Here’s a quick look at the playoff scenarios for Wyoming high school football teams entering Week 8 of the 2020 season:

Class 4A
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Cheyenne Central at Laramie; Cheyenne East at Rock Springs; Natrona at Cheyenne South; Thunder Basin at Sheridan.
Cheyenne East: In. Either No. 1 or No. 2 seed. Can still get No. 1 seed with loss; can still get No. 2 seed with victory.
Thunder Basin: In. Seed between No. 1 and No. 3. No. 1 seed with victory in all scenarios. No. 1 seed with loss and Rock Springs victory. No. 2 seed with loss, Laramie victory and East victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Central victory.
Cheyenne Central: In. Seed between No. 2 and No. 4. No. 2 seed with victory and Sheridan victory. No. 3 seed with victory and Thunder Basin victory. No. 3 seed with loss and East victory. No. 3 seed with loss, Rock Springs victory and Sheridan victory. No. 4 seed with loss, Rock Springs victory and Thunder Basin victory.
Rock Springs: In. Seed between No. 3 and No. 5. Can get no higher than a No. 4 seed with loss; either a No. 3, 4 or 5 seed with victory.
Sheridan: In. Seed between No. 4 and No. 6. No. 4 seed with victory in all scenarios. Either a No. 4, 5 or 6 seed with loss.
Natrona: In. Seed between No. 5 and No. 6. No. 5 seed with victory and Thunder Basin victory. No. 6 seed with victory and Sheridan victory. No. 6 seed in all scenarios with loss.
Kelly Walsh: In. No. 7 seed.
Laramie: In. No. 8 seed.
Campbell County, Cheyenne South: Out.
Three-way tie explanation 1: If East, Central and Thunder Basin all finish 7-2 tied for the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 seeds, Thunder Basin would be the 3 seed by virtue of a loss to Sheridan (the highest ranking non-tied team). East then takes the 1 seed due to a head-to-head victory against Central.
Three-way tie explanation 2: If Rock Springs, Sheridan and Central all finish 6-3 tied for the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 seeds, Rock Springs would be the 5 seed by virtue of a loss to Thunder Basin (the highest ranking non-tied team). Central then takes the 3 seed due to a head-to-head victory against Sheridan.

Three-way tie explanation 3: If Natrona, Rock Springs and Sheridan all finish 5-4 tied for the No. 4, 5 and 6 seeds, Rock Springs would be the 4 seed by virtue of a victory against Central (the highest-ranking non-tied team where the tiebreaker applies). Natrona then takes the 5 seed due to a head-to-head victory against Sheridan.
All other tiebreakers in 4A are head-to-head tiebreakers. Because the “highest-ranked non-tied team” tiebreaker breaks all potential three-way ties, score differential should not be necessary.
Note: Tables below updated 11:52 a.m. Monday to reflect that the Kelly Walsh-Campbell County game does not affect the scenarios.

4A scenarios

If Central beats Laramie…

EastThunder BasinCentralRock SpringsSheridanNatrona
East, Natrona, Thunder Basin win213465
East, Natrona, Sheridan win132546
East, South, Thunder Basin win213546
East, South, Sheridan win132546
Rock Springs, Natrona, Thunder Basin win213465
Rock Springs, Natrona, Sheridan win132546
Rock Springs, South, Thunder Basin win213456
Rock Springs, South, Sheridan win132546

If Laramie beats Central

EastThunder BasinCentralRock SpringsSheridanNatrona
East, Natrona, Thunder Basin win213465
East, Natrona, Sheridan win123546
East, South, Thunder Basin win213546
East, South, Sheridan win123546
Rock Springs, Natrona, Thunder Basin win214365
Rock Springs, Natrona, Sheridan win213546
Rock Springs, South, Thunder Basin win214356
Rock Springs, South, Sheridan win213546

Class 3A East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Riverton at Rawlins; Worland at Douglas.
Douglas: In. No. 1 seed.
Lander: In. No. 2 seed.
Riverton: In. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Douglas victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Worland victory.
Worland: In. No. 3 seed with victory and Rawlins victory. No. 4 seed with loss OR Riverton victory.
Buffalo, Rawlins: Out.

Class 3A West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Cody at Jackson; Green River at Star Valley; Powell at Evanston.
Jackson: In. No. 1 seed with victory. No. 2 seed with loss.
Cody: In. No. 1 seed with victory. No. 2 seed with loss and Powell victory. No. 2 seed with loss, Evanston victory and Green River victory. No. 3 seed with loss, Evanston victory and Star Valley victory.
Powell: In. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Green River victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Star Valley victory.
Star Valley: Neither in nor out. No. 2 seed with victory, Jackson victory and Evanston victory. No. 3 seed with victory, Cody victory and Evanston victory. No. 4 seed with victory and Powell victory. Out with loss.
Green River: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with victory. Out with loss.
Evanston: Out.
Two potential three-way ties exist in 3A West scenarios for Week 8. If Jackson, Star Valley and Powell all win, Cody, Powell and Star Valley tie for second, third and fourth at 3-2. Cody wins with score differential of +5 (Powell 0, Star Valley -5) and is the second seed. Powell is the third seed with head-to-head victory over Star Valley; Star Valley is the fourth seed. … If Evanston and Green River win, Powell, Star Valley and Green River tie for third, fourth and fifth (out) at 2-3. Powell wins this tiebreaker with head-to-head victories over both. Green River would have the head-to-head over Star Valley to get the fourth seed.

Class 2A East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Big Horn at Upton-Sundance; Newcastle at Wheatland; Torrington at Burns*.
Torrington: In. Seeding TBD, likely No. 1 or 2. Likely No. 1 seed with Upton-Sundance victory. Likely No. 2 seed with Big Horn victory.
Upton-Sundance: In. Likely No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss.
Big Horn: In. Likely No. 1 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Newcastle victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Wheatland victory.
Wheatland: In. No. 3 seed with victory and Upton-Sundance victory. No. 4 seed with victory and Big Horn victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Burns, Glenrock, Newcastle, Tongue River: Out.
*-The Torrington-Burns game has been canceled due to COVID-19. It’s not certain what contingencies will be used to break any playoff seeding ties that might come of this cancellation. However, the WHSAA’s plans set out in the summer note that in cases like this, the coaches from the conference would decide on seeding. However, with no mathematical possibilities of any three-way ties, such a scenario isn’t likely needed here… but these projections come with an asterisk just in case.

Class 2A West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Cokeville at Lovell; Lyman at Mountain View.
Lyman, Mountain View: In. No. 1 seed with victory. No. 2 seed with loss.
Cokeville, Lovell: In. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Big Piney, Kemmerer, Pinedale, Thermopolis: Out.

Class 1A nine-man East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Saratoga at Lusk.
Southeast: In. No. 1 seed.
Lusk: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 2 seed with loss by 11 or fewer points. Tie for No. 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with Saratoga victory by 12 or more points.
Pine Bluffs: In. No. 3 seed with Lusk victory. No. 3 seed with Saratoga victory by 11 or fewer points. Tie for No. 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with Saratoga victory by 12 or more points.
Saratoga: In. Tie for No. 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory by 12 or more points. No. 4 seed with victory by 11 or fewer points. No. 4 seed with loss.
Lingle, Wright: Out.
Moorcroft: Ineligible.
In the case of a Saratoga victory against Lusk, which would prompt a tie for the No. 2, 3 and 4 seeds, the scoring differential tiebreaker kicks in. Saratoga has to win by 12 or more to tie the scoring differential and force a coin flip. A Saratoga victory by 11 or fewer means Lusk wins the score differential tiebreaker, with Pine Bluffs finishing third due to its head-to-head win against Saratoga.
Note: Updated 2:54 p.m. Saturday with clarification from WHSAA regarding conference standings and ineligible teams. Games against Moorcroft this year do NOT count toward conference standings, which created some different playoff scenarios than having the games count but having Moorcroft drop from the standings with regard to playoff eligibility. Apologies for the confusion.

Class 1A nine-man West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Riverside at Shoshoni.
Rocky Mountain: In. No. 1 seed.
Shoshoni: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss.
Riverside: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Wind River: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with Riverside victory. Out with Shoshoni victory.
Greybull: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with Shoshoni victory. Out with Riverside victory.
In the 3-4-out tiebreaker between Riverside, Wind River and Greybull, score differential would be used. Greybull finishes +11, Riverside -4 and Wind River -7. Greybull gets the third seed. Riverside then gets the fourth seed by virtue of its head-to-head victory over Wind River.

Class 1A six-man East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: None.
Kaycee: In. No. 1 seed.
Hulett: In. No. 2 seed.
Guernsey: In. No. 3 seed.
Hanna: In. No. 4 seed.
Midwest, NSI: Out.
A potential tiebreaker at 2-3 for the No. 3-4-out seeds exists between Hanna, Guernsey and NSI. However, Guernsey wins that tiebreaker with head-to-head victories against the other two. Even with a victory in Week 8, NSI loses both two-way and three-way ties for either third or fourth place with either Hanna or Guernsey due to head-to-head losses against both. There’s also potential for a tie for the No. 2-3-4 seeds with Hulett, Hanna and Guernsey, which Hulett wins due to head-to-head victories against both.
Note: These scenarios were updated at 2:02 p.m. Saturday to reflect the results of Saturday’s game.

Class 1A six-man West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Burlington at Encampment; Farson at Snake River.
Farson: In. No. 1 seed.
Meeteetse: In. No. 2 seed.
Encampment: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Farson victory. Out with loss and Snake River victory.
Snake River: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with victory and Burlington victory. No. 4 seed with Encampment victory, win or lose. Out with loss and Farson victory.
Burlington: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with victory and Farson victory. No. 4 seed with victory and Snake River victory. Out with loss.
Dubois, Ten Sleep: Out.
In the scenario where Burlington, Dubois and Snake River tie for the No. 4 seed with 2-4 records, Snake River would win the berth on score differential (Snake River +8, Burlington 0, Dubois -8).
In the scenario where Encampment, Snake River and Burlington tie for the 3-4-out positions with 3-3 records, Snake River would win the tiebreaker due to a victory against the highest-ranked non-tied team (Farson). Then Burlington takes the No. 4 seed due to the head-to-head victory against Encampment.
Note: These scenarios were updated at 4:47 p.m. Saturday to reflect the results of Saturday’s games.

–patrick

Over the next couple weeks, you will probably hear a lot about home-field advantage in the playoffs.

And you may ask yourself how much it really matters, playing at home in the postseason.

The short answer? It matters a lot.

While home teams win an average of about 56% of Wyoming high school football games, that skyrockets to 74% in the playoffs.

Moreover, no active team in Wyoming has a better road playoff record than home playoff record.

And for some teams, the difference is pretty drastic.

Take, for example, Farson. All-time, Farson is 6-0 in home playoff games but 0-7 in road playoff games. It’s safe to say that Farson — who’s playing Meeteetse this week, with the winner holding home-field advantage from the 1A six-man West — wants to play as many playoff games at Pronghorn Field as possible.

Or Big Horn, one of four teams chasing the top two spots out of the 2A East: 33-6 at home, 3-17 on the road.

Or Rock Springs, which needs some help to avoid a first-round road trip in 4A: 13-1 at home, 6-31 on the road.

And Sheridan, which is working hard to try to get the up-for-grabs fourth seed in Class 4A, would much rather play its opening-round game at home, where the Broncs are (get this) 39-2 all-time in playoff games.

So when you look at the standings and try to parse through what’s possible, keep in mind just how important it is to stay off the bus as much as you can in the postseason.

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With that in mind, let’s clarify a bit of confusion about the potential hosts for state title games.

Without realizing it, the Wyoming High School Activities Association put out some conflicting information about who would host the championship game if two teams with equal seeds (say, both top seeds, or both No. 2 seeds, and so on) met in the championship.

WHSAA Associate Commissioner Trevor Wilson gave me some definitive answers via email this week, though, and what it boils down to is this: When in doubt, check the handbook.

Wilson clarified that, in the case of two equal seeds meeting, the WEST team will host the 3A and 1A six-man title games, while the EAST team will host the 2A and 1A nine-man title games. These are the scenarios outlined in the WHSAA handbook for this season.

Wilson also clarified that if the two teams have met in the regular season, that regular-season result will NOT be used to determine the host.

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As we approach the final two weeks of the regular season, surprises become fewer and fewer. But that makes surprises more interesting when they do happen. These are the games that could bring us the most surprises:

Riverton and Worland could give us a close game in a key 3A East matchup. I really considered picking the Wolverines this week, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them KO the Warriors in Washakie County. …

Opposite momentums will meet in Cokeville Friday. The host Panthers have won three in a row after starting 2A West play with consecutive losses. Meanwhile, Big Piney’s lost two in a row after starting 4-0. How big will “Big Mo” be for both teams? …

Wheatland and Torrington meet in a huge game that will go a long way in deciding 2A East title rights. No matter who wins, they’ll both need a little help next week for the top seed, but the top seed doesn’t happen at all without a victory right here. …

The Lusk-Southeast winner is the top seed from the 1A nine-man East Conference. Meeteetse and Farson face the same stakes, just for the 1A six-man West. Both games could come right down to the final moments; Southeast hasn’t yet played anyone with Lusk’s firepower, and undefeated Meeteetse has been plucky enough to give also-undefeated Farson a challenge.

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Here are the weekly picks. If you’re new here, I pick teams to win every week, and I signify my choices in bold. But you’re not new here, are you?

Wednesday
Class 3A

Star Valley at Evanston (as picked before the game on Twitter)
Thursday
Class 1A nine-man
Greybull at Shoshoni
Interclass
Natrona sophs at Snake River
Friday
Class 4A
Campbell County at Sheridan
Cheyenne South at Laramie
Kelly Walsh at Cheyenne East
Rock Springs at Cheyenne Central
Thunder Basin at Natrona
Class 3A
Douglas at Buffalo
Green River at Cody
Jackson at Powell
Rawlins at Lander
Riverton at Worland
Class 2A
Big Piney at Cokeville
Burns at Newcastle
Glenrock at Upton-Sundance
Lovell at Kemmerer
Lyman at Pinedale
Mountain View at Thermopolis
Tongue River at Big Horn
Wheatland at Torrington
Class 1A nine-man
Lusk at Southeast
Moorcroft at Riverside
Pine Bluffs at Lingle
Wind River at Rocky Mountain
Wright at Saratoga
Class 1A six-man
Midwest at Kaycee
NSI at Guernsey-Sunrise
Ten Sleep at Burlington
Saturday
Class 1A six-man
Encampment at Dubois
Hulett vs. Hanna (at Midwest)
Meeteetse at Farson

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 7” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

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Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 26-5 (84 percent). This season: 155-52 (75 percent). Does not include last week’s forfeit.

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Like I brought up before… you’re not new here. So give me your insight. What Week 7 game has you the most fired up? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship

–patrick

Burns will not play one of its final two games of the 2020 season and will reschedule the other due to COVID-19 quarantines, the school’s activities director said Monday on Twitter.

Burns AD Barry Ward said the team will also cancel scheduled JV games.

Burns High School was notified on Saturday that due to COVID-19 quarantines our football team will not be playing our last 2 Varsity football games vs. Newcastle and Torrington as regularly scheduled. We will be canceling our JV games vs. Wheatland and Mitchell, Nebraska.— Barry Ward (@BurnsBronc) October 12, 2020

On Saturday, Laramie County School District No. 2, of which Burns is a part, posted on its website that a student at Burns Junior/Senior High School had tested positive for COVID-19 and that some students had been placed under quarantine.

This is the third in-season cancellation of high school football games in Wyoming due to COVID-19 this year.

Douglas and Powell canceled a mid-September game, while Newcastle and Buffalo canceled a game in early September.

During the summer, Wyoming Indian and St. Stephens canceled their fall sports seasons.

As of Monday afternoon, Wyoming had more than 1,000 active cases of COVID-19 statewide. As of Monday, the state was averaging nearly 120 confirmed cases per day, its highest total since the outbreak tracing began on March 20.

Graph courtesy of the Wyoming Department of Health. Click the graph for more.

In all, 24% of all active statewide confirmed cases are in people 18 years old or younger.

Burns’ two remaining games were with Torrington on Friday and with Newcastle on Oct. 23.

Over the summer, Wyoming High School Activities Association Commissioner Ron Laird said games lost due to COVID-19 would be treated as cancellations, not as forfeits.

Burns is 1-5. The Broncs, at 1-4 in Class 2A East Conference play, were no longer in playoff contention.

Burns will make up its game with Newcastle on Oct. 29, Ward announced Monday afternoon via Twitter. Newcastle is also not in playoff contention.

–patrick

This post was updated at 7:02 p.m. MDT to reflect the continuing status of Burns’ season.

With myriad playoff seeding possibilities still waiting to be played out, here’s a quick glance at what’s come together so far, and what’s possible for the teams chasing those postseason spots:

Class 4A
In: Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne East, Thunder Basin, Natrona, Rock Springs, Sheridan.
Neither in nor out: Kelly Walsh, Campbell County, Laramie, Cheyenne South.
Out: None.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Quite simply: nope.
Break it down for me: East, Central and Thunder Basin are at the top at 6-1; Natrona, Rock Springs and Sheridan are tied at 4-3. After that, Kelly Walsh (3-4) is in best position to secure a playoff spot; South will be out if they lose this week.

Class 3A East
In: No one.
Neither in nor out: Everyone.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Yes; if Douglas beats Buffalo and Riverton beats Worland, then Douglas will be the top seed.
Break it down for me: Douglas controls its destiny, and Lander and Worland are right behind and will fight it out for the No. 2 seed. Riverton and Buffalo are scrambling for the fourth seed, while Rawlins needs a victory in the worst way to keep pace.

Class 3A West
In: Jackson.
Neither in nor out: Cody, Powell, Green River, Star Valley, Evanston.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Yes; if Jackson beat Powell and Green River beats Cody, Jackson will be the top seed.
Break it down for me: After Jackson, it’s a fight for the final three seeds, with Cody and Powell (2-1) having the inside track and Green River and Star Valley (1-2) scrapping for a spot, too. The Week 8 game between Green River and Star Valley looms large.

Class 2A East
In: No one, technically.
Neither in nor out: Wheatland, Upton-Sundance, Torrington, Big Horn, Glenrock.
Out: Burns, Tongue River, Newcastle.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Pffft… no.
Break it down for me: Wheatland, Upton-Sundance, Torrington and Big Horn, all 4-1 in conference, are all but guaranteed the East’s four spots; the question now is order. Glenrock needs to win both of its remaining games, including on Friday against Upton-Sundance, and hope for some tiebreaker magic to break up that four-team mishmash at the top.

Class 2A West
In: Mountain View.
Neither in nor out: Lyman, Big Piney, Cokeville, Lovell.
Out: Thermopolis, Pinedale, Kemmerer.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Potentially. A Mountain View victory against Thermopolis paired with a Lyman loss to Pinedale would give Mountain View the top spot.
Break it down for me: Mountain View is in the catbird’s seat, with Lyman next up with just one loss. Big Piney, Cokeville and Lovell all have 3-2 records in conference play. That’s a problem because there’s only four playoff spots…. One of these four will be out of it.

Class 1A nine-man East
In: Lusk, Southeast.
Neither in nor out: Pine Bluffs, Saratoga, Wright, Lingle.
Out: No one.
Ineligible: Moorcroft.
Can the top seed be decided this week? It WILL be, as the winner of Lusk vs. Southeast this week will be the conference’s top seed in the playoffs.
Break it down for me: Lusk and Southeast will be the top two seeds; after that, though, it’s a mess. Pine Bluffs is in the best spot for the postseason. Saratoga, Wright and Lingle are all at one conference victory and two of them (Saratoga and Wright) play this week.

Class 1A nine-man West
In: Rocky Mountain.
Neither in nor out: Shoshoni, Riverside, Wind River, Greybull.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? It was already decided; Rocky Mountain had the top seed wrapped up after Week 5.
Break it down for me: This one got weird quick, as all four teams beneath Rocky Mountain have one conference victory apiece. The kicker is that Shoshoni is the only team in the group to have two conference games remaining; everyone else only has one. Get your tiebreakers ready.

Class 1A six-man East
In: Kaycee.
Neither in nor out: Hulett, Hanna, NSI, Guernsey, Midwest.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? It’s possible; if Kaycee beats Midwest and Hulett beats Hanna, then Kaycee will earn the top seed.
Break it down for me: Kaycee is in the best spot, and Hulett and Hanna (who play each other next week) are also in good shape. The winner between NSI and Guernsey is in line for a spot, too. Midwest has the toughest road to the postseason and needs victories and help.

Class 1A six-man West
In: Meeteetse, Farson.
Neither in nor out: Snake River, Encampment, Dubois, Burlington, Ten Sleep.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? It can’t help but be, as the Farson-Meeteetse winner this week will be the top seed in the playoffs.
Break it down for me: Farson and Meeteetse are 1-2 in some order, and everyone else is fighting for the final two spots. Encampment and Snake River are in the best positions with two conference victories each, while Dubois and Burlington (one conference W each) and Ten Sleep (zero) need victories and help to make it to the postseason.

–patrick

Lusk and Rocky Mountain haven’t crossed their football paths very often.

But when the two undefeated Class 1A nine-man behemoths face off on Friday, they’ll resurrect a matchup that had its best moments in the ’90s.

The Tigers and Grizzlies played against each other in two Class 1A-Division I championship games back in the 1990s, with Rocky winning both times (1995 and 1997). The victories were part of a run of four titles in the 1990s for Rocky; the Tigers later won titles of their own in 1999, 2000 and 2002.

Neither one has won a championship since.

This year might break that streak for one of them — they both have the talent to make a run in 2020, as evidence by their records and how they’ve racked them up.

The Tigers and Grizzlies have been two of the biggest beneficiaries from the move to nine-man football this season. The 5-0 Tigers have nine-man’s highest-scoring offense, averaging 56.4 points per game. The 4-0 Grizzlies aren’t far behind, ranking second in the class at 49 ppg, but Rocky has also given up nine-man’s fewest total points (26).

Even so, Rocky Mountain and Lusk rank second and third, respectively, in the Wyopreps.com coaches and media poll for 1A nine-man; they both trail Southeast in the rankings.

The stakes aren’t much higher than pride this week — the game has no effect on the playoffs, as Rocky’s in the West Conference, and has already wrapped up the top seed out of the West at that, and Lusk is in the East.

But for pride? Rankings? The renewal of a little-played but often-intense rivalry?

Plan on seeing the best out of each squad. This one’s important.

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Some other games:

The Capital Bowl between East and Central is for more than bragging rights this year. Central is 6-0, and East, at 5-1 and with five consecutive victories, is the Indians’ biggest obstacle to a perfect regular season. It’s been a long time since this game has meant so much. …

Four teams are tied at 3-3 in Class 4A, and the game between Sheridan and Kelly Walsh will break up that logjam. That’s a tiebreaker scenario that could get all kinds of messy by the end of the season. …

Riverton hosts Lander in the Fremont County rivalry game that really deserves a nickname. They’re both 1-1 in the 3A East, so a victory here will mean everything in terms of postseason momentum. …

The 2A West is a mess of parity right now, but the only team that remains unbeaten in league play — Mountain View — could do itself a huge favor if it can beat once-beaten Big Piney on Friday in Uinta County. …

One other good geographic rivalry is this week, as Riverside and Greybull meet on the field for the first time since 2014. Here’s to hoping this is a long-lasting renewal in what could be a close game in the reintroduction to the rivalry.

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The picks have been my nemesis this year; it seems like every close game on Friday (or Saturday) goes against the team I have bolded on Thursday.

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

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 6” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

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Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 21-11 (66 percent). This season: 129-47 (73 percent).

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Which is your game-of-the-week choice for Week 6? And are you going to be there in person? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship

–patrick

My obsession with Wyoming high school football scoreboards began a few weeks ago when I caught a livestream of a Worland football game.

For those of you who aren’t aware, Worland’s scoreboard is on a unique position on its field, nearly behind the visiting bench. Here’s a screenshot from the NFHS Network broadcast of Worland’s game with Green River a couple weeks ago:

Worland plays Green River, 2020. The scoreboard is in a unique spot.

I had never seen a placement like that before. I thought about it and realized the scoreboard placement could actually be an advantage to the Worland team and coaches, who can do a quick glance up to the scoreboard to see what’s going on, while the road team coaches have to turn their heads all the way around to see the score and time.

I know, I know, I know… small, small, small advantage, likely one that isn’t going to affect a single outcome of any game. I don’t know of any Wyoming high school football coaches with neck impairments — or, if any do, any who aren’t smart enough to hire an assistant without one. (And the press box usually houses coaches from both schools, further negating my theory.) For the players, it’s absolutely no advantage whatsoever.

But it got me wondering about scoreboard placements in Wyoming high school football stadiums. How unique was Worland’s? How unique is anyone’s?

So, I did what I usually do with my free time: I got on Google Maps. Then I started tracing — drawing lines on a computer screen to match the lines of the scoreboards on the map.

This is what I came up with:

Wyoming high school football scoreboard alignments, based on where the home team stands and benches are. Each line represents a scoreboard; the circle vaguely represents a track.

Keep in mind here that I used Google Maps, which is often a couple years behind, so any scoreboards put up in the past year or two aren’t accounted for here (looking at you, Natrona and Rock Springs). For a few stadiums where I couldn’t determine from Google Maps where the scoreboards were, I looked at photos online to try to pinpoint my best estimate.

And as it turns out, Worland was — as I had anticipated — a pretty severe outlier, one of only two scoreboards in what I’d call the “chaotic evil” of scoreboard placements.

In Wyoming, the placement of the scoreboards around fields statewide fall into six distinct categories.

Working counter-clockwise from the home stands, they are:

1. Straight on, right side: Cokeville, Kaycee, Burns, Natrona, Glenrock, Kemmerer, Jackson, Thermopolis, Cody, Saratoga, Torrington, Upton, Evanston, Cheyenne East, Laramie, Lusk, Thunder Basin, Star Valley, Lander, Rawlins, Campbell County, Lovell, Sheridan, NSI, St. Stephens, Kelly Walsh, Wyoming Indian.

Of these, NSI, St. Stephens, Kelly Walsh and Wyoming Indian have scoreboard alignments that appear to be slightly angled to the home side, but not all that severely. Cokeville and Kaycee have scoreboards that are much closer to the home bench than the road bench, which is less common than the opposite.

2. Home-team benefitted, right side: Riverton, Lyman, Powell, Pinedale, Rocky Mountain, Green River, Burlington, Newcastle, Mountain View, Big Horn, Moorcroft, Snake River, Greybull, Encampment, Midwest, Southeast, Lingle, Riverside.

All of these scoreboards, except Riverside, are closer to the visitor bench than the home bench but angled to face toward the home bench — making it easier for the home team coaches to see the scoreboard than the road team. Riverside varies by being closer to the visitor bench but still perpendicular to the field.

3. VERY home-team benefitted, right side: Hulett, Worland.

4. Home-team benefitted, left side: Cheyenne Central, Wind River, Tongue River, Farson, Rock Springs.

5. Straight on, left side: Hanna, Pine Bluffs, Buffalo, Meeteetse, Cheyenne South, Douglas, Sundance, Big Piney, Wheatland, Shoshoni, Wright, Guernsey-Sunrise.

Hanna and Pine Bluffs, like Riverside, are perpendicular to the field but closer to the visitor bench.

6. Road-team benefitted, left side: Ten Sleep.

Ten Sleep has the only scoreboard in the state that is purposely skewed AGAINST the home team; the Pioneers’ scoreboard is built at almost a 45-degree angle facing the visitor’s bench. Maybe the Pioneers are trying to overcompensate for their Washakie County neighbors in Worland.

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As I looked at all the little lines I drew, a pattern I didn’t anticipate when I started became clear fast.

Almost three-quarters of scoreboards are on the right side in relation to the home stands and bench. In all, only 18 of the 65 Wyoming high school football fields (28%) have the scoreboards on the left side from the home bleachers, while 47 (72%) are on the right side from the home bleachers.

For a solid day, I couldn’t figure out why.

And then I had an epiphany: track.

Track straightaways tend to go in front of the “home” stands from left to right. Scoreboards tend to be on the same side as the finish lines.

That blew my mind; I’m 39 years old, and I had never critically thought about why scoreboards are where they are. Of course, scoreboard placement has nothing to do with trying to gain a home-field advantage.

The bigger epiphany: Scoreboards aren’t just about football. Most fields have multiple purposes, including track and often soccer, too. That got me thinking about scoreboard placement in general. Why do we put scoreboards where we do? Why do we put stadiums where we do? Why do we put anything where we do? Why do we do anything?

Then I came back down from my mania, refocused on scoreboards, and thought about who really uses scoreboards the most. Aren’t they really there for the fans? Isn’t that why so many of them are oriented to face the home stands — because that’s where most of the people sit? And… in some cases, like (get this) Worland, all the fans are on one side, because there are no road-side bleachers?

Maybe Worland’s scoreboard placement isn’t as odd, or as sinister, as I thought. Maybe it’s perfect: perfect for the fans, the group of people who will look at it the most. Maybe that should be the goal behind the design of a good stadium — one that creates an enjoyable time, something you want to repeat as often as possible. Maybe Worland’s weird scoreboard shouldn’t be so weird. Maybe it should be a trendsetter.

Maybe I’m reading too much into every single bit of this. If you made it this far, maybe you are, too. But the journey is a fun one, innit?

–patrick

Only the most astute Wyoming high school football fans noticed the peculiarity of Cheyenne Central’s 62-15 victory against Cheyenne South last week.

Yes, certainly, the GAME itself had significance. Central stayed unbeaten, South stayed winless, the Indians moved a step closer to the Capital City title… but I think I’m the only person who realized the significance of the SCORE.

Since Wyoming high schools started playing football in 1894, Friday’s game was the first time a game had ended with a final score of 62-15.

More than 25,000 games, and Indians-Bison was the first 62-15.

That blows my mind.

The amazing thing is that this happens nearly every week, usually more than once.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of Scorigami, I recommend taking 20 minutes and watching this video. If you’re into sports, and into breaking down sports until the amazing appears, it’ll be the best 20 minutes of your day:

And then check out this website that tracks NFL scorigami. It’s pretty cool.

The difference between scorigami in the NFL and scorigami in Wyoming high school football is that scorigami for Wyoming high school football has many more opportunities. With six-man in particular, scores of games often go high enough to necessitate more squares on the board — hence more empty squares to fill.

This season alone, we’ve had 14 instances of Wyoming high school football scorigami. In addition to Central’s victory Friday, we’ve also seen our first instances of games ending with final scores of:

  • 43-33 (in Week 3, Meeteetse over Dubois)
  • 44-23 (in Week 1, Cody over Riverton)
  • 52-4 (in Week 2, Kaycee over NSI)
  • 57-30 (in Week 1, Burlington over Hulett)
  • 57-32 (in Week 3, Ten Sleep over NSI)
  • 58-33 (in Week 3, Natrona sophs over Midwest)
  • 58-35 (in Week 2, Lusk over Pine Bluffs)
  • 60-19 (in Week 2, Natrona sophs over Hanna)
  • 64-8 (in Week 1, Lusk over the Kelly Walsh sophs)
  • 67-7 (in Week 1, Farson over Guernsey)
  • 74-32 (in Week 3, Farson over Encampment)
  • 78-52 (in Week 3, Kaycee over the Sheridan sophs)
  • 85-6 (in Week 1, Dubois over Midwest)

While most of these involved six-man or nine-man teams, two 11-man games this season (the aforementioned Central-South and Cody-Riverton) produced scorigami.

And the pace of 14 scorigami games through four weeks is pretty close to the pace we’ve come to expect. In 2019, 28 games were scorigami; in 2018, 31; in 2017, 27; and in 2016, 43.

Slowly but surely, though, the spaces are filling. As that happens, scorigami will become less and less common.

A chart showing scorigami in Wyoming high school football.
Wyoming high school football scorigami chart. Gray squares represent games prior to 2016; red is 2016, green is 2017, yellow is 2018, blue is 2019 and purple is 2020. Click to see a bigger version.

When I initially did this research after the 2015 season, I used it to detail the state’s most common final scores. Now I’m finding the less common scores drawing my interest more often.

Even with all the scores that have been “filled in” on the chart above, some scores are still out there to be obtained. NSI’s four-point final against Kaycee two weeks ago may become more common, as six-man field goals are worth four points. (Final scores of 4 points, as well as 5, are already ridiculously uncommon, as I’ve detailed in a previous post.) The losing scores of 9 and 11 also have bunches of empty squares.

Then there are the really random empty spots, like 23-15, 25-17, 36-19, 31-23 or 56-18, that have never been filled. Up until last Friday, 62-15 was one of those, too.

And even though a 4-2 game sounds like a boring defensive slugfest, it would be a scorigami dream.

As long as there are still squares to be filled, scorigami will exist.

+++

Now let’s actually talk about what’s going on this week. Here are some Week 5 games that butter my bread:

Natrona hosts Sheridan in the 4A game of the week, and I’m not sure what to expect. Both teams are coming off losses, and while it’s not desperation time yet for either team, a loss here might make it that way. …

Lander-Douglas could end up being for the 3A East championship when it’s all said and done. Buffalo was the only other team to win its conference opener last week, so…. you do the math. …

After Star Valley and Powell finish their game on Friday, one of them will be 0-2 in 3A West play. Didn’t see that one coming. But don’t let that fool you into thinking the loser isn’t still a threat. …

Another great round of 2A West games awaits with Cokeville traveling to Thermopolis and Lovell going to Big Piney. Count on games decided by single digits, and count on unpredictability of who’s actually going to be ahead by the time it’s all finished. …

Farson and Kaycee meet in a showdown of six-man undefeated teams. Farson will be the favorite in a game that will tell us a ton about the relative strengths of the East and West conferences. …

Don’t look now, but Meeteetse’s 4-0, the only other six-man undefeated team behind Farson and Kaycee. Beat Encampment this week, and we’ll have to start taking the Longhorns seriously. …

+++

Now, for everyone’s favorite part of their Thursday, picks! Did you know I bold teams who I think will win? Well now you do, because I just told you.

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

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 5” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

+++

Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 19-10 (66 percent). This season: 108-36 (75 percent). Does not include forfeits from last week.

+++

Want more scorigami content? Let me know! Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship

–patrick

The top two-thirds of the Class 2A West Conference was going to be filled with parity — we knew this, more or less, last November.

After two weeks of conference play, trying to distinguish between the top six teams in that conference is tougher than a $2 steak.

Games between Big Piney, Cokeville, Lovell, Lyman, Mountain View and Thermopolis have been the kinds of games that can swing on a single play.

Just look at these scores from six teams through two weeks of conference play: 14-12, 16-0, 23-13, 12-9, 12-7. That kind of parity is rare, especially among so many teams. And it makes the conference a blast to follow.

Big Piney, Mountain View and Lyman have started conference play 2-0; Thermopolis is at 1-1, and Cokeville and Lovell 0-2.

(Pinedale and Kemmerer are also in the 2A West mix, but their starts have been less auspicious, less a part of the parity defining the relationships among the other six.)

This week, we’ll likely get two more close games in showdowns between these schools, as Lyman faces Big Piney and Thermopolis meets Lovell.

The rub in all of this, of course, is that only four of these teams can make the playoffs.

And in a season with hundreds of plays for every team, just one can make the difference between being a part of the postseason and being apart from it.

++++

Here are some other Week 4 games that look as delicious as a Genoise cake:

Cheyenne East and Sheridan each have one loss in Class 4A play, and they can ill afford another and hope to maintain any hopes of home-field advantage past the first round. This one will be big — and competitive. …

Cody and Powell will get together for the Big Horn Brawl. For the first time since 1936, both teams enter the game undefeated, a side effect from the game usually being played much later in the season. Both are 3-0, and Powell has the added benefit of a week off after last week’s game with Douglas was canceled. As the conference opener for both teams, this game also sets the standard for the rest of the conference to follow. …

Star Valley and Jackson also have a great 3A West rivalry, and their meeting Friday in the shadows of the Tetons will be telling. Are Jackson’s fast start and Star Valley’s slow start trends or flukes? …

Worland looked great last week in beating Green River; I’m curious to see if the Warriors can keep the momentum going against 3A East preseason fave Lander in Fremont County. …

After two weeks, six of the eight teams in the 2A East have at least one loss. The only two without a loss? Upton-Sundance and Torrington. I figured U-S would be in the mix this year, but I thought a junior-heavy Torrington team might be a year away. Clearly, Torrington’s young guys have met the challenge. I’m eager to see how they match up Friday in Goshen County. …

Lingle and Lusk won their games last week by a combined 114-16. They’ll meet this week, and something has to give. …

Even though Meeteetse is undefeated, the Longhorns will be the underdogs when they play Burlington on Friday. The Huskies have had a much tougher schedule so far and gave top-ranked Farson its biggest test of the season two weeks ago in a 31-24 loss. …

+++

On to the picks. Bolded teams are the ones that I think will win. But the teams that aren’t bolded still deserve orange slices after the game.

Thursday
Class 1A nine-man
Shoshoni at Wind River
Friday
Class 4A
Campbell County at Thunder Basin
Cheyenne Central at Cheyenne South
Cheyenne East at Sheridan
Kelly Walsh at Laramie
Rock Springs at Natrona
Class 3A
Buffalo at Rawlins
Cody at Powell
Douglas at Riverton
Green River at Evanston
Star Valley at Jackson
Worland at Lander
Class 2A
Big Horn at Burns
Glenrock at Wheatland
Lyman at Big Piney
Newcastle at Tongue River
Pinedale at Cokeville
Thermopolis at Lovell
Upton-Sundance at Torrington
Class 1A nine-man
Lingle at Lusk
Moorcroft at Wright
Rocky Mountain at Greybull
Southeast at Pine Bluffs
Class 1A six-man
Burlington at Meeteetse
Hanna at Guernsey-Sunrise
Hulett at Kaycee
Saturday
Class 2A
Kemmerer at Mountain View
Class 1A nine-man
Saratoga at Riverside
Class 1A six-man
Farson at Ten Sleep
NSI at Midwest
Snake River at Dubois
Interclass
Encampment at Natrona sophs

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 4” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

+++

Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 25-7 (78 percent). This season: 89-26 (77 percent). 

+++

Had you ever heard of a Genoise cake before this post? If so, why hadn’t I? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship

–patrick

Across the state this week, five games — one in each classification — will pair up teams who are still undefeated.

Four will be played. One will stay on the schedule, unplayed, a tantalizing “what-if” we can wonder about all year.

The 3-0 face-off between Class 4A’s two remaining undefeated teams, Thunder Basin and Cheyenne Central, will command a big chunk of the statewide attention this week, and rightly so.

These aren’t soft 3-0 starts, either: Central’s beaten both Natrona and Sheridan on the road and has a home victory against Kelly Walsh, while Thunder Basin topped preseason No. 1 Cheyenne East in the season opener in Gillette before beating Rock Springs and Cheyenne South.

In a season where home-field advantage means a little bit more, this game is crucial. It won’t make or break a season, but it may decide where the make-or-break game is played.

In Class 3A, though, the game between Powell (3-0) and Douglas (2-0), a combined 5-0, will remain unplayed, as Douglas works to keep its players safe. Maybe we’ll see this matchup again later this year. For now, it’s a tantalizing what-if, and for now, I’d rather see it stay that way.

Even though the 4A game gets top billing, and 3A will draw the wonder, the other classifications have games that are just as interesting:

Now that Big Horn has fallen off a bit, the Class 2A East game between Wheatland (3-0) and Upton-Sundance (2-0) on Friday in Upton looks mighty interesting. Keep in mind, though, that the opponents of the Patriots and Bulldogs are a combined 1-12 this season. …

Moorcroft and Lusk both got out to quick 2-0 starts, and I really want to see how they match up against each other in Niobrara County on Friday. Lusk has scored 122 points in its first two games, by far tops in Class 1A nine-man; Moorcroft has given up just 19, second only to Southeast in the classification. …

With both Encampment and Farson starting 2-0, Friday’s game between the two of the in Farson has all kinds of playoff implications for the Class 1A six-man West Conference. Yes, Meeteetse is also 2-0, and Burlington and Snake River are still in it, but this has all the earmarks of a game that could decide a conference championship. …

Quickly, other games that you should be watching: Natrona-Kelly Walsh (because the Oil Bowl is always fun, even if it’s normally one-sided); Lovell-Lyman (two teams with fast starts and high hopes need this one in a competitive 2A West); Burlington-Snake River (the loser starts 1A six-man West play 0-2, and neither expected, or wanted, that).

+++

On to the picks. If you look closely, you’ll see I bold half the teams. Those are the teams I think will win. It’s apparently not self-explanatory, which is why I explain it every week.

Thursday
Interclass
Greybull at Sheridan JV
Natrona sophs/frosh at Midwest
Shoshoni at Evanston JV
Friday
Class 4A
Campbell County at Cheyenne South
Laramie at Cheyenne East
Natrona at Kelly Walsh
Sheridan at Rock Springs
Thunder Basin at Cheyenne Central
Class 3A
Cody at Buffalo
Evanston at Lander
Green River at Worland
Jackson at Riverton
Rawlins at Star Valley
Class 2A
Big Horn at Newcastle
Big Piney at Pinedale
Burns at Glenrock
Cokeville at Mountain View
Thermopolis at Kemmerer
Wheatland at Upton-Sundance
Class 1A nine-man
Lusk at Moorcroft
Riverside at Rocky Mountain
Saratoga at Pine Bluffs
Southeast at Wind River
Wright at Lingle
Class 1A six-man
Encampment at Farson
Meeteetse at Dubois
Saturday
Class 2A
Lovell at Lyman
Torrington at Tongue River
Class 1A six-man
Burlington at Snake River
NSI at Ten Sleep
Interclass
Cheyenne Central JV at Guernsey-Sunrise
Sheridan sophs at Kaycee
Open: Hanna, Hulett.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 3” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

+++

Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 24-11 (69 percent). This season: 64-19 (77 percent). 

+++

Which game has you ready to snap on the chinstrap and go crazy? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship

–patrick

Douglas and Powell will not play their scheduled game on Friday after two COVID-19 cases emerged in Douglas’ schools.

The story was first reported by Wyopreps.

The Douglas High School activities website noted the cancellation of Douglas’ varsity game with Powell as well as cancellations of a freshman game with Laramie on Thursday and a JV game with Riverton scheduled for Monday.

The Converse County School District No. 1 posted additional information on the cases on its website.

A release from the Converse County Emergency Management Agency said, as of Tuesday, the county has 28 active cases and 93 people under quarantine.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Wyoming Department of Health’s COVID-19 website listed 28 lab-confirmed cases, with 12 of those 28 being confirmed in the past 24 hours. As of Wednesday, the state was averaging just more than 38 new confirmed cases per day, using a 14-day average.

Powell Tribune reporter Carson Field reported Wednesday on Twitter that Douglas’ team had multiple cases.

UPDATE: Multiple players have tested positive on Douglas’ end, according to Powell AD Scott McKenzie, leading to the cancellation.— Carson Field (@CarsonDField) September 16, 2020

Douglas is 2-0, having defeated Torrington two weeks ago and Belle Fourche, S.D., last week. Powell is 3-0. The game will be listed as a no-contest cancellation, not as a forfeit.

This is the second time this season a Wyoming football game has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. A Week 1 game between Newcastle and Buffalo was also canceled after Newcastle players were exposed during a game against Hot Springs, S.D.

Wyoming Indian and St. Stephens had previously canceled their fall sports seasons due to COVID-19.

–patrick

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