Due to declining participation numbers, Ten Sleep will not field a high school football team this fall.

Ten Sleep activities director Sarah Novak said Wednesday to wyoming-football.com that the Pioneers wouldn’t have enough players to field a team to play in the Class 1A six-man West Conference. Only four solid commitments came in over the summer and only about five students had expressed any interest in playing this fall.

Novak said school administrators made the decision Tuesday night.

“In talking with our administration, we have kind of struggled… with participation numbers over the last two or three years,” she said. “We’ve had to forfeit games or quit at halftime and we’re just not having a positive experience right now.

” … We can’t continue to play with six kids, and this year I’m not even sure we’d have six.”

Ten Sleep has gone a combined 4-26 the past four seasons, winning one game each year since 2014. The program has had three different head coaches in that span.

Ten Sleep’s middle school program will run as usual this year. Novak said she had double-digit participation numbers for that program, which incorporates grades 5-8.

Novak, who also coaches girls basketball, has seen similar problems with low participation in that sport, as well.

“You hate to give up a program because sometimes it’s hard to get it back,” she said.

Novak said the Pioneers who want to continue to play football can do so by joining the program at Worland.

“We’re sad about not having our program, but we’re pleased to have an alternative for those young men,” Novak said.

–patrick

 

Saratoga will not play its varsity 11-man football schedule in 2018.

Saratoga activities director Greg Bartlett said Wednesday the program only expected 10 to 12 players to come out this fall, not enough for pursuing a full 11-man season.

With low participation, Bartlett said, “it’s tough to keep a season together.”

Instead, the Panthers will pursue a six-man sub-varsity schedule this season, scheduling as many games as possible against nearby junior varsity squads. Bartlett said he’s already got one game scheduled but would prefer five or six games. He said the team’s schedule should be mostly in place by the end of next week, but some games may be added later depending on how the schedule comes together.

Bartlett said the move is likely temporary.

“In about two to three years, we have some elementary boys coming into the middle school where there might be 20 boys per class,” Bartlett said.

The Panthers play in the Class 1A 11-man West Conference. The program also draws players from nearby Encampment.

Bartlett said about three seniors, a couple juniors, about four sophomores and three freshmen showed interest in playing this fall. He said more may join when the season starts, but the decision to forgo the varsity season had to be made based on the numbers of committed players, not on the number of maybes.

Logan Wright, who previously coached in Rock River and taught in Laramie, will be the Panthers’ new head coach this fall. Wright will also teach PE in Saratoga.

Wright previously was a six-man assistant at Rock River, as part of the middle-school program in 2013 and the high school in 2014 and 2015.

“I’m certainly going into it looking at like were a varsity team and we’re going to put our best foot forward every day,” Wright said via telephone on Wednesday. “Whether the games count or not doesn’t matter to me.”

Saratoga played in the Class 1A six-man East Conference for one season, in 2013. Otherwise, the Panthers have fielded a varsity 11-man program every year since moving up after a two-year stint of nine-man football in 1991. The program has played a varsity schedule every season since 1955.

–patrick

Saratoga’s football coach has resigned and its 2018 season is in question due to a lack of players.

Saratoga activities director Greg Bartlett said via email Tuesday that if a full 11-man squad can’t be fielded, the Panthers would field a six-man team and try to secure games against nearby junior varsity squads. A final decision on Saratoga’s 2018 season will likely be made in the second week of July, Bartlett said.

Meanwhile, coach Kegan Willford, the Panthers’ coach the past two seasons, said via email early this week that he is no longer the head coach at Saratoga. It was unclear whether Willford resigned or was let go from the position; Willford did not respond to follow-up emails.

Saratoga went 3-7 last season and lost to eventual Class 1A 11-man champion Pine Bluffs 58-0 in the first round of the playoffs.

Saratoga played in the Class 1A six-man division for one season, in 2013. The Panthers have fielded a team every season since 1955, occasionally fielding eight-man or nine-man teams.

Of the 21 players listed on the Saratoga roster from last season, seven were seniors.

–patrick

Eli Moody, a Lovell native who played football at Wyoming, has been hired as the head football coach at Greybull.

Greybull AD Nolan Tracy verified Moody’s hiring in an email to wyoming-football.com on Thursday.

Moody graduated from Lovell in 2012; he first attended Rocky Mountain College before transferring to UW. He was a PE teacher at Stagecoach Elementary in Rock Springs this year.

Other Wyoming schools with new head coaches, or with vacant head coaching spots, include Class 4A Cheyenne Central and Sheridan, Class 3A Green RiverLanderPowell and Rawlins, Class 2A BurnsLovellMoorcroft and Wheatland and Class 1A 11-man Big Horn. If you know of other coaching hirings or resignations statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Clayton McSpadden will be the new football coach at Rawlins.

Rawlins AD Sandy Jebens confirmed via email to wyoming-football.com on Monday that McSpadden — a 2009 Rawlins High graduate — will be the program’s head coach. McSpadden’s hiring was confirmed by the Carbon County School District No. 1 board on Thursday.

McSpadden was also hired to teach PE at Rawlins High School, the board meeting agenda showed.

McSpadden was a Shrine Bowl selection for Rawlins and played football collegiately at Black Hills State.

He replaces Corey Wheeler, who resigned in May after four seasons as the Outlaws’ head coach. Rawlins finished 7-3 last season, its first winning season since 2000.

Other Wyoming schools with new head coaches, or with vacant head coaching spots, include Class 4A Cheyenne Central and Sheridan, Class 3A Green RiverLander and Powell, Class 2A Burns, Greybull, Lovell, Moorcroft and Wheatland and Class 1A 11-man Big Horn. If you know of other coaching hirings or resignations statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Lovell line coach Jeny Gardner was approved Monday as the new head coach for the Bulldogs.

Lovell’s school board approved Gardner as the school’s new head coach during its meeting Monday night, AD Joe Koritnik said via email to wyoming-football.com.

Gardner has been the line coach at Lovell for the past three years, Koritnik said. She also teaches math at Lovell.

She replaces Doug Hazen, who resigned in November after nine years as head coach; he finished 62-26 and won the 2011 Class 2A title while coaching the Bulldogs. Lovell finished 4-5 last season, reaching the 2A playoffs but losing in the first round.

Based on records available at this site, Gardner is believed to be the first female head football coach in Wyoming.

Other Wyoming schools with new head coaches, or with vacant head coaching spots, include Class 4A Cheyenne Central and Sheridan, Class 3A Green RiverLanderPowell and Rawlins, Class 2A GreybullMoorcroft and Wheatland and Class 1A 11-man Big Horn. If you know of other coaching hirings or resignations statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Moorcroft will have a new head coach this fall in Travis Santistevan.

Santistevan, a native of Lusk, has been teaching and coaching at Britton-Hecla school in Britton, South Dakota. He was the school’s head junior high football coach, assisted with the high school football program for three years and was also the head coach for the high school boys basketball team for six years. Santistevan also spent four years as a volunteer assistant at Lusk while in college.

Santistevan replaces Dusty Petz, who led the Wolves during the 2014-15 and 2017 seasons; he took off the 2016 season for health reasons. He finished a combined 7-17 in his three years leading Moorcroft.

Both Petz and Santistevan confirmed the changes via email to wyoming-football.com on Monday.

Santistevan will also take over as Moorcroft’s head boys basketball coach and will teach industrial arts and technology at the school, he said.

Other Wyoming schools with new head coaches, or with vacant head coaching spots, include Class 4A Cheyenne Central and Sheridan, Class 3A Green RiverLanderPowell and Rawlins, Class 2A Greybull, Lovell and Wheatland and Class 1A 11-man Big Horn. If you know of other coaching hirings or resignations statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Former Douglas standout Cody Bohlander has been named the head coach at Wheatland.

Bohlander confirmed his hiring via email to wyoming-football.com on Monday. He has been an assistant coach with the Bulldogs for the past three years.

He takes over for Tom Waring, who resigned at the end of last season.

The Bulldogs went 5-5 last season, advancing to the Class 2A semifinals. Wheatland won the Class 2A title in 2015 in Bohlander’s first year as an assistant.

Other Wyoming schools with new head coaches, or with vacant head coaching spots, include Class 4A Cheyenne Central and Sheridan, Class 3A Green RiverLanderPowelland Rawlins, Class 2A Greybull and Lovell and Class 1A 11-man Big Horn. If you know of other coaching hirings or resignations statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Fourteen Wyoming high school football scholar-athletes, including 11 in the running to be named the state’s top football scholar-athlete, will be honored Saturday during the Wyoming Chapter of the National Football Foundation’s annual banquet in Laramie.

The finalists for the chapter’s award recognizing Wyoming’s top football scholar-athlete are Sheridan’s Blayne Baker; Natrona’s Brett Brenton; Upton’s Dawson Butts; Snake River’s J.D. Corson; Sheridan’s Kyle Custis; Pine Bluffs’ Wyatt Fornstrom; Green River’s Chance Hofer; Kaycee’s Mark Largent; Newcastle’s Cam Quigley; Glenrock’s Hezekiah (Kia) Sexson; and Torrington’s Jake Wamboldt. These 11 were chosen from a group of 99 nominees from across the state.

One winner from this group will represent Wyoming for regional and national honors. Each wins a $1,200 scholarship for being a finalist, while the winner wins an additional $1,200 scholarship. Awards are weighted 40 percent football ability; 40 percent academic achievement and 20 percent community service.

Three other players — Southeast’s Kaden Malm, Wind River’s Kaiden Burk and Buffalo’s Clayton Auzqui — will also be recognized. Malm and Burk will be recognized with the chapter’s Courage Award, while Auzqui will be recognized with the chapter’s Perseverance Award.

UW’s Dalton Fields and Drew Van Maanen will also be honored with scholar-athlete awards.

–patrick

John Scott, who previously coached at three different Wyoming high schools, will be the new head football coach at Lander.

Scott confirmed his hiring Thursday via email to wyoming-football.com. The Casper Star-Tribune first reported the hiring on Twitter.

In his email, Scott said he accepted the offer last week and that the Fremont County School District No. 1 board approved his hiring on Tuesday. Scott wrote that he was “very humbled by the opportunity to coach again in Wyoming.”

Most recently, Scott was the head coach at Tongue River for five seasons, from 2012-16. He stepped down after the 2016 season, having led the Eagles to back-to-back Class 1A 11-man runner-up finishes.

From 2003-08, Scott was the head coach at Black Hills State University. Prior to that, he led Gillette from 1995-2000, leading the Camels to their first two state championships in 1998 and 2000. He also was the head coach in Kemmerer from 1992-94, winning Class 2A titles in both 1993 and 1994.

Overall, Scott’s record in the Wyoming high school ranks is 91-42.

Like Tongue River was when Scott took over in 2012, Lander is a rebuilding project. The Tigers are 2-31 over the past four seasons, including 1-7 last season, and they’ve had one winning season since 2005.

Scott replaces John Rounds, who resigned in November after four seasons as Lander’s head coach. Other Wyoming schools searching for new coaches this offseason include Sheridan, Cheyenne Central, Green River, Lovell and Wheatland. If you know of other coaching changes for 2018, please email pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

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