Matt Jensen, the football coach at Meeteetse the past six seasons, has resigned to become the principal at Riverside Middle/High School in Basin.

Jensen’s hiring at Riverside was reported earlier this month by the Basin Republican-Rustler. He was also the activities director at Meeteetse and taught social studies.

In Jensen’s six years at Meeteetse, the Longhorns never had a losing season. Combined, his teams went 48-16. He led the program to state championship games in 2013 and 2015, winning the title in 2013. The team advanced past the first round of the playoffs in five of Jensen’s six years.

Meeteetse went 7-3 last year and reached the semifinals of the Class 1A six-man playoffs before losing to Burlington.

In an email sent Saturday to wyoming-football.com, Jensen said he appreciated the opportunities coaching at Meeteetse gave him.

“By far, the most rewarding part has been the young men that I was able to coach and those who I was able coach with,” Jensen wrote. “These young men and coaches worked their tails off everyday and believed whole hearted in our overall goal of becoming better men.”

Other schools looking for new head coaches include Big PineyPinedale and Wyoming Indian. Meanwhile, Wyoming high schools with new head coaches for 2019 include Kelly WalshGilletteRock SpringsEvanston, Torrington, Glenrock and Lovell. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

The Wyoming High School Activities Association’s board of directors approved the addition of nine-man football to the state for the 2020 season, changing the Class 1A 11-man division to a nine-man division.

The board voted unanimously to approve the change on second reading Tuesday, the Casper Star-Tribune’s Brady Oltmans reported on Twitter.

9-man football proposal carries unanimously. There will be 9-man football starting in 2020 in Wyoming.— Brady Oltmans ? (@BradyOltmans) April 23, 2019

The change comes in time for schedules to be set for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Wyoming hasn’t had organized nine-man football since 1994.

In January, WHSAA Associate Director Trevor Wilson said several programs would opt to Class 2A to keep their 11-man teams, and a handful of six-man programs have indicated a desire to up to nine-man. In all, Class 2A would have 17 teams while Class 1A nine-man and Class 1A six-man would have 13 teams apiece.

A November WHSAA survey indicated that programs’ preliminary classification choices — which may change prior to the 2020 season — included the following:

  • Class 2A: Big Horn*, Big Piney, Buffalo, Burns, Cokeville*, Glenrock, Greybull, Kemmerer, Lovell, Lyman, Mountain View, Newcastle, Pine Bluffs*, Pinedale, Thermopolis, Upton-Sundance*, Wheatland.
  • Class 1A nine-man: Lingle*, Lusk, Moorcroft^, Riverside, Rocky Mountain, St. Stephens*, Saratoga, Shoshoni, Southeast, Tongue River, Wind River, Wright, Wyoming Indian.
  • Class 1A six-man: Burlington, Dubois, Encampment, Farson, Guernsey-Sunrise, Hanna, Hulett, Kaycee, Meeteetse, Midwest, NSI, Snake River, Ten Sleep.

*-indicates a program that expressed a desire to opt up from current classification; ^-indicates a program that expressed a desire to opt down from current classification. All opt-ups and opt-downs are subject to WHSAA board approval.

Final classification decisions and conferences won’t be set until after the WHSAA’s reclassification work is completed in the fall. Teams may move up or down classifications based on changes in enrollment between now and then.

The 2019 season will be unchanged by Tuesday’s vote.

–patrick

Andrew Rose will be the new head football coach at Gillette.

Rose’s hiring was made official at Tuesday’s meeting of the Campbell County School District No. 1 board.

Gillette has lost 18 consecutive games, making Rose’s job that much tougher. He said via email Wednesday with wyoming-football.com that his plans for rebuilding the Camels’ program start with high expectations, opportunities for success and an overall positive experience.

“The plan moving forward is simple but the task’s complex,” Rose wrote. “(We will) develop a new mindset based on a mixture of old traditions and new traditions. We need to re-establish what it means and what it looks like to be part of a team and have complete buy-in at all levels.”

Rose was an assistant coach for the Camels for the past eight years, working as the freshman team head coach, running backs coach and special teams coordinator. He has also been an assistant track and field coach at Gillette for several years and teaches physical education at CCHS.

A Gillette native, Rose played football and ran track for the Camels, graduating in 2007. He graduated from Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., in 2011 and was on the track and field team.

Rose will replace Micah Christensen, who resigned in January after two seasons as the Camels’ head coach.

Other Class 4A schools with new head coaches for 2019 include Kelly Walsh and Rock Springs. Statewide, Evanston, Glenrock and Lovell have also named new head coaches. Other schools looking for new head coaches include Torrington,Big PineyPinedale and Wyoming Indian. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Pinedale is searching for a new head coach, as Mitch Espeland resigned after three seasons as the Wranglers’ leader.

Espeland said via email to wyoming-football.com on Friday that he and his wife had accepted jobs in Cody and that he had resigned his football coaching position at the end of March.

Espeland said he is “certainly gonna miss Pinedale but this was a move that was best for the both of us.”

Pinedale activities director Jake Rich said he hoped to fill the position by the end of April. He also wished Espeland well in his transition away from Sublette County.

“He was a great asset to PHS and is going to be greatly missed,” Rich wrote.

Espeland went a combined 10-15 in his three seasons with the Wranglers. They reached the Class 2A playoffs in 2016, Espeland’s first year, to break a string of seven consecutive seasons without a playoff berth, but did not reach the postseason again in either of the next two seasons.

The position is currently open for applications.

Gillette, TorringtonEvanstonBig Piney and Wyoming Indian are also searching for new head coaches for 2019, while Kelly Walsh, Rock SpringsGlenrock and Lovell have already named new head coaches for next season. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Updated 9:32 p.m. April 12 with comments from Espeland.

Athletic trainers, student trainers and student managers have been added to both the North and South teams for the 2019 Wyoming Shrine Bowl.

A release Thursday from Shrine Bowl executive director Frank Selby noted the additions to the squads.

The North team will include adult athletic trainer Leah Washington from Natrona, student athletic trainer Faith Faldalen from Gillette and student manager Reata Cook from Big Horn. The South team will have adult athletic trainer Zach Olivarez from Douglas, student athletic trainer Juliana Ross from Cheyenne East and student manager Karla DelaCruz from Pine Bluffs.

The game will be June 8 at Cheney Alumni Field in Casper.

–patrick

Evanston head football coach Pat Fackrell has resigned after nine seasons leading the Red Devils.

Fackrell confirmed his resignation via email Monday with wyoming-football.com. The resignation was listed last week on the Football Scoop website.

A replacement has not yet been named, Fackrell said.

Fackrell took over the Red Devils in 2010. He led the program to six consecutive Class 4A playoff berths from 2010-15. Evanston transitioned to Class 3A in 2017; last year, the Red Devils finished 6-4 and made the 3A playoffs.

In nine seasons, Fackrell’s teams went a combined 32-55. His nine-year stay as Evanston’s head coach is tied for the second-longest tenure in school history behind the 18-year tenure of Kay Fackrell, Pat Fackrell’s father.

Fackrell teaches physical education at Evanston High School.

Evanston is the first Class 3A football program to make a change at its head coaching position this offseason. Other programs seeking new coaches for 2019 include Gillette, Kelly Walsh, Rock Springs and Wyoming Indian. Additionally, Glenrock and Lovell have named new head coaches for 2019. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

The Wyoming Chapter of the National Football Foundation has named 10 Wyoming high school football players as finalists for the state’s top football scholar-athlete award.

The winner of the award will be announced at the chapter’s annual banquet, which will be March 16 in Laramie, a release from event organizers sent out Friday said.

In addition, two University of Wyoming football players will be honored as scholar-athletes, while three other high school players will receive other awards from the chapter. Nine others will receive awards recognizing contributions in coaching, officiating and supporting football across the state.

Finalists include Natrona’s Jordan Bertagnole; Sheridan’s Parker Christensen; Pine Bluffs’ Hunter Jeffres; Farson’s Clancy Gines and Lain Mitchelson; Buffalo’s Luke Glassock; Wheatland’s Clayton Iacovetto; Riverton’s Treyton Paxton; Lander’s Conrad Swenson; and Big Horn’s Kade VanDyken. One player will be chosen to win the state’s top scholar-athlete award and represent Wyoming with a chance to win national recognition.

In all, 130 players were nominated for the award.

The banquet will include three speakers — NFF Director of Membership Ron Dilatush and former scholar-athlete award winners Dr. Justin Hopkin of Burlington (now Lander) and Gavin Mills of Powell.

Now in its 25th year, the Wyoming Chapter has awarded almost $370,000 in scholarships since its inception, with $19,200 in scholarships scheduled to be awarded March 16, the release said.

Other award recipients will include:
UW Scholar-Athlete Awards: Nico Evans, Adam Pilapil
Courage Award: Wes Eyre, Lyman
Perseverance Award: Roberto Hernandez, St. Stephens; Kolby Pisciotti, Newcastle
Greatest UW Football Fan: Roy C. Miller, Laramie/Cheyenne
Greatest High School Football Fan: Deb Jacobs, Powell; Doug Potter, Green River
Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football: Pete and Linda Haman, Douglas; Eric Worden, Laramie
Ox Zellner Football Official Career Achievement: Bryon Mowry, Casper
Coaching Career Achievement: Tyrone Fittje, Casper; Bill Pentland, Wheatland

–patrick

Nine-man football may return to Wyoming by 2020, pending approval from the Wyoming High School Activities Association.

In all, 13 schools have indicated tentative interest in joining a new Class 1A nine-man classification that would replace the current Class 1A 11-man, WHSAA Associate Commissioner Trevor Wilson said in an interview with wyoming-football.com on Friday.

“It’s been overwhelmingly supported by our schools,” Wilson said.

If granted final approval, nine-man football would begin in 2020. Current 1A programs that want to continue to play 11-man would have to opt up to 2A, and current six-man programs would have the option to play nine-man instead.

Wilson said the biggest supporters of a change to nine-man have been from a variety of areas, but “especially the (programs) that have struggled already to field 11-man teams.”

Results from a WHSAA survey distributed in mid-November to current Class 2A and 1A programs showed that 17 schools were interested in playing 11-man football at the Class 2A level, 13 were interested in nine-man and 13 in six-man.

The proposal for nine-man football will see its first reading before the WHSAA Board of Directors on Feb. 5. The proposal was discussed at district meetings last week. If approved on first reading, the proposal will go back to districts before a second, final reading before the board on April 23.

The one negative Wilson said schools brought up at district meetings was about smaller 1A schools who wish to continue playing 11-man football, such as Cokeville and Pine Bluffs. Questions about the ability of teams with less depth to hold up against a 2A schedule week in and week out is “the only negative we see right now,” Wilson said.

For now, four current Class 1A programs (Big Horn, Cokeville, Pine Bluffs and Upton-Sundance) have indicated interest in moving to Class 2A to continue playing 11-man. Similarly, six-man schools Lingle, Riverside and St. Stephens have noted their interest in moving to nine-man. Riverside currently opts down to play six-man. Moorcroft is the only 2A school that has indicated its interest in moving from 11-man to nine-man.

Wilson said the classification and conference alignment is far from official and is dependent on where schools are classified in the upcoming reclassification cycle. Classifications for the 2020 and 2021 seasons will be set by enrollment numbers sent in to the state’s department of education in June and received by the WHSAA in late summer. Programs would continue to have the option to play up or down in classification, per WHSAA board approval; schools that opt down are ineligible for postseason play, though.

Wilson also said Rock River, which had played six-man football, will suspend varsity football for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. He also said Encampment will add six-man football at the sub-varsity level in 2019 and attempt to play a varsity schedule starting in 2020.

Wyoming hasn’t had organized nine-man football since 1994. That season, only six teams played in the nine-man classification. The WHSAA eliminated it after six years prior to the 1995 season.

The November WHSAA survey results showed the schools’ tentative choices for 2020. Schools can change their decisions prior to finalization of classifications and conferences during reclassification discussions this fall, and Wilson said the classification and conference assignments are far from final:

Class 2A: Big Horn, Big Piney, Buffalo, Burns, Cokeville, Glenrock, Greybull, Kemmerer, Lovell, Lyman, Mountain View, Newcastle, Pine Bluffs, Pinedale, Thermopolis, Upton-Sundance, Wheatland.

Class 1A nine-man: Lingle, Lusk, Moorcroft, Riverside, Rocky Mountain, St. Stephens, Saratoga, Shoshoni, Southeast, Tongue River, Wind River, Wright, Wyoming Indian.

Class 1A six-man: Burlington, Dubois, Encampment, Farson, Guernsey-Sunrise, Hanna, Hulett, Kaycee, Meeteetse, Midwest, NSI, Snake River, Ten Sleep.

–patrick

The final touches on the 2019 Wyoming high school football schedule are done.

The portion of the schedule set by the Wyoming High School Activities Association was released to schools during the statewide scheduling meeting in mid-November in Casper. Since then, schools have finalized dates and times and, in some cases, added games to their schedules where open weeks were available.

As expected, most of the 2019 schedule is a flip-flop of the 2018 schedule, with home and road locations switching places from 2018 to 2019 for most schools. However, a handful of games will be different for 2019, especially in nonconference games.

Class 3A, Class 2A, Class 1A 11-man and Class 1A six-man schools also have the option of scheduling Zero Week contests. Those will be updated as they are received from the schools. For now, only a small handful of schools have opted not to play in some kind of Zero Week game or scrimmage.

Saratoga will continue to play six-man and will take over the 1A six-man East Conference schedule originally held by Rock River. Rock River will not field a team in 2019; Saratoga will be ineligible for the six-man playoffs.

Encampment, which is tentatively scheduled to add a sub-varsity six-man team in 2019, is not on the schedule; the Tigers have yet to set up any games while waiting to see if the program will obtain final approval.

The 2019 schedule is available here. It will be updated with changes when received. Also, the 2019 schedules will start appearing on team pages on this site in the next couple weeks.

–patrick

The 2018 Wyoming Shrine Bowl raised $30,000 for the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Shrine Bowl executive director Frank Selby announced the donation to the Salt Lake Shriners Hospital in a release on Wednesday.

Shrine Bowl players make a trip to the Salt Lake Shriners Hospital prior to playing in the annual all-star football game. The hospital treats children with special health needs, including burns, muscular or skeletal conditions or other needs.

Last summer’s Shrine Bowl was the 45th year for the game. The North team won its sixth straight Shrine Bowl by beating the South 13-7.

The 2019 game will be played June 9 in Casper.

–patrick

Post Navigation