It’s rivalry week in Class 3A this week.

It’s also the semifinal round of the playoffs.

In a weird twist, two of 3A’s biggest rivalries, Cody/Powell and Star Valley/Jackson, will be staged on the doorstep of a state championship game berth.

With the West sweeping the East out of the 3A playoffs with scores of 55-26, 48-6, 41-14 and 45-12, the bracket distilled down to a renewal of the Bighorn Brawl in the battle for Park County supremacy between Cody and Powell and a restaging of the Fall Brawl between western edge rivals Jackson and Star Valley.

The West’s control of 3A is nothing new — it’s been the norm for almost the entire decade.

In 2012, the West swept the East, albeit by smaller margins as two of the four games that year were one-possession games. And in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2013, three West teams reached the semis. The only year left out of that conflagration is 2014, when the only West team to reach the semis (Cody) ended up winning the 3A title. Moreover, the past eight 3A state champs have all been West teams.

Well, make it nine, because a West team will win 3A again this year.

The question now is which one.

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I’ve made some picks, with the team I think will win in bold. However, as you can see, I’ve only picked one road team to win, which is kind of boring:

Friday
Class 4A
(4) Cheyenne East at (1) Thunder Basin: The ‘Bolts are undefeated but aren’t unbeatable. Last week showed that. A 31-30 game with East in Week 2 showed that. And it’ll take a heck of an effort from Thunder Basin to hold off a confident Thunderbird crew. (First playoff meeting.)
(3) Cheyenne Central at (2) Sheridan: Man, it seems like a LONG time ago that Sheridan beat Central 28-14. That’s because that game was in Week 1. Since then, the Broncs have been consistent but the Indians have been streaky. I like consistency, but I fear streakiness. (First playoff meeting since 2017 4A quarterfinals.)
Class 3A
(3W) Jackson at (1W) Star Valley: Don’t forget, the last time these two teams met, it was a one-score game at halftime before the Braves ran away with it in the second half. If the Broncs can put together a complete game, they can absolutely win in Afton. If. (First playoff meeting since 1990 3A quarterfinals.)
(4W) Powell at (2W) Cody: The Broncs controlled the first meeting between these teams from start to finish and won 38-14. But rivalries have a weird way of manifesting weird results when they’re staged in the playoffs. (First playoff meeting since 2013 3A semifinals.)
Class 2A
(3E) Thermopolis at (1E) Buffalo: The Bison had to rally late last week to stay unbeaten. And the Bobcats hung with the Bison in their first game before falling 28-14. Buffalo’s the favorite, but Thermop is a capable spoiler. (First playoff meeting since 2003 4A semifinals.)
(2E) Burns at (1W) Mountain View: Both teams had easy first-round victories. Despite how good and confident the Broncs might be, the Buffalos still enter as big favorites. (First playoff meeting.)
Class 1A 11-man
(3E) Southeast at (1E) Big Horn: Big Horn won the first matchup two weeks ago 49-7 in Yoder. The Cyclones might keep it closer this time around, but the Rams are in great position to move back into the title game. (First playoff meeting since 2001 2A semifinals.)
(2E) Upton-Sundance at (1W) Cokeville: Cokeville won this game last year. But that was last year, and the Patriots are looking stronger than they’ve looked in a while. Incidentally, I’m looking forward to seeing this game again in the 2A semifinals next year. (Rematch of a 2018 1A 11-man semifinal.)
Class 1A six-man
(3E) Lingle at (1E) Hanna: I know Snake River’s defense gets the attention, but how about Hanna’s offense? The Miners are averaging 73.9 points per game, which if they can keep up that pace would be an all-time state record for scoring proficiency. With a 69-24 victory against the Doggers already logged this season, Hanna’s the easy favorite in this one. (First playoff meeting since 1991 1A quarterfinals.)
Saturday
Class 1A six-man
(2E) Hulett at (1W) Snake River: The Rattlers are the favorites to win, yes. But the Red Devils’ solid performance against Farson last week has me thinking they might be the team to break Snake’s season-long shutout streak. (First playoff meeting since 2012 1A six-man quarterfinals.)

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Semifinals” 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: 17-3 (85 percent). This season: 237-55 (81 percent). 

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Which road team do you think is most likely to win this week? 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

Let’s face it: Last year’s opening round of the playoffs was a pretty big, boring dud.

Only two out of 20 games statewide in last year’s opening round were decided by a possession or less — Cody’s 29-26 victory against Douglas and Wheatland’s 21-14 victory against Greybull. Meanwhile, eight games reached running-clock status, including all four first-round games in 1A 11-man.

Although the 2019 quarterfinals probably won’t be running clock-free, they certainly present more possibilities for close games than last year.

Finally, we have some intrigue in the first round of the playoffs.

Class 4A has a pair of intriguing games, with Natrona and East reprising a game that went Natrona won in double overtime in Week 4 and with Rock Springs and Central meeting in a game that finished 36-29 Indians in Week 2. Central is hosting a playoff game for the first time since 2009, and the Indians’ meeting with Rock Springs assures us that it won’t be the Big Four of East, Natrona, Thunder Basin and Sheridan dominating the semis again — and that’s a nice breath of fresh air for Wyoming’s big schools.

Class 3A’s most interesting first-round game matches up East Conference champ Lander, winners of six in a row, against Powell, the team that gave Lander its last, and only, loss of the season. The Panthers won 17-7 in Week 2, in Lander, and has to duplicate that feat to keep its season going — a tough task against a confident Tiger team.

In 2A, the 2-3 games are more or less toss-ups. Rising Lyman hosts a solid Thermopolis team, while Big Piney travels to Burns to play the Broncs for the first meeting between the programs. Both games provide ample opportunities for final-possession magic, because all four teams have shown potential.

Likewise in Class 1A six-man, the 2-3 games (Farson at Hulett, Lingle at Burlington) could go either way. Last year, the West swept the East in the first round, but the East has been improved this year. And with Hanna at 8-0 and Hulett at 7-1, the East has some teams thinking more than just escaping the first round — they’re thinking title.

That leaves us with… oh yeah, Class 1A 11-man, where intrigue is as rare as steak tartare.

Three of the four first-round matchups are rematches of last year’s blowouts (Wind River/Big Horn, Wright/Cokeville, Rocky Mountain/Upton-Sundance). Southeast’s venture to Shoshoni is the only thing new on the playoff schedule, but even that’s not rare — they’ve already met in the quarterfinals in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016. The East is the better conference, again; Cokeville is the lone exception, again; of the four teams favored to win on Friday, three are headed to 2A next year…

At least in four of the five classes, some intrigue, some unpredictability, is a nice change this year. I’d love more of it. The last couple years have been pretty predictable in the first round:

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If you’re new to the site, I predict who’s going to win every game by bolding the team I think will have more points at the end. See above; I’m pretty good at this in the quarterfinals. That said, see above; I’m ready to be surprised.

Class 4A
(8) Gillette at (1) Thunder Basin: The Camels aren’t “back,” but a playoff berth is a nice step forward for the program. Thunder Basin has bigger goals. (First playoff meeting.)
(5) Natrona at (4) Cheyenne East: The first meeting this season between these two programs was an all-timer, with Natrona winning in extra time; this one should be, too, and I think the T-Birds are ready for a bit of revenge. (Rematch of a 2018 4A semifinal.)
(7) Kelly Walsh at (2) Sheridan: The Broncs showed last week just how ready they are for a deep playoff run. Playing at Homer Scott Field helps the Broncs’ cause, too. (First playoff meeting since 2017 4A semifinals.)
(6) Rock Springs at (3) Cheyenne Central: I love this matchup. Both programs are eager to prove they belong in 4A’s upper echelon. A victory here might cement that spot for awhile to come, too. (First playoff meeting since 2007 5A quarterfinals.)
Class 3A
(4E) Douglas at (1W) Star Valley: The Braves have been scary efficient all season long. At home, expect more of the same. (First playoff meeting since 2016 3A semifinals.)
(3W) Jackson at (2E) Riverton: Riverton has been a different team since conference play started and will give Jackson a tussle in the first round. But the Broncs are still the favorites here. (First playoff meeting since 2015 3A quarterfinals.)
(4W) Powell at (1E) Lander: I love, love, love this matchup. And even though Powell beat Lander in Week 2, I think Lander’s made some big improvements since then. (First playoff meeting since 2016 3A quarterfinals.)
(3E) Worland at (2W) Cody: This one might be closer than you think. Worland is better than its 3-5 record — and its 28-14 loss to Cody in Week 2 — might imply. Still, look for Cody to move on to the semis. (First playoff meeting.)
Class 2A
(4W) Lovell at (1E) Buffalo: It’s been fun to watch Lovell’s resurgence, and if Buffalo isn’t careful, the Bulldogs could be more challenging than anticipated. The Bison will likely anticipate it, though. (First playoff meeting since 1991 2A semifinals.)
(3E) Thermopolis at (2W) Lyman: I’m torn on this one. Both these programs have legit reasons to feel overlooked, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Eagles sneak out a victory in this one. However, the Bobcats have played more good teams tough. (First playoff meeting since 2010 2A quarterfinals.)
(4E) Wheatland at (1W) Mountain View: The Buffalos have outscored their opponents 397-25 this season. Wheatland’s given up more than 25 points in six of its eight games. (First playoff meeting since 2017 2A semifinals.)
(3W) Big Piney at (2E) Burns: This game REALLY intrigues me, mostly because I love it when programs meet for the first time. Burns by a hair. (First playoff meeting, obviously.)
Class 1A 11-man
(4W) Wind River at (1E) Big Horn: Oh no. With the 8-0 and rolling Rams facing the 1-7 and outscored-160-to-6-in-their-past-three-games Cougars, this one could get ugly fast. (Rematch of a 2018 1A 11-man quarterfinal.)
(3E) Southeast at (2W) Shoshoni: After last year’s aberration, Southeast is back to being Southeast again. Even on the road, the Cyclones are the favorites in this one. (First playoff meeting since 2016 1A 11-man quarterfinals.)
(4E) Wright at (1W) Cokeville: Wright’s gonna put up a fight, but Cokeville is really tough to beat at home in the first round of the playoffs: 25-1 since 1991. (Rematch of a 2018 1A 11-man quarterfinal.)
(3W) Rocky Mountain at (2E) Upton-Sundance: These two teams have met in the first round in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018. The Patriots are 4-0 in those games. Unless the Griz’s young players grow up really fast, make it 5-0. (Rematch of a 2018 1A 11-man quarterfinal.)
Class 1A six-man
(4E) Kaycee at (1W) Snake River: Sorry, Buckaroos. The question isn’t who will win. The question is if Kaycee will even score a point. (Rematch of a 2018 1A six-man quarterfinal.)
(3W) Farson at (2E) Hulett: I desperately want to pick the Red Devils in this one, and don’t be surprised if they prove me wrong against the defending champs. This might be the best game of the week. (Rematch of a 2018 1A six-man quarterfinal.)
(4W) Meeteetse at (1E) Hanna: No one is more aware than Hanna of how easily a promising season can end abruptly. The Miners will be focused. (First playoff meeting since 1989 1A semifinals.)
(3E) Lingle at (2W) Burlington: Victories the past two weeks against Farson and Riverside help show just how improved the Huskies are since their 1-3 start. (First playoff meeting.)

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Quarterfinals” 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: 25-4 (86 percent). This season: 220-52 (81 percent). 

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Which first-round playoff game is the most intriguing to you? 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 Wyoming High School Activities Association released the 2020 and 2021 football schedules to schools Tuesday afternoon.

Thanks to reclassification, the schedules are significantly different from the schedules used in 2018 and 2019. In all, 12 schools will play in different classifications next year, not including the teams remaining in Class 1A but shifting from 11-man to nine-man.

Although no teams moved into or out of Class 4A, Wyoming’s big schools will also have a new schedule. The traditional “rivalry week” was removed, with the Oil Bowl (Natrona-Kelly Walsh) scheduled for Week 3, the Energy Bowl (Sheridan-Campbell County) for Week 7, the Coal Bowl (Campbell County-Thunder Basin) for Week 4 and the Capital Bowl (Cheyenne Central-Cheyenne East) for Week 6.

Several non-4A schools scheduled Zero Week games against in-state opponents. Previously, Zero Week was left open by the WHSAA for non-4A schools so they could schedule their own scrimmages, jamborees or games as they wished. WHSAA Associate Commissioner Trevor Wilson said the non-4A Zero Week games on the schedule distributed by the organization did not reflect a change in WHSAA policy; he said non-4A schools who scheduled Zero Week contests for 2020 and 2021 simply had their Zero Week games added to the schedule released by the WHSAA.

Some nonconference scheduling for 1A schools was also handled by the WHSAA office, Wilson said. In 2017 and 2018, schools had made their own nonconference schedules; prior to that, the WHSAA scheduled both conference and nonconference games. This year, 3A and 2A schools met Tuesday to set their nonconference schedules, which were then released by the WHSAA office, while 1A nonconference games were set by the WHSAA, Wilson said.

A proposal to change the Class 3A conferences, as reported earlier this week, apparently did not gain approval. For 2020 and 2021, Buffalo will replace Torrington in the 3A East, but no other changes to the conference alignment will be implemented for the next two seasons, per the schedule released Tuesday.

The Class 1A six-man schedule has numerous open dates because of an unbalanced conference alignment, with six teams in the East Conference and seven in the West Conference. After Week 1, most East teams have open weeks in Week 2 and Week 3, when West Conference teams begin league play.

Locations for three out-of-state games involving Star Valley and one out-of-state game involving Lyman have not been determined.

Schedules were released much earlier than usual by the WHSAA office. Previously, schedules had been distributed during the statewide scheduling meeting in Casper in mid-November.

The 2021 schedule will be an inverse of the 2020 schedule, with locations flip-flopping for each game.

The 2020 Wyoming high school football schedule, both by week and by team, is here:

Week 0 (Friday, Aug. 28)
Class 4A

Cheyenne Central at Natrona
Cheyenne East at Thunder Basin
Cheyenne South at Kelly Walsh
Laramie at Sheridan
Rock Springs at Campbell County
Class 3A
Cody at Douglas
Riverton at Powell
Class 2A
Tongue River at Lovell
Interclass
Big Horn at Buffalo
Lander at Pinedale
Thermopolis at Worland
Wheatland at Rawlins
Interstate
Jackson at Teton, Idaho
Lead-Deadwood, S.D., at Upton-Sundance
Lyman vs. Malad, Idaho (location TBD)
Newcastle at Hot Springs, S.D.
Ogden, Utah, at Evanston
Star Valley vs. South Summit, Utah (location TBD)
Torrington at Gering, Neb.
Open: Big Piney, Burns, Cokeville, Glenrock, Kemmerer, Green River, Mountain View. All 1A nine-man and 1A six-man programs have open weeks.
 
Week 1 (Friday, Sept. 4)
Class 4A

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

Cheyenne Central at Sheridan
Cheyenne East at Campbell County
Cheyenne South at Thunder Basin
Laramie at Natrona
Rock Springs at Kelly Walsh
Class 3A
Buffalo at Green River
Evanston at Riverton
Lander at Powell
Worland at Cody
Class 2A
Big Piney at Thermopolis
Glenrock at Torrington
Lyman at Cokeville
Mountain View at Lovell
Pinedale at Kemmerer
Tongue River at Burns
Upton-Sundance at Newcastle
Wheatland at Big Horn
Class 1A nine-man
Lingle at Southeast
Moorcroft at Saratoga
Pine Bluffs at Lusk
Rocky Mountain at Shoshoni
St. Stephens at Riverside
Wind River at Greybull
Wyoming Indian at Wright
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at Midwest
Farson at Burlington
Kaycee at NSI
Snake River at Encampment
Ten Sleep at Meeteetse
Interstate
Douglas at Belle Fourche, S.D.
Hillcrest, Idaho, at Jackson
Moffat County, Colo., at Rawlins
Star Valley vs. Sugar-Salem, Idaho (location TBD)
Open: Guernsey-Sunrise, Hanna, Hulett.
 
Week 3 (Friday, Sept. 18)
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
Powell at Douglas
Rawlins at Star Valley
Class 2A
Big Horn at Newcastle
Big Piney at Pinedale
Burns at Glenrock
Cokeville at Mountain View
Lovell at Lyman
Thermopolis at Kemmerer
Torrington at Tongue River
Wheatland at Upton-Sundance
Class 1A nine-man
Greybull at Wyoming Indian
Lusk at Moorcroft
Riverside at Rocky Mountain
Saratoga at Pine Bluffs
Shoshoni at St. Stephens
Southeast at Wind River
Wright at Lingle
Class 1A six-man
Burlington at Snake River
Encampment at Farson
Meeteetse at Dubois
NSI at Ten Sleep
Open: Guernsey-Sunrise, Hanna, Hulett, Kaycee, Midwest.
 
Week 4 (Friday, Sept. 25)
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
Kemmerer at Mountain View
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
Shoshoni at Wind River
Southeast at Pine Bluffs
St. Stephens at Saratoga
Wyoming Indian at Riverside
Class 1A six-man
Burlington at Meeteetse
Farson at Ten Sleep
Hanna at Guernsey-Sunrise
Hulett at Kaycee
NSI at Midwest
Snake River at Dubois
Open: Encampment.
 
Week 5 (Friday, Oct. 2)
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
Greybull at St. Stephens
Lusk at Wright
Moorcroft at Southeast
Pine Bluffs at Shoshoni
Saratoga at Lingle
Wind River at Riverside
Wyoming Indian at Rocky Mountain
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at Burlington
Farson at Kaycee
Guernsey-Sunrise at Hulett
Meeteetse at Encampment
Midwest at Hanna
Ten Sleep at Snake River
Open: NSI. 
 
Week 6 (Friday, Oct. 9)
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
Thermopolis at Lyman
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
Shoshoni at Wyoming Indian
Southeast at Saratoga
St. Stephens at Wind River
Wright at Pine Bluffs
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at Farson
Encampment at Ten Sleep
Hanna at NSI
Hulett at Midwest
Kaycee at Guernsey-Sunrise
Snake River at Meeteetse
Open: Burlington.
 
Week 7 (Friday, Oct. 16)
Class 4A

Campbell County at Sheridan
Cheyenne South at Laramie
Kelly Walsh at Cheyenne East
Thunder Basin at Natrona
Rock Springs at Cheyenne Central
Class 3A
Douglas at Buffalo
Green River at Cody
Jackson at Powell
Rawlins at Lander
Riverton at Worland
Star Valley at Evanston
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
Greybull at Shoshoni
Lusk at Southeast
Moorcroft at Riverside
Pine Bluffs at Lingle
St. Stephens at Wyoming Indian
Wind River at Rocky Mountain
Wright at Saratoga
Class 1A six-man
Encampment at Dubois
NSI at Guernsey-Sunrise
Hulett at Hanna
Meeteetse at Farson
Midwest at Kaycee
Ten Sleep at Burlington
Open: Snake River.
 
Week 8 (Friday, Oct. 23)
Class 4A

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

Class 3A East
Buffalo
: vs. Big Horn; vs. Newcastle; at Green River; vs. Cody; at Rawlins; vs. Riverton; at Worland; vs. Douglas; at Lander.
Douglas: vs. Cody; at Torrington; at Belle Fourche, S.D.; vs. Powell; at Riverton; vs. Lander; vs. Rawlins; at Buffalo; vs. Worland.
Lander: at Pinedale; at Green River; at Powell; vs. Evanston; vs. Worland; at Douglas; at Riverton; vs. Rawlins; vs. Buffalo.
Rawlins: vs. Wheatland; at Lyman; vs. Moffat County, Colo.; at Star Valley; vs. Buffalo; vs. Worland; at Douglas; at Lander; vs. Riverton.
Riverton: at Powell; at Cody; vs. Evanston; vs. Jackson; vs. Douglas; at Buffalo; vs. Lander; at Worland; at Rawlins.
Worland: vs. Thermopolis; vs. Powell; at Cody; vs. Green River; at Lander; at Rawlins; vs. Buffalo; vs. Riverton; at Douglas.
Class 3A West
Cody
: at Douglas; vs. Riverton; vs. Worland; at Buffalo; at Powell; vs. Evanston; at Star Valley; vs. Green River; at Jackson.
Evanston: vs. Ogden, Utah; vs. Mountain View; at Riverton; at Lander; vs. Green River; at Cody; at Jackson; vs. Star Valley; vs. Powell.
Green River: Open, vs. Lander; vs. Buffalo; at Worland; at Evanston; vs. Jackson; vs. Powell; at Cody; at Star Valley.
Jackson: at Teton, Idaho; at Bear Lake, Utah; vs. Hillcrest, Idaho; at Riverton; vs. Star Valley; at Green River; vs. Evanston; at Powell; vs. Cody.
Powell: vs. Riverton; at Worland; vs. Lander; at Douglas; vs. Cody; vs. Star Valley; at Green River; vs. Jackson; at Evanston.
Star Valley: vs. South Summit, Utah (location TBD); vs. Preston, Idaho (location TBD); vs. Sugar-Salem, Idaho (location TBD); vs. Rawlins; at Jackson; at Powell; vs. Cody; at Evanston; vs. Green River.

Class 2A East
Big Horn
: at Buffalo; vs. Lovell; vs. Wheatland; at Newcastle; at Burns; vs. Torrington; at Glenrock; vs. Tongue River; at Upton-Sundance.
Burns: Open; at Mitchell, Neb.; vs. Tongue River; at Glenrock; vs. Big Horn; at Wheatland; vs. Upton-Sundance; at Newcastle; vs. Torrington.
Glenrock: Open; vs. Pinedale; at Torrington; vs. Burns; at Wheatland; vs. Newcastle; vs. Big Horn; at Upton-Sundance; at Tongue River.
Newcastle: at Hot Springs, S.D.; at Buffalo; vs. Upton-Sundance; vs. Big Horn; at Tongue River; at Glenrock; vs. Torrington; vs. Burns; at Wheatland.
Tongue River: at Lovell; at Thermopolis; at Burns; vs. Torrington; vs. Newcastle; at Upton-Sundance; vs. Wheatland; at Big Horn; vs. Glenrock.
Torrington: at Gering, Neb.; vs. Douglas; vs. Glenrock; at Tongue River; vs. Upton-Sundance; at Big Horn; at Newcastle; vs. Wheatland; at Burns.
Upton-Sundance: vs. Lead, S.D.; Open; at Newcastle; vs. Wheatland; at Torrington; vs. Tongue River; at Burns; vs. Glenrock; vs. Big Horn.
Wheatland: at Rawlins; Open; at Big Horn; at Upton-Sundance; vs. Glenrock; vs. Burns; at Tongue River; at Torrington; vs. Newcastle.
Class 2A West
Big Piney
: Open; vs. Evanston JV; at Thermopolis; at Pinedale; vs. Lyman; vs. Lovell; at Mountain View; at Cokeville; vs. Kemmerer.
Cokeville: Open; vs. Rich County, Utah; vs. Lyman; at Mountain View; vs. Pinedale; at Thermopolis; at Kemmerer; vs. Big Piney; at Lovell.
Kemmerer: Open; at Green River JV; vs. Pinedale; vs. Thermopolis; at Mountain View; at Lyman; vs. Cokeville; vs. Lovell; at Big Piney.
Lovell: vs. Tongue River; at Big Horn; vs. Mountain View; at Lyman; vs. Thermopolis; at Big Piney; vs. Pinedale; at Kemmerer; vs. Cokeville.
Lyman: vs. Malad, Idaho (location TBD); vs. Rawlins; at Cokeville; vs. Lovell; at Big Piney; vs. Kemmerer; vs. Thermopolis; at Pinedale; at Mountain View.
Mountain View: Open; at Evanston; at Lovell; vs. Cokeville; vs. Kemmerer; at Pinedale; vs. Big Piney; at Thermopolis; vs. Lyman.
Pinedale: vs. Lander; at Glenrock; at Kemmerer; vs. Big Piney; at Cokeville; vs. Mountain View; at Lovell; vs. Lyman; vs. Thermopolis.
Thermopolis: at Worland; vs. Tongue River; vs. Big Piney; at Kemmerer; at Lovell; vs. Cokeville; at Lyman; vs. Mountain View; at Pinedale.

Class 1A nine-man East (no Zero Week scheduled)
Lingle
: vs. Wind River; at Southeast; vs. Wright; at Lusk; vs. Saratoga; at Moorcroft; vs. Pine Bluffs; at Greybull.
Moorcroft: vs. Greybull; at Saratoga; vs. Lusk; at Wright; at Southeast; vs. Lingle; at Riverside; vs. Pine Bluffs.
Lusk: at St. Stephens; vs. Pine Bluffs; at Moorcroft; vs. Lingle; at Wright; vs. Rocky Mountain; at Southeast; vs. Saratoga. 
Pine Bluffs: vs. Riverside; at Lusk; vs. Saratoga; vs. Southeast; at Shoshoni; vs. Wright; at Lingle; at Moorcroft. 
Saratoga: at Wyoming Indian; vs. Moorcroft; at Pine Bluffs; vs. St. Stephens; at Lingle; vs. Southeast; vs. Wright; at Lusk.
Southeast: vs. Shoshoni; vs. Lingle; at Wind River; at Pine Bluffs; vs. Moorcroft; at Saratoga; vs. Lusk; at Wright. 
Wright: at Rocky Mountain; vs. Wyoming Indian; at Lingle; vs. Moorcroft; vs. Lusk; at Pine Bluffs; at Saratoga; vs. Southeast. 
Class 1A nine-man West (no Zero Week scheduled)
Greybull
: at Moorcroft; vs. Wind River; at Wyoming Indian; vs. Rocky Mountain; at St. Stephens; vs. Riverside; at Shoshoni; vs. Lingle. 
Riverside: at Pine Bluffs; vs. St. Stephens; at Rocky Mountain; vs. Wyoming Indian; vs. Wind River; at Greybull; vs. Moorcroft; at Shoshoni.
Rocky Mountain: vs. Wright; at Shoshoni; vs. Riverside; at Greybull; vs. Wyoming Indian; at Lusk; vs. Wind River; at St. Stephens. 
Shoshoni: at Southeast; vs. Rocky Mountain; at St. Stephens; at Wind River; vs. Pine Bluffs; at Wyoming Indian; vs. Greybull; vs. Riverside. 
St. Stephens: vs. Lusk; at Riverside; vs. Shoshoni; at Saratoga; vs. Greybull; at Wind River; at Wyoming Indian; vs. Rocky Mountain. 
Wind River: at Lingle; at Greybull; vs. Southeast; vs. Shoshoni; at Riverside; vs. St. Stephens; at Rocky Mountain; vs. Wyoming Indian. 
Wyoming Indian: vs. Saratoga; at Wright; vs. Greybull; at Riverside; at Rocky Mountain; vs. Shoshoni; vs. St. Stephens; at Wind River. 

Class 1A six-man East (no Zero Week scheduled)
Guernsey-Sunrise
: at Farson; Open; Open; vs. Hanna; at Hulett; vs. Kaycee; vs. NSI; at Midwest.
Hanna: vs. Snake River; Open; Open; at Guernsey-Sunrise; vs. Midwest; at NSI; vs. Hulett; at Kaycee. 
Hulett: vs. Burlington; Open; Open; at Kaycee; vs. Guernsey-Sunrise; at Midwest; at Hanna; vs. NSI.
Kaycee: at Dubois; at NSI; Open; vs. Hulett; vs. Farson; at Guernsey-Sunrise; vs. Midwest; vs. Hanna.
Midwest: at Encampment; vs. Dubois; Open; vs. NSI; at Hanna; vs. Hulett; at Kaycee; vs. Guernsey-Sunrise. 
NSI: vs. Meeteetse; vs. Kaycee; at Ten Sleep; at Midwest; Open; vs. Hanna; at Guernsey-Sunrise; at Hulett.
Class 1A six-man West (no Zero Week scheduled)
Burlington
: at Hulett; vs. Farson; at Snake River; at Meeteetse; vs. Dubois; Open; vs. Ten Sleep; at Encampment.
Dubois: vs. Kaycee; at Midwest; vs. Meeteetse; vs. Snake River; at Burlington; at Farson; vs. Encampment; at Ten Sleep.
Encampment: vs. Midwest; vs. Snake River; at Farson; Open; vs. Meeteetse; at Ten Sleep; at Dubois; vs. Burlington. 
Farson: vs. Guernsey-Sunrise; at Burlington; vs. Encampment; at Ten Sleep; at Kaycee; vs. Dubois; vs. Meeteetse; at Snake River.
Meeteetse: at NSI; vs. Ten Sleep; at Dubois; vs. Burlington; at Encampment; vs. Snake River; at Farson; Open. 
Snake River: at Hanna; at Encampment; vs. Burlington; at Dubois; vs. Ten Sleep; at Meeteetse; Open; vs. Farson.
Ten Sleep: Open; at Meeteetse; vs. NSI; vs. Farson; at Snake River; vs. Encampment; at Burlington; vs. Dubois.

This post was updated at 7:37 p.m. MDT Oct. 31 to reflect a new game in Week 5 between Kaycee and Farson and the moving of the Kaycee-NSI game from Week 5 to Week 2.

This post was updated at 10:37 a.m. MST Nov. 24 to correct an error in the Week 4 listings for the 1A nine-man West.

–patrick

Class 3A could see a shift in its football conference alignments for 2020 and 2021, with Powell and Cody switching places with Rawlins and Lander.

Such a move would lower overall travel but would put Fremont County rivals Riverton and Lander in separate conferences.

The proposed conference alignment would have Rawlins and Lander join Jackson, Star Valley, Evanston and Green River in a modified West Conference, while Powell and Cody would join Worland, Buffalo, Riverton and Douglas in a modified East Conference.

The proposal was confirmed in separate emails from four current Class 3A coaches to wyoming-football.com. However, their understandings of the proposal ranged from “nothing super concrete” to “a done deal.”

One coach said the new proposal would help eliminate overnight travel for conference games for all teams. The necessity to travel through Yellowstone Park for conference games would also be reduced.

The potential move is precipitated in part by reclassification, which brings Buffalo’s return to 3A and Torrington’s move to Class 2A for both 2020 and 2021.

Below is a table of the mileage between 3A high schools, showing only the distances between schools that could be in the same conference in 2020. One-way distances here are calculated “through the park,” where teams take shorter trips going through Yellowstone when possible.

JacEvaSVGRCodPowLanRawRivDouWorBuf
Jacx19067190179205162283
Eva190x12493367389207212
SV67124x171245271228290
GR19093171x293315133127
Cod179367245293x2616526114026689177
Pow20538927131526x18828316228888157
Lan162207228133165188x12629198115205
Raw283212290127261283126x125170211227
Riv14016229125x17290180
Dou266288198170172x215163
Wor898811521190215x91
Buf17715720522718016391x

Total conference travel distances for respective teams would change with new conferences, with equal teams seeing more and less travel but with overall travel reduced.

With the old alignment, with Buffalo replacing Torrington in the East Conference and no other changes, teams would have averaged a total of 907 miles to their conference destinations; with the new alignment, teams would average a total of 818 miles to their conference foes, a reduction about 91 miles per school.

Schools with more travel would include:
Jackson: Old alignment, 831 miles; new alignment, 892 miles.
Star Valley: Old alignment, 878 miles; new alignment, 880 miles.
Rawlins: Old alignment, 859 miles; new alignment, 1,038 miles.
Riverton: Old alignment, 596 miles; new alignment, 744 miles.
Douglas: Old alignment, 918 miles; new alignment, 1,104 miles.
Lander: Old alignment, 673 miles; new alignment, 856 mies.

Schools with less travel would include:
Evanston: Old alignment, 1,163 miles; new alignment, 826 miles.
Green River: Old alignment, 1,062 miles; new alignment, 714 miles.
Cody: Old alignment, 1,110 miles; new alignment, 698 miles.
Powell: Old alignment, 1,206 miles; new alignment, 721 miles.
Worland: Old alignment, 722 miles; new alignment, 573 miles.
Buffalo: Old alignment, 866 miles; new alignment, 768 miles.

The WHSAA will release the conference portion of the 2020 football schedule at the statewide scheduling meeting Nov. 19-20 in Casper.

–patrick

Here are the projected quarterfinal playoff matchups for 2019. Official brackets will be released later by the Wyoming High School Activities Association, including game dates and kickoff times.

The top overall seeds are the West Conference champions (3A, 1A six-man) and the East Conference champions (2A, 1A 11-man).

Nov. 1-2
Class 4A
(8) Gillette at (1) Thunder Basin
(5) Natrona at (4) Cheyenne East
(7) Kelly Walsh at (2) Sheridan
(6) Rock Springs at (3) Cheyenne Central
Class 3A
(4E) Douglas at (1W) Star Valley
(3W) Jackson at (2E) Riverton
(4W) Powell at (1E) Lander
(3E) Worland at (2W) Cody
Class 2A
(4W) Lovell at (1E) Buffalo
(3E) Thermopolis at (2W) Lyman
(4E) Wheatland at (1W) Mountain View
(3W) Big Piney at (2E) Burns
Class 1A 11-man
(4W) Wind River at (1E) Big Horn
(3E) Southeast at (2W) Shoshoni
(4E) Wright at (1W) Cokeville
(3W) Rocky Mountain at (2E) Upton-Sundance
Class 1A six-man
(4E) Kaycee at (1W) Snake River
(3W) Farson at (2E) Hulett
(4W) Meeteetse at (1E) Hanna
(3E) Lingle at (2W) Burlington

Post updated 4:17 p.m. MDT Oct. 26 to reflect Saturday’s game and seedings in the 1A six-man bracket.

–patrick

In all, 19 of the 30 games on the schedule this week have an effect on playoff seeding.

Of Wyoming’s five football classifications, though, only one class has a schedule where every game matters to playoff seeding — Class 4A.

Like usual, Class 4A has two distinct strata: the top teams, and the not-so-top teams. But one game, Central’s 32-19 victory against Natrona last week, suddenly increased the ranks of the top tier by one — and Rock Springs is right there, too, being consistently competitive against top teams.

When we look at this week’s 4A schedule, that’s the dividing line. The top tier teams are trying to figure out seeds one through six, while the not-so-top tier is trying to figure out the last two teams in.

There are 32 different scenarios with these games — leading to a ton of potentially different playoff brackets. The only thing certain is that Thunder Basin will be the top seed.

After that? Chaos, but neatly aligned chaos split directly between seeds Nos. 6 and 7.

Sheridan could be seed 2 or 3; Cheyenne East could finish anywhere from 2 to 5; Cheyenne Central could finish third, fourth or fifth; Natrona could be third, sixth or anywhere in between; Rock Springs will be on the road in the first round but could be either fifth or sixth.

Games between Cheyenne East and Sheridan and between Natrona and Rock Springs will help sort the top tier.

Then we get our straddle games: Cheyenne Central facing Cheyenne South and Thunder Basin facing Laramie.

Most likely, Central and Thunder Basin win those games. But if they don’t, that’s when the scenarios on the bottom tier get, um, weird.

If Kelly Walsh beats Gillette and South and Laramie simultaneously pull two of the biggest upsets in 4A history, then we’ll finish with a four-way tie for the final two playoff spots.

The anarchist in me wants to see this happen.

Remember how the WHSAA put into place the scoring differential tiebreaker this year — an effort to curb the use of coin flips to decide playoff seeding? It doesn’t apply to four-way ties. Dimes and thumbs are how four-way ties are broken in cases like this where one team hasn’t beaten, or lost, to all of the other three.

But that’s the least likely of the 32 scenarios.

Even a three-way tie would require a monumental upset by either South or Laramie. (Although… any chance Thunder Basin rests its starters and gives up an undefeated season to avoid risking injuries to key guys before the playoffs? Probably not, but it’s a thought.)

That leaves one key game to discuss: Kelly Walsh hosting Gillette. The Camels have the advantage with the better record, but KW has home field and urgency… because the three-way tie that’s most likely is KW, Laramie and South tying for the eighth and final playoff spot, all with 1-8 records.

And in that situation… Laramie is in, with Laramie +6, KW +5 and South -11.

In a weird way, scoring differential has created more clarity entering the final week. Now, KW knows it has to win to be in.

In a 4A week where every game matters, that kind of certainty is rare.

+++

Other Week 8 games? Well, 14 of them have playoff implications. Here’s a quick look at some of them:

Don’t overlook the Lander-Worland game in the 3A East. The Tigers have been rolling, but the Warriors have been resurgent and are still in the mix for a conference championship themselves — and this game is in Washakie County. By the same token, Riverton at Douglas in the 3A East could also be one of the best games in the state this week, and just as much is on the line there. …

One of the games I’ve been waiting for all season finally happens Friday with Thermopolis traveling to Burns. The winner gains home field for the first round of the 2A playoffs, and to be honest both teams have proven themselves both capable and worthy of that honor. Really interested to see how it goes. …

The 1A 11-man East championship will either be a Big Horn runaway or a three-way tie; if Southeast can somehow give the Rams their first loss of the season, in Yoder, then the 1A title chase goes from predictable to chaotic. …

The best game on the six-man schedule is the regional rivalry between Burlington and Riverside in Basin — a game we won’t see next year or into the foreseeable future as the Rebels make the jump to nine-man. Last week’s Lingle-Guernsey game was played under similar circumstances. It’ll be sad to see some of those rivalries go, but new ones will emerge — like Riverside-Greybull, which will be rekindled as a conference game next year. …

+++

On to some picks for Week 8, the final week of the regular season and the end to the careers of about a third of Wyoming’s high school football seniors:

Thursday
Class 2A

Big Piney at Lyman
Friday
Class 4A
Cheyenne East at Sheridan
Cheyenne South at Cheyenne Central
Gillette at Kelly Walsh
Rock Springs at Natrona
Thunder Basin at Laramie
Class 3A
Cody at Green River
Evanston at Star Valley
Lander at Worland
Powell at Jackson
Rawlins at Torrington
Riverton at Douglas
Class 2A
Buffalo at Newcastle
Glenrock at Moorcroft
Greybull at Mountain View
Kemmerer at Lovell
Thermopolis at Burns
Wheatland at Pinedale
Class 1A 11-man
Big Horn at Southeast
Shoshoni vs. Upton-Sundance (at Casper)
Pine Bluffs at Lusk
Wind River at Cokeville
Wright at Tongue River
Class 1A six-man
Burlington at Riverside
Dubois at Snake River
Hanna at Guernsey-Sunrise
NSI at Kaycee
St. Stephens at Farson
Saturday
Class 1A six-man

Lingle at Hulett
Encampment’s game Wednesday was canceled; Meeteetse has an open week; in a pair of forfeits, Rocky Mountain defeated Wyoming Indian and Saratoga beat Midwest.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 8” 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: 29-3 (91 percent). This season: 195-48 (80 percent). 

+++

Do you like the score differential tiebreaker? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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–patrick

Here’s a quick look at the playoff scenarios for Wyoming high school football teams entering Week 8 of the 2019 season:

Class 4A
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Cheyenne East at Sheridan; Cheyenne South at Cheyenne Central; Gillette at Kelly Walsh; Rock Springs at Natrona; Thunder Basin at Laramie.
Thunder Basin: In. No. 1 seed.
Sheridan: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss.
Cheyenne East: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Natrona loss. No. 4 seed (score differential to break) with loss, Central victory and Natrona victory (East is second in differential tiebreaker in this scenario). No. 4 seed with loss, South victory and Natrona victory.
Natrona: In. No. 3 seed with victory, Sheridan victory and South victory. No. 4 seed with victory and East victory. No. 5 seed (score differential to break) with victory, Sheridan victory and Central victory (Natrona is third in differential tiebreaker in this scenario). No. 6 seed with loss.
Cheyenne Central: In. No. 3 seed (score differential to break) with victory, Natrona victory and Sheridan victory (Central wins in differential tiebreaker in this scenario). No. 4 seed with victory, Rock Springs victory and Sheridan victory. No. 4 seed with victory and East victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Rock Springs victory. No. 5 seed with loss and Natrona victory.
Rock Springs: In. No. 5 seed with victory. No. 6 seed with loss.
Gillette: Neither in nor out. No. 7 seed with victory. No. 8 seed with loss and Thunder Basin victory. Tie for 7-8-out-out seeding (four-way tiebreaker to break, likely a coin flip) with loss, South victory and Laramie victory. Out (via highest-ranked three-way tiebreaker) with loss, Central victory and Laramie victory.
Cheyenne South: Neither in nor out. No. 8 seed with victory and Gillette victory. Tie for 7-8-out-out seeding (four-way tiebreaker to break, likely a coin flip) with victory, Kelly Walsh victory and Laramie victory. Out with victory, Kelly Walsh victory and Thunder Basin victory. Out with loss. (Laramie wins score differential tiebreaker with South loss, Gillette victory and Thunder Basin victory.)
Kelly Walsh: Neither in nor out. No. 7 seed with victory and Thunder Basin victory. Tie for 7-8-out-out seeding (four-way tiebreaker to break, likely a coin flip) with victory, South victory and Laramie victory. No. 8 seed (via highest-ranked three-way tiebreaker) with victory, Central victory and Laramie victory. Out with loss and either South or Laramie victory. Tie for 8-out-out seeding (score differential to break) with loss, Central victory and Thunder Basin victory.
Laramie: Neither in nor out. No. 7 seed (via highest-ranked three-way tiebreaker) with victory, Kelly Walsh victory and Central victory. No. 8 seed with victory, Gillette victory and Central victory. Tie for 7-8-out-out seeding (four-way tiebreaker to break, likely a coin flip) with victory, Kelly Walsh victory and South victory. Out with victory, Gillette victory and South victory. No. 8 seed with loss, Gillette victory and Central victory (Laramie wins score differential tiebreaker in this scenario). Out with loss, Gillette victory and South victory. Out with loss and Kelly Walsh victory.

Class 3A East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Lander at Worland; Riverton at Douglas.
Lander: In. No. 1 seed with victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (score differential to break) with loss and Riverton victory (entering week, tiebreaker is Riverton +8, Lander +2, Worland -10). No. 2 seed with loss and Douglas victory.
Worland: In. No. 1 seed with victory and Douglas victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (score differential to break) with victory and Riverton victory (entering week, tiebreaker is Riverton +8, Lander +2, Worland -10). Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential to break) with loss and Douglas victory (entering week, tiebreaker is Riverton +10, Worland +2, Douglas -12). No. 3 seed with loss and Riverton victory.
Douglas: In. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential to break) with victory and Lander victory (entering week, tiebreaker is Riverton +10, Worland +2, Douglas -12). No. 3 seed with victory and Worland victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Riverton: In. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (score differential to break) with victory and Worland victory (entering week, tiebreaker is Riverton +8, Lander +2, Worland -10). No. 2 seed with victory and Lander victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential to break) with loss and Lander victory (entering week, tiebreaker is Riverton +10, Worland +2, Douglas -12). No. 4 seed with loss and Worland victory.
Rawlins, Torrington: Out.

Class 3A West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Powell at Jackson.
Star Valley: In. No. 1 seed.
Cody: In. No. 2 seed.
Jackson, Powell: In. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Evanston, Green River: Out.

Class 2A East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Thermopolis at Burns.
Buffalo: In. No. 1 seed.
Burns, Thermopolis: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss.
Wheatland: In. No. 4 seed.
Glenrock, Moorcroft, Newcastle: Out.

Class 2A West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Big Piney at Lyman; Kemmerer at Lovell.
Mountain View: In. No. 1 seed.
Big Piney: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Kemmerer victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential to break) with loss and Lovell victory (entering week, tiebreaker is Big Piney +6, Lyman -2, Lovell -4).
Lovell: In. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential to break) with victory and Lyman victory (entering week, tiebreaker is Big Piney +6, Lyman -2, Lovell -4). No. 3 seed with Big Piney victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Lyman victory.
Lyman: In. No. 2 seed with victory and Kemmerer victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential to break) with victory and Lovell victory (entering week, tiebreaker is Big Piney +6, Lyman -2, Lovell -4). No. 4 seed with loss.
Pinedale, Greybull, Kemmerer: Out.

Class 1A 11-man East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Big Horn at Southeast.
Big Horn: In. No. 1 seed with victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (score differential to break) with loss (entering week, tiebreaker is Big Horn +12, Upton-Sundance 0, Southeast -12).
Upton-Sundance: In. No. 2 seed with Big Horn victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (score differential to break) with Southeast victory (entering week, tiebreaker is Big Horn +12, Upton-Sundance 0, Southeast -12).
Southeast: In. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (score differential to break) with Southeast victory (entering week, tiebreaker is Big Horn +12, Upton-Sundance 0, Southeast -12). No. 3 seed with loss.
Wright: In. No. 4 seed
Lusk, Pine Bluffs, Tongue River: Out.

Class 1A 11-man West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: none.
Cokeville: In. No. 1 seed.
Shoshoni: In. No. 2 seed.
Rocky Mountain: In. No. 3 seed.
Wind River: In. No. 4 seed.
Wyoming Indian: Out.

Class 1A six-man East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Hanna at Guernsey; NSI at Kaycee; Lingle at Hulett.
Hanna: In. No. 1 seed.
Hulett, Lingle: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss.
Kaycee: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Hanna victory. Out with loss and Guernsey victory.
Guernsey: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with victory and NSI victory. Out with victory and Kaycee victory. Out with loss.
Midwest, NSI: Out.
Saratoga: Ineligible for playoffs.

Class 1A six-man West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Burlington at Riverside; St. Stephens at Farson.
Snake River: In. No. 1 seed.
Farson: In. No. 2 seed with victory and Riverside victory. No. 2 seed (score differential to break) with loss and Riverside victory (Farson wins score differential tiebreaker and/or highest ranking victory tiebreaker in this scenario). No. 3 seed with Burlington victory.
Burlington: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed (score differential to break) with loss and St. Stephens victory (Burlington is second in differential tiebreaker in this scenario). No. 4 seed with loss and Farson victory.
Meeteetse: In. No. 3 seed with Riverside victory and Farson victory. No. 4 seed (score differential to break) with Riverside victory and St. Stephens victory (Meeteetse is third in differential tiebreaker in this scenario). No. 4 seed with Burlington victory.
St. Stephens, Dubois: Out.
Riverside: Ineligible for playoffs.

Post updated 6:56 p.m. MDT Oct. 21 to reflect Rocky Mountain’s forfeit victory against Wyoming Indian in Week 8.
Post updated 12:09 p.m. MDT Oct. 20 to reflect winners and current tiebreaker scores for potential three-way ties affected by scoring differential. Post updated 10:34 p.m. MDT Oct. 19 to reflect updated scenarios in 2A West, 1A six-man East and 1A six-man West.

–patrick

I want you to go through a little mental exercise right now. Think about the last time your favorite Wyoming high school football team won an outright conference championship.

For half of the state’s football programs, this doesn’t require you to think back too far — 32 programs have won an outright conference title this decade. Another 13 have won an outright conference title in the past 20 years; 13 more than that have won one in the past 40.

Now, a handful of programs (newer programs like Thunder Basin, Cheyenne South and NSI, as well as Wyoming Indian) have never won an outright conference title. And St. Stephens took a long break before bringing back football, so the Eagles haven’t won one since 1963.

That leaves one program.

Lander.

The Tigers’ last outright conference championship came 71 years ago, in 1948. Players on that team are now likely in their late 80s.

The actual conference title drought isn’t that long — Lander last shared a conference title in 1995. And the Tigers played in state title games in 1993, 1994, 1995 and 2004, so it’s not like the Tigers have been pushovers.

So why does it matter now? Well… take a look at the 3A East standings. Lander is the last remaining undefeated team in conference play. The Tigers are 3-0; Douglas, Riverton and Worland are all at 2-1, chasing a Lander team that, for the first time in a long time, controls its own destiny.

Destiny, meet Douglas.

Lander and Douglas have been in the same conference since 2011. In that time, Douglas has won all eight games between the programs, winning by an average score of 39-7. In fact, Douglas has won 12 in a row against Lander.

On Friday night, Douglas comes to Lander, where the Tigers have a chance to undo a decade’s worth of frustration against the Bearcats and come one step closer to ending more than seven decades’ worth conference shortfalls.

With the right set of circumstances — a Lander victory paired with a Torrington upset of Worland — the Tigers would be conference champs by the end of the night on Friday, although we wouldn’t know until after Week 8 if the title would be outright or shared.

Either way, 48 good minutes for Lander could help undo 71 years of delayed gratification.

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Other games that have me wondering if we broke the simulation:

The obvious answer for “Game of the Week” is Star Valley-Cody in the 3A West championship game. I’m not sure how anyone can doubt Star Valley’s cred after the way the Braves held down Jackson last week, but Cody presents a significant challenge (and potential Laramie lookahead). …

The week is chock full of games that will affect playoff seeding and qualification, and I absolutely love the fact that Cheyenne South-Gillette is in that conversation. Both the Bison and Camels beat Laramie this year, and for the first time in a couple years this game is for something more than just pride. If 4A is going to develop parity, it starts with these two programs, and their jumps forward this year, however small, are worth noting. …

I’m not sure when or where or how this happened, but I think Riverton might be the most improved team in the state over the past month. The Wolverines host Rawlins this week, and I’m really interested to see if Riverton keeps building on the momentum it has in its favor. …

Speaking of scary teams, Wright notched a huge victory last week against Lusk that put the Panthers in prime playoff position. Now, Wright has what might even be a bigger game against Southeast — and both these teams are aware of how critical the difference is in the 1A 11-man East to be the No. 3 seed going into the playoffs as opposed to the No. 4 seed. This could be the state’s best game this week regardless of classification. …

Burlington and Farson are meeting in a rematch of last year’s six-man title game. Funny how that means a heck of a lot less this deep into the season. Still, it’s cool to see happen. …

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On to some picks, where I pick ’em. But I don’t establish lines. Nah, this ain’t Vegas. So I just pick a team, put ’em in bold, and then watch the fun unfold.

Thursday
Interclass

Star Valley JV at Cokeville
Friday
Class 4A

Cheyenne South at Gillette
Kelly Walsh at Thunder Basin
Natrona at Cheyenne Central
Rock Springs at Cheyenne East
Sheridan at Laramie
Class 3A
Douglas at Lander
Green River at Powell
Jackson at Evanston
Rawlins at Riverton
Star Valley at Cody
Worland at Torrington
Class 2A
Big Piney at Buffalo
Burns at Newcastle
Lovell at Pinedale
Moorcroft at Wheatland
Mountain View at Kemmerer
Thermopolis at Glenrock
Class 1A 11-man
Big Horn at Lusk
Rocky Mountain at Wind River
Shoshoni at Wyoming Indian
Southeast at Wright
Upton-Sundance at Pine Bluffs
Class 1A six-man
Burlington at Farson
Dubois at Meeteetse
Lingle at Guernsey-Sunrise
Riverside at St. Stephens
Saturday
Class 2A
Lyman at Greybull
Class 1A six-man

Hanna at Kaycee
Saratoga at NSI
Interclass
Natrona sophs at Encampment
Tongue River at Sheridan JV
Open: Snake River. Hulett has a forfeit victory against Midwest already notched this week and won’t play this week.

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: 25-6 (81 percent). This season: 166-45 (79 percent). 

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What were you up to in 1948? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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–patrick

Here’s a quick look at broad playoff scenarios entering Week 7 of the 2019 Wyoming high school football season:

Class 4A
In: Thunder Basin, Sheridan, Cheyenne East, Natrona, Cheyenne Central, Rock Springs.
Neither in nor out: Cheyenne South, Gillette, Kelly Walsh, Laramie.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Yep. Thunder Basin can earn the No. 1 seed with a victory against Kelly Walsh.
Break it down for me: The bottom four teams in 4A are all 1-6, chasing the final two playoff seeds. Gillette is probably in the best position to control its own destiny, as the Camels face South and Kelly Walsh while the other three schools play at least one team from the top six (and Laramie plays a pair) in the final two weeks.

Class 3A East
In: Lander.
Neither in nor out: Douglas, Riverton, Worland, Rawlins, Torrington.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Only if Lander beats Douglas and Torrington upsets Worland; if so, then Lander will be the top seed.
Break it down for me: Rawlins and Torrington are both 0-3 and play each other in Week 8. They both need victories in Week 7 to stay alive. Meanwhile, Douglas, Riverton and Worland are all fighting it out at 2-1.

Class 3A West
In: Star Valley, Cody.
Neither in nor out: Jackson, Powell, Green River, Evanston.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? It WILL be decided this week; the winner of Friday’s game between Star Valley and Cody will be the West’s No. 1 seed.
Break it down for me: After the top seed, a lot is up in the air with Jackson, Powell and Green River all 1-2 and Evanston still in it at 0-3 but needing some help. Powell and Green River play each other this week, and that will kickstart the sorting process.

Class 2A East
In: Buffalo.
Neither in nor out: Thermopolis, Burns, Wheatland, Glenrock, Moorcroft, Newcastle.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? It’s already decided; Buffalo is the East’s top seed.
Break it down for me: I’ve already talked about how crazy the 2A East is. Thermopolis, Burns and Wheatland are in the best shape to reach the postseason, and Glenrock, Moorcroft and Newcastle (all 1-3) will need some victories and some help to sneak in.

Class 2A West
In: Mountain View, Big Piney.
Neither in nor out: Lovell, Lyman, Pinedale, Greybull, Kemmerer.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Sure can be; Mountain View earns the top seed by beating winless Kemmerer this week.
Break it down for me: Kemmerer has the most difficult climb; at 0-4, the Rangers need to beat No. 1 Mountain View this week and get some help to tie the right teams to force a tiebreaker. Beyond that, the rest of the conference is a big, muddled mess right now as four other teams chase two spots.

Class 1A 11-man East
In: Big Horn, Upton-Sundance.
Neither in nor out: Southeast, Wright, Lusk, Pine Bluffs.
Out: Tongue River.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Big Horn would win the top seed by defeating Lusk paired with a Southeast loss to Wright; otherwise, it’ll be decided in Week 8.
Break it down for me: In the chase for the final two playoff spots, Southeast and Wright are most comfortable, at 3-1 and 2-2, respectively. That leaves Lusk and Pine Bluffs, both at 1-3, trying to leap ahead of Wright for the fourth spot. Lusk and Pine Bluffs play each other in Week 8, and they’ll both need upsets in Week 7 (Lusk over Big Horn, Pine Bluffs over Upton-Sundance) to keep pace with the Panthers. And Wright holds the tiebreaker over both of them.

Class 1A 11-man West
In: No one.
Neither in nor out: Everyone.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Simply, no.
Break it down for me: This conference is a bit tricky, as Cokeville and Wyoming Indian don’t play each other this season. But Shoshoni is in position to be the No. 2 seed behind the Panthers, and Rocky Mountain and Wind River are potentially Nos. 3 and 4… unless upsets happen, like they did last year.

Class 1A six-man East
In: Hanna, Hulett.
Neither in nor out: Lingle, Kaycee, Guernsey, NSI.
Out: Midwest.
Ineligible: Saratoga.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Sure can; Hanna will be the top seed with a victory against Kaycee in Week 7.
Break it down for me: The chase for the final two spots really boils down to Lingle, Kaycee and Guernsey. Lingle is in a better spot, being 3-2 to Kaycee and Guernsey’s 2-3. This week’s Lingle-Guernsey game will be crucial. Meanwhile, NSI is the longest long shot, needing victories in the final two weeks and a LOT of help just to force a tiebreaker.

Class 1A six-man West
In: Snake River.
Neither in nor out: Farson, Burlington, Meeteetse, St. Stephens, Dubois.
Out: No one.
Ineligible: Riverside.
Can the top seed be decided this week? It’s already been decided — Snake River will be the top seed out of the West.
Break it down for me: Farson at 3-1 needs only one win to secure a playoff spot. After that, Burlington at 2-2 and Meeteetse at 2-3 are in the best positions for the postseason. St. Stephens at 1-3 needs an upset or two, while Dubois at 0-4 REALLY needs some victories and some help, although the Rams still mathematically alive.

–patrick

Six-man football in Wyoming has a magic number: 22.

Every six-man state champion since 2009 has given up fewer than 22 points per game. And only once has a six-man team given up fewer than 22 points per game and not won the six-man title.

Re-read that last paragraph. And then think about it.

Like Bear Bryant used to say, offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships. He was talking 11-man, but nowhere else does it ring truer than in six-man.

Over the past 10 seasons, it’s held true that to win a championship, six-man defenses HAVE to allow fewer than 22 points per game. Here’s a quick breakdown of who’s met that magic number, and by how much:
Kaycee 2017 (10-0), 10 ppg (state champ)
Snake River 2010 (10-0), 15.2 ppg (state champ)
Kaycee 2016 (11-0), 15.27 ppg (state champ)
Kaycee 2015 (10-1), 15.73 ppg (state champ)
Guernsey 2014 (11-0), 15.8 ppg (state champ)
Guernsey 2009 (9-0), 16 ppg (state champ)
Snake River 2017 (8-2), 16.8 ppg
Dubois 2012 (11-0), 19.18 ppg (state champ)
Snake River 2011 (11-0), 20.5 ppg (state champ)
Farson 2018 (11-0), 21 ppg (state champ)
Meeteetse 2013 (11-1), 21.42 ppg (state champ)

Only once we wrap our heads around that magic number can we fully understand, embrace and appreciate what’s happening with Snake River this season.

Through five games, Snake River has allowed zero points.

Zero. None. Nada. Zilch. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah. An average of 0.0 ppg.

Scores of 71-0 (sorry, Saratoga), 52-0 (bye-bye, Burlington), 62-0 (mashed Meeteetse), 53-0 (sayonara, St. Stephens) and 56-0 (ripped Riverside) have put the Rattlers on a path of not only championship proportions, but of heretofore unmatched historic defensive prowess.

At one point in Kaycee’s 2017 title season — the one that capped a 30-game winning streak and three consecutive state titles while putting the Buckaroos on top of that six-man defensive list at 10 points per game — the Buckaroos notched four consecutive shutouts.

I thought we may never see that in six-man again. Yet here we are, and Snake River’s got five shutouts in its first five games.

Five consecutive shutouts is unprecedented in Wyoming’s six-man records. The closest such six-man stretch I can find, beyond Kaycee’s 2017 season, came with Byron’s six-man team in 1939, which went 5-0 and never gave up a point; the caveat is that I can’t find results for two of Byron’s games that season.

(By the way, the all-time state record for consecutive shutouts, regardless of classification, is nine. Three programs share that record. Rock Springs did that in the 1940 and 1941 seasons, including eight straight shutouts to close out its 1940 championship season; Sheridan did that in 1916-19, including a 1917 season in which they outscored opponents 300-0; and Ten Sleep had nine straight shutouts from 1935-36.)

All that said, it makes sense that Snake River is the top-ranked team in six-man.

The Rattlers’ biggest challenge to date comes Friday, when second-ranked and defending state champion Farson brings its tied-for-state-best 16-game winning streak to Baggs.

Farson has to feel overshadowed by Snake River’s success this year. How many defending state champs start a season with five consecutive victories, string together a 16-game winning streak — and, oh by the way, give up a championship-pace 13.4 points per game — and STILL can’t crack the top spot in the rankings?

Well… when the team ranked higher is on some kind of crazy record-breaking shutout streak, there’s not much Farson can do.

Except score.

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A ton of rivalries dot the schedule in Week 6, but that’s not all that’s important. After all, the Oil Bowl (Natrona-Kelly Walsh) and the Energy Bowl (Sheridan-Gillette) are both this week. Bold prediction: Neither will be all that competitive by the fourth quarter. But some other games might be….

Like Central-East in what we used to call the Capital Bowl. With South’s struggles, maybe we still can. To be honest, I thought Central was a year away from being a true competitor in 4A. Yet the Indians are 4-2 and have won four in a row. That kind of momentum builds confidence and turns a team with potential into a team with power. East is the favorite, but Central might be closer to turning the tide in this series than anyone outside their locker room thought possible in August. …

In Week 5, Worland finally showed that spark I thought the Warriors would have all season in defeating Rawlins. After an 0-4 start, it would be easy to write off Worland’s hopes. But if the Warriors can surprise Douglas at home this week — and based on last week’s performance, they very well could — they might be a surprise second-half team, and beyond. …

Jackson’s mad. And Star Valley is in the Broncs’ way. Although the Braves have the edge in this one, if you think Jackson won’t be playing like its hair’s on fire, you’ve got another thing coming. …

The Bridger Valley Bowl between Mountain View and Lyman is this week. As I’ve said before, I wholly underestimated Lyman this season. But I haven’t overestimated Mountain View… the Buffalos have been everything that everyone thought they might be this season. I’m curious to see how much of a fight the underdog Eagles might give them in a rivalry showdown. Speaking of underestimating teams….

I don’t mind admitting that the team I was most wrong about this year was Southeast. The Cyclones have won four in a row and are tied for first in the 1A 11-man East. Are they for-real championship threats? Well, they host Upton-Sundance this week. Let’s talk after that game. …

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Here are the Week 6 picks. Bold is for teams I think will win, and I use it carefully, because ink is expensive:

Thursday
Interclass

Wyoming Indian at Cody JV
Friday
Class 4A

Cheyenne Central at Cheyenne East
Kelly Walsh at Natrona
Laramie at Cheyenne South
Sheridan at Gillette
Thunder Basin at Rock Springs
Class 3A
Douglas at Worland
Evanston at Green River
Jackson at Star Valley
Lander at Rawlins
Powell at Cody
Torrington at Riverton
Class 2A
Greybull at Lovell
Kemmerer at Glenrock
Mountain View at Lyman
Newcastle at Thermopolis
Pinedale at Big Piney
Wheatland at Buffalo
Class 1A 11-man
Lusk at Wright
Cokeville at Rocky Mountain
Tongue River at Big Horn
Upton-Sundance at Southeast
Wind River at Shoshoni
Class 1A six-man
Kaycee at Lingle
Meeteetse at Riverside
Interclass
Burns at Pine Bluffs
Saturday
Class 1A six-man

Farson at Snake River
NSI at Hulett
St. Stephens at Dubois
Saratoga at Hanna
Interclass
Gillette sophs at Moorcroft
Natrona frosh at Encampment
Open: Burlington. Guernsey has already defeated Midwest this week via forfeit.

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: 30-2 (94 percent). This season: 141-39 (78 percent). 

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What’s your favorite Wyoming high school football rivalry? 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