all you need to say. This year, though, Cokeville has more going for it than just tradition. The Panthers have their biggest senior class in coach Todd Dayton’s three-plus-decade tenure. They’ve got a quarterback in Jace Petersen who would have been just Wyoming’s third four-time all-state selection had he not been injured as a sophomore (perhaps not coincidentally, the only year since 2010 where Cokeville hasn’t won the state title). They’ve got the momentum of 21 consecutive victories and the confidence only consistent success brings.
The case for Lusk: If anyone can stand up to Cokeville, it’s Lusk. The Tigers have the talent and the physical ability to stand up to the Panthers, with Derick VandeBossche, Martin Fitzwater and Logan Lamar running behind a formidable offensive line. Their defense is stout and capable, giving up fewer than 100 yards per game. Aside from a 16-6 regular-season W against Upton-Sundance, Lusk has won every game by at least 32 points.
The pick: Here we are again. Lusk and Cokeville played each other for the 1A 11-man title in 2013. And 2010. They’ve emerged as the classification’s flagship programs. It’s only right they’re playing in the title game. As much as I like Lusk — and as much as that program deserves a title after championship-game losses in 2010, 2012 and 2013 — Cokeville has been great not only for 1A, but for Cokeville. This may go down as one of the best Panther teams in program history. And that’s saying something. Lusk will make it tough on them, though. Cokeville 27, Lusk 20.

Class 4A
Gillette Camels (3, 9-2) vs. Natrona Mustangs (1, 11-0)
Series record: Natrona leads 38-18.
Last meeting: Natrona beat Gillette 47-7 on Sept. 19 in Gillette.
State championships: Gillette 4, most recent in 2008. … Natrona 16, most recent in 2012.
Previous title game record: Gillette, 4-7. … Natrona, 9-5.
The path to Laramie: Gillette bumped Laramie 48-3 in the quarterfinals before beating Cheyenne East 34-31 in double overtime in the semifinals. … Natrona topped Evanston 55-12 in the quarterfinals and shut out Sheridan 27-0 in the semifinals.
The case for Gillette: Honestly, after losing six players to suspension earlier this week, the Camels’ outlook is shaky. In cases like this, one of two things happens: Either the team rallies and plays better than before to make up for the losses, or it falls apart completely. On the plus side for Gillette? If any school can overcome a talent deficit, it’s the deep and prepared Camels. And the team is riding a crest of momentum that only a double-overtime victory can give a team. If Gillette can use that momentum to their advantage, rally around its losses and keep its confidence inflated, it will be more dangerous than anyone can anticipate.
The case for Natrona: No 4A team has been as steady as the Mustangs. A 14-7 victory against East aside, NC has won every game by at least 24 points. Only two teams have cracked double digits on the scoreboard against one of the stingiest 4A defenses in recent memory. Offensively, the dual-quarterback system of Casson Burgen and Josh Harshman has worked well and kept opposing defenses out of rhythm. And last but not least, no one has beaten Natrona yet this year.
The pick: The longer NC lets Gillette hang around, the more dangerous the Camels become. The Mustangs need at least two big plays early in this game to quell the Camels’ semifinal/rallying vibes. If NC can do that… Natrona 38, Gillette 14. If not…

Last week: 9-1 (90 percent). This season: 248-55 (82 percent).

For the sixth year in a row, War Memorial Stadium will play host to the five championship games. The weather forecast doesn’t look good — near freezing and windy on Friday, cold and snowy on Saturday — so if nothing else, promise me two things: (1) dress warm, and (2) stay safe on the roads. One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was driving from Laramie to Casper after the 2011 title games. Shirley Basin and Sybille Canyon were closed, so I drove to Cheyenne and then around to Casper; the only problem was that I-80 closed on me about 20 minutes after I left town. I slid off the road twice. It took me more than an hour and a half to get from Laramie to Cheyenne, and then another four hours from Cheyenne to Casper. Don’t do what I did. At least I was dressed appropriately….

snowglobe

Snow at War Memorial Stadium, Laramie, after 2011 high school football championships.

–patrick

Even in 2009, we knew the 2009 season represented an important turning point for Wyoming high school football.

The introduction of six-man football created seismic changes, and not only for Wyoming’s small schools. The ripples of six-man were felt throughout the state; as six-man came, so did reclassification, which gave us the 4A round-robin schedule, the massive conferences in other classifications and the schedules we continue to see today. (Let’s not forget that 2009 was the first year of the state championship games’ move to Laramie. But that’s a conversation for another time.)

But what if the addition of six-man had been voted down by the Wyoming High School Activities Association? What if Wyoming had remained an 11-man-only state?

The hypothetical ramifications are numerous.

No Patriots: You don’t see an Upton-Sundance co-op. With the enrollment cutoffs at where they would hypothetically be in 2014, the Upton-Sundance co-op would probably be ineligible for the 2A playoffs and would have to play in Class 3A. It’s more likely with that alternative that they’d stay split — and it’s possible that one or the other, or both, could forfeit a season due to low numbers.

No seasons: Hulett, Guernsey, Midwest and Dubois could also potentially forfeit seasons; each one of those four schools has fought numbers problems the past six seasons. Hulett actually did this while still in 11-man in 2010 before moving to six-man in 2011, and Guernsey’s six-man championship run in 2009 was completed with a roster of just 11 players. Actually, Hulett and Dubois in particular might have to end up dropping the sport entirely.

No future: Ten Sleep and Meeteetse found temporary refuge in Montana, as did a couple of Idaho schools. However, when Wyoming formed its six-man league, Montana reorganized its six-man play to include only Montana teams. Whether Montana would have done the same without Wyoming’s shifts in 2009 is uncertain; either way, Meeteetse and Ten Sleep wouldn’t be playing in any Wyoming leagues right now if not for six-man’s introduction in 2009.

No teams: Snake River, Farson, Kaycee, St. Stephens, Rock River? Those five programs never see the field without six-man.

The look in 2014, minus six-man: The addition of Cheyenne South in 2011 does create some shifts, most notably bumping Riverton to 3A and Wheatland to 2A. Otherwise, most conferences remain fairly close to their 2008 statuses, with only minor juggling to adjust for enrollment changes.

With 58 football schools (instead of the 64, including 51 11-man and 13 six-man schools), all playing 11-man, the WHSAA has an easier time making a schedule that fits school needs. Of course, that assumes no schools will forfeit seasons or drop the sport….

Last, if all the shifting that happened in 2009 doesn’t happen, Wyoming might have stay with the alignments it had in 2008: with 11 schools in 5A and 4A; 12 in 3A and 2A and the rest in 1A. (Remember, in 2008, Wyoming Indian was opting down from 3A to 1A.)

Here’s what I think would be the current conferences without six-man:

Class 5A North: Gillette, Natrona, Kelly Walsh, Sheridan, Cheyenne South
Class 5A South: Rock Springs, Cheyenne East, Cheyenne Central, Laramie, Evanston, Green River
Class 4A East: Riverton, Douglas, Rawlins, Torrington, Buffalo
Class 4A West: Star Valley, Jackson, Cody, Powell, Worland, Lander
Class 3A East: Wheatland, Burns, Newcastle, Glenrock, Lovell, Greybull
Class 3A West: Pinedale, Mountain View, Lyman, Big Piney, Kemmerer, Thermopolis
Class 2A East: Wright, Moorcroft, Lusk, Pine Bluffs, Sundance, Southeast
Class 2A West: Big Horn, Tongue River, Wyoming Indian, Wind River, Rocky Mountain, Shoshoni
Class 1A East: Upton, Lingle, Guernsey, NSI, Midwest, Hulett
Class 1A West: Saratoga, Riverside, Burlington, Cokeville, Hanna, Dubois

Football survives, and thrives, in Wyoming without six-man. Football expands, and diversifies, in Wyoming with six-man.

One of those two options sounds better to me.

–patrick

Here are the pairings and kickoff times for the Wyoming high school football championship games. Teams listed second are the “home” teams.

At War Memorial Stadium, Laramie
Friday
Class 1A six-man
(1E) Guernsey-Sunrise vs. (1W) Dubois, noon
Class 3A
(1E) Douglas vs. (1W) Cody, 3 p.m.
Saturday
Class 2A
(1E) Big Horn vs. (1W) Mountain View, 10 a.m.
Class 1A 11-man
(1W) Cokeville vs. (1E) Lusk, 1 p.m.
Class 4A
(3) Gillette vs. (1) Natrona, 4 p.m.

–patrick

Random tidbits to keep in mind as we enter the semifinals, as drawn from the state champions listings:

* Two of the 20 programs remaining don’t have a state championship: Newcastle and Upton-Sundance. Upton and Sundance have won state titles separately — they actually both won titles in 2005 — but never as a combined program. Newcastle, meanwhile, came closest in 1981, losing the state title game that year in Class A.

* Aside from Newcastle and Upton-Sundance, the team still in the playoffs that has gone the longest without winning a state championship is Wheatland. The Bulldogs last won a state title in 1984. Torrington (1990), Lingle (1990), Cody (1991), Mountain View (1997) and Riverton (1999) are also trying to win their first titles of the 2000s.

* With a championship this year, Natrona would pass Laramie and be alone in third place in the total championships standings with 17. Sheridan leads with 23 and Cokeville has 21.

* Class 4A hasn’t had a repeat champion since Rock Springs in 2001-02. East is trying to break that streak this year.

* The four remaining teams in the 1A six-man playoffs (Meeteetse, Dubois, Snake River and Guernsey-Sunrise) have all won state six-man titles the past five years. In fact, they’re the only programs in the state that have won six-man titles since the 2009 six-man reboot.

We’re going from 20 to 10 teams, one way or another. The title race gets a heck of a lot clearer after this week — you could even say 20/10 clear (badum). But enough trivia. You came here for semifinal playoff picks, and here they are:

Class 4A
(4) Sheridan at (1) Natrona: Two of the past three seasons, we’ve seen an undefeated team lose in the 4A semifinals — Gillette last year, Natrona in 2011. Probably not this year, though. NC has that San Francisco Giants thing going where they win titles in even-numbered years. Chalk this one up to patterns, and a dominant Mustang defense that can keep pretty much any team in check. First playoff meeting since 2010 title game.
(3) Gillette at (2) Cheyenne East: East’s 28-14 victory against Gillette in the final week of the regular season was one of the most impressive victories of the season for any team in any classification in the state. A coin flip and a yawner of a quarterfinal round later, the T-Birds get to host the rematch. That kind of advantage is huge at this point in the playoffs. The Camels will need to be at their best if they want to have any hopes of coming out of Cheyenne with a victory. (And that’s entirely possible. Just saying.) First playoff meeting since 2008 5A semifinals.
Class 3A
(2E) Riverton at (1W) Cody: Everyone’s known for a long time that 2014 was destined to be Cody’s best season in a while. The Broncs have made good on that hunch. Riverton, however, presents a tough test, because the Wolverines know how to (1) score and (2) win close. If the Wolverines get a chance in the fourth, watch out — but I’m afraid the Broncs may not even give the Wolverines that chance. First playoff meeting since 2012 quarterfinals.
(3E) Torrington at (1E) Douglas: Torrington’s turnaround isn’t complete just yet. Even though the team has its first winning season in a generation, as well as its its first playoff victory in almost a decade, the Blazers still have some work to do. Learning how to knock off teams like Douglas — a program that knows what playoff football is all about — in November takes time. Give Torrington another year or two and then maybe we see this one go the other way. Although, you gotta admit, Torrington was REALLY impressive last week, and only lost to Douglas by seven in the regular season…. Crud. Thinking too much. Need to move on…. . First playoff meeting since 1990 quarterfinals.
Class 2A
(2E) Newcastle at (1W) Mountain View: I’ll admit that I gave up on the Buffalos way too early this season. After they lost to Cokeville, I figured last year was Mountain View’s aberration year. Turns out the Cokeville game was Mountain View’s aberration game. The Dogies stand a good chance at an upset, but Mountain View (aside from one nonconference game) has been the powerhouse we all expected them to be this year. Rematch of quarterfinal playoff games from the past two years.
(3E) Wheatland at (1E) Big Horn: A 19-6 victory against Wheatland two weeks ago and a 23-12 victory against Lovell in the quarterfinals aren’t Big Horn’s most impressive victories of the season. However, the fact that Big Horn has won those close games makes them much less susceptible to an upset than if they’d won by 50. The Bulldogs will keep it close, but the Rams know they’re vulnerable, and that will give them focus. First playoff meeting.
Class 1A 11-man
(3E) Upton-Sundance at (1E) Lusk: I’m not sure what to think of the Patriots. They’re a bit unpredictable, but they’re talented and physical enough to match up with the Tigers. U-S only lost to Lusk by 10 (16-6) in the regular season. If everything goes right, U-S has a chance. Even so, this game is Lusk’s to lose. First playoff meeting.
(2E) Lingle at (1W) Cokeville: Lingle’s had a great season. And Lingle has won in Cokeville in the playoffs within the past few years. And… and… and… No. Cokeville has been rolling everyone all season. The Panthers are talented and confident. Fourth playoff meeting in six years; first playoff meeting since 2012 quarterfinals.
Class 1A six-man
(3W) Meeteetse at (1W) Dubois: About a month ago, these two teams faced off in a defensive (for six-man) struggle, with the Rams winning 28-22. This one should be just as tight. The edge belongs to the homestanding Rams, though, who are trying to make their third state title game in four years. First playoff meeting.
(2W) Snake River at (1E) Guernsey-Sunrise: Egads, the Vikings have been good this season. The Rattlers will be a challenge, but not a challenge Guernsey can’t overcome. With big victories against Dubois and Meeteetse, the Vikings have consistently responded against the best the West can throw at them. Rematch of a quarterfinal playoff game from last year.

Last week: 19-1 (95 percent). This season: 239-54 (82 percent).

For a full season schedule, including kickoff times for this week’s games, click here.

So I just realized: I picked nothing but home teams, nothing but top seeds. Does that make me boring? Or ignorant? What am I missing? Fill me in by making a comment, and then we can all move forward together more informed.

–patrick

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