The Casper Star-Tribune has reported that Jon Vance is no longer the head football coach at Kelly Walsh.

The Star-Tribune reported the Natrona County School District No. 1 confirmed Vance was no longer KW’s head coach, and that the district was seeking applicants for the position. As of Tuesday morning, the position was listed on the Natrona County School District website.

Vance had been KW’s head coach since 2011. He had gone 32-48 in that time, reaching the playoffs seven times in eight years and advancing to the Class 4A semifinals once, in 2017. His 32 victories was second all-time in program history behind Tom Staffileno, who had 37 victories while head coach from 1982-88.

Vance declined comment Tuesday when contacted by wyoming-football.com.

Other programs either searching for or with new head coaches for 2019 include GlenrockLovell and Wyoming Indian. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Updated 3:49 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, to add contact with Vance.

Inspired by a previous post outlining the highest-scoring and lowest-scoring playoff teams, this post will look at the opposite — Wyoming high school football teams that won titles with historic defensive efforts or lackluster playoff defense.

Here are the teams that have allowed the fewest points in a three-game title run since the eight-team bracket came into play in 1990, with the number of points allowed per game (quarters, semis, championship) in parentheses:

0 points: Kemmerer (0, 0, 0), 3A 2007 … Wind River (0, 0, 0), 1A DII 1997
2 points: Southeast (0, 2, 0), 1A 2008
6 points: Lusk (6, 0, 0), 2A 2002 … Sundance (0, 6, 0), 2A 2005
7 points: Gillette (0, 0, 7), 4A 2000
8 points: Cokeville (0, 8, 0), 1A 2002 … Glenrock (8, 0, 0), 3A 2008
9 points: Upton (0, 3, 6), 1A 2005
10 points: Natrona (0, 7, 3), 5A 2003
12 points: Glenrock (0, 6, 6), 3A 2003 … Glenrock (0, 12, 0), 3A 2002 … Torrington (6, 0, 6), 3A 1990
13 points: Cokeville (0, 7, 6), 1A 11-man 2014 … Cokeville (0, 7, 6), 1A 11-man 2010 … Cokeville (0, 13, 0), 1A DII 1995 … Lusk (6, 0, 7), 1A DI 2000 … Natrona (0, 13, 0), 4A 1996 … Powell (0, 3, 10), 3A 2012 … Southeast (0, 6, 7), 2A 2001 … Thermopolis (0, 0, 13), 2A 1992 … Worland (0, 0, 13), 4A 2003 … Worland (7, 6, 0), 4A 2001 … Mountain View (14, 0, 0), 2A 1995 … Natrona (7, 0, 7), 4A 2012 … Wheatland (6, 0, 8), 2A 2015

A handful of teams have also won state titles without giving up a single point in a two-game/four-team playoff bracket. Those teams are:

Star Valley, 3A 1996
Midwest, 1A nine-man 1991
Cheyenne Central, 4A 1989
Cokeville, 1A 1988
Lusk, B 1981
Star Valley, A 1961
Sheridan, all-class 1938
Sheridan, all-class 1936

+++

Conversely, the most points given up in a championship playoff run was set by a squad that had little competition for the top spot. Star Valley’s 2016 3A championship team allowed 79 points during its title run, giving up 27 points to Riverton in a 35-27 quarterfinal win, 42 points to Douglas in a 61-42 semifinal shootout and 10 points to Powell in a 27-10 championship-game victory.

Star Valley’s 79 points allowed was 21 points more than any other 11-man championship squad. The 11-man teams that allowed more than 50 points in their championship runs included 10 squads:

79 points: Star Valley (27, 42, 10), 3A 2016
58 points: Cheyenne East (10, 34, 14), 5A 2007
55 points: Star Valley (13, 27, 15), 3A 2015 … Big Horn (14, 19, 22), 2A 2013 … Sheridan (12, 29, 14), 4A 2011 … Big Piney (8, 33, 14), 3A 2001 … Big Piney (7, 20, 28), 2A 2000
54 points: Cheyenne Central (20, 20, 14), 5A 2005 … Rocky Mountain (12, 22, 20), 1A DI 1997
51 points: Sheridan (17, 6, 28), 4A 2016

The most points given up in a two-game bracket is 41 (14, 27), allowed by Riverton in 1994 on its way to the 3A title.

–patrick

It’s way too early for this. That’s never stopped us before. Let’s take a look at 2019’s top five teams in each class, way too early before it’s practical to do so:

Class 4A
1. Thunder Basin: The state’s most dynamic offensive duo will likely be on Gillette’s south side in 2019, with quarterback Mason Hamilton (4A’s top passer last year) and wideout Blaine Allen (4A’s top receiver last year) ready to lead the ‘Bolts to unprecedented heights in 2019. The lines lost several key players, though.
2. Natrona: Running back Dante Wallace highlights a senior class that’s done a lot of winning, including last year’s state title. The Mustangs will be tough to stop with a balanced group of players coming back.
3. Cheyenne East: Class 4A’s most diverse offense in 2019 may belong to the Thunderbirds. Between seniors Christian Anderton and Chance Aumiller and junior Graedyn Buell, East will present troubles for any opposing defense.
4. Sheridan: The Broncs only return one all-state player, senior Garrett Coon, but few programs rebuild as efficiently as Sheridan does. Count on Sheridan being in the championship chase again.
5. Cheyenne Central: New coach Mike Apodaca took some lumps in his first year at Central, but the Indians showed great potential at times. With three returning all-conference players, the Indians return a solid chunk of contributors that could make Central a threat.
Dark horse: Laramie. The Plainsmen were a solid five seed in 4A last year but need to replace a good group of seniors. If that happens as efficiently as coach Clint Reed hopes, Laramie could be a challenger again.

Class 3A
1. Star Valley: By accident or by design, the Braves’ juniors got a ton of experience last year. Five all-state players will be back this fall, including Super 25 pick Chase Merrell and three starting linemen. That will put Star Valley in perfect position to repeat.
2. Cody: The Broncs get back four all-state selections, second only to Star Valley, as well as six total all-conference picks. RB Charlie Beaudrie will be tough to stop, and lineman Keith Conner was a Super 25 pick.
3. Jackson: Jeydon Cox — who broke the 2,000-yard barrier last season — will probably be the most exciting running back in the state next year. But he can’t do it alone. The Broncs lose a big chunk of contributors but should have enough back to prove last year was no fluke.
4. Douglas: I like what the Bearcats have coming back next fall, and it starts with an experienced all-state quarterback in A.J. Yeaman. There are some other holes to fill, but the Bearcats should be competitive.
5. Torrington: The Trailblazers lost a huge senior class, so staying in the title hunt will be challenging. However, they do return a pair of all-conference linemen in seniors Corbin Harris and Tyler Schaub, and that’s a good place to start.
Dark horse: Lander. In a sentence: Don’t discount coach John Scott’s ability to quickly build a competitive program.

Class 2A
1. Mountain View: Almost all of the Buffalos’ key contributors are back in 2019. This includes four two-time all-state choices (Briggin Bluemel, Hunter Gross, Kimball Madsen and Braeden Walk). No team in 2A can match that.
2. Buffalo: The defending 2A champs aren’t going anywhere. The Bison have five returning all-state choices, tied with Mountain View for the most in the class — and those returners aren’t concentrated in any one specific area.
3. Thermopolis: After a couple years of building, the Bobcats may be ready for a breakthrough in 2019. Junior Logan Cole has proven to be a dependable running back, and he’s got a good number of key contributors surrounding him.
4. Greybull: At a glance, the 2A West seems like it doesn’t have the depth it did in 2018. However, the Buffaloes should remain competitive, with all-conference picks Ben Kraft and Felipe Gaytan leading the way.
5. Burns: The Broncs have been leading up to a breakthrough in 2019. Boe Clayson is a dynamic running back, and an experienced group of seniors will help Burns into the playoff chase.
Dark horse: Glenrock. Yeah, it seems weird to see the Herders outside the top five. But with a new head coach and a new set of leaders needing to emerge on both offense and defense, Glenrock is on the outside for now. If the program can preserve its momentum under a new coach, Glenrock should continue to be a winner.

Class 1A 11-man
1. Big Horn: Yes, the Rams lose one of the best senior classes to ever play at this level. At the same time, they return six all-state choices, more than any other program in 1A, and they’ve got momentum and confidence. A repeat will be tough, but this group has that ability.
2. Cokeville: The Panthers do lose eight all-state choices, but they also return five all-conference picks. They absolutely obliterated every other team in the West last year. And no one — no one — reloads like Cokeville reloads.
3. Upton-Sundance: All-stater Jayden Caylor and all-conference pick Kye Taylor have to lead the task of carrying on the Patriots’ tradition. There’s work to do, but U-S has depth and has shown throughout the history of its co-op that it can get players to step up when needed.
4. Pine Bluffs: Brian Steger, an all-state pick, and Donte Jacobsen, an all-conference selection, will be the leaders on a less-experienced but still dangerous Hornet team. They’ll need to build some depth, but if that can happen quickly, they’ll be in the hunt come November.
5. Lusk: The Tigers return four all-conference choices, second to Big Horn in the East, and junior Drake Lamp and senior Damien Molzahn will create a backfield duo most 1A teams would envy.
Dark horse: Rocky Mountain. The Grizzlies had seven all-conference choices in 2018: one senior, five sophomores and a freshman. If Rocky’s youth can prove itself against tougher competition, it could be the team to challenge Cokeville in the West.

Class 1A six-man
1. Hanna: Twins Connor and Shane McGraw are just the starting point for the Miners, who return five all-conference choices and are poised to build on last year’s unbeaten regular season with some postseason victories this time.
2. Snake River: The Rattlers were really competitive last season despite having a senior class small enough to fit on a motorcycle. Riggen Myers provides dynamism, and a host of others from what will be a deep senior class will make Snake River a title threat.
3. Meeteetse: This year’s deep senior class will be gone, but the Longhorns still return enough depth to stay competitive. That charge will be led by a pair of all-conference picks, Asa Eldredge and Kaden Redding.
4. Farson: Ready to play a game of “Who’s that”? The Pronghorns’ senior class will be pretty thin in 2019, but its upcoming junior class is deep and ready to fill the spots vacated by this year’s graduating class.
5. Burlington: Senior Jarom Davidson will be the lone all-conference holdover from last year’s runner-up squad, so the Huskies have some clear rebuilding to do. But the 2018 season should give the program momentum.
Dark horse: Guernsey. The Vikings return three all-conference choices (seniors Alex Delgado, Jeremy Hartt and Justin Malcolm), and all three were key contributors on defense. If the defense can hold up early, the offense could come around late and help the Vikings win in the postseason.

What do you think? Who’s ready for a breakout season in 2019? Which teams are too low? Leave a comment and let’s discuss what might be on the way by the time the 2019 season starts.

–patrick

If you’re not sure who to root for in Wyoming high school football next season, or if you just want to confirm that you’re rooting for the right team given your temperament and preferences, then we’ve got you covered.

In development for literally hours, the Rooting Interest Generator — or RIG — takes answers to questions provided and helps you figure out which Wyoming high school football team you should be rooting for.

Test it out and see who you should be rooting for, and how that compares to who you actually root for.

Play the game here. And let us know who you’ll be cheering on this fall.

–patrick

Sister site wyoming-basketball.com has added a new area to its site: season recaps. Some of the season recaps that were previously posted on this blog have been moved to this area of that site. See the info below for all the details.

–patrick

The final touches on the 2019 Wyoming high school football schedule are done.

The portion of the schedule set by the Wyoming High School Activities Association was released to schools during the statewide scheduling meeting in mid-November in Casper. Since then, schools have finalized dates and times and, in some cases, added games to their schedules where open weeks were available.

As expected, most of the 2019 schedule is a flip-flop of the 2018 schedule, with home and road locations switching places from 2018 to 2019 for most schools. However, a handful of games will be different for 2019, especially in nonconference games.

Class 3A, Class 2A, Class 1A 11-man and Class 1A six-man schools also have the option of scheduling Zero Week contests. Those will be updated as they are received from the schools. For now, only a small handful of schools have opted not to play in some kind of Zero Week game or scrimmage.

Saratoga will continue to play six-man and will take over the 1A six-man East Conference schedule originally held by Rock River. Rock River will not field a team in 2019; Saratoga will be ineligible for the six-man playoffs.

Encampment, which is tentatively scheduled to add a sub-varsity six-man team in 2019, is not on the schedule; the Tigers have yet to set up any games while waiting to see if the program will obtain final approval.

The 2019 schedule is available here. It will be updated with changes when received. Also, the 2019 schedules will start appearing on team pages on this site in the next couple weeks.

–patrick

The 2018 Wyoming Shrine Bowl raised $30,000 for the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Shrine Bowl executive director Frank Selby announced the donation to the Salt Lake Shriners Hospital in a release on Wednesday.

Shrine Bowl players make a trip to the Salt Lake Shriners Hospital prior to playing in the annual all-star football game. The hospital treats children with special health needs, including burns, muscular or skeletal conditions or other needs.

Last summer’s Shrine Bowl was the 45th year for the game. The North team won its sixth straight Shrine Bowl by beating the South 13-7.

The 2019 game will be played June 9 in Casper.

–patrick

Rock River will not field a football team in 2019 and is evaluating continuing the program into future seasons, the school’s AD said.

Ty Vallier, Rock River’s activities director, said via email to wyoming-football.com on Tuesday that the Longhorns will not field a team in Wyoming’s six-man division in 2019.

“At this point we are assessing the future of the program and will revisit that next year before state scheduling,” Vallier said.

Rock River has played sub-varsity schedules the past two seasons after failing to draw enough players to field varsity squads.

The school’s six-man program started in 2012. The team played two sub-varsity seasons in 2012 and 2013 before fielding varsity teams in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Saratoga, which played a patchwork six-man schedule last season after opting down from 11-man, will pick up Rock River’s games in the Class 1A six-man East Conference schedule in 2019.

–patrick

It’s been almost a month now since Big Horn finished an unbeaten season by demolishing Cokeville 56-3 in the Class 1A 11-man championship game.

Big Horn’s 11-0 season was indeed historic, but until now I hadn’t really considered the true proportions of the Rams’ playoff run.

The Rams lambasted their postseason opponents, beating Wind River 67-8 in the quarterfinals and Pine Bluffs 68-13 in the semis before thumping Cokeville by 53 in the title game. And you get the feeling it could have been worse.

Big Horn’s 191 total points in three playoff games — an average of 63.67 ppg — was impressive regardless. But dig this:

Prior to this year, only one other 11-man team in an eight-team playoff bracket — Cokeville in 2002 — had ever averaged more than 50 points per game in the playoffs on their way to a state title. The Panthers in 2002 were a bit weird, as they scored 54 points in every playoff game (winning 54-0, 54-8 and 54-0). Even I can figure out that that’s an average of 54 ppg; Cokeville totaled 162 points. No other team to win a state title in an 11-man eight-team bracket, instituted in 1990 for most classes, had scored even 150 points total in their three games.

Well, prior to Big Horn’s 191 this year.

The list of teams that have scored at least 45 points per game in the playoffs on their way to a title (in an 11-man eight-team bracket) is pretty short. The Rams rank so high above them all that it seems weird to have them on the same list.

Team Class Year Total Average
Big Horn 1A 11 2018 191 63.67
Cokeville 1A 2002 162 54
Buffalo 2A 2018 149 49.67
Sheridan 4A 1993 149 49.67
Mountain View 2A 1995 148 49.33
Lusk 1A DI 1999 145 48.33
Southeast 1A 2007 144 48
Mountain View 2A 2014 140 46.67
Douglas 3A 2009 140 46.67
Rocky Mountain 1A DI 1998 139 46.33
Big Horn 2A 2004 135 45

Another way to think of it is like this: The Rams averaged 63.67 points per game; 10 other programs have won state titles without even scoring 60 TOTAL points in three games in an 11-man eight-team bracket.

The biggest anomaly in that group is Cokeville’s 1994 Class 1A 11-man title team, which scored only 31 total points in three games — an average of 10.33 per game — but won the title. Cokeville won playoff games that year by back-to-back 7-6 scores in the quarterfinals and semifinals before winning the title game 17-8.

The programs scoring less than 60 points in an 11-man eight-team bracket title run are:

Team Class Year Total Average
Cokeville 1A 11 1994 31 10.33
Glenrock 3A 2003 43 14.33
Natrona 4A 1996 44 14.67
Riverside 2A 2007 48 16
Big Piney 3A 2006 49 16.33
Pine Bluffs 1A 11 2016 52 17.33
Southeast 1A 2008 53 17.67
Guernsey 1A 2006 54 18
Cheyenne East 4A 2013 55 18.33
Cokeville 1A DII 1998 59 19.67

In short: We all knew Big Horn’s 2018 playoff run was impressive. But when we stack it up against other high-scoring playoff runs, the Rams of 2018 clearly stand alone, setting a standard that may go unmatched for years to come.

–patrick

Ryan Collier, who spent four years as an assistant coach at Glenrock, will lead the Herders as the program’s new head coach.

Glenrock activities director Julie Kuhlman announced Collier’s hiring on Wednesday via an email to media.

Prior to coming to Glenrock, Collier was the head coach at Otis High School in Colorado for six years. At Glenrock, he has coached a variety of positions, including defensive line and offensive backfield, in addition to being the co-offensive coordinator.

He is also the head track and field coach at Glenrock and teaches social studies at the high school. He is a native of Denver.

“Ryan will continue to bring a wide knowledge base of the game of (football) to our Herder program, as well as a mission to inspire, teach, and motivate our students to be outstanding (football) players, but even better citizens,” Kuhlman said in the email.

Collier replaces Ray Kumpula, who retired at the end of the season after a total of 23 years as head coach of the Herders over two separate stints.

Glenrock is the first program statewide to name a new head coach for 2019, as Wyoming Indian and Lovell are also looking for new head coaches. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

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