Joe Campbell, who has spent several years as a youth football coach in Casper, will be the new head football coach at Midwest.

The school announced Campbell’s selection on its Facebook page on Wednesday.

Campbell, a Casper native, has spent 12 years coaching as part of the Casper Midget Football Association, the school’s post said.

Campbell replaces Dean Kelly, who was the Oilers’ head coach for one season.

Midwest, a Class 1A six-man program, finished the 2019 season 1-7 after forfeiting its final four games due to low numbers.

Four Class 3A programs — Green RiverPowellRiverton and Worland — have also hired new head coaches since the end of last season. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Debate time: 2020 will be Wyoming high school football’s 100th season (or at least the 100th since the modern form of it started in 1921). If I made a list of the 100 greatest players over those 100 years, which ONE player should definitely be on that list?

Leave a comment with your nomination…

–patrick

It’s a tradition ’round these parts to live in a fantasy world — one with reliable transportation, unlimited money and lots of free time.

How I would spend that time and money, come August/September/October/November, is on attending high school football games.

With a 2020 schedule in hand (and with an optimistic view that the season will still happen on schedule), here’s where I’d go to catch as many games, and as many good games, as I possibly could:

Week 0 (Friday, Aug. 28): East-West Jamboree, Casper, 11 a.m. Friday; Cheyenne East at Thunder Basin, 6 p.m. Friday; Big Horn-Buffalo scrimmage, 1 p.m. Saturday. The showdown in Gillette between the Thunderbirds and the ‘Bolts is the marquee matchup of the opening weekend. However, the East-West Jamboree, featuring nine of the teams in six-man nine-man facing off in Casper, will be a great opportunity to see how the classification might come together. Another scrimmage on Saturday between two teams that played in Laramie last year is a nice bonus.

Week 1 (Friday, Sept. 4): Rawlins at Lyman, 5 p.m. Thursday; Guernsey-Sunrise at Farson, 1 p.m. Friday; Mountain View at Evanston, 7 p.m. Friday; Snake River at Hanna, noon Saturday. The first two games are nice appetizers before the meal. The Mountain View-Evanston game is one of the most intriguing interclass games on the schedule in 2020, and then Saturday’s Carbon County duel between Snake River and Hanna is a reprise of last year’s six-man title game.

Week 2 (Friday, Sept. 11): Farson at Burlington, 2 p.m. Friday; Lander at Powell, 7 p.m. Friday; Ten Sleep at Meeteetse, 2 p.m. Saturday. The Northwest corner has some intriguing games in Week 2, including the Lander-Powell matchup that could be 3A’s most interesting early-season matchup. Both squads impressed last year, and I’d be curious to see how they stack up. Throw in a couple six-man games, and it’s a full weekend.

Week 3 (Friday, Sept. 18): Shoshoni at St. Stephens, 5 p.m. Thursday; Encampment at Farson, 2 p.m. Friday; Sheridan at Rock Springs, 6 p.m. Friday; Burlington at Snake River, 2 p.m. Saturday. Lots of options existed in Week 3, including the Oil Bowl, but I decided that seeing a pair of what should be awesome 1A six-man West games was too good to pass up. In between is a showdown between Sheridan and Rock Springs that should be better than people anticipate, and a Thursday nine-man Fremont County game is a nice bonus (but not the only one we’ll get this year).

Week 4 (Friday, Sept. 25): Shoshoni at Wind River, 7 p.m. Thursday; Hulett at Kaycee, 2 p.m. Friday; Rock Springs at Natrona, 6 p.m. Friday; NSI at Midwest, 2 p.m. Saturday. More six-man and nine-man fun at non-Friday night times is always cool, and the Rock Springs-Natrona game last year was a doozy. Several games with great potential dot the schedule for Week 4, so really, you can’t go wrong.

Week 5 (Friday, Oct. 2): Sheridan JV at NSI, 1 p.m. Thursday; Farson at Kaycee, 2 p.m. Friday; Torrington at Big Horn, 6 p.m. Friday; Guernsey at Hulett, 1 p.m. Saturday. We’re staying Northeast for this weekend of football, mostly because I want to see this Torrington-Big Horn matchup. Who knows? By Week 5, it may have lost some luster, but right now it looks like a really fun game. A bunch of six-man around it fills out the weekend.

Week 6 (Friday, Oct. 9): St. Stephens at Wind River, 7 p.m. Thursday; Cody at Star Valley, 4 p.m. Friday; Cokeville at Kemmerer, 6 p.m. Friday; Thermopolis at Lyman, 11 a.m. Saturday. Yes, I know, I can’t get to BOTH the Star Valley and Kemmerer fields in time to watch both games… but I can’t resist that Cody-Star Valley game, which always seems to be a good one. Everything else is gravy, even if it’s just the second half (or fourth quarter?) in Kemmerer.

Week 7 (Friday, Oct. 16): St. Stephens at Wyoming Indian, 7 p.m. Thursday; Lusk at Southeast, 2 p.m. Friday; Wheatland at Torrington, 7 p.m. Friday; Hulett vs. Hanna (at Midwest), noon Saturday. On paper, the Lusk-Southeast, Wheatland-Torrington and Hulett-Hanna games could all be huge in deciding conference championships and playoff seeding. Meanwhile, Thursday’s game is the renewal of a reservation rivalry that may not have the title stakes but might be the most meaningful game of the week.

Week 8 (Friday, Oct. 23): Glenrock at Tongue River, noon Friday; Thunder Basin at Sheridan, 6 p.m. Friday; Dubois at Ten Sleep, 2 p.m. Saturday. You’d be out of your mind to think I’d miss the ‘Bolts and the Broncs in the regular-season closer. The other two games are nice and close, and they’d bring a solid end to the regular season.

With this plan, I’d get to see 41 of Wyoming’s 65 programs play football. Thanks to the non-Friday-night scheduling, I’d see Farson four times and Hulett and St. Stephens three times each; I’d also see Thunder Basin, Sheridan, Rock Springs, Big Horn, Lyman, Torrington, Shoshoni, Wind River, Guernsey, Snake River, Hanna, Burlington, Ten Sleep, Kaycee and NSI twice each. I’d see every team in six-man thanks to its less consistent scheduling. And I’d put an extra 2,618 miles on my car, eat lots of sodium-filled gas station snacks and temporarily alienate my wife in the process. Worth it.

–patrick

Updated 9:15 a.m. May 28 to fix an error in the Week 0 listing.

Worland has promoted assistant coach Patrick Sweeney to the head coach position.

Sweeney was previously a defensive assistant with the Warriors, wyopreps.com reported.

Sweeney replaces Ryan Utterback. Utterback will stay on the staff as an assistant, wyopreps.com’s report said. In three years as head coach, Utterback led the Warriors to three playoff berths and a combined 10-17 record.

Class 3A programs Green River, Powell and Riverton have also hired new head coaches since the end of last season. Class 1A six-man Midwest is also seeking a new head coach for 2020. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Just a quick update to note a change in the 2002 4A all-state listings, which unintentionally omitted Torrington’s Kyle Cotton from the list. Kyle’s name has been added.

As always, if you see any errors or omissions on the site, let me know: pschmiedt@yahoo.com. I definitely want to get this right. 🙂

–patrick

Chase Kistler will be the new head football coach at Powell, the Powell Tribune has reported.

The paper said Kistler will transition from being the head boys basketball coach to the head football coach. Kistler had been an assistant football coach at Powell and had been the head boys basketball coach since the 2013-14 school year.

Kistler takes over for Aaron Papich, who resigned after being the Panthers’ head coach the past two seasons.

Powell reached the Class 3A championship game last season and finished 7-5.

Class 3A programs Green River and Riverton have also hired new head coaches since the end of last season. Class 1A six-man Midwest is also seeking a new head coach for 2020. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Here’s a collection of Friday’s #bethelight and #bethelightwy posts in Wyoming on social media. If you’ve got one that you’d like me to consider posting here, email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com; I’d love to have one post from each school that participated.

View this post on Instagram

Be The Light. Well done, Pinedale!?

A post shared by Altitude Drug & Wyoming Gifts (@altitudedrugandwyominggifts) on

Since the start of Wyoming high school football back in 1894, a total of 233 teams have gone undefeated — defined as playing at least four games in a season and not losing a single one of them.

But which team is the best of the bunch?

Since we can’t exactly put two teams from different eras on the same field at the same time, I think the best way to decide the answer to that question is one big bracket and a bunch of simulations.

Welcome to the Wyoming Football Ultimate Playoff: three single-elimination brackets set up to help decide which team truly was Wyoming’s best.

The three brackets are set up for each level of play — one for 11-man, one for six-man and one combined bracket for eight- and nine-man. Teams will face each other in simulation games staged on League Simulator. As the tournament progresses into later rounds, I’ll set up pre-game polls on the Wyoming-football.com Twitter account, so you can chime in with your thoughts on who you think will win the games closer to the championships.

Brackets are available here for each of the three divisions.

+++

I know you have questions. Let me try to address them before you ask them:

How did you seed the teams?

With way more time and care than I probably should have. For the 11-man bracket, I separated teams into three tiers based on the level at which they completed their undefeated season — what I called Tier 1, the big-school level (modern 4A); Tier 2, the medium-school level (modern 3A); and Tier 3, the smaller-school level (modern 2A and 1A). I subjectively ranked teams in each tier and then seeded each tier from there. That means the 64 teams in Tier 1 were seeded 1-64, then the 40 Tier 2 schools were seeded 65-104, and the remaining 75 Tier 3 schools were seeded 105-180.

Within each tier, I tried to separate the bracket so teams from the same school wouldn’t meet each other any sooner than the bracket’s quarterfinals. That means I didn’t seed the bracket 1-180 based on the rankings I would have given them; I got teams close, and then adjusted seeds to avoid same-school pairings until that quarterfinal round.

For the eight-man and six-man brackets, I didn’t have tiers — I just seeded them, also looking to avoid same-school matchups until as late as possible.

When seeding teams, I looked season records at whether the teams had any ties; any team with a tie was automatically sent to the bottom of the tier; for example, an 8-0-1 team was never going to be seeded higher than a 8-0 team from the same tier. From there, I used a combination of season scoring, an analyzation of teams’ closest victories, reputation, era, and intuition to rank them as well as I could. After seeds were in place, I started to do the math…

What effect do seeds have on the simulation?

Not a whole lot. After I was done seeding, I used a big Excel sheet to give each team’s offense and each team’s defense a single ranking from 1-9 (one being the worst, nine the best), as those are the ranking levels used for teams on League Simulator, the simulator I’m using for this project. It’s those rankings, NOT the seeds, that will have the biggest effect on the results of the simulated games.

I ran through a few dry runs on League Simulator, and I noted that the lower-ranked teams do occasionally still win — a fact I like a lot, which hopefully will make the bracket more realistic and give us a chance for a couple Cinderellas.

In determining a team’s rankings for offense and defense, I used a combination of points scored, points allowed, tier of play, and era. As I looked at the data, I noticed there were huge differences in teams that gave up, say, nine points per game in 2012 against a team that gave up the same amount of points in 1925. The 2012 team was, by all measures, a better defensive team; we can’t compare their defensive efforts head-to-head, point-to-point, without accounting for what era they played in. So I tried to “curve” scoring over each era to allow for more realistic comparisons between them. For era, I separated teams into pre-1945, 1946-1985 and 1986-present — the three eras when scoring between teams was relatively similar.

In the 11-man bracket, only two teams ended up with rankings of 9 on both offense and defense: Laramie 1964 (seeded #4 overall) and Natrona 2014 (seeded #13 overall). No teams are “perfect 18s” in either my six-man or eight/nine-man brackets.

Rankings for every team are available at the bottom of the brackets page.

I think my favorite team is seeded too low, or has rankings that I think are too low. Can I appeal the seed and/or the ranking?

No.

Can I complain?

Sure. Go nuts.

What if a really good team loses to a significantly lower-rated team really early in the bracket? I mean, come on, that would never happen in real life.

Right. But I guess that’s the fun (and frustration) of a single-elimination bracket, isn’t it? If we ran this simulation 10 different times, we’d probably get 10 different champs. I hope the brackets stimulate conversation, not end it.

What inspired this?

I’ve been thinking about doing this for years. I actually drew up a preliminary bracket in 2015, but I never felt like I had the right approach until the past few weeks when I started playing around with online simulators, looking for one that would give me the closest thing to what I was looking for. That, plus a bizarre start to 2020 (a safer-at-home order from my governor, a shutdown at my employer, and some free time) made now the right time to do this. Oh, and the fact that Wyoming high school football is nearing its unofficial 100th birthday next year helps, too!

Games start Friday, April 10.

That’s it for now. Watch for game results on the Wyoming-football.com Twitter account, and follow the brackets here.

Even better, set up an office pool. We haven’t had enough of those in 2020.

–patrick

For the first time since it began in 1974, the Wyoming Shrine Bowl all-star football game won’t be played.

The 2020 version of the game won’t be played due to risks associated with the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, a release from Wyoming Shrine Bowl executive director Frank Selby said.

“The overall well-being of our communities remains on the forefront of our minds as we weather these uncertain times,” the release said. ” … In addition to potential risks that linger as game time nears, we cannot in good conscience ask for financial support from communities as they are left reeling in economic effects associated with the outbreak.”

In the release, Selby apologized for the inability to stage the game. He said players coaches, trainers and managers — who had already been selected for the game — as well as others associated with the now-canceled game will still receive recognition.

“Our focus at this time is to ensure that the players, coaches and participants are justly recognized for their achievements and the commitment that brought us together,” the release said.

The game acts as a fundraiser for the Shriner’s Hospital for Children. The game has raised more than $450,000 since its inception, the Wyoming Shrine Bowl website said, with $30,000 raised last year.

Selby said the game will return, as the 2021 Shrine Bowl is scheduled for June 12, 2021, in Casper.

Here is the full press release.

–patrick

Riverton assistant football coach Troy Anderson has been promoted to be school’s new head football coach, wyopreps.com has reported.

Citing a news release from Riverton high school, Wyopreps said Anderson had been an assistant coach with the Wolverines the past four years, most recently coaching the offensive and defensive lines.

Anderson is serving overseas as part of the Wyoming National Guard right now and will coordinate his coaching efforts from there until his return in June, Wyopreps said.

Anderson takes over for Pat Patterson, who resigned after last season. Patterson had coached the Wolverines for seven seasons, finishing 27-39, including 4-6 last season.

Fellow Class 3A programs Powell and Green River have also hired new head coaches since the end of last season. Class 1A six-man Midwest is also seeking a new head coach for 2020. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

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