Lately, I’ve been wondering if, now that I’ve moved out of Wyoming, I should keep this blog going.

Every week for the past seven years — four at the Casper Star-Tribune, three here — I’ve picked winners and losers of every varsity game in the state. I’ve always attempted to keep it lighthearted. This was supposed to be fun. After all, everything I’ve compiled here is simply a record of children playing games. That’s all.

The real truth is much more complicated than that.

High school football is community identity and community overemphasis. It’s discipline and creativity. It’s hero worship and hero destruction. It’s glue and divisiveness. It’s pride and shame. It’s growing up and staying young. It’s over-masculine and emasculating.

It’s never as simple as we think it is. That’s why I’ve tried so hard here to expose bits and pieces of the history of Wyoming high school football. This game in many ways exposes who we are both as individual communities and as a state: what we value, what we despise, what we celebrate, what we ignore and what we reject.

In many ways, the blog has been a blessing. I’ve met some fantastic people and had fantastic conversations that I would not have otherwise had. My love for this sport and this state has been reciprocated tenfold.

But I think it would be foolhardy to think I could serve the players, coaches and fans in Wyoming as well as I possibly can from my current geographic location. There is only so much I can do from Fargo, and I know it’s not enough to do everything I’ve tried to do in the past.

So, for now, my plan is this: I’ll still do my picks, albeit in a truncated form, and I’ll still ruminate here on a (mostly) weekly basis throughout the season. But I can’t — and shouldn’t — devote the amount of time I have in the past. I will never completely abandon this site, but it’s unreasonable for me to think I can do what I’ve done with this blog in previous years now that I’m living in North Dakota.

My plan now is to immerse myself a bit in the North Dakota/Minnesota football scene; if you’re curious, you can check out my (hopefully) weekly ruminations here.

Thanks for everything the past seven years, and please keep coming back as I work on the next 70.

++++++

Additionally, if you like what I’ve done the past seven years, please consider showing as much by purchasing my book, A Century of Fridays. Your purchase will help keep the site afloat — and in exchange, you get a book that is worth way more than the purchase price, in terms of time and sacrifice. It’s 596 pages for a reason.

I’ve been giving it up for free for seven years. I don’t think asking for about $30 — in return for seven years, plus your access to an awesome high school football reference that may just have your name in it, or the name of your father, or brother, or son — is too much.

Thanks for considering my little sales pitch….

–patrick

It’s finally done! “A Century of Fridays: Wyoming High School Football, 1894-2011,” is now available for purchase through the book’s publisher at lulu.com.

At 596 pages, the book is an exhaustive look at high school football in the Equality State. With results of more than 22,000 games, several thousand names of all-state players dating back to 1920, and a look back at the events, people and games that helped shape the game, this book covers everything about the sport in Wyoming.

In addition to the results and listings, the book also provides information about former Wyoming high school players who have reached the NFL; the records of the 100 most victorious coaches in state history; details about deaths that have occurred from players in the state; and records and results from the Shrine Bowl.

The book also includes contributions from numerous coaches, players and media members, who picked out their favorite players, teams and moments from more than a century’s worth of games. Contributors include:

Harold Bailey, head coach, Shoshoni 1975-2001
Bob Bonnar, associate publisher, Newcastle News Letter Journal
Brick Cegelski, head coach, Cheyenne Central 1996-present
Steve Core, KUGR radio, Green River
Kay Fackrell, head coach, Goshen Hole 1974, Lyman 1976-79, Evanston 1980-97
Robert Gagliardi, sports editor, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
John Gabrielsen, editor, wyopreps.com
Cory Griffith, sports writer, Lusk Herald
Steve Harshman, head coach, Natrona 1991-2011
Jerry Hart, head coach, Green River 1967-68, Star Valley 1969-81
Art Hill, head coach, Glenrock 1952-55, Riverton 1957-58, Natrona 1965-83
Jeremiah Johnke, sports writer, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
George Kay, former sportscaster, K2 Television
Bill Landen, former sports editor, Casper Star-Tribune
Pat Lynch, head coach, Buffalo 1998-2011
John McDougall, head coach, Dubois 1968-73, Cody 1974-98
Jack Nowlin, sports writer, Casper Star-Tribune
Clint Oldenburg, Gillette Class of 2001; Washington Redskins 2007
Steven Peck, publisher, Riverton Ranger
Lew Roney, 1965 AP state player of the year; head coach, Cheyenne Central 1990-95
Carl Selmer, head coach, Worland 1947-57
Sally Ann Shurmur, former sports writer and current community news editor, Casper Star-Tribune
Ben Smith, head coach, Rocky Mountain 1988-2002
Kent Smith, KYCN/KZEW radio, Wheatland
“Smokey” Mark Stenson, KYDT radio, Sundance/Upton

Order your copy today; I’ve listed it at 10 percent off for a short time.

Thanks again to everyone who made this book possible!

–patrick

I have received several emails in the past couple weeks asking about my new book, “A Century of Fridays,” which covers high school football in Wyoming from the first game in 1894 to the 2011 state championships last November.

The book, unfortunately, will not be available in time for Christmas. You CAN still give the book for Christmas by having your gift receiver proceed to this page; then, when the book comes out, you can hook them up for realsies.

The book is in the final stages of production and should be available in roughly 6-8 weeks. I’m doing everything I can to keep the price as low as possible. Mostly, that means chopping my share of the profits down to basically nothing. I’m trying to keep the actual price of the book as close to the cost of the production as I can.

I have several excuses as to why the book was not ready before now, but they’re all excuses. The bottom line is that the book is still coming out, just about a month or two later than I would have hoped, and if your friends are really good friends they’ll understand why you’re giving them a web page for Christmas and not a book.

–patrick

fridays

A Century of Fridays cover. Book by Patrick Schmiedt.

Want to know what I was up to this weekend? Click here and here and here and here….

The final weekend of the high school football season was highlighted by a pair of blowouts (Snake River over Dubois and Sheridan over Cheyenne East), a pair of hard-fought victories (Lovell over Lyman and Cokeville over Southeast) and what may have been the best high school football game I have ever seen (Powell over Douglas).

First, the blowouts. Dubois and Cheyenne East were both decided underdogs going into their games, and although both teams tried to keep their games close early, their chances slipped away late — East’s under a steady stream of Jordan Roberts’ running, Dubois thanks to Snake River’s slow-down second half.

Second, the hard-fought victories. Lovell built a 21-0 lead and then survived as Lyman came back; the Eagles may have won if high school quarters were 15 minutes long instead of 12. Cokeville produced a solid defensive effort to hold down Southeast and win its second consecutive 1A 11-man championship, beating an undefeated team from the East Conference in Laramie for the second consecutive year.

Finally, the game of the weekend. With a score like 15-14, you would think the excitement of this game was reserved for just a few key moments. Nope. This game was full of exciting, dramatic plays at every step of the way. Douglas out-gained Powell 420-332 and the Bearcats’ Tanner Miller ran for 280 yards, but most of the yards went for naught. Powell stopped Douglas at the 4-yard line on the Bearcats’ first drive, establishing the theme of the game: Douglas also came away without points on drives that ended at Powell’s 22-yard line, Powell’s 31-yard line and Powell’s 1-yard line. In the crunch, Powell always had the upper hand on Douglas. Of course, never was that clearer than with 15 seconds to go, when Douglas, down 15-14 after a touchdown catch by Braidy Parks on fourth down, elected to go for the two-point conversion and the victory. However, Powell’s Olie Olson stepped in front of a Luke Andrews pass on the conversion try to seal the Panthers’ victory in one of the most dramatic finishes to a state championship game.

snowglobe

Snow at War Memorial Stadium, Laramie.

The weekend was capped by — what else? — snow. I made the mistake of trying to drive home Saturday night; not long after I left Laramie for Casper via Cheyenne, Interstate 80 closed on me. I only went in the ditch once (drove off the road because I couldn’t see the road, literally) and it only took me an hour and 40 minutes to get from Laramie to Cheyenne (and then another almost four hours from Cheyenne to Casper while fighting the wind), but I arrived home safe. Frazzled, but safe. Quite an end to the season….

And, maybe, quite an end to what I do here. I recently accepted a position teaching journalism at North Dakota State University in Fargo, and my wife and I will move up to that area in December. What I will do with the blog and the rest of the site remains uncertain. What is certain is that my book on Wyoming high school football — now officially titled “A Century of Fridays: Wyoming High School Football, 1894-2011” — will be available for purchase here as soon as it is completed. Hopefully that’s soon.

fridays

A Century of Fridays cover. Book by Patrick Schmiedt.

Thanks to everyone who has embraced what I have done the past seven years. An even bigger thanks to those who have shared what I’ve been doing with others. And a big rochambeau kick to those who have used the information I have provided on this site without crediting me (I know who you are).

This week: 5-0 (100 percent). This season: 254-50 (84 percent — my new best one-season mark!). Seven-year total: 1,596-448 (78 percent)

–patrick

I recently conducted an interview with K2 Radio on the upcoming release of my book. The book, still untitled, will be more reference than narrative, but will string together pieces of storytelling as i try to dissect how we as a state reached the point where high school football is at today.

Click here to see the story, and check this blog for more updates on the book, including its release (hopefully soon after the completion of the 2011 season).

–patrick

After some time, scores of championship games take on a life of their own.

The score gives us a definitive marking of which team is superior — and by what sort of margin.

Of course, from 1962-68 for every classification and from 1969-74 in the smaller school divisions, we didn’t have championship games in Wyoming. Instead, we had polls decide champions. Those are just as definitive, but much less legendary — most are forgotten.

That’s why I’m posting these today. These are the final statewide polls for the championship “dead era” from 1962-74. Most are UPI or AP polls, although I have also included the Casper Star-Tribune’s final polls when they have conducted them as well, for added reference.

Take a look and take a trip back to remember some of the state’s most anonymous champions.

1974 UPI polls
Class AA

1. Cheyenne East, 9-1, 50 points
2. Rawlins, 9-1, 38 points
3. Natrona, 7-2, 32 points
4. Worland, 7-1, 20 points
5. Riverton, 5-3, 10 points
Class A
1. Torrington, 9-0, 48 points
2. Kemmerer, 8-0, 40 points
3. Lovell, 7-1, 26 points
4. Jackson, 5-4, 10 points
5. Glenrock, 5-3, 8 points
Class B
1. Tongue River, 9-0, 48 points
2. Saratoga, 8-0, 40 points
3. Cokeville, 7-0-1, 18 points
4. Basin, 6-1-1, 10 points
5. Deaver-Frannie, 8-0, 8 points

1974 Casper Star-Tribune polls
Class A

1t. Torrington, 9-0-0, 54 points
1t. Kemmerer, 9-0-0, 54 points
3. Lovell, 7-1-0, 43 points
4. Glenrock, 5-3-0, 35 points
5t. Newcastle, 5-4-0, 33 points
5t. Star Valley, 4-4-0, 33 points
Class B
1t. Saratoga, 8-0-0, 61 points
1t. Tongue River, 9-0-0, 61 points
3. Cokeville, 9-0-1, 57 points
4. Basin, 7-1-1, 55 points
5. Guernsey-Sunrise, 7-2-0, 49 points
Eight-man
1. Deaver-Frannie, 9-0-0, 39 points
2. Cowley, 8-1-0, 34 points

1973 UPI polls
Class AA

1. Laramie, 9-1, 50 points
2. Riverton, 7-3, 35 points
3. Natrona, 6-3, 22 points
4. Cheyenne East, 6-2-1, 14 points
5. Worland, 6-2-1, 12 points
Class A
1. Green River, 8-1, 56 points
2. Buffalo, 8-1, 46 points
3. Kemmerer, 8-2, 42 points
4. Torrington, 7-2, 16 points
5. Lovell, 6-2, 14 points
Class B-C
1. Tongue River, 9-0, 50 points
2. Byron, 9-0, 46 points
3. Cowley, 9-0, 40 points
4. Pinedale, 7-2, 25 points
5. Upton, 7-1-1, 14 points

1973 Casper Star-Tribune polls
Class A

1t. Buffalo (3), 8-1, 78 points
1t. Green River (3), 8-1, 78 points
3. Kemmerer (1), 8-2, 74 points
4. Torrington, 7-2, 59 points
5. Lovell, 5-2, 58 points
Class B-C
1. Tongue River (4), 9-0, 87 points
2. Cowley (2), 9-0, 85 points
3. Byron (1), 9-0, 84 points
4. Guernsey-Sunrise, 7-2, 70 points
5. Pinedale, 7-2, 68 points

1972 UPI polls
Class A

1. Star Valley (8-1-1)
2. Torrington (8-1)
3. Kemmerer (6-2-1)
4. Buffalo (5-2-2)
5. Thermopolis (5-4)
Class B-C
1. St. Mary’s (10-0)
2. Glenrock (9-0)
3. Tongue River (8-1)
4. Basin (9-0)
5. Cokeville (8-1)

1972 Casper Star-Tribune polls
Class AA

1. Torrington (7-1)
2. Star Valley (8-1-1)
3t. Kemmerer (6-2-1)
3t. Buffalo (5-2-2)
5. Thermopolis (5-4)
6. Green River (7-3)
7t. Wheatland (4-4)
7t. Douglas (4-5)
9. Lovell (3-5)
10. Evanston (2-7)
Class B-C
1. Glenrock (9-0)
2. St. Mary’s (10-0)
3. Tongue River (8-1)
4t. Pinedale (8-1)
4t. Cokeville (8-1)
6. Basin (9-0)
7. Upton (7-2)
8. Cowley (8-1)
9t. Lingle (6-3)
9t. Dubois (7-2)

1971 UPI polls
Class AA-A

1. Natrona, 90 points
2. Laramie, 88 points
3. Rock Springs, 82 points
4. Cheyenne East, 63 points
5. Sheridan
6. Torrington, 43 points (unbeaten)
7. Cheyenne Central, 37 points
8. Star Valley, 27 points
9. Powell, 22 points
10t. Buffalo, 18 points
10t. Riverton, 18 points
Class B-C
1. Glenrock, 90 points (unbeaten)
2. Upton, 78 points (unbeaten)
3. Deaver-Frannie, 72 points (unbeaten)
4. Mountain View, 54 points (unbeaten)
5. Midwest, 51 points
6. Pine Bluffs, 48 points
7. Tongue River, 34 points
8. Byron, 32 points
9. Dubois, 24 points
10. Guernsey-Sunrise, 7 points

1970 UPI polls
Class AA-A (taken before state title game)

1. Cheyenne East, 7-2, 96 points
2. Thermopolis, 9-0, 90 points
3. Natrona County, 7-2, 79 points
4. Buffalo, 8-0, 72 points
5. Star Valley, 8-1, 64 points
6. Laramie, 8-1, 62 points
7. Cheyenne Central, 4-5, 53 points
8. Sheridan, 6-3, 48 points
9. Kelly Walsh, 5-3-1, 38 points
10. Gillette, 6-3, 35 points
Class B
1. Pinedale, 8-0-1, 96 points
2. Byron, 9-0, 93 points
3. Glenrock, 8-1, 85 points
4. Upton, 7-1-1, 73 points
5. Lingle, 7-2, 64 points
6. Mountain View, 7-1-1, 51 points
7. Pine Bluffs, 6-2, 47 points
8. Deaver, 7-1-1, 40 points
9. Moorcroft, 6-3, 38 points
10. Cowley, 5-3-1, 36 points

1969 UPI polls
Class AA-A (taken before state title game)

1. Laramie, 8-0-1, 80 points
2. Worland, 9-0-1, 73 points
3. Torrington, 8-0, 61 points
4. Sheridan, 6-2-1, 53 points
5. Cheyenne East, 6-2-1, 49 points
6. Cheyenne Central, 6-2-1, 42 points
7. Star Valley, 8-1, 41 points
8. Powell, 6-3, 33 points
9. Kelly Walsh, 6-3-1, 31 points
10. Thermopolis, 5-4, 20 points
Class B
1. Cokeville, 8-0, 80 points
2. Lingle, 9-0-1, 73 points
3. Basin, 7-0-1, 64 points
4. Upton, 7-2, 54 points
5. Glenrock, 7-1-1, 52 points
6. Sundance, 8-1, 37 points
7. Pinedale, 5-2-1, 31 points
8. Byron, 7-2, 30 points
9. Pine Bluffs, 8-2, 29 points
10. Glendo, 6-3, 23 points

1968 UPI polls
Class AA-A (taken before state title game)

1. Laramie, 9-1, 36 points
2. Worland, 8-1, 31 points
3. Riverton, 8-1, 30 points
4. Cheyenne Central, 8-1, 23 points
5. Lusk, 6-3, 17 points
6. Powell, 7-1, 14 points
7. Gillette, 9-2, 10 points
8t. Evanston, 7-2, 9 points
8t. Sheridan, 7-3, 9 points
Class B-C
1t. Byron, 9-0, 36 points
1t. Glenrock, 9-0, 36 points
3. Cokeville, 7-1, 34 points
4. Basin, 7-2, 23 points
5. Big Piney 8-1, 20 points
6. Lingle, 8-1, 15 points
7. Sundance, 8-1, 14 points
8t. Goshen Hole, 7-2, 13 points
8t. Burlington, 7-2, 13 points
10. Midwest, 6-2, 8 points

1968 Casper Star-Tribune rankings
Class AA
: 1. Laramie; 2. Worland; 3. Riverton; 4. Cheyenne Central; 5. Natrona County.
Class A: 1t. Gillette, Lusk; 3. Evanston; 4. Star Valley; 5. Torrington.
Class B: 1. Glenrock; 2. Sundance; 3t. Goshen Hole, Lingle; 5. Midwest.
Eight-man: 1. Byron; 2. Cokeville; 3. Basin; 4. Burlington; 5t. Big Piney, Pinedale.

1967 UPI polls
Class AA-A

1. Powell (5), 9-0, 68 points
2. Star Valley (3), 10-0, 61 points
3. Cody, 7-2, 53 points
4. Cheyenne Central, 6-4, 42 points
5. Lusk, 8-1, 41 points
6t. Laramie, 7-3, 35 points
6t. Cheyenne East, record unknown, 35 points
8. Natrona County, 6-4, 21 points
9. Sheridan, 6-4, 11 points
10. Gillette, record unknown, 7 points
Class B-C
1. Tongue River (6), 10-0, 60 points
2. Byron, 7-0-1, 47 points
3. Cokeville, 8-0, 42 points
4t. Glenrock, 9-0, 40 points
4t. Basin, 7-2, 40 points
6. Hanna, 8-1, 31 points
7. Mountain View, 7-1, 27 points
8t. Sundance, 6-3, 20 points
8t. Pine Bluffs, 6-3, 20 points
10. Hulett, 5-4, 6 points

1966 UPI polls
Class AA-A
1. Powell, 8-1-1, 94 points
2. Cody, 8-1, 92 points
3. Cheyenne Central, 8-2, 84 points
4. Star Valley, 8-0, 68 points
5. Riverton, 7-1, 56 points
6. Rawlins, 8-2, 54 points
7. Wheatland, 8-1, 36 points
8. Torrington, 7-2, 24 points
9. Kelly Walsh, 6-4, 18 points
10. Worland, 6-3, 10 points
Class B-C
1. Tongue River, 8-1, 98 points
2. Mountain View, 8-0, 88 points
3. Basin, 7-1, 83 points
4. Byron, 7-1, 66 points
5. Glenrock, 8-1, 59 points
6. Big Piney, 5-3, 43 points
7. Cowley, 7-2, 29 points
8. Midwest, 3-4, 18 points
9. Pine Bluffs, 5-4, 16 points
10. Upton, 4-5, 15 points

1965 UPI polls
Class AA-A

1. Cheyenne Central, 9-0-1, 97 points
2. Worland, 9-0, 88 points
3. Laramie, 7-1, 83 points
4. Powell, 8-2, 67 points
5. Star Valley, 8-0-1, 57 points
6. Lander, 5-4, 51 points
7. Cheyenne East, 5-4, 45 points
8. Thermopolis, 5-3-1, 24 points
9. Cody, 4-4-1, 15 points
10t. Riverton, 4-3-2, 10 points
10t. Rock Springs, 4-5, 10 points
Class B
1. Byron, 7-1, 98 points
2. Midwest, 7-1, 84 points
3. Morton, 5-1-1, 73 points
4. Hanna, 51, 70 points
5. Glenrock, 6-2, 54 points
6. Cowley, record unknown, points unknown
7. Mountain View, 6-1, 50 points
8. Saratoga, 52, 24 points
9. Deaver, 6-2, 18 points
10. Tongue River, 7-2, 14 points

1964 UPI poll
Class AA-A (no B-C poll)

1. Laramie, 9-0, 100 points
2. Sheridan, 6-3, 77 points
3. Gillette, 9-0, 75 points
4. Natrona, 8-2, 64 points
5. Evanston, 9-0, 62 points
6. Cody, 7-1, 51 points
7t. Lander, 6-2, 38 points
7t. Cheyenne Central, 6-4, 38 points
9. Cheyenne East, 3-6, 17 points
10. Buffalo, 6-2-1, 14 points

1964 Casper Tribune rankings
Class AA-A

1. Laramie, 9-0
2. Gillette, 9-0
3. Sheridan, 5-3
4. Natrona, 7-2
5. Lander, 6-2
6. Evanston, 9-0
7. Cody, 7-1
8. Cheyenne Central, 5-4
9. Lusk, 5-2
10. Buffalo, 6-2-1
Class B-C
1. Byron, 7-1
2. Glenrock, 7-1-1
3. Huntley, 6-2
4. Morton, 6-2
5. Mountain View, 6-0-1
6. Pavillion, 6-1-1
7. Tongue River, NA
8. Upton, 6-4
9. Deaver, 6-2
10. Lingle, 5-2-2

1963 UPI poll
Class AA-A (no B-C poll)

1. Natrona, 9-0, 99 points
2. Riverton, 8-0-1 75 points
3. Laramie, 7-2, 69 points
4. Lander, 7-1-1, 60 points
5. Cheyenne Central, 6-2, 59 points
6. Green River, 10-0, 54 points
7. Cheyenne East, 5-4, 47 points
8. Lusk, 9-0-1, 30 points
9. Rock Springs, 4-3-1, 21 points
10. Torrington, 4-5, 9 points

1963 Casper Tribune rankings
Class AA-A (no B-C rankings)

1. Natrona, 9-0
2. Green River, 10-0
3. Laramie, 7-2
4. Riverton, 8-0-1
5. Lander, 7-1-1
6. Cheyenne Central, 7-2
7. Lusk, 8-0-1
8. Cheyenne East, 5-5
9. Star Valley, 5-4-1
10. Rock Springs, 3-3-2

1962 AP poll
Class AA-A (no B-C poll)

1. Laramie, 9-0, 97 points
2. Greybull, 8-0, 91 points
3. Natrona, 7-1-1, 73 points
4. Star Valley, 9-0, 71 points
5. Lusk, 9-0, 51 points
6. Powell, 5-4, 42 points
7. Sheridan, 5-4-1, 36 points
8. Riverton, 6-3-1, 32 points
9. Thermopolis, 6-3, 20 points
10. Cheyenne East, 4-5, 16 points

Through various sources, I’ve put together this list of former Wyoming high school players who played at least one down of a regular-season game in the NFL. The college they attended is in parentheses. Check out this list; hopefully I accounted for everyone, but if I missed someone, let me know by leaving a comment below….

Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne East and Greybull lead the way with three pro players apiece.

Anyway, here they are:

Nick Bebout, Shoshoni (Wyoming): After three years in Atlanta, the offensive tackle started 54 games in four seasons for the expansion Seattle Seahawks before winding up his career with Minnesota in 1980.
Don Bracken, Thermopolis (Michigan): In an eight-season, 99-game career in the NFL with Green Bay and the Los Angeles Rams from 1985-93, Bracken punted 461 times, averaging 39.9 yards per punt.
John Burrough, Pinedale (Wyoming): Burrough played 89 games with three teams, notching 4.5 sacks in his time with Atlanta, Minnesota and St. Louis from 1995-2002.
Jim Crawford, Greybull (Wyoming): Crawford, who led the NCAA in rushing yards in 1956, had a combined 1,574 rushing and receiving yards and seven touchdowns in his five-year career with the Boston Patriots from 1960-64.
Win Croft, Lovell (Utah): The guard played 20 games in the NFL, 11 with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1935 and nine with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1936.
Boyd Dowler, Cheyenne Central (Colorado): A two-time Pro Bowl selection at wide receiver, Dowler caught 474 passes for 7,270 yards and 40 touchdowns in 11 seasons with Green Bay and one with Washington from 1959-71. The owner of two Super Bowl rings, Dowler was also the Packers’ punter for three seasons.
Troy Dumas, Cheyenne East (Nebraska): Dumas played in 15 games over two seasons with Kansas City and St. Louis, registering one career sack as a linebacker.
Jim Eliopulos, Cheyenne Central (Wyoming): Eliopulos played three seasons for the New York Jets and St. Louis Cardinals as a linebacker, finishing with one fumble recovery in 31 games.
Aaron Elling, Lander (Wyoming): A kicker, Elling made 19 of 27 field goals and all 50 of his extra points in three seasons with Minnesota, Tennessee and Baltimore from 2003-05. He also had seven punts at 43.4 yards per punt.
Dennis Havig, Powell (Colorado): Havig, an offensive guard, played in 79 games with Atlanta, Houston and Green Bay from 1972-77, starting 13 games at right guard with the Falcons in 1975. He was part of the NFL All-Rookie team in 1972.
Jerry Hill, Lingle (Wyoming): In nine seasons with the Baltimore Colts, Hill scored 25 touchdowns and pilled up 2,668 rushing yards and 970 receiving yards. A Super Bowl champion in his final season, 1970, Hill is one of only two NFL players to have played six-man football in high school.
Jesse Johnson, Cheyenne East (Colorado): Johnson played 45 games in parts of four seasons with the New York Jets from 1980-83, registering one fumble recovery from his defensive back position.
Brett Keisel, Greybull (BYU): In six full seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, including four as starting defensive end, Keisel has tallied 14.5 sacks and five fumble recoveries. The two-time Super Bowl champion has a combined 237 tackles in his career, through 2009.
Lee Kizzire, Greybull (Wyoming): A fullback, Kizzire played in seven games for Detroit in 1937, carrying seven times for 20 yards.
Dewey McConnell, Laramie (Wyoming): McConnell played in nine games for Pittsburgh in 1954, snagging three interceptions on defense and one pass on offense.
Walt McDonald, Worland (Utah): In his one year in the NFL, McDonald, a center, played 11 games for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1935.

Mike McLeod, Cheyenne East (Montana State): McLeod played 20 games at safety for Green Bay in 1984 and 1985, notching an interception and a fumble recovery.
Tim Moynihan, Rawlins (Notre Dame)
: An all-pro center as a rookie with the Chicago Cardinals in 1932, Moynihan — who also played high school ball in Chicago — played only one more season before leaving the NFL.
Clint Oldenburg, Gillette (Colorado State)
: An offensive lineman, Oldenburg played in two games for the New York Jets in 2007.
Brady Poppinga, Evanston (BYU): Poppinga started for three years in Green Bay’s linebacking corps, notching more than 200 tackles and two interceptions in five seasons through 2009.
Paul Sanders, Basin (Utah State): Sanders played in seven games for the Boston Yanks in 1944, rushing six times for four yards while catching four passes for five yards.
Willis aka “Wee Willie” Smith, Sheridan (Idaho): Smith, who also attended high school in Lexington, Neb., and Boise, Idaho, played in nine games for the New York Giants in 1934, rushing 80 times for 323 yards and two touchdowns.
J.J. Syvrud, Rock Springs (Jamestown, N.D.): Svyrud, a linebacker, played in one game for the New York Jets in 1999.
John Wendling, Rock Springs (Wyoming): In three seasons with Buffalo from 2007-09, Wendling notched 21 tackles and also snagged one interception.
Don Westbrook, Cheyenne Central (Nebraska): In five seasons with New England (1977-81), Westbrook caught 23 passes for 393 yards and three touchdowns and also averaged 15.3 yards per kick return.
Willie Wright, Riverton (Wyoming): Wright played in nine games for the Phoenix Cardinals in 1992.

–patrick

As many frequent readers of this blog might know, I’m putting together a book about Wyoming high school football. With any luck (like finding a publisher and some help) the book will be out in about a year-ish. That said, I’m putting together a crew of the state’s most talented writers to share some of the history of Wyoming football. I’ve got most of the big ideas down pat (keep watching this blog and you might catch hints about what those are), but I’m looking for a range of interesting moments to help fill the book. Here is a short list I put together in about 10 minutes of some interesting moments I want to be SURE to include in the book. In no particular order (roughly by time but not really), they are…

*  The Heart Mountain internment camp team in 1944-45. In two years, the Eagles lost just one game. Every win Heart Mountain had came by shutout…

*  The introduction of six-man into Wyoming (see this post for more on that).

*  The nation’s first lighted high school football game, Midwest, Wyoming, November 1925. Casper beat Midwest 20-0.

*  Probably the most messed-up story ever, that of Richard “Dick” Doyle. While working the chains during the Big Piney-Pinedale game on Oct. 21, 1947, the 18-year-old Doyle was killed by 14-year-old George Smith, who stabbed Doyle in the heart with a three-inch pocket knife. Doyle died before he could be taken off the field.

*  The Byron Eagles’ long win streak, one that reached more than 40 games in the late 1940s and early 1950s. I’m still digging up the info on this one…

*  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.

*  Polio. The disease wiped out a ton of games in the early 1950s and even took the lives of a few players.

*  The 1947 and 1948 Turkey Bowls.

*  The “dead era” of champions from 1939-ish to 1947.

*  Wyoming’s two games that lasted more than one day. The first came in 1951, when Greybull and Powell played to a 0-0 tie on Oct. 19, then met on Oct. 30 to play the overtime period. The OT had to be played to decide the conference champion, and Greybull officially won 2-0 by gaining more yards on five plays than Powell did on its five plays…. The other came in 1967, when Basin played Byron on Oct. 27, and Basin won 40-34 by scoring in the final minute. But Byron protested the game’s final 2 minutes, 24 seconds, the WHSAA upheld the protest, and the two teams met three days later to play the final 2:24. The game finished as a 34-34 tie, officially.

*  Cody’s 41-40 triple overtime victory over Laramie for the Class AA title in 1976. A crazy, tense game that ranks up there with Wyoming’s best ever, made all the more relevant by the fact that it was coaching legend John E. Deti’s last game on the sidelines.

*  Wyoming’s last tie game, the 45-45 shootout draw staged between Big Horn and Riverside in the 1987 season opener. The game went three overtimes, and was then called a draw by the officials. This was also Riverside’s first game in its incarnation as Riverside.

*  Speaking of Big Horn-Riverside games, how about the 2007 2A championship game when Riverside drove 99 yards for the final touchdown, then went for two (and converted) to pull out the victory?

*  Some 21st-century domination in Class 4A: Worland’s three-peat from 2001-03 and Buffalo’s 27-game winning streak from 2004-06.

*  The big changes in 2009 — the reintroduction of six-man football and the shift to Laramie for the state championship games.

Of course, the book will touch on some of the state’s great coaches: Deti and his son John R., Carl Selmer, Todd Dayton, Joel Eskelen, Art Hill, Jerry Fullmer and numerous others immediately jump to mind. And, of course, I am stringing together something about the state’s best players, including a list of those who later played in the NFL (sometime soon I’ll get around to posting that list to have y’all double-check it and see if I forgot anyone).

Are there any unique or interesting stories that stick out in your mind? Post a comment below and let’s start this discussion; I’d love to hear what some of your favorite Wyoming high school football memories are.

–patrick