Entering the 2016 season, only 50 of Wyoming’s 65 high school football fields will have lights.

Of those 15 without lights, 10 stadiums belong to schools that play six-man football. The only 11-man programs without lights on their field are Mountain View, Lyman, Big Piney, Cokeville and Sundance — and Sundance won’t host any Upton-Sundance co-op home games this year as the field is rebuilt in a new location to make room for a new elementary school.

As more and more 11-man programs add lights, day games are becoming rarer and rarer as more schools opt for the Friday night lights.

Most of the schools playing day games this season are six-man schools. Ten Sleep is the only program in the state that will play every regular-season game in 2016 during daylight hours, and 14 of the 16 six-man programs will play at least half their games during the day.

Of 11-man programs, Cokeville’s seven day games is tops; Big Piney, Lyman and Mountain View will play five day games apiece. No other 11-man program will play more than half its games during the day. And 31 of Wyoming’s 64 programs will play all their games at night, including every 4A and 3A program.

Games were defined as day games if they started prior to 5 p.m. Zero Week scrimmages and jamborees of 4A weren’t considered.

Here are the schools playing at least one day game this regular season:

Ten Sleep: 8 day games
Burlington, Cokeville, Dubois, Farson, Hulett, Kaycee, Snake River: 7 day games
Normative Services, Rock River, St. Stephens: 6 day games
Big Piney, Hanna, Lyman, Mountain View: 5 day games
Guernsey-Sunrise, Meeteetse, Riverside: 4 day games
Lingle, Shoshoni: 3 day games
Greybull, Midwest, Pinedale, Rocky Mountain, Saratoga, Wyoming Indian: 2 day games
Glenrock, Kemmerer, Lovell, Newcastle, Tongue River, Upton-Sundance, Wright: 1 day game

Among those games are 10 games to be played in daylight hours at stadiums with lights. NSI is the leader here — only one of NSI’s four home games this year will be under the lights as the Wolves embrace the six-man day game tradition. Shoshoni will play a pair of home day games, while Guernsey-Sunrise, Riverside, Tongue River, Wyoming Indian and Rocky Mountain will each play a single day game despite having lights on their fields.

Want to see a full season schedule with kick times for every game? Click here.

Want to read up on Wyoming high school football stadiums? Click here.

–patrick

On Twitter and Facebook a while back, I asked question where answering the “what” was fairly easy but answering the “why” was quite a bit tougher:

What’s your favorite high school football stadium in Wyoming? And what’s your least favorite?

The answers varied widely; some people’s favorites were others’ least favorite. In the process, I learned quite a few tidbits about Wyoming’s high school football stadiums. So I decided to rank them, one to sixty-five.

Before we get into the list, let’s clarify: This is my list. It’s subjective. It’s faulty. In your mind, it’s probably wrong. You’re right. If I did this list again tomorrow, it’d probably come out different. But it’s my list. And I’m a sucker for:

  • mountains
  • stadiums built into the sides of hills or mountains
  • brick
  • concrete-anchored seating
  • trees and shrubs

And I hate:

  • aluminum bleachers
  • portable bleachers
  • portable aluminum bleachers

And I’m indifferent to:

  • the presence or absence of a track
  • the playing surface itself
  • the “tradition” of the team itself playing on the field

In short, I love stadiums that look like they are supposed to be there, and only there — that this little corner of the world was meant to be reserved for football. Permanence plays a big part in that. Stadiums that look permanent, with brick and concrete stands, specialized landscaping or earth moving and other buildings that appear to be built around the field, have a soft spot in my heart.

And, obviously, I despise the places that look replaceable — the stadiums that look like convenience and little else drove the selection; the stadiums that look like they could be picked up and moved and placed somewhere else in a matter of days; the stadiums that don’t speak to longevity or history.

Consequently, I hate a lot of new stadiums. They’re too new to have any character. They’re too cost-effective to have any sense of permanence. They’re too easy to mistake for another.

So here it is. Every Wyoming high school football field, ranked, with a lot of bias and personal experience and only a little research:

Gotta see before you die

1. Big Horn Field, Big Horn

2. Outlaw Stadium, Rawlins

3. Homer Scott Field, Sheridan

4. Puncher Stadium, Big Piney

5. Mike Moon Field, Buffalo

6. Longhorn Stadium, Meeteetse

7. Walt Gray Field, Tongue River

Pretty neat

8. Buffaloes Stadium, Greybull

9. Oiler Field, Midwest

10. Cheney Alumni Field, Natrona

11. Bearcat Stadium, Douglas

12. Red Devil Stadium, Hulett

13. Harry Geldien Stadium, Kelly Walsh

14. Sheldon Henderson Stadium, Glenrock

15. Rams Stadium, Dubois

16. Okie Blanchard Stadium, Cheyenne East

17. Miner Stadium, Hanna

18. Braves Field, Star Valley

19. Robert Hileman Field, Saratoga

20. B.F. Weaver Field, Upton

21. Korfanta Field, Pinedale

22. Kay Fackrell Stadium, Evanston

Somewhat memorable

23. LeRoy Sinner Field, Wind River

24. Wolves Stadium, Green River

25. Bill Bush Stadium, Lander

26. Deti Stadium, Laramie

27. William T. McIntosh Stadium, Jackson

28. Wolves Stadium, NSI

29. Ranger Stadium, Kemmerer

30. Tiger Stadium, Rock Springs

31. LeRoy Hayes Field, Thermopolis

32. Bronc Stadium, Burns

33. Spike Vannoy Field, Cody

34. Viking Stadium, Guernsey-Sunrise

35. Schoonmaker Field, Newcastle

36. Bulldog Stadium, Sundance

37. Riske Field, Cheyenne Central

38. Rebel Stadium, Riverside

39. Carlstrum Field, Pine Bluffs

40. Clarence Lammers Stadium, Mountain View

41. Buckaroo Stadium, Kaycee

42. Camel Stadium, Gillette

Definitely a football field

43. Warrior Stadium, Worland

44. Fullmer Stadium, Lusk

45. Panther Stadium, Powell

46. Rattler Field, Snake River

47. Bailey Field, Shoshoni

48. Wolverine Stadium, Riverton

49. Panther Field at Battlecat Stadium, Wright

50. Pioneers Stadium, Ten Sleep

51. Bulldog Stadium, Wheatland

52. Chiefs Intertribal Stadium, Wyoming Indian

53. Grizzly Stadium, Rocky Mountain

54. Wolves Field, Moorcroft

55. Kirk Field, Lingle

56. Bison Stadium, Cheyenne South

57. St. Stephens’ field, St. Stephens

58. Teeters Field, Southeast

59. Kevin P. Robertson Memorial Stadium, Lovell

60. Wiseman Field, Torrington

61. Rock River’s field, Rock River

62. Panther Field, Cokeville

63. Eagle Stadium, Lyman

64. Husky Stadium, Burlington

65. Big Sandy Park, Farson

–patrick

I posed a simple question on Twitter on Friday:

I asked the question because, honestly, I didn’t know the answer.

But I had a plan to find out, at least unofficially.

Now, after a few hours putting together some estimates, I have an answer — well, the best answer I can surmise up to now.

Unofficially, the Wyoming high school football stadiums with the highest capacity are Cheyenne South (about 4,096), Kelly Walsh (about 4,077), and Natrona (about 3,924). Cheyenne East also has a capacity of 4,000 in its stadium; East and South are expandable to capacities of 4,360.

Estimated capacities for most other stadiums in the state (that I could get capacity for) is less than 3,000, down to the smallest capacity stadium at Meeteetse (seating capacity 115).

How I calculated the capacities: Using satellite images from Google Maps, I looked at the seating for every stadium. I calculated the length (in yards) of each seating area at the stadium; I multiplied that number by 36 (number of inches in a yard) to get the total number of inches; I divided that number by 20 to figure out the number of available seats per row (average seat size in most major college and pro stadiums varies between 18-22 inches, so 20 seemed like a good compromise); I counted the number of rows in that seating area; finally, I multiplied the number of available seats per row by the number of rows to get the seating capacity for that seating area. Most stadiums have more than one seating area, so I repeated the process as many times as necessary for each stadium before adding all the capacities together.

Obviously, this method has its limitations. Two schools (Big Piney and Farson) couldn’t be included because the satellite imagery fell short for one reason or another. The images were also subject to time differences — for example, some teams use portable seating that’s only put out during the season. If those portable stands weren’t out when the satellite took the image flying over the town, then that added capacity wasn’t added to my total. The seating totals also don’t account for variations in aisles or for the presence or absence of portals.

For example, Meeteetse uses portable stands behind its visitor bench during the season. Those stands do not show up in Meeteetse’s Google Maps view of the stadium. Therefore, they weren’t counted — and Meeeteetse’s capacity of 115 people, the state’s “smallest,” is likely off by at least a couple dozen.

Other stadiums — such as Lyman and Shoshoni — had stands that washed out in the satellite imagery, and I had to use my best guess (based on depth of seating) as to the number of rows in a particular seating area.

Other stadiums — such as Burns and Cheyenne Central — have undergone renovations since the last time the satellites passed over town. The capacities shown here are for the stadiums prior to renovations (although Central’s updated capacity has since been provided).

And, of course, these capacities don’t account for standing room alongside the seating.

In short, these stadium capacities are my best guess with what I had available to me at the time: Google Maps satellite imagery on April 23, 2016. At best, they’re educated guesses. For smaller stadiums, seating capacities could be off by a few dozen; for larger stadiums, capacities could be off by as many as a couple hundred. Capacities could be even higher than this if people squeezed into 18 inches per seat instead of 20 inches.

It goes without saying, but, just in case you tl;dr: These capacities are unofficial. They’re a lot of fun, though…

Class 4A
Cheyenne South: 4,097 (capacity provided by school officials gave a capacity of 4,000; expandable to 4,360)
Kelly Walsh: 4,077
Cheyenne East: 4,000 (capacity provided by school officials, not by Google Maps estimate; expandable to 4,360)
Natrona: 3,924
Cheyenne Central: 1,458 (prior to addition of north stands; capacity provided by school officials after addition of north stands is 3,222, expandable to 3,582)
Rock Springs: 3,024
Laramie: 2,916
Gillette: 2,790
Sheridan: 2,462
Evanston: 1,688

Class 3A
Rawlins: 2,988
Green River: 2,952
Buffalo: 2,700
Worland: 2,534
Lander: 2,255
Powell: 2,106
Douglas: 2,052
Riverton: 2,009
Cody: 1,757
Torrington: 1,593
Star Valley: 1,190
Jackson: 806

Class 2A
Glenrock: 2,187
Lovell: 1,647
Thermopolis: 1,370
Kemmerer: 1,237
Wheatland: 1,123
Newcastle: 1,089
Pinedale: 819
Greybull: 810
Mountain View: 792
Lyman: 720
Big Horn: 630
Burns: 594 (prior to renovation last year)
Moorcroft: 423

Big Piney’s capacity could not be calculated; satellite photos showed the current Puncher Stadium under construction.

Class 1A 11-man
Pine Bluffs: 918
Tongue River: 853
Wright: 742
Rocky Mountain: 706
Upton: 518
Shoshoni: 454
Saratoga: 450
Lusk: 425
Sundance: 414
Southeast: 328
Wind River: 324
Wyoming Indian: 202
Cokeville: 162

Class 1A six-man
Guernsey-Sunrise: 860
NSI: 617
Lingle: 612
Riverside: 504
Burlington: 490
Hanna: 464
Midwest: 313
Dubois: 297
Snake River: 288
Hulett: 270
Kaycee: 225
Ten Sleep: 175
St. Stephens: 162
Rock River: 158
Meeteetse: 115

Farson’s capacity could not be calculated; temporary stands used on the field were not present in the satellite photo.

Other interesting stadium seating notes: The longest stands in the state belong at Cheney Alumni Field at Natrona, where the stadium seating stretches from goal line to goal line — 100 yards. Natrona’s stadium is the only one in the state with seating stretching from goal line to goal line. Laramie’s 90-yard seating stretch, from one 5-yard line to the other, was the second-longest. Green River’s unofficially stretches 82 yards, while Kelly Walsh, Rock Springs and Cody have stands that stretch from the 10 to the 10, or 80 yards. … The tallest stands are those in Rawlins, which unofficially stretch 26 rows high. Worland unofficially goes 22 rows high; Gillette, Lander and Rock Springs unofficially go 21 rows high; Buffalo, Douglas and Green River go 20 rows. … The smallest 11-man stadium is at Cokeville, which measured out to a seating capacity of 162.

Which stadium is your favorite? Your least favorite? Is it because of the seating? Leave your comment and let’s talk locales.

–patrick

Updated 7:45 a.m. April 28 to add Cheyenne East information, as well as info for other Cheyenne school stadiums. Thanks to David Bartlett for the help!

A new or rebuilt football field can be a uniting point for a community.

Repeat that effort over and over and over, at least 18 times, in a rural, spread-out state like Wyoming, and we not only have uniting points for communities but a trend that shows no signs of slowing.

Since 2007, 18 of Wyoming’s 65 high school football programs (64 plus one co-op) have had new or rebuilt facilities constructed. Nine stadiums have had lights added since 2009. And 21 programs statewide now have artificial turf.

Some are obvious: New six-man programs at Kaycee, Snake River and Farson (all 2009), St. Stephens (2011) and Rock River (2014, field built in 2012) all necessitated new facilities, as did the starting of Class 4A program Cheyenne South (2011).

But several other longstanding programs opened new facilities in new locations in the past 10 years: Cheyenne East and Kemmerer in 2014; Powell in 2012; Riverton in 2011; Rocky Mountain in 2010; Torrington and Upton in 2009; Buffalo and Saratoga in 2007.

In addition, several programs built basically new stadiums on top of their old facilities. Burns opened its new facility in 2015. Prior to that, Big Piney did so in 2014 and Big Horn in 2011.

Also, a handful of schools have added lights in the past 10 years. Moorcroft and Tongue River added lights for the 2015 season; prior to that, Big Horn and Kemmerer added lights in 2014 with their new facilities; Saratoga in 2012; Rocky Mountain in 2011; Upton and Pinedale in 2009; and Wind River in 2006 (damaged by wind but rebuilt for 2009).

With all these changes, only 15 Wyoming high school football fields are without lights in 2015. Nine of those 15 programs are in the six-man classification; the six 11-man programs without lights are Big Piney, Burlington, Cokeville, Lyman, Mountain View and Sundance. (Burlington will move to six-man in 2016.)

And, of course, let’s not forget that 21 schools now have an artificial surface, the bulk of those installed in the past decade. Southeast, which added a turf surface this summer, was Wyoming’s No. 21. Many of those updates, too, came with other cosmetic updates at several locations — things like new track surfaces, new jumping pits, new lights, new bleachers or new walkways were also a part of several of those projects.

For the future? Well, Laramie is building a new high school with a new stadium, set to open in the fall of 2016. Sundance is building a new elementary school on top of its current football field, which means that program, too, will need a new stadium at some point. Dubois, too, is set to open a new stadium next fall near its new school.

The list of stadiums that haven’t seen been moved, rebuilt or overhauled (artificial turf or light installation) in the past decade is pretty short: Evanston, Gillette and Kelly Walsh in 4A; Lander, Rawlins and Worland in 3A; Newcastle, Thermopolis, Wheatland, Wright, Greybull, Lovell, Lyman and Mountain View in 2A; Lingle, Pine Bluffs, Burlington, Cokeville, Riverside, Shoshoni and Wyoming Indian in 1A 11-man; and Guernsey, Hanna, Hulett, Midwest, NSI, Meeteetse and Ten Sleep in 1A six-man. That’s 28 of 65 — less than half. And many of these stadiums have had new grass, new bleachers or other new facilities added in the past decade without the work being a complete refurbishment of the entire stadium. (Although, admittedly, at some of these places, new bleachers alone is a refurbishment of the entire stadium.)

In short: Not many football fields in the state look like they did 10 years ago.

What changes have you seen in your community’s high school football stadium the past 10 years? Post a comment below if I’m missing something!

–patrick

The average Wyoming high school football field sits at 5,261 feet above sea level — just a shade less than a mile high.

But which schools consistently play at higher — or lower — elevation based on their conference affiliation?

Well, it’s no secret that Wyoming, in general, is higher on its western side and lower on its eastern side. In Class 3A, 2A, 1A 11-man and 1A six-man, the elevation of fields in West Conference schools is higher than that of East Conference schools.

The conference with the highest average elevation is the 2A West at 5,997 feet. But the 2A West also had the highest standard deviation measure, meaning the conference also had the most variability. Greybull, which has the lowest elevation of any 11-man field in the state, is in the 2A West.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the conference with the lowest average elevation — the 1A 11-man East at 4,462 feet — also had the lowest standard deviation.

Wyoming football field elevations by conference

ConferenceAverageStandard deviation
4A5,7531,028
3A East5,139913
3A West5,323954
2A East4,704480
2A West5,9971,503
1A 11-man East4,462424
1A 11-man West5,1261,023
1A six-man East5,0171,311
1A six-man West5,820975

The classification, though, with the highest average elevation is the big-school Class 4A at 5,753 feet. The classification with the lowest average elevation is 1A 11-man at 4,794 feet.

Wyoming football field elevations by classification

ClassificationAverageStandard Deviation
4A5,7531,028
3A5,231860
2A5,3511,265
1A 11-man4,794830
1A six-man5,3871,195

Pinedale’s field, at 7,198 feet, is the highest high school field in the state; Hulett, at 3,753 feet, is the lowest. And every high school field in Wyoming is lower than the University of Wyoming’s famous 7,220-feet War Memorial Stadium, where the state title games are played every November.

For elevations of every Wyoming high school football field, as well coordinates and maps (both for all classes and for each classification), click here.

–patrick

In a rural state like Wyoming, finding suitable opponents for high school sports teams can sometimes be a challenge.

Schools are often stuck with a difficult conundrum — they have to schedule a team that’s significantly worse (or better) but nearby, or schedule a team of nearly equal talent that’s hours and hours away.

Neither option is preferable. In Wyoming, though, they may be the only options available.

But this isn’t anything new to those born and raised in the Equality State. Long road trips are normal. The average this year was 192 miles, one way, per road trip.

For many years, Wyoming schools opted to stay close to home, even if that meant playing in the occasional 50-0 slaughter.

In the mid-1980s, though, a few far-flung but equally talented schools hit on an idea: Why not just meet halfway?

The idea of a neutral-site game wasn’t new. They were a staple of playoff games, either because schools decided to meet halfway or a host team decided to shift to a larger nearby stadium for a the larger crowd anticipated at a postseason game. And some rivalries got moved to neutral sites — like the Thunder Bowl between Big Horn and Tongue River, which was played at Sheridan off and on for years. And every once in a while, a couple of schools that weren’t too far apart just decided to meet in the middle, like Green River and Superior playing in Rock Springs (which happened in 1936).

But two teams deciding to meet “halfway” to fill a hole in both squads’ regular-season schedules? In the 1980s, this was almost completely new.

And in 1986, it took off. Two of the five neutral-site games that season involved Pine Bluffs, which in back-to-back games played Pinedale and Cokeville at Hanna.

The fad peaked in 1990, when seven neutral-site games were played. However, several schools embraced the neutral-site games and made them nearly annual events.

  • Hulett and Ten Sleep played each other in Buffalo seven times between 1988 and 1999 (and they played in 2000 in Big Horn). Ten Sleep, in fact, played four neutral-site games in just two seasons, 1988 and 1989.
  • Wright also hit the neutral-site bandwagon hard, playing four games in 1990 and 1991 and a fifth in 1992.
  • Gillette played some big out-of-state schools via the neutral site in the 1980s and 1990s: Montrose, Colorado; Hastings, Nebraska; and Oakdale Tartan, Minnesota. Sheridan got neutral-site games against Overland, Colorado, and Lincoln Pius X, Nebraska.

Although neutral-site meetings faded a bit when the WHSAA took over varsity scheduling in 2001, a few schools have revived the trend. Last year, six-man schools Hanna and Hulett met in Midwest in the state’s first true neutral-site football game — the first one where both teams traveled more than an hour to play and was pre-scheduled — since 2010.

+++

The list below is of the neutral-site midpoint games played since the first in 1923; this list does not include conference or state playoff games, including triangular playoffs; games played at temporary home sites (like Burns had this year while its stadium was under construction); neutral-site games in the same city as one of the teams (like Natrona and East had this year playing at South); or traditional rivalry games at neutral sites (like the Thunder Bowl in Sheridan).

S28/1923 Cheyenne Central 21 Chappell (NE) 3 at Pine Bluffs

O14/1925 Rawlins 0 Lander 13 at Casper

S30/1933 Gebo 12 Ten Sleep 21 at Worland

O3/1936 Green River 6 Superior 27 at Rock Springs

O8/1936 Ten Sleep 63 Fort Washakie 0 at Riverton

O14/1938 Lingle 19 Manville 14 at Lusk

N18/1939 Douglas 0 Midwest 46 at Casper

O4/1940 Jackson 6 Reliance 32 at Rock Springs

O16/1940 Manville 26 Upton 13 at Newcastle

O22/1947 Pine Bluffs 8 Harrisburg (NE) 6 at Albin

O13/1955 Huntley 6 Lingle 35 at Torrington

S25/1964 Guernsey-Sunrise 0 Huntley 34 at Torrington

S5/1969 Shoshoni 20 Dubois 8 at Morton

S24/1982 Byron 0 Cokeville 21 at Lander

A29/1986 Pine Bluffs 14 Pinedale 34 at Hanna

S5/1986 Natrona 7 SLC Highland (UT) 24 at Evanston

S5/1986 Pine Bluffs 20 Cokeville 40 at Hanna

S12/1986 Cody 24 Torrington 6 at Casper

S12/1986 Pinedale 13 Rocky Mountain 24 at Lander

S19/1987 Farson 0 Burlington 46 at Riverton

S25/1987 Pinedale 41 Rocky Mountain 0 at Lander

S3/1988 Kelly Walsh 15 Dickinson (ND) 47 at Spearfish (SD)

S3/1988 Hulett 12 Ten Sleep 46 at Buffalo

S10/1988 Burlington 0 Farson 42 at Shoshoni

S17/1988 Douglas 29 Rock Springs JV 12 at Laramie

O22/1988 Ten Sleep 42 Farson 8 at Shoshoni

S2/1989 Kelly Walsh 22 Dickinson (ND) 28 at Spearfish (SD)

S2/1989 Hulett 0 Ten Sleep 46 at Buffalo

S9/1989 Sheridan 0 Overland (CO) 20 at Douglas

S15/1989 Cokeville 49 Riverside 0 at Shoshoni

S16/1989 Gillette 13 Montrose (CO) 12 at Craig (CO)

21/1989 Farson 32 Ten Sleep 20 at Shoshoni

A31/1990 Wright 6 Tongue River 7 at Gillette

S7/1990 Rocky Mountain 0 Pinedale 6 at Riverton

S7/1990 Lingle 50 Hulett 0 at Lusk

S15/1990 Greybull 22 Wright 6 at Buffalo

S29/1990 Encampment 0 Burlington 21 at Shoshoni

O5/1990 Lyman 26 Greybull 7 at Lander

O13/1990 Wheatland 8 Jackson 25 at Shoshoni

S7/1991 Gillette 36 Hastings (NE) 3 at Sidney, NE

S20/1991 Burns 20 Wright 6 at Lusk

O24/1991 Hulett 32 Ten Sleep 6 at Buffalo

O25/1991 Wind River 41 Wright 24 at Casper

S4/1992 Sundance 6 Rocky Mountain 39 at Dayton

S18/1992 Wright 19 Burns 44 at Guernsey-Sunrise

S3/1993 Wheatland 28 Mountain View 12 at Rawlins

S3/1993 Pine Bluffs 24 Sundance 14 at Lusk

S18/1993 Ten Sleep 6 Hulett 54 at Buffalo

O2/1993 Moorcroft 38 Greybull 12 at Buffalo

O14/1993 Lovell 20 Kemmerer 15 at Shoshoni

S2/1994 Big Piney 18 Greybull 6 at Lander

S3/1994 Sundance 12 Pine Bluffs 42 at Lusk

S9/1994 Kelly Walsh 14 Evanston 42 at Rawlins

O1/1994 Moorcroft 0 Greybull 31 at Buffalo

O14/1994 Kemmerer 28 Lovell 6 at Riverton

S8/1995 Kelly Walsh 7 Evanston 21 at Rawlins

S9/1995 Lincoln Pius X (NE) 27 Sheridan 20 at North Platte (NE)

S15/1995 Rocky Mountain 48 Saratoga 19 at Riverton

O6/1995 Hanna 0 Upton 32 at Lingle

S14/1996 Hulett 18 Ten Sleep 32 at Buffalo

S20/1996 Wheatland 13 Kemmerer 54 at Rawlins

S20/1996 Rocky Mountain 43 Saratoga 12 at Riverton

S6/1997 Big Piney 18 Moorcroft 6 at Casper

S26/1997 Burns 6 Wright 38 at Lusk

O9/1997 Wind River 53 Custer JV (SD) 8 at Wright

S5/1998 Big Piney 34 Moorcroft 0 at Kelly Walsh

S12/1998 Gillette 24 Oakdale Tartan (MN) 7 at Mitchell, SD

S12/1998 Hulett 12 Ten Sleep 8 at Buffalo

S25/1998 Wright 20 Burns 13 at Guernsey

S11/1999 Hulett 46 Ten Sleep 0 at Buffalo

S9/2000 Hulett 20 Ten Sleep 6 at Big Horn

A31/2002 Guernsey-Sunrise 41 Riverside 14 at Casper

O20/2006 Dubois 14 Upton 28 At Casper, NCHS

A25/2007 Gillette 6 Logan (UT) 36 At Ogden UT

A25/2007 Mountain View 12 Logan JV (UT) 39 At Ogden UT

A25/2007 Star Valley 0 Park City (UT) 46 At Ogden UT

A31/2007 Upton 13 Dubois 28 At Casper, NCHS

A30/2008 Gillette 21 Sky View (UT) 55 At Green River

A30/2008 Kelly Walsh 17 Rock Springs 13 At Riverton

S19/2008 Hanna 0 Hulett 63 At Casper (NCHS)

O3/2008 Dubois 7 Upton 38 At Casper (NCHS)

O10/2008 Burns 47 Sundance 6 At Newcastle

S4/2009 Dubois 0 Upton 25 at Casper, NCHS

O3/2009 Southeast 67 Normative Services 8 at Casper, NCHS

S3/2010 Dubois 48 Upton 0 at Casper, NCHS

S17/2010 Douglas 40 Star Valley 6 at Riverton

O2/2010 Normative Services 0 Southeast 56 at Casper, NCHS

S7/2013 Wright 18 Lingle 35 at Douglas

O7/2013 Midwest 50 Hulett 40 at Moorcroft

S12/2014 Moorcroft 8 Tongue River 28 at Sheridan

S13/2014 Hulett 18 Hanna 62 at Midwest

Which of these games seems the most bizarre to you? Which ones would you like to see on the schedule again? Or should all regular-season games be played either as true home/road games? Leave a comment and we can chat about it!

–patrick

When I played high school football for Midwest, we had a clear coin flip strategy: If you can, go east to start.

The strategy was based on our field’s orientation: straight east-west. Heading toward the west end zone meant staring directly into what was usually a setting sun. If we could avoid going west in the first quarter, we did it. Usually, the sun was usually down by the end of the first quarter, and if we planned it right, we wouldn’t have to go into the sun at all.

When we went out for the coin flip, we knew… if we win, defer. Kick with the sun at our back. If we lose, and the opponent wants the ball, kick with the sun at our back. If we lose, and the opponent defers… well, dang it. We’ve got to go into the sun. Better run the ball.

I loved playing on Midwest’s field. It’s at the bottom of a weathered hill that has a steep vertical drop. The area is a natural, protected park, used by the community for more than 90 years and in place as the football field since the new school was built in the early 1960s. But the setting dictates an east-west orientation, as the hill bounds the north end and an oil field service road, as well as Salt Creek, hem in the area on the south side. This only becomes a problem in those early season games that kick off at 7 p.m., but the problem was big enough to dictate our coin flip strategy.

Aerial view of the Midwest High School football field. Screenshot from Google Maps.

Aerial view of the Midwest High School football field. Screenshot from Google Maps.

Other fields I played on didn’t have this problem, either because they didn’t have lights and the sun didn’t come into play as much or because they were oriented north-south. However, as I’ve learned, Midwest is not the only school in Wyoming with an east-west orientation.

In fact, eight schools — Lovell, Midwest, Moorcroft, Saratoga, Snake River, Southeast, Ten Sleep and Tongue River — are oriented within 10 degrees of true east-west. Of those, only Lovell, Midwest, Saratoga and Southeast have lights, although Moorcroft and Tongue River are scheduled to add lights by next season.

Meanwhile, the bulk of Wyoming’s high school football fields (38 of the 65 fields in use) are oriented within 10 degrees of true north-south. The remaining 19 fields are oriented somewhere in between, with five fields (Douglas, Farson, Hulett, Kelly Walsh and Wyoming Indian) oriented close to 45 degrees in one direction or another.

 

AimingCircle7

The field orientations of each program’s home field are listed below:

Straight N/S (within +/- 10 degrees): Big Horn, Big Piney, Burlington, Burns, Cheyenne East, Cheyenne South, Cody, Cokeville, Greybull, Guernsey-Sunrise, Jackson, Kaycee, Kemmerer, Lander, Laramie, Lingle, Lyman, Meeteetse, Mountain View, Natrona, Newcastle, NSI, Pine Bluffs, Pinedale, Powell, Rawlins, Riverside, Riverton, Rocky Mountain, St. Stephens, Sheridan, Shoshoni, Star Valley, Thermopolis, Torrington, Wheatland, Wind River, Worland

Tilted 10-35 degrees NE/SW: Evanston, Wright

45 degrees NE/SW (within +/- 10 degrees): Hulett, Kelly Walsh

Tilted 55-80 degrees NE/SW: Hanna, Rock Springs, Sundance

Straight E/W (within +/- 10 degrees): Lovell, Midwest, Moorcroft, Saratoga, Snake River, Southeast, Ten Sleep, Tongue River

Tilted 55-80 degrees NW/SE: Cheyenne Central, Dubois, Glenrock, Lusk, Rock River

45 degrees NW/SE (within +/- 10 degrees): Douglas, Farson, Wyoming Indian

Tilted 10-35 degrees NW/SE: Buffalo, Gillette, Green River, Upton

If you want to check out the locations of every school’s field, look at the stadiums page on the site.

–patrick

Some short notes about updates to stadiums across Wyoming:

* Thermopolis’ school board is in the process of renaming its football stadium LeRoy Hayes Field. Hayes’ son Heath said via email that the field dedication will be at halftime of the Bobcats’ Sept. 20 game against Wright. LeRoy Hayes, who died in 2013, was a longtime coach in the Thermopolis school system.

* Moorcroft was set to install the lights that formerly shined at Okie Blanchard Stadium in Cheyenne, but delays in the take-down of the stadium in Cheyenne pushed back Moorcroft’s light installation until next year, Wolves coach Dusty Petz said via email. All of Moorcroft’s home game times have been pushed to daylight hours.

* Southeast’s installation of artificial turf was also delayed. Coach Mark Bullington said via email that the Cyclones will have their artificial surface installed next year and it will be ready in time for the 2015 season.

* As previously noted, four schools (Kemmerer, Glenrock, Cheyenne East and Big Piney) added turf over the summer, while Kemmerer and Big Horn added lights.

–patrick

Five schools will add artificial turf to their football fields this summer, bringing the state’s total number of fields with artificial surfaces to 21.

Glenrock, Big Piney and Southeast will add artificial surfaces to their existing stadiums in time for this fall. Glenrock and Southeast gained approval for their turf fields in the past week from their respective school boards.

Kemmerer, meanwhile, built a new football stadium that will have a turf field.

One of the biggest overhauls, of course, comes at Cheyenne East, where Okie Blanchard Stadium will be rebuilt and receive an artificial surface.

In all, 21 schools have exchanged grass fields for artificial surfaces. See which ones here.

–patrick

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