Don’t compare scores.

Don’t try to establish trends.

Don’t think, mostly.

Class 2A’s competitive but convoluted top half continues to generate results that are, well, a bit unpredictable.

Take this loop for a drive in your logic-mobile: Lovell beats Big Horn 33-27. Cokeville beats Lovell 33-18. Upton-Sundance beats Cokeville 13-6.

So what happens when Big Horn plays Upton-Sundance? You guessed it. Big Horn beats Upton-Sundance 45-7.

Add Lyman to that loop, as the Eagles, ranked No. 1 in 2A last week, couldn’t handle the trip north and lost to Lovell 20-12.

Only one team in each conference has remained unscathed — Mountain View in the West and Tongue River in the East.

We’ll put the conversation about Tongue River aside for the moment and instead focus our attention to the Bridger Valley, where Mountain View faces… Lyman.

And if you think you know how this game might go, you don’t.

Don’t think.

I mean, it’s easy to take a look at Mountain View’s 4-0 record, its 13 total points allowed (including a shutout last week against Thermopolis), its stable offensive production and think, hey, yep, favorites.

And it’s easy to take a look at Lyman’s inevitable bounce-back from a tough road loss (oddly enough, Lyman’s first road game after three at home), the home-field advantage they’ll get in a rivalry game, the results of the last three Bridger Valley rivalry games — all Lyman victories — and think, hey, yep, favorites.

Don’t think.

The way Class 2A’s top teams are duking it out this year, it’s much more likely this game will end up as yet another game that defies the odds, the senses and the understandings of our physical world. It doesn’t have to make sense. Odds are it probably won’t.

Given 2A’s nature this year, we know the result of this game will be confusing. Until it’s played, though, we just can’t yet know in what ways it will surprise and disorient.

I guess that’s the fun of it all.

+++

Other things I’m watching this week with heightened levels of interest:

Lusk’s two losses have both come against undefeated teams, 4-0 Big Piney and 3-0 Lingle. This week, the Tigers play 3-0 Southeast. Next week, the Tigers play Pine Bluffs, which is 3-0 entering its game this week against Moorcroft. For as good as Lusk has looked, even in losses, style points don’t get teams into the postseason, so don’t be surprised if Lusk feels that urgency and makes this one in Yoder interesting. …

Speaking of the 1A nine-man East, Wright is probably the most talked-about 0-3 team in the state after coming within a minute and a point of beating what was a top-ranked Pine Bluffs team in a 21-20 loss last week. I’m intrigued to see how the Panthers do against another tough conference foe on the road in Lingle this week. …

Another team that’s probably better than its record is Thermopolis, which has brought along its defense significantly from last season. Despite being 1-2, the Bobcats have proven they will be a tough out for everyone this year, and I’m interested in seeing if their offense finds its groove this week against Rich County, Utah. …

Sheridan at 4-0 and Thunder Basin at 3-1 are both in prime position for home-field advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs — that is, if they can beat the other one this week. Class 4A has developed a clear gap this year, with five teams at 4-0 or 3-1, five teams at 1-3 or 0-4, and no one in between. This is the only game this week were two of the teams in the higher tier meet. …

This week’s coin-flip game? Rocky Mountain hosting Shoshoni. It makes sense that it’s been hard to get a read on these teams due to all of the graduation losses both teams had, so at least we get this game where they can figure it out themselves. …

Not that anyone’s counting, but Snake River has now won 24 in a row, the longest winning streak in school history and just on the cusp of top-10 in state history, which starts at 26. Casper Christian comes to Baggs this week. …

St. Stephens has canceled, again, leaving its opponent for the week to scramble, again. This time, Riverside picked up a game with Cody’s JV. Looking ahead, at least two more future opponents of the Eagles have picked up other games.

+++

Picks. Call me a punk, but I’m feeling lucky. So I’ve selected some teams to win, and I’ve put them in bold. I’ll tally it all up after the week is done. Yes, I have a spreadsheet. You don’t? Weirdo.

Thursday
Class 1A nine-man
Big Piney
at Wind River
Interclass
Riverside at Cody JV
Friday
Class 4A
Campbell County
at Kelly Walsh
Laramie at Cheyenne Central
Natrona at Cheyenne South
Rock Springs at Cheyenne East
Sheridan at Thunder Basin
Class 3A
Douglas
at Worland
Evanston at Star Valley
Green River at Powell
Jackson at Cody
Lander at Buffalo
Rawlins at Riverton
Class 2A
Big Horn
at Torrington
Burns at Upton-Sundance
Cokeville at Kemmerer
Lovell at Pinedale
Mountain View at Lyman
Tongue River at Newcastle
Wheatland at Glenrock
Class 1A nine-man
Guernsey at Saratoga
Lusk at Southeast
Moorcroft at Pine Bluffs
Wright at Lingle
Wyoming Indian at Greybull
Class 1A six-man
Dubois
at Farson
Kaycee at Midwest
Meeteetse at Burlington
Interstate
Thermopolis
at Rich County, Utah
Saturday
Class 1A nine-man
Shoshoni at Rocky Mountain
Class 1A six-man
Casper Christian at Snake River
Hanna at Encampment
Hulett at Ten Sleep

For a full schedule including kickoff times, click here. You can click on “Week 4” at the top of the page to take you directly to this week’s schedule.

+++

Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 29-5 (85 percent). This season: 100-21 (83 percent).

+++

What sense-defying result do you see coming in Week 4? Remember, it only counts if you predict before the game, so… Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship

–patrick

Since six-man’s return in 2009, eight new programs have entered Wyoming’s football ranks: Kaycee, Snake River and Farson in 2009, Cheyenne South in 2011, St. Stephens in 2013, Rock River in 2014, Thunder Basin in 2017 and Encampment in 2019.

Varying degrees of success have followed, in two distinct camps.

The happy campers? Kaycee, Snake River and Farson have all won multiple state championships. Thunder Basin and Encampment have yet to finish a season with a losing record.

The blistered, sprained-ankle, sunburnt and/or missing campers? Cheyenne South has one playoff berth, zero playoff victories and a winning percentage under .100. St. Stephens has won five games in 10 years. Rock River no longer fields a football team.

Enter Casper Christian, the state’s newest high school football program and the ninth since 2009 to try to establish fresh gridiron roots in Wyoming.

After a hodgepodge schedule a year ago that included games against a handful of six-man teams and several against Natrona’s sophomores and freshmen, the Mountaineers are now an official, playoff-eligible program that, so far, has shown an affinity for shedding the label of newcomer.

Now 3-0 after a 57-26 victory against Hanna last week in the program’s first conference game, Casper Christian has arguably the biggest game in program history, as short as it is, on Saturday in Casper.

Understanding why requires understanding a little bit about the Class 1A six-man South Conference.

The conference’s top three preseason teams — two-time defending champion Snake River, three-time semifinalist Encampment and two-time semifinalist Dubois — are the teams everyone else is chasing.

That leaves Casper Christian, along with Farson and Hanna, in the position of chasers.

The Mountaineers will have their shot at all of them, with a trip to Baggs to play Snake River next week, a home date with Dubois in Week 6 and a trip to Encampment to end the conference season in Week 7.

But for now, their game with Farson (kickoff at noon Saturday at Natrona) will be Casper Christian’s make-or-break, just as it will be for the Pronghorns, too. Chasing down those top three after a loss to secure any kind of hope of a playoff berth gets a lot harder.

Meanwhile, in the Mountaineer camp, a victory keeps the hope for not only the postseason alive, but the hopes for a bigger opportunity later in the year when the “biggest game in program history” is a memory, replaced by games with far more significance.

+++

Some other games to watch in Week 3:

As cool as Casper Christian’s quick start has been, the biggest game in Casper is still Friday’s Oil Bowl between Kelly Walsh and Natrona. Both teams enter the game coming off a victory, so it will be interesting to see whose momentum is preserved moving forward. …

Arguably the 3A game of the week pits Douglas and Powell against each other. They are both undefeated, Douglas at 2-0 and Powell at 3-0, and they always seem to have good games against each other. Four of the past six meetings between the Bearcats and Panthers ended with margins of seven points or less, including Douglas’ OT victory in last year’s 3A quarterfinals. …

The “Burton Bowl” is happening this week as coach Jim Burton’s new team, Lander, faces his old team, Evanston. Those scenarios are few and far between, and they’re always interesting to watch unfold. …

If Torrington ends up moving to Class 3A next year, will this be the last Wheatland-Torrington rivalry game that we see for awhile? …

Greybull is off to its first 2-0 start since 2016. All the Buffaloes did that year was go to the 2A title game. So if Greybull can knock off West top threat Big Piney this week, watch out. …

Farson and Casper Christian aren’t the only ones engaged in an important 1A-6 South game, as two of those three aforementioned frontrunners, Encampment and Dubois, will face off Saturday in Dubois. This game is so key, I heard Master Lock is sponsoring it.

+++

On to this week’s picks. I denote the team I think will win in bold. It’s a fun little game I play. It’s much smaller than the actual games being played.

Thursday
Class 2A
Upton-Sundance at Tongue River
Class 1A nine-man
Rocky Mountain
at Wyoming Indian
Interclass
Cheyenne East JV
at Shoshoni
Friday
Class 4A
Cheyenne East
at Laramie
Cheyenne South at Campbell County
Kelly Walsh at Natrona
Rock Springs at Sheridan
Thunder Basin at Cheyenne Central
Class 3A
Buffalo at Cody
Douglas at Powell
Lander at Evanston
Riverton at Star Valley
Worland at Green River
Class 2A
Cokeville
at Pinedale
Glenrock at Big Horn
Lyman at Lovell
Newcastle at Burns
Thermopolis at Mountain View
Torrington at Wheatland
Class 1A nine-man
Lingle
at Guernsey
Pine Bluffs at Wright
Saratoga at Lusk
Southeast at Moorcroft
Wind River at Riverside
Class 1A six-man
Ten Sleep at Kaycee
Interstate
Kemmerer at Rich County, Utah
Rawlins at Moffat County, Colo.
South Fremont, Idaho, at Jackson
Saturday
Class 1A nine-man
Greybull at Big Piney
Class 1A six-man
Burlington
at Midwest
Encampment at Dubois
Farson at Casper Christian (at Natrona)
Meeteetse at Hulett
Snake River at Hanna
Interclass
St. Stephens at Shoshoni JV

For a full schedule including kickoff times, click here. You can click on “Week 3” at the top of the page to take you directly to this week’s schedule.

+++

Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 28-6 (82 percent). This season: 71-16 (82 percent).

A quick housekeeping note from last week: Wind River’s varsity actually had the week off. The Cougars’ JV played Natrona’s sophomores, not their varsity. That result has been removed from the site.

+++

Who’s your surprise team to this point in the season? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship

–patrick

In all, 38 teams start conference play this week. Those games are in Class 2A, Class 1A nine-man and Class 1A six-man, where bigger conferences mean more league games.

Of those 19 games, a few stand out as potential title-deciders.

In particular, the 1A six-man South game between Dubois and Snake River will have big ramifications come playoff time. The South is shaping up as a three-team race between the Rams, Rattlers and Encampment, but Farson will also be a tough out and newcomer Casper Christian — don’t look now — is 2-0. While Dubois/Snake River is the game drawing top billing, Encampment’s game with Farson this week is also crucially important.

In the 2A West, Lovell and Cokeville met in last year’s semifinals and will meet again in the first week of conference play. Both teams played in thrillers last week, Lovell beating defending 2A champion Big Horn in double overtime and Cokeville losing by seven to Upton-Sundance. And while Lovell appears to have that early advantage, Cokeville hasn’t started a season 0-2 since 1987. This one may not decide a title, but for two teams used to winning, a loss will be a rough sting.

And in 1A nine-man, the most intriguing game of the week might be between Lingle and Lusk in Goshen County. Lusk lost last week, yes, but played well enough against a ranked Big Piney squad to keep it respectable. Lingle… well, we can’t learn too much about a team when it wins by 71 against clearly inferior competition. This week will give us a chance to learn a lot about both these teams and their title chances.

In each case, six more weeks of conference matchups await. No titles will be decided this week. But it’s hard to win a conference title if you lose your first conference game of the year, and that makes Week 2 just as critical as any other.

+++

Up in Class 4A, conference play is already into its third week. Although the schedule wasn’t designed for this to happen, a weird quirk of how things have gone so far makes Week 2 “separation week.” The four teams with 1-1 records (Campbell County, Rock Springs, Cheyenne Central and Natrona) all face one another in a week of potential make-or-break games. A loss here for any one of these four teams sends hopes of a first-round home playoff game into deep trouble. …

Class 4A also gives us what might objectively be called the game of the week with 2-0 Thunder Basin traveling south to play 2-0 Cheyenne East. Thunder Basin has a 105-24 scoring advantage through two weeks, East a 94-19 advantage. Arguably, though, East has had the tougher schedule. Either way, seeing them face each other will help clarify a lot about the top of 4A. …

Three teams start the competitive parts of their schedules in Week 2. Saratoga (against Moorcroft) begins its season after canceling its Week 1 game due to questionable numbers. Meanwhile, Midwest and Ten Sleep meet in a game of teams with 0-0 records. …

St. Stephens will again sit out a week as Wind River, which was scheduled to play the Eagles this week, will play a sub-varsity team from Natrona instead. Oddly enough, Wind River also had to scramble to find a make-up game last week, too, after Saratoga canceled on them. At this point, it’s unclear if St. Stephens’ season will get off the ground at all this year. …

One of last year’s most exciting out-of-state games will see its rematch on Friday when Loveland’s Resurrection Christian comes from Colorado to Buffalo. Last year, the Bison lost 20-14 in overtime, so it’ll be interesting to see how they match up when they’re in Johnson County as opposed to greenie-land. …

Also on the out-of-state list this week is the now-traditional showdown between Star Valley and Sugar-Salem, Idaho. Both programs are their respective state’s defending 3A champ (Sugar-Salem has actually won four titles in five years). Neither team has lost yet this year, either, with the Braves at 2-0 and the Diggers at 3-0. Always a good one. …

Speaking of out-of-state foes, Rich County, Utah, is off to a 3-0 start. The Rebels will play their next seven games against 2A West opponents, and that stretch starts this week with Mountain View. …

It’s been an odd start for Cheyenne South, which has lost games by scores of 56-10 and 69-3. Both games are Wyoming high school football scorigami, meaning it’s the first time those final scores have ever been achieved in a Wyoming high school football game. So far, we’ve had six scorigami games this year: South’s two games (56-10 loss to Thunder Basin and 69-3 loss to Sheridan), Cody 56-2 over Lander, Casper Christian 61-53 over Kaycee, Mitchell, Neb., 55-24 over Wheatland and Snake River 78-28 over Meeteetse. …

This week’s can’t-get-a-read coin-flipper game: Kaycee/Meeteetse. I’m watching this one extra-close, because I literally have no idea which direction to lean. …

+++

Here are this week’s picks. I put the team I think will win in bold. Somehow, it generates an emotional response. Language is weird.

Thursday
Class 1A nine-man

Moorcroft at Saratoga
Friday
Class 4A
Campbell County
at Rock Springs
Cheyenne Central at Natrona
Kelly Walsh at Cheyenne South
Sheridan at Laramie
Thunder Basin at Cheyenne East
Class 3A
Cody at Worland
Green River at Rawlins
Powell at Lander
Riverton at Evanston
Class 2A
Burns at Torrington
Kemmerer at Thermopolis
Lovell at Cokeville
Pinedale at Lyman
Tongue River at Glenrock
Upton-Sundance at Big Horn
Wheatland at Newcastle
Class 1A nine-man
Guernsey at Pine Bluffs
Lusk at Lingle
Riverside at Wyoming Indian
Shoshoni at Greybull
Wright at Southeast
Class 1A six-man
Hulett at Burlington
Kaycee at Meeteetse
Interstate
Gering, Neb., at Douglas
Jackson at Wood River, Idaho
Loveland Resurrection Christian, Colo., at Buffalo
Mountain View at Rich County, Utah
Sugar-Salem, Idaho, at Star Valley
Saturday
Class 1A nine-man
Big Piney
at Rocky Mountain
Class 1A six-man
Casper Christian
at Hanna
Dubois at Snake River
Farson at Encampment
Midwest at Ten Sleep
Interclass
Natrona JV at Wind River

For a full schedule including kickoff times, click here. You can click on “Week 2” at the top of the page to take you directly to this week’s schedule.

+++

Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 28-7 (80 percent). This season: 43-10 (81 percent).

+++

Which game jumps out to you as a potential conference championship game in the making? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship

–patrick

Since 2000, Wyoming high school football has had 72 regular-season games that were rematches of the previous year’s championship game.

That total will increase to 74 this week, as we will see a pair of rematch games from 2022 title games to jumpstart Week 1 of 2023.

This week, Shoshoni travels to Pine Bluffs on Thursday to reprise the Class 1A nine-man title game, while Big Horn visits Lovell on Friday in a rematch of last year’s 2A championship game.

Big Horn and Pine Bluffs are the defending champs. So they’re the favorites, right? Well, the 72-game rematch history since 2000 tells us… not much.

In those 72 games, the defending champs do have a slight edge. Teams coming off a championship have won 40 of those games and lost 32 — a winning percentage of 55.6% that’s barely above random. 

However, the short-term history favors the defending champs. We had five such games in last year’s regular season, and the defending champs won four. Lovell was the only team to reverse the curse last year, beating Lyman in their rematch of the 2021 2A championship game. But Sheridan, Cody, Shoshoni and Snake River all won their rematches last year.

At the same time, that success from defending champs is a blip on a radar full of blips. Defending champs went a combined 3-9 between 2018 and 2021, so there’s no real discernible pattern in the past few years.

And that makes sense. These are not the same teams that played last year in Laramie. Seniors are gone, freshmen are in, approaches are different, planning is fresh. I hesitated a lot to even use the word “rematch” in describing these games, because so much has changed in the past nine months. 

Two other such games are coming this fall. Sheridan and Cheyenne East will play on Sept. 29 in a 4A showdown, Cody and Star Valley on Oct. 6 in 3A.

But it would be foolhardy to look at last year’s title games and think they’ll have much to do with how things go on the field this year. Barely above random, at least.

+++

On to some other action that’s catching my eye in the first full week of statewide play but the second week for many teams: 

Four of the five 4A teams who won last week face off against each other. Natrona travels south to play Cheyenne East, while Rock Springs makes the long trek to Gillette to play Thunder Basin. It will be interesting to see how that Week 0 momentum rolls into Week 1… or not. …

We have a couple of neutral-site games this week, as Cokeville and Upton-Sundance meet in Shoshoni and Dubois and Hulett play in Ten Sleep. Those are always fun. …

This week’s super-intriguing coin-flip games: Kemmerer/Glenrock and Rocky Mountain/Wright. I can’t get a gut feeling either way on these, which usually means some exciting football to come. …

A late change to the schedule affects Evanston, as the Red Devils will play South Summit, Utah, NOT Jordan, Utah, this week. …

Several changes hit the Week 1 schedule. Lingle will play at sub-varsity team from Cheyenne Central this week instead of St. Stephens as the Eagles prepare to launch their season in Week 2 instead. Wind River will play Campbell County’s JV instead of Saratoga as the Panthers have struggled with numbers so far. And Midwest and the Kelly Walsh sophomores, who were supposed to play on Saturday, will not. Ten Sleep and Encampment will also delay their season openers by a week, although Encampment played in the Dubois jamboree last weekend.

+++

Picks. I got ’em. Half of you love ’em, half of you want me to reconsider. Regardless, I’m bold with my picks, at least when it comes to the typeface.

Thursday
Class 1A nine-man
Lusk at Big Piney
Shoshoni at Pine Bluffs
Friday
Class 4A
Cheyenne Central
at Kelly Walsh
Cheyenne South at Sheridan
Laramie at Campbell County
Natrona at Cheyenne East
Rock Springs at Thunder Basin
Class 3A
Cody
at Riverton
Green River at Lander
Jackson at Douglas
Worland at Powell
Class 2A
Big Horn
at Lovell
Cokeville vs. Upton-Sundance (at Shoshoni)
Glenrock at Kemmerer
Thermopolis at Tongue River
Wheatland at Mountain View
Class 1A nine-man
Greybull
at Moorcroft
Guernsey at Wyoming Indian
Riverside at Southeast
Rocky Mountain at Wright
Class 1A six-man
Dubois
vs. Hulett (at Ten Sleep)
Hanna at Kaycee
Meeteetse at Snake River
Interclass
Cheyenne Central JV at Lingle
Farson at Shoshoni JV (nine-man)
Buffalo at Newcastle
Pinedale at Rawlins
Interstate
Bear Lake, Idaho, at Lyman
Burlington at Custer, Mont.
Burns at Yuma, Colo.
South Summit, Utah, at Evanston
Star Valley at Preston, Idaho
Torrington at Mitchell, Neb.
Saturday
Interclass

Burlington JV at Casper Christian
Wind River at Campbell County JV
Open: Encampment, Midwest, St. Stephens, Saratoga, Ten Sleep.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, click here. You can click on “Week 1” at the top of the page to take you directly to this week’s schedule.

+++

Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 15-3 (83 percent). This season: 15-3 (83 percent).

+++

What do you see on the Week 1 schedule that has you excited for the start of the season? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship

–patrick

I don’t know if my joy for the Class 4A football season was properly expressed in that classification’s season preview last week.

So let me say it out loud, clearly: This is gonna be a fun season.

Well, not fun in a competitive kind of way. There’s still clear separation among 4A’s tiers, and that’s not going to change in 2023.

Instead, the individual performances in 4A this year could be so much fun to watch, on both sides of the ball.

With the top five quarterbacks and seven of the top eight tacklers returning this season, 4A is rife with possibility for some amazing individual performances this season. The fun starts Friday with a full slate of Class 4A games, the classification that begins a week earlier than the rest of the state because, well, size matters.

From the team end of things, though, it makes sense to look at the defending champs — well, to be specific, the two-time defending champs — and the challenge they have to start. Sheridan will have a tough trip and a tough draw against Cheyenne Central in what is, on paper, the best 4A game of the week.

The two new Class 4A coaches, Orah Garst at Campbell County and Ted Holmstrom at Rock Springs, will make their debuts at home. The Camels host Cheyenne East, one of the most loaded teams entering the season, while the Tigers host a Kelly Walsh team looking to rebound after a tough season.

+++

Most of the teams who are opting for games over scrimmages or jamborees this week will play out-of-state foes, with six such games on the schedule. My favorite will be in Uinta County. Evanston and Ben Lomond, Utah, have developed a fun rivalry the past couple seasons. Each of the past two games has been decided by one point, Evanston winning 14-13 two years ago and Ben Lomond winning 23-22 last year.

Beyond that, five other games are on the schedule, including a hybrid 9-man/11-man game between Sublette County rivals Pinedale and Big Piney that won’t officially count. If you’ve never seen a hybrid game before, you’re in for a treat. When Big Piney has the ball, teams will use nine players; when Pinedale has the ball, teams will use 11. These kinds of games were actually quite common back in the early 1990s with Wyoming’s previous nine-man setup — I saw quite a few growing up in Midwest — and I’m glad to see their return.

One late switch to the schedule moves what was the Shoshoni jamboree to Greybull.

+++

On to the picks. Since it’s the opening weekend, some of you might have forgotten that bold means I pick that team to win. You’ll catch on quick, though.

Friday
Class 4A
Cheyenne East
at Campbell County
Kelly Walsh at Rock Springs
Laramie at Natrona
Sheridan at Cheyenne Central
Thunder Basin at Cheyenne South
Class 3A
Lander at Cody
Powell at Riverton
Class 1A six-man
Casper Christian at Kaycee
Interclass
Burns at Rawlins
Pinedale at Big Piney
Interstate
Ben Lomond, Utah, at Evanston
Gering, Neb., at Torrington
Malad, Idaho, at Lyman
Mitchell, Neb., at Wheatland
Star Valley at Shelley, Idaho
Teton, Idaho, at Jackson
Saturday
Interclass

Mountain View at Green River
Tongue River
at Sheridan JV

Several teams are playing near-games this week, as well, with modified rules for certain situations or special teams plays. I try to keep those listed separately on the schedule. As usual during Zero Week, here is a reminder of the rules I use to determine whether a Zero Week contest is a game or is something else:

  • 1. Was the game played with four 12-minute quarters with normal timing rules?
  • 2. Were officials used? And were normal rules of play instituted for the game?
  • 3. Was score kept?

If these three criteria are met, I call it a game and record it as such on this site.

The list of scrimmages and jamborees for the week:

Thursday
Kemmerer at Cokeville
Friday
Big Horn at Natrona sophs
Burlington, Dubois, Encampment, Farson at Dubois jamboree
Lingle, Pine Bluffs, Saratoga, Southeast at Pine Bluffs jamboree
Lusk, Newcastle, Shoshoni, Wind River, Wright at Wright jamboree
Moorcroft at Upton-Sundance (at Sundance)
Worland at Thermopolis
Saturday
Greybull, Riverside, Wyoming Indian at Greybull jamboree
Lovell at Buffalo
Open: Douglas, Glenrock, Guernsey-Sunrise, Hanna, Hulett, Meeteetse, Midwest, Rocky Mountain, St. Stephens, Snake River, Ten Sleep.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, click here. You can click on “Week 0” at the top of the page to take you directly to this week’s schedule.

+++

What’s your bold prediction for the 2023 season? Remember, it only counts if you say it before the season starts. Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship

–patrick

Three of Wyoming’s five state football championship games in 2022 were one-possession games, providing enough thrills for a weekend that all too often has been lacking them.

The Class 3A, 2A and 1A nine-man championship games were decided by seven, one and six points, respectively, and the 2A and 1A nine-man games were decided by scores in the final minute of their games.

Meanwhile, the 4A game was close until Sheridan pulled away late… and the 1A six-man game was great if you appreciate the dominance of an excellent team.

Here’s a brief recap of 2022’s final games.

Class 4A

The first half was even; the second half was all Sheridan. In winning their 29th state championship, the most of any program in Wyoming, the Broncs overcame a 14-10 deficit and went on a 24-3 run after the break, the impetus of a 34-23 victory. The run was capped by Colson Coon’s 30-yard pick-six, which extended Sheridan’s lead to three possessions (34-17) with less than six minutes remaining.

Coon finished with four touchdowns, four extra points and two field goals; he scored all 34 of Sheridan’s points.

Class 3A

Derek Astle’s 17-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter provided the winning margin in Star Valley’s 14-7 victory against Cody, a game that gave Star Valley its 13th state championship and its fifth since 2015.

Cody’s 26-game winning streak came to an end, and the Braves thwarted the Broncs’ three-peat attempt. The Broncs had three turnovers, including two on muffed punts. The Braves’ defense, meanwhile, held Cody to just seven points, significantly less than Cody’s average entering the championship game of 52.4 points per game.

The Broncs played without quarterback/defensive back Luke Talich, who broke his collarbone in last week’s semifinals.

Class 2A

Big Horn only led the Class 2A championship game for 11 seconds, but they were the right 11 seconds. The Rams got a 61-yard touchdown pass from Cooper Garber to Dawson Richards for their first score of the game with 11 seconds remaining — capping a 98-yard drive in less than two minutes, with no time-outs.

Then the Rams went for the victory, and how. With a reverse pass from Avon Barney to Garber, who started the play by taking the snap, then sneaking out to the short left corner of the end zone, the Rams scored and took an 8-7 lead. That score that ended up being the final margin.

Class 1A nine-man

Dalton Schaefer’s 13-yard touchdown with 53 seconds remaining was the difference as Pine Bluffs beat Shoshoni 33-27 to win the 1A nine-man title.

In a back-and-forth game, the late score broke a 27-all tie and sealed Pine Bluffs’ third championship in program history. The Hornets finished the season 11-0. Shoshoni, meanwhile, finished 9-2, with both losses to Pine Bluffs; the Wranglers lost in Week 1 in a game that finished with an almost identical final score (34-26) to the title game.

Schaefer also scored on the first offensive play of the game on a 61-yard touchdown run to give Pine Bluffs the early lead, but Shoshoni took a 20-13 lead heading into halftime.

Class 1A six-man

Saturday’s first game was competitive for about a quarter. After that, it was all Snake River. The Rattlers won their second consecutive championship and 21st game in a row after blowing out Burlington 55-8.

Burlington scored first and led 8-0, but Snake River ran off the game’s final 55 points, sneaking into a running clock late in the fourth quarter.

The Rattlers won their fifth state title in program history and their third in four years.

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Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 2-3 (40 percent). This season: 270-44 (86 percent). 18-year overall mark: 4,355-1,043 (81 percent).

Full site updates for all the pages will begin Sunday and end… who knows? Whenever I get it done.

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That’s it. The 2022 season is done. Seniors — thank you. You’ll never forget it. Underclassmen — only 267 (4A) or 274 days until the first practice of 2023.

If you’ve got some thoughts on 2022, 2023, 1938 or really anything in between, leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship

–patrick

The lack of surprises in the first two rounds, and the lack of surprises as to who’s playing in War Memorial Stadium this weekend, has been one of the big takeaways of the 2022 season.

Look at the teams playing in this week’s title games. Every one except Burlington entered the playoffs ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in their respective classifications in the final WyoPreps Coaches and Media Football Poll of the season — and Burlington was ranked third. Of Wyoming’s nine regular-season conference champions, eight are playing this weekend.

Five of the 10 teams playing this week were also in the title games last year; four (Sheridan, Cody, Shoshoni and Snake River) are the defending state champs in their respective classifications.

Everyone here deserves to be here. Nothing flukey or weird or surprising brought any of these teams to the precipice of a championship. They all showed exactly what’s possible when talent and timing combine to get the best out of a team.

We’ll see how that continues into Wyoming’s two-day football fest in Laramie. Here’s a glance at some of the key things to look for in this weekend’s championships, and some picks to consider:

Class 4A, 4 p.m. Saturday
Cheyenne East (2, 10-1) vs. Sheridan (1, 11-0)
Series record: Sheridan leads 31-15.
Last meeting: Sheridan beat Cheyenne East 42-39 on Sept. 30 in Sheridan.
Last playoff meeting: Cheyenne East beat Sheridan 31-21 on Nov. 6, 2020, in a Class 4A semifinal game in Cheyenne.
State championships: Cheyenne East five, most recently in 2020. … Sheridan 28, most recently in 2021.
Previous title game record: Cheyenne East, 5-3. … Sheridan, 18-7.
The path to the title game: Cheyenne East took care of Rock Springs 49-24 in the quarterfinals and held off a Natrona rally to win 55-36 in the semifinals. … Sheridan thumped Laramie 52-27 in the quarterfinals and outscored Cheyenne Central 63-42 in the semifinals.
The case for the Thunderbirds: Even though Sheridan is the undefeated team, a compelling argument exists that East has been the most dominant 4A team this year. In East’s 10 victories, none has been closer than 10 points. Their diverse offense moves the ball and scores points in bunches; if the T-Birds can hit their average and score 48 points in the title game, they’ll finish with 11-man’s all-time top-scoring offense in state history. Their only slip, that three-point loss in Sheridan, will be neutralized a bit by both revenge and the lack of home-field advantage that comes with playing at The War.
The case for the Broncs: Sheridan has been a charmed team all season; not too many teams that rank fourth in total offense and fifth in total defense go through a season undefeated. But Sheridan knows how to win. In one-possession games, the Broncs are 4-0, winning twice by three points, once by six and once by seven. Ultimately, that’s what separates Sheridan from other teams — they always play their best when their best is required. Oh, and they have a senior running back in Colson Coon who’s coming off a 519-yard rushing effort in the semifinals. Yes, you read that right.
The pick: It’s been a few years since we’ve had a 4A championship game come right down to the wire and the final possession. This could be the game that breaks that streak. Both teams are talented, experienced, savvy, motivated, well-coached, prepared… and you can’t ask for anything more than that. If it’s anything like the first game between these two, it’ll be worth the ticket price. Cheyenne East 44, Sheridan 41.

Class 3A, 3 p.m. Friday
Star Valley (2W, 9-2) vs. Cody (1W, 10-0)
Series record: Star Valley leads 25-13.
Last meeting: Cody beat Star Valley 35-25 on Oct. 7 in Afton.
Last playoff meeting: Cody beat Star Valley 24-17 on Nov. 5, 2021, in a Class 3A semifinal game in Sheridan.
State championships: Star Valley 12, most recently in 2019. … Cody seven, most recently in 2021.
Previous title game record: Star Valley, 11-10 … Cody, 7-5.
The path to the title game: Star Valley eased past Lander 41-7 in the quarterfinals before taking out Douglas on the road 48-27 in the semifinals. … Cody blasted Worland 63-14 in the quarterfinals and crushed Buffalo 42-7 in the semifinals.
The case for the Braves: If any 3A can stand up to Cody, it’s Star Valley. The Braves gave the Broncs a tussle a month ago before losing by 10, a moral victory if you believe those kinds of things exist. The offensive area the Braves excel at — passing, where they lead 3A — hits a Cody weak spot, as the Broncs rank 10th out of the 12 3A teams in pass defense (likely because all Cody’s opponents pass more because they get behind so quick, but still…). Aside from losses to Cody and to Sugar-Salem, Idaho, which is the top seed in Idaho’s 3A playoffs, the Braves have been dominant in every other game this season. They’ll be ready.
The case for the Broncs: Regardless of what happens Friday, this Cody team will go down as one of the best 3A teams ever. The Broncs are loaded with individual talent, to be sure, but what separates Cody from other talented teams is how they use that talent within a system that gets contributions from everybody on the roster. It sends opponents on an endless game of whack-a-mole; stop one guy, another burns you. Not many teams have 18 guys who have scored a touchdown, but Cody does. And teams with the top-ranked offense and the top-ranked defense in a classification tend to do well.
The pick: It’s hard to talk about this title game without a bit of speculation. Cody’s extraordinary two-way player Luke Talich was injured in the semifinals against Buffalo, and his status is uncertain for the title game. While Talich’s presence, or absence, changes things, it’s the idea that Cody could continue to thrive even without him that tilts the balance of this game. … Cody 30, Star Valley 21.

Class 2A, noon Friday
Lovell (1W, 10-0) vs. Big Horn (1E, 9-1)
Series record: Big Horn leads 5-4.
Last meeting: Lovell beat Big Horn 14-7 on Sept. 2 in Big Horn.
Last playoff meeting: Big Horn beat Lovell 23-12 on Oct. 31, 2014, in a Class 2A quarterfinal game in Big Horn.
State championships: Lovell two, most recently in 2011. … Big Horn seven, most recently in 2019.
Previous title game record: Lovell, 2-6. … Big Horn, 7-10.
The path to the title game: Lovell moved past Newcastle 47-14 in the quarterfinals and outplayed Cokeville to win 28-7 in the semifinals. … Big Horn won a pair of thrillers, rallying to beat Mountain View 28-26 in the quarterfinals and holding tough defensively to beat Lyman 7-0 in the semifinals.
The case for the Bulldogs: The last remaining undefeated team in Class 2A handed Big Horn its only loss of the season, a 14-7 thriller that necessitated a late goal-line stand from Lovell to win. The consistency afforded by having 2A’s No. 2 offense and No. 3 defense has led the Bulldogs to steady improvement throughout the season. Since Ws the first three weeks against Big Horn, Cokeville and Lyman, the Bulldogs have barely been challenged from any opponent. Throw on the fact that the Bulldogs have had the Laramie experience, losing 8-6 in last year’s 2A title game to Lyman, and Lovell won’t be caught wide-eyed at The War.
The case for the Rams: What a rebound season the Rams have had. After a scruddy-looking 3-6 season last year, Big Horn was back with a vengeance in 2022. They’ve run off nine consecutive victories to make it to Laramie, including three close games in the past month — 14-0 over rival Tongue River for the East championship and the two aforementioned playoff games. With 2A’s top offense, the Rams should feel confident that they can put up the yards and points necessary to hang with anyone. Combine those two things — mental momentum and physical prowess — and it’s easy to see why the Rams are absolutely a threat to win it all.
The pick: How in the world can someone say this game will be closer than the last time these two met? They actually finished within 8 yards of each other in total offense in that first matchup (Big Horn 222 yards, Lovell 214). Yet somehow I think this one will be. Much like last year’s 2A title game, this year’s game may come down to hits their conversions. … Lovell 21, Big Horn 20.

Class 1A nine-man, 1 p.m. Saturday
Shoshoni (1W, 9-1) vs. Pine Bluffs (1E, 10-0)
Series record: Pine Bluffs leads 5-3.
Last meeting: Pine Bluffs beat Shoshoni 34-26 on Sept. 1 in Shoshoni.
Last playoff meeting: Shoshoni beat Pine Bluffs 48-6 on Oct. 30, 2020, in a Class 1A nine-man quarterfinal game in Shoshoni.
State championships: Shoshoni three, most recently in 2021. … Pine Bluffs two, most recently in 2017.
Previous title game record
: Shoshoni, 3-0. … Pine Bluffs, 2-3.
The path to the title game
: Shoshoni whitewashed Lusk 53-12 in the quarterfinals and had little trouble with county rival Wind River 40-6 in the semifinals. … Pine Bluffs stopped Big Piney 45-16 in the quarterfinals and outscored Rocky Mountain 35-32 in the semifinals.
The case for the Wranglers: The defending 1A nine-man champions have been here before, obviously. The difference between last year and this year is that this year, they actually have to meet the Hornets in the playoffs. But Shoshoni should draw strength and confidence from experience and last year’s success in Laramie. Although nine-man’s No. 2 offense and No. 4 defense by yardage, the Wranglers are better than the stats show. A senior-laden team responded to the challenge of a loaded West Conference schedule, and the only setback — 34-26 to Pine Bluffs in Week 1 — will provide all of the motivation necessary.
The case for the Hornets: The big question entering the playoffs was if Pine Bluffs’ regular season had toughened up the Hornets enough for a deep playoff push. After last week, we can now say it was. After cruising through the regular season barely bothered, the past two weeks — particularly last week’s 35-32 nail-biting victory against Rocky Mountain — have shown Pine Bluffs hasn’t gotten soft against a soft schedule. Oh, and the numbers stack up well: Pine Bluffs outgained its opponents this year by more than 300 yards per game. Let that number sink in.
The pick: The title game we didn’t get last year is on the docket this year, and fortunately both teams appear to be at their best. The Week 1 game provided a good indication of how this one will go. Neither team will shy away from the challenge presented by the other. A big play, either in the first quarter to gain a mental edge or in the fourth quarter to break open a stalemate, might be what decides this one. … Pine Bluffs 32, Shoshoni 28.

Class 1A six-man, 10 a.m. Saturday
Snake River (1S, 10-0) vs. Burlington (1N, 9-1)
Series record: Snake River leads 5-1.
Last meeting: Snake River beat Burlington 68-16 on Sept. 17, 2021, in Burlington.
Last playoff meeting: First meeting.
State championships: Snake River four, most recently in 2021. … Burlington two, most recently in 1994.
Previous title game record: Snake River, 4-1. … Burlington, 2-2.
The path to the title game: Snake River made it look easy, wiping out Hulett 65-6 in the quarterfinals and doing the same to Encampment 71-8 in the semifinals. … Burlington beat up on Farson 56-6 in the quarterfinals and jumped all over Dubois 77-28 in the semifinals.
The case for the Rattlers: After steamrolling their way to an undefeated championship last season, and then returning a bunch of key players from that team, sometimes it’s seemed like all Snake River had to do this year was roll out the football, put on their jerseys and go. It hasn’t been that easy, certainly, but in rolling up 10 victories Snake River has only had one game decided by less than 33 points. Seven victories have come by 45 or more. The Rattlers particularly stand out on defense, where they have given up just 93 points and lead six-man in fewest yards allowed, giving up just 3.9 yards per play (an unheard-of low number in six-man).
The case for the Huskies: After finishing 1-6 last season, Burlington figured to be a much-improved team in 2022. With most of their players coming back, how could they not? Well, the Huskies have been that and more this year, rampaging through the North Conference and avenging their only loss of the season (to Dubois) emphatically last week. They lead six-man in passing and 14 different players have receiving touchdowns this year. And their defense bends but doesn’t break; they give up yards but not points, a good thing when the name of the game is to score more points than the opposition.
The pick: Burlington’s turnaround season has been amazing to watch. The Huskies are absolutely deserving of all the accolades they have received, and will. In any other year, a championship would be Burlington’s destiny. This year, though? Burlington has the misfortune of running up against one of the best six-man teams we’ve seen. Snake River is a talented, experienced group that knows exactly what it needs to do in games like this. … Snake River 54, Burlington 36.

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Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 8-2 (80 percent). This season: 268-41 (87 percent).

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We’ve reached the last week of the 2022 season. Give us a hot take: What do you know now that you didn’t in August? Drop some insight on us. Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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–patrick

So, here’s the scenario: 44 of Wyoming’s 64 high school football teams have completed their seasons.

Of the 20 remaining, maybe you’re looking for an underdog, a team that maybe hasn’t made it this far in a while, a Cinderella story full of unexpected twists and turns.

This season? Keep looking.

Of the 20 remaining teams, 15 were semifinalists last year; the entire 1A nine-man bracket is a repeat of last year’s matchups, even down to the locations. Every team that’s still alive has reached the semifinals at least once in the past four years; Burlington, at three years removed, is the only team that hasn’t made the semis at least once the past three years.

Meanwhile, Sheridan is in the semifinals for the 15th consecutive season, Cody and Cheyenne East for their sixth consecutive seasons.

And all of last year’s state champs — Sheridan, Cody, Lyman, Shoshoni, Snake River — are still alive. Four of them are playing at home this week.

So this week’s action is punctuated by teams that have been here before, that know the pressure of being this close and have histories of success.

That will make the games close, thrilling, interesting. And it will keep the glass slipper in the closet for another year.

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Of the remaining teams, Wind River is the closest thing we might have to a Cinderella story — the Cougars haven’t made a state championship game, or won a championship, in 24 years.

Cheyenne Central hasn’t been to a title game in 12 seasons and hasn’t won one in 16.

Douglas and Dubois, meanwhile, are sitting on seven-year streaks of not making it to the title game.

It’s Burlington, though, that has the longest title drought. The Huskies made a title game four years ago but haven’t won a title in 27 years.

However, all of them have had success in the playoffs in recent years and aren’t strangers to the semifinals.

Just like everyone else this year.

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On to this week’s picks, which are significantly tougher choices than the quarterfinals because not a single game on the schedule this week looks like a sure thing. Every team that’s still alive has earned its spot; no Cinderellas means no fake contenders. Projected winners in bold, but this is honestly one of the most solid rounds of semifinal football across every classification we’ve seen in a long time.

Class 4A
(4) Cheyenne Central at (1) Sheridan: Central has put together a solid season, right at or maybe slightly above expectations for 2022. But it will take a game of a season to knock off the undefeated Broncs at home, who make a living off winning playoff games at Homer Scott Field.
(3) Natrona at (2) Cheyenne East: I love this matchup for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the contrasting styles the teams have. I like East’s ability to strike for a score from basically any place on the field, and at any time, and I think a couple lightning strikes from the Thunderbirds are the difference in this one.
Class 3A
(2W) Star Valley at (1E) Douglas: Ultimately, both teams won their quarterfinal games. But the Braves were quite a bit more on their game in the first round than the Bearcats. That said, Douglas was everything it needed to be when it had to be, and if that momentum carries over into this week, this one could be an exciting one late.
(2E) Buffalo at (1W) Cody: Buffalo was one of just a handful of teams to give Cody a game that actually lasted four quarters this season. So the Broncs should be ready for a bigger challenge than what they’ve seen in a while. Cody’s still got the edge, but it’s hardly a walkover.
Class 2A
(2W) Lyman at (1E) Big Horn: The Rams got pushed to the edge last week by Mountain View; the Eagles had the same happen to them by Burns. I honestly believe this game is a toss-up, as last week’s results totally offset each other and gave me no indication which way this one will lean. This could be the best game of the week.
(3W) Cokeville at (1W) Lovell: Cokeville’s quarterfinal victory against Tongue River was impressive, and the Panthers’ 372-mile one-way trip to Lovell is actually quite a bit shorter than the bus ride they had in the first round. Still, Lovell is undefeated for a reason, and the Bulldogs will be the favorites to make it back to Laramie.
Class 1A nine-man
(2W) Rocky Mountain at (1E) Pine Bluffs: Well, well, well. Don’t think for a second that the Hornets will overlook the Grizzlies, who in 2021 were Pine’s title spoilers (in the semifinals, in Pine Bluffs). To be honest, no 1A-9 team has looked as unbeatable the past two weeks as Rocky, so Pine has to be focused to get this one.
(3W) Wind River at (1W) Shoshoni: A nice intra-county rivalry is on display for the second consecutive year in the semifinals, and for the second consecutive year the Wranglers host. Both teams looked good in the quarterfinals, and expect this one to be closer than last year’s playoff meeting. If Shoshoni’s focused…
Class 1A six-man
(2S) Dubois at (1N) Burlington: The Week 8 game between these two teams — Burlington’s first loss of the season by 60-52 — was either a perfect preview of what we’re about to see this week, or it’s an anomaly because both teams were holding back, knowing they’d likely see each other in the semis. My guess is a bit of both, which means neither has an advantage.
(3S) Encampment at (1S) Snake River: The Rattlers haven’t lost since 2020, and this rematch of last year’s state championship doesn’t look like the type of game to end that streak, especially the way Snake dominated the first matchup.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, click here. You can click on “Semifinals” at the top of the page to take you directly to this week’s schedule.

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Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 19-1 (95 percent). This season: 260-39 (87 percent).

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Do you read this? A simple yes or no will suffice. Let me know you’re sentient. Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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–patrick

One of the most bizarre coincidences about the opening round of the Wyoming high school football playoffs in 2022 is how neatly divided the rematches and the new games are.

Two classifications will have games that we’ve seen recently.

Two classifications won’t.

And 3A is split right down the middle.

In both 4A and six-man, the games are rematches of regular-season matchups — mandatory in 4A due to its round-robin schedule, but more surprising in six-man where that’s not the case. Meanwhile, none of the games in the 2A or 1A nine-man brackets are rematches of earlier 2022 games.

In 3A, both the Powell-Douglas and Worland-Cody games are rematches of regular-season games. The other two games — Star Valley-Lander and Jackson-Buffalo — are not. Yet all four are rematches of first-round playoff games from a year ago. In the case of the last two, the games are being played at the opposite stadium from last year’s quarterfinals.

The regular-season repetition is more eerie in six-man, though.

Every game in six-man is a repeat of a Week 5 game. And three of the four games are in the same location as those Week 5 games; only Hulett-Snake River, which was played on a neutral field in Midwest in Week 5 but will be in Baggs this week, is in a different spot from the other games.

In the land of foreignness, Burns and Lyman are meeting for the first time ever in each other’s program histories, as are Big Piney and Pine Bluffs. Those games are always cool to keep an eye on, as they open a new chapter of a new series for all four teams.

Everyone who is a host this week has been a host for at least one playoff game since 2019 except Tongue River, which is hosting its first playoff game since 2016, and Dubois, which is hosting a playoff game for the first time since 2014.

Natrona is in the playoffs for the 31st consecutive year, Cokeville the 30th, Big Horn the 24th, Douglas the 21st. Meanwhile, Tongue River breaks the longest active drought, reaching the playoffs for the first time in six seasons.

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Quarterfinal games usually end up in one of three categories: (1) ugh, (2) maaay-beeee, and (3) heck yes. Short list of heck-yes games: Cokeville-Tongue River, Lingle-Rocky Mountain, Wind River-Southeast. Those three games will be worth the admission price. The other 17 maaay-beeee, too, but in different ways.

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On to the picks, where bold means what you think it does:

Friday
Class 4A
(8) Laramie at (1) Sheridan
(5) Thunder Basin at (4) Cheyenne Central
(7) Rock Springs at (2) Cheyenne East
(6) Campbell County at (3) Natrona
Class 3A
(4W) Powell at (1E) Douglas
(3E) Lander at (2W) Star Valley
(4E) Worland at (1W) Cody
(3W) Jackson at (2E) Buffalo
Class 2A
(4W) Mountain View at (1E) Big Horn
(3E) Burns at (2W) Lyman
(4E) Newcastle at (1W) Lovell
(3W) Cokeville at (2E) Tongue River
Class 1A nine-man
(4W) Big Piney at (1E) Pine Bluffs
(3E) Lingle at (2W) Rocky Mountain
(4E) Lusk at (1W) Shoshoni
(3W) Wind River at (2E) Southeast
Class 1A six-man
(4S) Farson at (1N) Burlington
(3N) Meeteetse at (2S) Dubois
(4N) Hulett at (1S) Snake River
(3S) Encampment at (2N) Kaycee

For a full schedule including kickoff times, click here. You can click on “Quarterfinals” at the top of the page to take you directly to this week’s schedule.

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Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 30-4 (88 percent). This season: 241-38 (86 percent).

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What road team seems the most likely to come away with a first-round victory and buck the home-field advantage trends we typically see in the playoffs? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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–patrick

Class 2A football this week will be full of matchups of Biblical proportions.

Well, maybe not Biblical. But the parallels to at least one story are hard to ignore.

In both the 2A East and 2A West conferences, one game will decide the last playoff entrant from that conference. Coincidentally, both games match up teams with boatloads of recent success against teams that have all too often just been fodder for that success — two scenarios of David meeting Goliath in real time.

In the West, it’s simple. Kemmerer and Mountain View will meet with the fourth seed from the conference at state. The winner heads to Big Horn in the first round of the playoffs; the loser stays home.

The past decade for these two programs could not be any different. In the past nine years, Kemmerer has made the playoffs once. Mountain View has made it eight times, and won three state championships.

But Goliath was struck down by David last season when Kemmerer beat Mountain View 21-20 in Lincoln County, the Rangers’ first victory over the Buffalos since 2011.

In the East, Torrington and Newcastle encounter a similar scenario. Win, they’re in — Newcastle as the No. 4 seed, Torrington as either No. 3 or 4 depending on how the rest of the week’s games play out. Lose, they’re out.

And again, one team has a decided recent advantage, one that goes beyond this decade.

Newcastle’s last victory against Torrington came in 2006 — the only time in their 18 games since 1984 that the Dogies came out on top against the Trailblazers. Read that again, slowly.

Torrington is the big man on campus in the East, or more specifically the big campus on campus, moving from 3A to 2A a couple years ago. Still, Torrington has reached the championship game in whatever classification it’s been in three of the past five years. Newcastle, meanwhile, has as many state championship game appearances as programs like St. Stephens and Encampment — one — and zero state titles.

In the West, Goliath (Mountain View) gets the home field. In the East, it’s David (Newcastle).

In both cases, the question of which program will find success and a playoff berth, the one with recent success or the one trying to establish its own legacy, is the kind of stuff that keeps me coming back to this week after week. If a moment like this can’t get you fired up for high school sports, nothing will.

And in 2A this week, we get it twice.

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In all, 19 games have an effect on playoff seeding this week. Here are a handful that are really driving my attention in Week 8, playoff affecting or not:

Riverton and Worland are in the same situation as those 2A teams mentioned above — win and they’re in, lose and they’re out. The only problem with winning this week is the winner has to go to Cody in the first round of the playoffs. Next time your English teacher asks you to define a Pyrrhic victory, just show them this scenario right here. …

Similarly, Riverside and Big Piney are locked in to a winner in/loser out marriage, although Big Piney’s potential seedings are more variable than Riverside’s are. Also in the 1A nine-man West is a hugely important game between Rocky Mountain and Wind River, two teams with big hopes but imperfect conference records. And all of it will be sorted out by Thursday night, thanks to some earlier-in-the-week scheduling. …

Another matchup that pits two teams striving for home-field rights in the first round is the one between Lyman and Cokeville. And it’s a big one, because the loser has to spend about eight years on a bus to get to Dayton and play Tongue River in the first round of the playoffs. With gas prices as high as they are, look for a more spirited game than usual. …

Three teams are fighting for the final two home playoff spots in Class 4A, with Thunder Basin’s visit to Natrona the lynchpin of all the scenarios. Both teams have looked solid this season, so I’m curious to see how this plays out. …

Outside of six-man, the only first-round pairing that is absolutely set is the 4A game between locked-in 7 seed Rock Springs and locked-in 2 seed Cheyenne East. Rock Springs gets practice traveling to the Capital City this week by playing at Central; East gets practice hosting this week by welcoming Kelly Walsh. What an odd quirk. …

The best game on the schedule just might be the one in six-man between 6-1 Dubois and 7-0 Burlington. With both teams on the same side of the six-man bracket — and both knowing they’ll likely have to go through the other to reach Laramie — don’t look for too much crazy stuff this weekend. Both teams are likely saving that for two weeks from now. …

I don’t know what it is (masochism? pity? empathy? familiarity?), but I kind of like it when two winless teams meet in Week 8. We know at least one will end the season with a victory. That’s happening twice this week, with Moorcroft hosting Guernsey and Ten Sleep traveling to Hanna.

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For the last time this regular season, here are some choices. Some were tough. Some were not. All were interesting. Bold means projected winner, as per usual ’round these here parts.

Thursday
Class 1A nine-man
Riverside at Big Piney
Rocky Mountain at Wind River
Interclass
Natrona JV at Shoshoni
Rock Springs JV at Snake River
Friday
Class 4A
Campbell County at Sheridan
Cheyenne South at Laramie
Kelly Walsh at Cheyenne East
Rock Springs at Cheyenne Central
Thunder Basin at Natrona
Class 3A
Buffalo at Rawlins
Cody at Powell
Green River at Evanston
Lander at Douglas
Riverton at Worland
Star Valley at Jackson
Class 2A
Big Horn at Burns
Glenrock at Upton-Sundance
Kemmerer at Mountain View
Lovell at Thermopolis
Lyman at Cokeville
Torrington at Newcastle
Wheatland at Tongue River
Class 1A nine-man
Guernsey at Moorcroft
Lusk at Wright
Saratoga at Lingle
Southeast at Pine Bluffs
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at Burlington
Interclass
Casper Christian at Hulett
Cody JV at Meeteetse
Interstate
Pinedale at Rich County, Utah
Saturday
Class 1A six-man
Kaycee at Farson
Midwest at Encampment
Ten Sleep at Hanna
Interclass
Wyoming Indian at Shoshoni JV
Open: Greybull.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, click here. You can click on “Week 8” at the top of the page to take you directly to this week’s schedule.

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Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 31-1 (97 percent). This season: 211-34 (86 percent).

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Who’s your favorite underdog ready to pull a surprise in the final week of the regular season? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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–patrick

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