The 2018 season is done. All 310 games.

And I feel unfulfilled.

Maybe that’s just because of how the season ended. Natrona, Star Valley, Buffalo, Big Horn and Farson all won state championships, but none of the title games were all that thrilling. Natrona built a 21-0 halftime lead on its way to beating Sheridan; Star Valley had little trouble in wiping out Torrington 35-14; Buffalo led Mountain View by 29 after two quarters and won 43-18; Big Horn blew out Cokeville in every conceivable way to win 56-3; Farson toyed with Burlington for a quarter before running away to its first title and a 73-38 victory.

If you’re a fan of one of those five programs, that’s awesome. If you’re a fan of exciting football at the highest level the state has to offer, not so much. After all, last year we had Mountain View and Glenrock going down to the wire in 2A, and Pine Bluffs and Big Horn doing the same in 1A 11-man… in 2016, we had Big Horn and Greybull in 2A and Pine Bluffs and Tongue River in 1A 11-man provide nail-biters… in 2015, it was Gillette and Sheridan staging a 4A classic.

This year’s title games, by contrast, were all but anticlimactic at the end. Five deserving teams won state championships, and in a way the way they won proved that dominance. You won’t hear the winners complaining, anyway.

Honestly, maybe I’m just going to miss having football to look forward to every Friday.

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With the culmination of the 2018 season, high-scoring offenses from Farson and Big Horn set a few scoring records:

Farson’s 790 points finished second all-time in points in a season, finishing just short of Meeteetse’s 803 in 2013; however, Farson’s average of 71.82 points per game ranks first all-time. Also, Farson’s 90 points scored against Hulett in the quarterfinals of the six-man playoffs was the second all-time single-game playoff total.

Big Horn, meanwhile, finished with 577 points and an average of 52.45 points per game — both tops all-time among 11-man programs.

On the other side of the records was Dubois, whose 611 points allowed was the most ever from a Wyoming football program in a single season. The Rams’ 76.38 points allowed per game is No. 3 all-time.

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Speaking of scoring, and of streaks, Snake River has now scored in 95 consecutive games, which ranks sixth all-time. Big Horn has scored in 75 consecutive games, which is good enough for the top 20.

Meanwhile, Cokeville notched its 31st consecutive winning season and its 33rd consecutive non-losing season, extending the Panthers’ existing state records in both categories. And Laramie finished its 18th consecutive losing season, the second-longest such streak in state history.

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In the coaching ranks, Natrona coach Steve Harshman notched victory No. 200 in the semifinals and finishes the season with 201 in-state victories. He ranks third all-time in in-state victories and now needs just five victories to pass legendary Laramie coach John E. Deti for second place. Of course, Cokeville coach Todd Dayton leads all in-state coaches with 325 victories.

(A quick note on Dayton: He suffered the worst loss of his career, point-spread wise, in Saturday’s 53-point loss to Big Horn. Prior to that, Dayton’s worst loss at Cokeville had been by 32 points. That’s an amazing stat to me — that in 38 years, a Cokeville team had never lost by more than 32 until the Rams dumped them by 53. There isn’t another team in the state that can claim a run like that.)

Also this season, Douglas coach Jay Rhoades passed the 100-victory milestone this season; he now has 101 victories in Wyoming and ranks fifth among active coaches — fourth by 2019 when Glenrock’s Ray Kumpula makes his retirement official.

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If you take a look around the site, you should see that the 2018 season results are now a part of all the listings I have. (If they’re not, let me know!) I’m not done with 2018 yet, though. There’s still more to update here — the all-state, Super 25 and all-America listings will be updated when information is available to do so, and the individual records will be updated when final season stats are released.

The 2019 schedule, meanwhile, will most likely be mostly an inverse of the 2018 schedule. The statewide scheduling meeting is coming up this week in Casper, and I’ll post the 2019 schedule after I receive schedules from schools statewide.

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My picks for the title games went well… as in perfect. That helps me overcome a slow start and finish above 80 percent correct for the year. This means something only to me, I’m sure, but indulge me:

Last week: 5-0 (100 percent). This season: 245-58 (81 percent). 14-year overall record: 3,334-830 (80 percent).

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Finally, if you like what you’ve seen from this site, consider a page sponsorship. I have to pay for my own web space, and page sponsorships are my way of making sure that I don’t pay out of my own pocket to keep the site running. Sponsorships for single pages run $20 per year — a small contribution to a labor of love that provides me a lot of happiness. I hope it provides you the same. Thanks for your support all season, and in seasons past; it’s a lot more fun to share my passion with others who share it with me.

Now, on to wyoming-basketball.com. …

–patrick

The theory about championship games is that the hot team, not the best team, will come away with the title.

But if “hot” is measured by a semifinal performance, that theory may be misleading.

Inspired by this post, I looked into the margins of victory for semifinal playoff games to see if the teams that won by bigger margins in the semifinals were more likely to win the state championships.

I found that, since 2009 when title games moved to the neutral War (isn’t that an oxymoron?), the teams that win big in the semis are actually LESS likely to win the title game — but just barely.

Since 2009, the team that has won its semifinal game by fewer points is actually more successful in the title game, going 23-22. However, teams that win their semifinal games by wide margins that play teams that won their semifinal games by small margins do have an advantage.

Of the 11 instances since 2009 when a team that won its semifinal game by more than 25 points played a team that won its semifinal game by single digits, the team that won by 25-plus is 9-2 in those title games. The only teams not to uphold this were Douglas in 2014 (won its semifinal by 27, lost the title game to Cody, which won its semifinal by 8) and Tongue River in 2016 (won its semifinal by 31, lost the title game to Pine Bluffs, which won its semifinal by 6). This weekend, this scenario applies to Star Valley (won by 33; opponent Torrington won by 1).

However, simply winning big in a semifinal is no guarantee of title-game success. Of teams that won their semifinal games by at least 30 points, those teams are just 14-11 in title games. This includes five instances of each team playing in the title game after winning their semifinals by at least 30 points, four of those in six-man. This year’s six-man title game matches this scenario.

Looking ahead to this weekend, don’t be fooled by conventional wisdom. Even though it would seem that Star Valley, Buffalo, Big Horn and Farson would have the advantage, having won their semifinals by a wider margin than their opponent, we’ve seen that winning big in the semis guarantees nothing a week later.

–patrick

As you may have heard by now, Torrington reached its second consecutive Class 3A title game by beating Jackson 22-21 on Friday, scoring a touchdown as time ran out before notching the game-winning two-point conversion.

You may have also heard that Jackson supporters were not happy about the way in which the clock was turned on or off in the final few moments of the game — specifically, the final six plays.

Local News 8, the ABC station in Idaho Falls, covered this controversy. Kind of. Unfortunately, the story posted doesn’t match the video of what actually happened. (For example, the story says Torrington never went out of bounds in the final six plays, when Torrington did on its third play of the six; it also notes a fumble “blown dead” that could have happened on the same play, but player and official reactions show that the play was clearly over before the ball came loose.)

So let’s set the record straight.

Well, as straight as we can with gifs.

For this post, I watched the NFHS Network replay of Friday’s game. I timed each play in Torrington’s final drive and compared the announced times on the KGOS/KERM radio broadcast that accompanied the video feed to times I compiled by hand. (The images in this post come from that NFHS Network feed and are used here under fair use journalistic purposes.)

On its final drive, Torrington went 67 yards in 17 plays in 1 minute, 10 seconds. The first 11 plays were pretty standard, with no huge timing problems that I noticed.

The dispute really centers on the final six plays of the game, which Torrington ran in 10.4 seconds without the use of a timeout. (Neither team had any timeouts remaining by this point.) The first two plays were incomplete passes, each running about two seconds off the clock. Let’s take a look at gifs of those two plays.

Play 1

Play 2

 

So far, so good. No controversy. After the first two plays, the announcers from KGOS/KERM radio say the clock is down to 6.3 seconds. I hand-timed these two plays myself and ended up with a similar number of where the clock should be (I had it at 6.0, an acceptable range of difference).

Play 3 is where things start to go a little haywire. On this play, Torrington’s Bryan Lemmon catches a swing pass and is knocked out of bounds. The play takes about 4.6 seconds, according to my stopwatch.

Play 3

This should put the game clock at about 2.2 seconds remaining. (We don’t know what the clock read at this point, because it’s not announced on the audio feed. However, we can assume the clock read more than 2.2 seconds, based on the play call that follows and the reaction of the players after that play.)

Play 4 in the sequence adds to the questions. On fourth-and-1, Lemmon takes a pitch and plows for three yards, reaching the 2-yard line for a first down. The clock stops at this point to reset the chains. By my watch, this play takes 4.1 seconds.

Play 4

The clock starts before Play 5 begins. Play 5 is a spike to stop the clock after the chains are set for the first down. And Torrington does so nice and fast — in 0.9 seconds, according to my watch, from the signal to start the clock to when the ball hits the ground. (In this gif, watch the white hat ref on the right side; also watch the umpire stopping the ball from being snapped until the signal is given to go. This follows proper timing rules.)

Play 5

Play 6 is Lemmon’s 2-yard touchdown. The radio announcers say that, prior to this play, 1.6 seconds remained on the clock. And it doesn’t matter how long this play takes, because (as every player and coach knows) scoring on a play after time has run out is OK as long as the snap happens before the clock runs out.

Play 6

After this touchdown, Lemmon scored on the 2-point conversion to send Torrington back to the 3A title game.

The five plays prior to the game-winning touchdown took, by my stopwatch, 15.4 seconds. The Torrington clock operator said those same five plays took 8.8 seconds.

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Ultimately, Torrington won the game, and Torrington will play for a state championship. As Local News 8’s Max Cohan noted on Twitter (via a screencap of an email Cohan says is from Jackson AD Mike Hansen), the WHSAA isn’t in the habit of overruling game officials.

The WHSAA has rarely intervened in cases like this. In fact, I can find only one instance in which the WHSAA has overruled game officials. That came in 1967 in a game between Basin and Byron. Basin originally won 40-34 by scoring in the final minute of their game on Oct. 27, but Byron protested the game’s final 2 minutes, 24 seconds after claiming the officials mis-applied the rules on a fumble. The WHSAA upheld the protest, and the WHSAA forced the two teams to re-play the final 2:24 three days later. No one scored and the game finished as a 34-34 tie, officially.

The only other high-profile questionable timing incident I know of came even further back than that: the final game of the 1955 season between Laramie and Cheyenne Central. Laramie won 18-14 on its home field to claim the Class AA championship, but Cheyenne filed a protest claiming “timing irregularities” gave Laramie an unfair advantage. Two Cheyenne players also punched and tackled an official after he ejected a Cheyenne player. Although the protest was eventually tossed, the timekeeper that day, Edwin Hitchcock, died just days after the game due to a heart attack.

More recently, the most controversial final-play playoff finish came in a Class 5A semifinal game in 2006. In that game, Natrona kicker Garrett Hill’s field goal attempt on the final play of the game was ruled wide left, despite video showing that the kick may have actually gone between the uprights as it went over the top of the left post. Cheyenne East won that game 5-3. Then as now, the WHSAA delegated that responsibility to the officials on the field and supported the ruling the officials made on the field.

The same standard applies here. If Jackson fans have a beef, it’s with the officials, not with the WHSAA. I daresay the beef isn’t even with the timer, who I don’t want to name here (and couldn’t even if I wanted to, because I haven’t asked and don’t plan to). However, if you think you can do better than the officials, prove it by becoming a WHSAA official. It’s a hard and thankless job, especially when we (you and me) can watch replay after replay and critique tenths of a second of their in-the-moment calls and decisions. I thought hard about whether to even post this, because I think many people will use this post as an excuse to trash the game officials and timer even more. Please don’t be that person.

In the course of a 48-minute game, 6.6 seconds slips off the clock, or stays on the clock, easily. To Torrington’s benefit, and Jackson’s dismay, it just so happened these 6.6 seconds came when they did.

–patrick

Here’s a quick look at broad playoff scenarios entering Week 7 of the 2018 Wyoming high school football season:

Class 4A
In: Cheyenne East, Natrona, Thunder Basin, Sheridan, Laramie.
Neither in nor out: Rock Springs, Cheyenne Central, Kelly Walsh, Cheyenne South, Gillette.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? HAHAHAHAHAHA no. There’s WAY too many scenarios possibly happening to make this a reality in Week 7.

The key game for seeding in the lower half keeps looking like the South-Central matchup in Week 8. The top half, meanwhile, looks like it’s going to end with a coin flip deciding the top three seeds. There’s parity, but it’s split in two.

Class 3A East
In: Torrington.
Neither in nor out: Douglas, Lander, Worland, Riverton.
Out: Rawlins.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Yep. Torrington can earn the top seed by beating Worland in Week 7.

Even if Rawlins wins its final two games, the Outlaws would tie with teams they’ve already lost to, so they’re out. Riverton still has a wide outside chance to make it, but the Wolverines would need to pull an upset over Douglas in Week 8 and get some help (not to mention beating Rawlins next week.

Class 3A West
In: Star Valley.
Neither in nor out: Evanston, Cody, Jackson, Powell, Green River.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Yep. Star Valley can wrap up the No. 1 seed if it beats Cody and if Jackson beats Evanston.

Powell and Green River are both on the outside looking in, and each needs to win next week (against each other) to stay in consideration. The top is messy, though, as an “upset” in any of the remaining games between the top four teams (Star Valley faces Evanston and Cody and Evanston faces Jackson in the final two weeks) could make this a mess.

Class 2A East
In: Buffalo.
Neither in nor out: Glenrock, Wheatland, Thermopolis, Burns, Moorcroft, Newcastle.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Actually, this one’s already been decided. Buffalo is the No. 1 seed.

Newcastle is the longest of the long shots, needing a lot to go right to keep hope alive. Glenrock has the best chance at the No. 2 seed and can wrap that up by beating Thermopolis this week. And Wheatland can secure the No. 3 seed by beating Moorcroft this week (and maybe move up to No. 2 if some wild things go down).

Class 2A West
In: Mountain View.
Neither in nor out: Greybull, Big Piney, Kemmerer, Pinedale, Lyman, Lovell.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Yep. Mountain View wins the conference with a victory against Kemmerer combined with a Greybull loss to Lyman.

In between Mountain View at 4-0 and Lovell at 0-4, this whole conference is just a dang mess. I don’t even want to think about it until Week 8 is done, and then I’ll break out my tiebreaking guidelines.

Class 1A 11-man East
In: Big Horn, Upton-Sundance.
Neither in nor out: Pine Bluffs, Lusk, Wright, Tongue River, Southeast.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Yep. Big Horn will be the top seed with a victory against Lusk this week.

This one could get either really messy or really simple really fast. Really. Big Horn and Upton-Sundance are in, and the game between Upton-Sundance and Pine Bluffs this week will help sort out the second and third seeds. After that, it’s a chase for No. 4, with Lusk, Wright and Tongue River (and barely Southeast) all going after that final playoff slot.

Class 1A 11-man West
In: Cokeville, Wind River, Shoshoni.
Neither in nor out: Rocky Mountain, Wyoming Indian.
Out: No one (except Saratoga, who’s ineligible).
Can the top seed be decided this week? Nope. That’s a Week 8 discussion.

Pretty simple here: The Cokeville-Wind River game in Week 8 will likely decide 1 and 2. Shoshoni’s probably 3. The winner of Rocky Mountain-Wyoming Indian in Week 8 is likely 4. The only way that isn’t the case is if Rocky upsets Wind River this week.

Class 1A six-man East
In: Hanna, Kaycee.
Neither in nor out: Guernsey, NSI, Lingle, Hulett.
Out: Midwest.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Yep, in a couple ways. Kaycee can win the conference outright with a victory against Hanna. Hanna can win the conference with a victory AND a Guernsey loss to Lingle.

There’s a weird scenario where Guernsey, NSI and either Lingle or Hulett could tie for the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Meanwhile, Hanna hosts Kaycee this week, with Guernsey lurking to potentially force a three-way tie in Week 8 (or potentially win the conference outright) if Hanna wins in Week 7.

Class 1A six-man West
In: Farson, Meeteetse, Snake River.
Neither in nor out: Burlington, St. Stephens.
Out: Riverside (ineligible), Dubois.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Yep. Farson wins the No. 1 seed with a victory against Burlington in Week 7.

St. Stephens is the team on the outside looking in right now, needing two victories and two Burlington losses to sneak into the fourth spot. Farson is the likely top seed, with Meeteetse needing only to beat winless Dubois this week to secure the No. 2 seed. Snake River’s in as the third seed if it beats Dubois in Week 8.

Wanna see the standings for yourself? Click here.

Updated at 4:44 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, to reflect updated Class 1A six-man West possibilities after Saturday’s game between Meeteetse and Riverside finished.

–patrick

I always take note when I recognize a name for a new high school coach.

Generally, when I recognize a name of a new coach, it’s because I remember that coach as a player. That’s what happened a bunch this summer, with new coaches like Cody Bohlander, Clayton McSpadden and Eli Moody among others sparking memories of their playing days.

Those memories got me thinking — how many of Wyoming’s head football coaches graduated from a Wyoming high school? Or a Wyoming college?

So, as part of the Wyoming High School Football Preview Magazine, I asked every coach about their alma maters, both high school and college. And here’s what I found:

Of the 64 Wyoming high school football coaches entering the 2018 season, 34 went to Wyoming high schools, while 30 did not. Wyoming coaches also graduated from high schools in Montana (6), Colorado (4), Idaho and Nebraska (3 each), California, Utah and Washington (2 each) and Alaska, Arkansas, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas and the District of Columbia (1 each).

The only bordering state not to have at least one head coach in Wyoming is South Dakota.

In all, 27 different Wyoming high schools were represented on the alma mater list of Wyoming coaches. Nine coaches (Burlington’s Trent Aagard, Cheyenne Central’s Mike Apodaca, Cokeville’s Todd Dayton, Evanston’s Pat Fackrell, Farson’s Trip Applequist, Hulett’s Boz Backen, Lusk’s Ryan Nelson, Rawlins’ Clayton McSpadden and Snake River’s Jack Cobb) are the head coach at the high school from which they graduated. Similarly, Hanna’s Zack Scott is an alumnus of nearby and now closed Medicine Bow, while Thunder Basin coach Trent Pikula graduated from Gillette in the days before TBHS existed.

Eight high schools graduated more than one Wyoming high school coach; Cheyenne Central, Douglas, Hulett, Lander, Lovell, Lusk, Midwest and Chadron (Nebraska) each have two alumni as head football coaches in Wyoming. The city of Cheyenne leads all cities with three coaches from that city claiming alumni status from one of that city’s high schools.

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For college, the most popular undergraduate alma mater was the University of Wyoming, from which 19 Wyoming coaches graduated. Even so, 42 of the remaining 43 coaches went to out-of-state locales to finish their bachelor’s degrees.

Next was Black Hills State with eight alumni and Chadron State with four. After that, coaches graduated from Sioux Falls and Montana State (3 each), Colorado Mesa, Montana-Western, MSU-Billings and Weber State (2 each), and Arkansas, Augustana, Colorado State, CSU-Sacramento, Dakota Wesleyan, Dickinson State, Kansas State, MSU-Northern, Northern Michigan, South Dakota Mines, Southern Utah, Sterling (Kansas), Southwest Minnesota State, Tabor (Kansas), Texas, UNLV and Utah State (1 each). (Two coaches have not finished their undergraduate degrees.)


–patrick

A few weeks ago, before the season officially got going, I was on KNYN radio in Evanston with Jake Hibbard to talk about the 2018 season (the program is here in case you want to listen). We got to talking about programs and coaches and all kinds of fun stuff, and I made the point that, most of the time, it takes about three years for a new coach to really put their mark on a program and win with their approaches.

But then I got to thinking about it and started to wonder — statistically, is that actually the case? Do coaches really do their best, in terms of winning games, in their third season? And did I just lie to a bunch of radio listeners in Uinta County????

To test this hypothesis, I tracked down the results of every Wyoming high school football coach who spent at least four consecutive years in their position since 1980 and looked at which of the first three years was the best. (Why four years? You’ll see soon.) I found 194 coaches who fit this description. Of those 194:

  • 58 (29.9 percent) had their best year in their first year
  • 64 (33 percent) had their best year in their second year
  • 72 (37.1 percent) had their best year in their third year*

So, yes, there is a connection here — teams get better as the coach stays longer, at least through the first three years. My hypothesis was right — but not by the margin I thought. I thought it’d be much higher.

But I wasn’t done thinking about this topic. If it really takes three years to get up to speed, then shouldn’t the fourth year be the best of them all? So I decided to look at the fourth year, trying to answer the question of how many coaches have a season in their fourth year that’s better than any one of their first three years.

The answer: 46 of those 194 coaches (23.7 percent) had that fourth year be better than any of the previous three.

Even at random, a fourth-year coach should have a 25-percent chance of having their best year be their fourth year. Fourth-year coaches are below that. I’m not totally sure what that means, but I found it interesting nonetheless.

Finally, some light statistical breakdowns help show the (weak) trend that I inherently believed to be true but had never tested.

The third year really is the best — at least 37.1 percent of the time. That’s 37.1 percent good news for the nine head coaches starting their third year in 2018: Dan Gallas at Cheyenne South, McKay Young at Star Valley, Matt McPhie at Thermopolis, Mitch Espeland at Pinedale, Richard Despain at Rocky Mountain, Curtis Cook at Guernsey-Sunrise, Matthew Cornelius at Lingle, Doug Spriggs at Rock River and Trent Aagard at Burlington.

Answering the question WHY the third year is the best, though, is much more difficult. Still working on that one. 🙂

*-Note that in cases of ties, I went with the first year in which a record was reached. Rankings were by winning percentage.

–patrick

The 2018 Wyoming High School Football Preview Magazine is now out and posted here at wyoming-football.com!

I spend two months compiling what you see here — preview stories about every team in the state, interviews with every single head coach, players to watch, schedules, key games, predictions and more. It’s a heck of a lot of work, but I think it’s worth it. You won’t find a more thorough, comprehensive and complete preview of Wyoming high school football anywhere else.

Thanks again to all the coaches statewide for their help! I couldn’t do this without their cooperation, and it’s greatly appreciated.

Hard copies should be out soon. Stop by any of the advertisers listed in the magazine to pick up your FREE hard copy. And mad props to the advertisers for allowing this magazine to become a reality.

–patrick

One of my favorite purchases every summer is my copy of Phil Steele’s College Football Preview. I discovered the Phil Steele preview about 15 years ago and refer to it often throughout the season, and it’s the only college football preview I buy.

I love it because it flips a lot of conventional wisdom on its head to make its preseason predictions, looking not only at the win-loss record and who’s back but other factors like two-deep returners, turnover ratio, close games and, one of my favorite stats, yards per point.

Entering the 2018 season, I decided to break down the yards-per-point stat for Wyoming high school football teams, both on offense and on defense. The formula is simple: number of yards gained (or allowed) divided by the number of points scored (or allowed).

On offense, you want a LOWER YPP — that means you’re scoring a lot of points in comparison to the number of yards you’re gaining. A higher YPP means usually means one of two things: you’re gaining yards but not scoring points, or you’re not gaining yards and scoring basically zilch.

On defense, you want a HIGHER YPP — teams may get their yards, but they won’t get their points. High YPPs on defense show either a team that bends but doesn’t break or a team that is on lockdown and doesn’t allow many yards OR many points.

In Phil Steele’s preview, he mentions that YPP is fluid. YPP measures efficiency, not strength. It’s a ratio, not a cumulation. Because of the fluidity of the stat, it’s also often a predictor of how well a team will do the following season. Teams that have really high (or low) YPPs usually have a tough time maintaining that (in)efficiency from year to year; exceptional outliers tend to indicate a particularly lucky (or unlucky) team that either succeeded or struggled because of bad breaks and inefficiency, which are more easily rectified than, say, a lack of talent.

When I dug into Wyoming’s high school football statistics from last season, I found six teams ripe for turnarounds, because they were in the bottom 10 statewide of both YPP offense and YPP defense: Shoshoni, Cheyenne South, Gillette, Burns, Wright and Jackson.

Conversely, seven teams were in the top 10 of both categories, and may have a tough time maintaining that efficiency (and success) in 2018: Pine Bluffs, Sheridan, Natrona, Cokeville, Star Valley, Torrington and Mountain View.

I also found a few weird outliers worth discussing.

One weird outlier — and potentially a team ready to benefit from better luck — is Powell. The Panthers finished dead last statewide in Offensive YPP, at 23.93. However, Powell’s defense checked in with a YPP of 12.4, dead smack in the middle of the statewide ranks. So Powell’s defense was solid, but its offense was horrendously inefficient at scoring points; looking at it that way, it’s no surprise they finished 1-7 despite having a good defense. A few more breaks go the Panthers’ way, and maybe they’re in the hunt in the 3A West. (Other programs with efficient defenses but inefficient offenses in 2017: Lusk, Lander and Kemmerer.)

Another weird outlier is Wind River, which finished 3-6 last year. The Cougars were seventh in the state in offensive YPP last season (10.31). But they were sixth-to-last statewide in defensive YPP (9.62). So the Cougars had one of the state’s most efficient offenses and one of its least efficient defenses, all in the same season. Will the real Wind River please stand up? (Other programs with efficient offenses but inefficient defenses in 2017: Saratoga, Tongue River, Thunder Basin and Rock Springs.)

Here’s a quick glance at the leaders statewide….

Top and bottom 10 in YPP Offense:

Top 10: Pine Bluffs (8.85), Sheridan (8.91), Natrona (9.32), Cokeville (9.44), Star Valley (9.66), Torrigton (9.73), Wind River (10.31), Big Piney (10.49), Mountain View (10.89), Glenrock (10.99).

Bottom 10: Powell (23.93), Shoshoni (23.53), Cheyenne South (23.1), Kemmerer (21.34), Lander (20.81), Lusk (19.83), Gillette (19.31), Burns (17.65), Wright (15.55), Jackson (15.13).

Top and bottom 10 in YPP Defense:

Top 10: Cokeville (32.85), Star Valley (26.86), Sheridan (23.04), Mountain View (22.13), Pine Bluffs (20.93), Cody (19.14), Buffalo (18.3), Natrona (18.11), Rocky Mountain (17.87), Torrington (17.24).

Bottom 10: Jackson (6.29), Cheyenne South (6.94), Gillette (7.06), Saratoga (8.12), Shoshoni (8.6), Wind River (9.62), Wright (9.73), Burns (9.95), Tongue River (10), Thunder Basin (10.61).

(These numbers include 11-man teams only. Six-man stats were too inconsistent to apply these methods.)

And here’s an unsponsored link to go buy Phil Steele’s college football preview.

–patrick

Eleven Wyoming high school football coaches share something in common — they’re the winningest coaches at their schools.

That list could grow to 16 names by the time the 2018 season is complete.

Coaches at Newcastle, Rock River, Lyman, NSI and Kelly Walsh could move up to No. 1 on their school’s all-time coaching victories list if they get enough victories this season.

The coach closest to this milestone is Newcastle’s Matt Conzelman. He needs one victory to tie the Dogies’ current victories record-holder Erv Wentling, and two victories to break Wentling’s record of 48 victories with the program. Other coaches who could become their school’s leader in victories this season include:

Doug Spriggs, Rock River (2 to tie, 3 to break Terrance Reese’s record of 2)
Dale Anderson, Lyman (6 to tie, 7 to break Loren Huntsman’s record of 39)
Anthony Simmons, NSI (6 to tie, 7 to break Mike Gorzalka’s record of 14)
Jon Vance, Kelly Walsh (8 to tie, 9 to break Tom Staffileno’s record of 37)

The 11 coaches who are already their school’s winningest coach are Todd Dayton, Cokeville (315 wins); Steve Harshman, Natrona (190); Mark Bullington, Southeast (138); Ray Kumpula, Glenrock (127); David Trembly, Dubois (83); Larry Yeradi, Wright (80); Chad Goff, Cheyenne East (77); Andy Garland, Upton-Sundance (42 with co-op, 76 total at Upton/Upton-Sundance); Trip Applequist, Farson (35); Trent Pikula, Thunder Basin (5); and Dan Gallas, Cheyenne South (4).

–patrick

Want to know who’s going to win the Wyoming state football champions this year? Here’s how to do so, in decreasing order of necessity, based on how that team finished last year:

1. They had at least two victories last year: Only one team since 1990 has won a title with fewer than two victories the previous year — and even that comes with an asterisk. Lingle won the nine-man state championship in 1990 after going 1-7 in 1989, but that 1989 season was played at the 11-man level. In short, it’s exceedingly rare for a team to win zero games or one game in one season and turn around to win a state championship the next year.

2. They were in the playoffs last year: Pine Bluffs proved to be the exception to this rule in 2016, winning the 1A 11-man state title despite missing the playoffs in 2015. Before the Hornets, the last state champion that missed an eight-team playoff bracket the year before? Cokeville in 1993. (In 1992, Cokeville finished 4-3 but missed out on a playoff spot; the Panthers won it all in 1A the next season.)

3. They have the same coach: Only eight of the past 115 state champions have won titles with a coach in his first year as head coach at the school. But the trend is changing, as it’s happened five times the past six years with Lyman’s Dale Anderson in 2012, Meeteetse’s Matt Jensen in 2013, Kaycee’s Lee Kremers in 2015, Star Valley’s McKay Young in 2016 and Kaycee’s Tony Rouse in 2017.

4. They had a winning record last year: Only 14 of the 120 state champions since 1994 had a losing record the previous season; nine of those occurrences were between 2005 and 2010. And it’s happened three time in the past three years. Those teams: Rocky Mountain in 1995, Kemmerer in 2005, Jackson in 2007, Cheyenne East in 2007, Burns in 2008, Gillette in 2008, Guernsey-Sunrise in 2009, Thermopolis in 2009, Snake River in 2010, Natrona in 2010, Star Valley in 2015, Pine Bluffs in 2016 and Cody in 2017.

5. They reached at least the semifinals the previous season: Only 26 of the 120 state champions since 1994 were not in the semifinals of the playoffs the year before. However, two of those 26 were last year: Cody in 3A and Mountain View in 2A.

6. They played in the state title game the year before: Of the past 120 state champs, 53 played in the state title game the previous season. However, just two years ago, this trend was busted up pretty well: None of the 2015 state champs played in the title game in 2014… the first time that’s happened since 1997.

So, to those 13 teams who had one win or fewer: Your title chances are basically zilch, based on historical precedent. Sorry.

To those 24 teams who missed the playoffs last season: Your title chances are basically zilch, based on historical precedent. Even though there’s a Pine Bluffs-in-2016-style chance, it happens rarely. The Hornets may have been the one exception granted by this rule for the next 20 years. Sorry.

To those 30 teams who had losing records: Your title chances are slim, slim, slim (about 1.7 percent) — but not zilch — based on historical precedent. Sorry.

To those 20 teams who reached the semifinals last year: Your title chances are actually pretty good, based on historical precedent! Hurray for you!

To those 10 teams who played in the title games last year: Your title chances are EXCELLENT, based on historical precedent! Hurray for you.

And to those 14 teams with new head coaches: Your title chances, oddly, are better than they’ve ever been. Congratulations?

–patrick

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