St. Stephens will finish the 2017 season with two head coaches who stepped in to fill the void left by the retirement of the program’s previous head coach.

Billy Brost and Dee Harrison have coached the Eagles in their past three games and will lead them into the season finale Friday against Meeteetse.

Brost said in an email to wyoming-football.com that former coach Lyle Valdez resigned shortly before St. Stephens’ game with Riverside on Sept. 29.

Harrison and Brost had previously been coaches for St. Stephens’ middle school team. Prior to this season, Harrison had several coaching stints in the West, including time at Eastern Oregon University, while Brost had been an assistant football coach at several schools in the West. Brost had previously been St. Stephens’ head track coach before resigning last spring.

Brost said he is excited for the future of the program. He said building the program will include work in the weight room, time at team camps, conditioning programs and a continued focus on the fundamentals.

“Once our kids have taken hundreds of reps with Dee’s offensive system, and our kids pick up the fundamental skills, I can foresee a quick turnaround for St. Stephen’s Eagles football as early as next season,” he wrote.

Valdez retired in part to watch his grandchildren play sports at Wyoming Indian, Brost said. The program retained its other two assistant coaches.

St. Stephens is 0-7 so far this year at the Class 1A six-man level.

–patrick

Here’s a quick look at the playoff scenarios for Wyoming high school football teams entering Week 8 of the 2017 season:

Class 4A
Sheridan: In. No. 1 seed with victory. No. 2 seed with loss and Rock Springs victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with loss and Natrona victory.
Cheyenne East: In. No. 1 seed with victory and Rock Springs victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Natrona victory. No. 3 seed with loss.
Natrona: In. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Cheyenne East victory. No. 2 seed with Sheridan victory. No. 3 seed with loss Cheyenne East victory.
Kelly Walsh: In. No. 4 seed.
Rock Springs: In. No. 5 seed with victory and Laramie victory. Tie for 5-6-7 seeds (coin flip to break) with loss, Natrona victory and Laramie victory. No. 6 seed with victory and Thunder Basin victory.
Thunder Basin: In. No. 5 seed with victory. Tie for 5-6-7 seeds (coin flip to break) with loss and Natrona victory. No. 7 seed with loss and Rock Springs victory.
Laramie: In. Tie for 5-6-7 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Natrona victory. No. 6 seed with victory and Rock Springs victory. No. 7 seed with loss.
Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne South: Neither in nor out. No. 8 seed with victory. Out with loss.
Gillette: Out.

Class 3A East
Torrington: In. No. 1 seed.
Douglas: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Riverton victory. No. 3 seed with loss, Lander victory and Torrington victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with loss, Rawlins victory and Torrington victory.
Buffalo: In. No. 2 seed with victory and Riverton victory. No. 2 seed with victory, Lander victory and Torrington victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory, Rawlins victory and Torrington victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Rawlins: In. No. 3 seed with Douglas victory. No. 4 seed with Buffalo victory and Riverton victory. No. 4 seed with loss, Lander victory and Torrington victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory, Buffalo victory and Torrington victory.
Lander, Riverton: Out.

Class 3A West
Green River, Star Valley: In. No. 1 seed with victory. No. 2 seed with loss.
Cody: In. No. 3 seed.
Worland: In. No. 4 seed.
Evanston, Jackson, Powell: Out.

Class 2A East
Glenrock: In. No. 1 seed.
Wheatland: In. No. 2 seed.
Newcastle, Thermopolis: In. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Burns, Moorcroft: Out.

Class 2A West
Mountain View: In. No. 1 seed.
Big Piney: In. No. 2 seed.
Greybull: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Kemmerer victory. No. 4 seed with loss, Lovell victory and Big Piney victory. Out with loss, Lovell victory and Lyman victory.
Lyman: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with victory, Lovell victory and Mountain View victory. No. 4 seed with victory and Greybull victory. No. 4 seed with victory, Kemmerer victory and Mountain View victory. Out with loss.
Lovell: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with victory, Mountain View victory and Big Piney victory. No. 4 seed with victory, Mountain View victory and Lovell victory. No. 4 seed with victory, Greybull victory and Big Piney victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Big Piney victory. Out with loss, Lyman victory and a victory by either Mountain View or Greybull. Out with victory, Lyman victory and Greybull victory.
Pinedale, Kemmerer: Out.

Class 1A 11-man East
Pine Bluffs: In. No. 1 seed with victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with loss and Big Horn victory. No. 2 seed with loss and Tongue River victory.
Big Horn: In. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Upton-Sundance victory. No. 2 seed with Pine Bluffs victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Upton-Sundance victory.
Upton-Sundance: In. No. 1 seed with victory and Tongue River victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Big Horn victory. No. 3 seed with loss.
Lusk, Southeast: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with victory. Out with loss.
Tongue River, Wright: Out.

Class 1A 11-man West
Cokeville: In. No. 1 seed.
Rocky Mountain: In. No. 2 seed.
Saratoga, Wind River: In. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Shoshoni, Wyoming Indian: Out.

Class 1A six-man East
Kaycee: In. No. 1 seed.
Midwest: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Hanna Hulett victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with loss and Guernsey-Sunrise victory.
Guernsey-Sunrise: Neither in nor out. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Hanna victory. No. 3 seed with victory and Midwest victory. Tie for 3-4-out of playoffs positions (coin flip to break) with loss and Midwest victory. Out with loss and Hanna victory.
Hanna: Neither in nor out. No. 2 seed with victory and Hulett victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Guernsey-Sunrise victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Guernsey-Sunrise victory. Tie for 3-4-out of playoffs positions (coin flip to break) with loss and Hulett victory.
Hulett: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with victory and Hanna victory. Tie for 3-4-out of playoffs positions (coin flip to break) with victory and Midwest victory. Out with loss.
Lingle, NSI: Out.

Class 1A six-man West
Farson: In. No. 1 seed with victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with loss and Burlington victory. No. 2 seed with loss and Riverside victory.
Snake River: In. No. 1 seed with victory and Riverside victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Burlington victory. No. 3 seed with loss.
Burlington: In. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory and Snake River victory. No. 2 seed with Farson victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Snake River victory.
Meeteetse: In. No. 4 seed.
Dubois, St. Stephens, Ten Sleep: Out.
Riverside: Ineligible for playoffs.

–patrick

Updated 9:41 a.m. 10/20/17 to fix Midwest’s seeding possibilities.

The 2017 edition of the Wyoming Shrine Bowl raised $20,000 for the Shriners Hospital for Children in Salt Lake City, Shrine Bowl executive director John Cundall announced Wednesday in a release.

All profits from the annual all-star football game, played in June in Casper, went to the hospital. This year’s game was the 44th Wyoming Shrine Bowl.

Shrine Hospitals focus on providing care for children at no cost to the family.

The North team won the 2017 game 49-7. The 2018 game will be June 9, 2018, in Casper.

–patrick

When the WHSAA Board of Directors meets for the first of its four quarterly meetings on Sept. 26-27 in Casper, one of the big topics will be — get this — reclassification.

The WHSAA reclassifies schools every two years. Two big changes are part of this year’s reclassification cycle — the changes the WHSAA approved last spring, and Thunder Basin now officially being a part of reclassification rather than an add-on.

In case you forgot, here’s how the structures are changing:

  • Basketball, volleyball and track are changing from a 12-16-20 format to a 16-16-16 format. Four more teams in 4A, four fewer teams in 2A. That’ll mean a lot of moving around for those sports.
  • Soccer is changing from a 12-team 4A to a 14-team 4A, with everyone else in 3A.
  • Wrestling, cross country, golf and swimming don’t have any structure changes; neither do one-class sports indoor track, alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and tennis. Wrestling, cross country, golf and swimming, though, will see some schools change classes to accommodate Thunder Basin.

Based on the “average daily membership” enrollments provided by the WHSAA, here are the changes I anticipate for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years:

For football: No changes. (The only possible change prompted strictly by enrollment comes at the 3A/2A level. Buffalo opted up to 3A this season and will have the option to do so again for the next two years as they’ll still be classified in 2A by enrollment. Riverside will continue to be ineligible for the six-man playoffs at its current enrollment level.)

For basketball, volleyball and track: Star Valley, Riverton and Cody from 3A to 4A; Burns, Lovell and Big Piney from 2A to 3A; Upton from 2A to 1A.

For soccer: Star Valley from 3A to 4A.

For wrestling, cross country and golf: Jackson from 4A to 3A; Thermopolis from 3A to 2A.

For swimming: Jackson from 4A to 3A.

Conferences and regions for each sport have yet to be established. Conferences are established by participating schools, but the WHSAA sets regions for regional tournament qualifying.

Because this is gonna get SUPER confusing, here’s a cheat sheet to estimate which schools will be classified where for each sport. Check it out. It’s handy.

+++

The ADM numbers the WHSAA provided to the schools, rounded to the nearest whole number, are as follows:

1. Kelly Walsh, 1,958
2. Natrona, 1,902
3. Rock Springs, 1,597
4. Cheyenne East, 1,522
5. Cheyenne South, 1,409
6. Cheyenne Central, 1,346
7. Thunder Basin, 1,234
8. Gillette, 1,175
9. Laramie, 1,142
10. Sheridan, 998
11. Evanston, 828
12. Green River, 817
13. Jackson, 813
14. Star Valley, 783
15. Riverton, 711
16. Cody, 615
17. Powell, 561
18. Lander, 546
19. Douglas, 505
20. Rawlins, 474
21. Worland, 428
22. Torrington, 358
23. Buffalo, 339
24. Pinedale, 321
25. Wheatland, 280
26. Mountain View, 263
27. Newcastle, 257
28. Lyman, 231
29. Burns, 224
30. Thermopolis, 216
31. Lovell, 212
32. Big Piney, 188
33. Glenrock, 184
34. Kemmerer, 177
35. Moorcroft, 170
36. Greybull, 154
37. Tongue River, 151
38. Big Horn, 140
39. Wyoming Indian, 136
40. Rocky Mountain, 132
41. Wright, 127
42. Wind River, 125
43. Sundance, 120
44. Shoshoni, 114
45. Pine Bluffs, 111
46. Southeast, 94
47. Riverside, 93
48. Lusk, 92
49. Saratoga, 84
50. Cokeville, 80
51. Lingle, 73
52. Upton, 70
53. Burlington, 69
54. Guernsey-Sunrise, 67
55. Normative Services, 65
56. St. Stephens, 65
57. Farson, 62
58. Hanna, 62
59. Kaycee, 54
60. Hulett, 51
61. Fort Washakie, 49
62. Encampment, 47
63. Snake River, 46
64. Dubois, 43
65. Meeteetse, 43
66. Midwest, 39
67. Arvada-Clearmont, 35
68. Arapaho Charter, 35
69. Ten Sleep, 35
70. Rock River, 28
71. Glendo, 20
72. Chugwater, 12

–patrick

Rock River will not play its first two games of the 2017 season.

A lack of players has the Longhorns delaying the start of their six-man season.

Rock River was scheduled to play at Meeteetse in a nonconference game in Week 1 and was scheduled to host Hulett in a 1A six-man East Conference game in Week 2.

Via email, Rock River activities director Ty Vallier confirmed the first two games will not be played, but the remaining six games are scheduled.

When interviewed for the Wyoming Sports Preview Guide in July, Rock River coach Doug Spriggs said he anticipated five players to return — two seniors, one junior and two sophomores — and an incoming freshman class consisting of four to five players to help give the team depth.

Meeteetse has scheduled a game against the Riverton sophomores for this week. Hulett’s Week 2 plans have not been announced.

–patrick

Gillette coach Vic Wilkerson, one of the most successful coaches in state history, resigned on Friday.

Wilkerson confirmed his resignation via text on Monday with wyoming-football.com.

The change comes in the same year that the city of Gillette opens its second comprehensive high school, Thunder Basin.

In an interview for the Wyoming high school football preview magazine in late June, Wilkerson said most of last year’s returning varsity contributors had opted to play for Thunder Basin instead of Gillette.

At the time, Wilkerson said the Gillette program wouldn’t return any players who contributed to the Camels’ varsity a year ago. He anticipated only three seniors and about 10 juniors to come out this fall, and none of those players had varsity experience. That meant sophomores and freshmen — about 30 in each class — would have to make up the remaining holes at the varsity level.

“I have no returning varsity players at Campbell County High School,” Wilkerson said at the time.

Several coaches also left the Camels’ program to join the staff at Thunder Basin. Wilkerson did say five coaches were returning to Gillette, though, and two coaches had been hired in the offseason to complete the Camels’ staff.

Who will replace Wilkerson at Gillette is unclear. Wilkerson said he did not know if a new coach was in place yet; he is leaving the program outright and is not staying on as an assistant coach.

Wilkerson was 110-35 in his 13 seasons as head coach of Camels. He has more victories than any other Gillette coach in program history, and his 13-year tenure is the longest in program history.

Wilkerson led his teams to five double-digit victory seasons and to state championships in 2006 and 2008. The Camels also finished as state runners-up in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Gillette has reached the large-school playoff semifinals each of the past 12 seasons.

Gillette went 9-2 last season.

Wilkerson’s 110 victories is 22nd all-time in state history. Only five active coaches — Cokeville’s Todd Dayton, Natrona’s Steve Harshman, Sheridan’s Don Julian, Southeast’s Mark Bullington and Glenrock’s Ray Kumpula — have more in-state victories than Wilkerson.

Gillette, Thunder Basin and Laramie are the Class 4A schools to bring in new head coaches this offseason.

–patrick

Note: Updated 9:37 a.m. July 17, 2017, to indicate Laramie’s hiring of a new coach.

Ross Hauptman will be the new head football coach in Ten Sleep this fall.

Hauptman teaches fourth and fifth grades at Ten Sleep. Prior to coming to Ten Sleep, Hauptman taught and coached middle-school sports in Highwood, Montana.

Ten Sleep principal/activities director Russ Budmayr confirmed the hiring Wednesday via email to wyoming-football.com.

Hauptman takes over for Jake Zent, who resigned from the school in January. Zent went 22-30 in eight years with the Pioneers, as the head coach from 2007-12 and in 2016.

Ten Sleep was 1-7 last season.

LaramieThunder BasinJackson, WorlandKemmererTongue River and Snake River also have new coaches for next season. If you know of a program seeking a new coach, please comment below or email me: pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Bart Jernigan, the defensive coordinator for Kemmerer, has been hired as the Rangers’ new head coach.

Jernigan verified his hire via email to wyoming-football.com on Thursday.

“We have a great community and great kids,” Jernigan wrote. “I look forward to helping them grow into great young men and make a difference in their lives as well as the world around them.”

He replaces Jason Ferrarini, Kemmerer’s coach the last two seasons. Ferrarini resigned as head coach recently to join his family in a move to Denver, Ferrarini said via email.

Jernigan has been at Kemmerer the past two seasons as defensive coordinator. Prior to that, he spent six years at Layton (Utah) High as the JV head coach and the varsity special teams coordinator; he also spent two years as an assistant at Clearfield (Utah) High.

Kemmerer enters the 2017 season on a 36-game losing streak, the longest in state history. The Kemmerer program is the first 2A program to change coaches this offseason. Class 4A programs Laramie and Thunder Basin, 3A programs Worland and Jackson, 1A 11-man program Tongue River and 1A six-man program Snake River are also either seeking or have hired new head coaches.

–patrick

Worland head football coach Todd Weber has resigned after two seasons leading the Warriors.

Weber confirmed his resignation Wednesday via email with wyoming-football.com.

Weber came to Worland after working as an assistant at Douglas. In his two seasons with the Warriors, Weber went 5-11 — a 2-6 finish in 2015 and a 3-5 finish last year. Worland missed the playoffs both seasons.

A replacement has not yet been named.

Prior to hiring Weber, Worland went through a stretch of five different coaches in four years.

Worland joins Jackson as Class 3A West Conference schools searching for new head coaches. Laramie is also searching for a new head coach, while new coaches have been selected for vacancies at Thunder Basin, Tongue River and Snake River.

–patrick

Jack Cobb, an assistant coach with the Snake River football team for the past eight seasons, has been promoted to be the Rattlers’ head coach.

Cobb, whose hiring was approved in February, takes over for Michael Bates. Bates had led the program since its restart in 2009, and Cobb has been an assistant with the Rattlers each of those years.

Cobb, who was also Snake River’s boys basketball head coach in the 2013-14 season, runs a ranch near Savery.

He is the third new head coach to be hired in the state this offseason, joining Steve Hanson at Tongue River and Trent Pikula at Thunder Basin. Jackson is also looking for a new head coach after James Howell stepped down in December.

–patrick

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