One sure thing about championship weekend? We’ll have five new state champions this year.

None of the five state champs from 2019 made it to the 2020 championships, the first time that’s happened since 2015.

Some consistent championship winners aren’t here — in fact, none of the 10 teams remaining is among the group of seven Wyoming programs with double-digit football championships to their name.

But that doesn’t mean the fields will be peppered with teams who don’t know their way around a title game.

Of the 10 teams playing this weekend, only Jackson (last title in 2007) hasn’t played in a title game in the past decade. Thunder Basin was here last year; Torrington and Farson each made it this far two years ago.

Another added twist to the 2020 title games is their locations — Cheyenne, Cody, Torrington, Yoder and Farson, not Laramie. The officials in charge of developing COVID-19 protocols rightly decided large gatherings of people from all over the state may not be the best idea, so, for at least one year, championship games are at host sites — another wrinkle in a season full of them.

Here are breakdowns for each championship game, as well as my choices:

Class 4A, 1 p.m. Saturday
Thunder Basin (3, 9-2) at Cheyenne East (1, 10-1)
Series record: Thunder Basin leads 4-1.
Last meeting: Thunder Basin beat Cheyenne East 34-28 on Aug. 28 in Gillette.
Last playoff meeting: Thunder Basin beat Cheyenne East 27-21 on Nov. 8, 2019, in a Class 4A semifinal in Gillette.
State championships: Thunder Basin zero. … Cheyenne East four, most recently in 2013.
Previous title game record: Thunder Basin, 0-1. … Cheyenne East, 4-3.
The path to the title game: Thunder Basin eked out a 19-14 victory against Natrona in the quarterfinals before thumping Kelly Walsh 55-14 in the semifinals. … Cheyenne East blew out Laramie 49-7 in the first round and topped Sheridan 31-21 in the semifinals.
The case for the ‘Bolts: Thunder Basin is consistent on both sides of the ball — the ‘Bolts are second in Class 4A in both offense and defense. The offense has great balance, with RB Jaxon Pikula and QB Ryan Baker forming a dangerous backfield pairing. They got their wake-up call in Week 8 against Sheridan, so they’re playing with urgency, not overconfidence. And they’re the only team to beat East this year.
The case for the Thunderbirds: Behind QB Graedyn Buell, East has 4A’s top offense, and it’s not even close. The defense, ranked third in 4A, has been the T-Birds’ silent saviors. And ever since that loss in the opening week to Thunder Basin, East has notched 10 consecutive victories, including their last six by more than 27 points per game.
The pick: If East was playing any other team in the championship, I’d worry about overconfidence. But since the Thunderbirds are playing the only team to beat them this year, I think they’ll come out with the requisite focus needed. Thunder Basin will make it tough on them, though — and if the ‘Bolts can get a defensive or special teams touchdown, the score could flip-flop quickly. … Cheyenne East 38, Thunder Basin 30.

Class 3A, noon Saturday
Jackson (2W, 9-2) at Cody (1W, 9-1)
Series record: Cody leads 21-8.
Last meeting: Cody beat Jackson 48-6 on Oct. 23 in Jackson.
Last playoff meeting: Jackson beat Cody 38-12 on Oct. 26, 2007, in a Class 4A quarterfinal in Jackson.
State championships: Jackson three, most recently in 2007. … Cody five, most recently in 2017.
Previous title game record: Jackson, 3-1. … Cody, 5-5.
The path to the title game: Jackson beat up on Riverton 61-38 in the quarterfinals and scored late to beat Douglas 21-14 in the semifinals. … Cody bopped Worland 51-7 in the quarterfinals and shut out Powell 21-0 in the semifinals.
The case for the (Jackson) Broncs: I’ll say this slowly and clearly so everyone can understand its significance: Jackson leads Class 3A in both rushing and passing offense. That diversity, led by RB Brody Hasenack and QB Sadler Smith, keeps defenses honest. The defense has given up its share of yards, but that unit is better than the numbers show. And after losing big to Cody three weeks ago, Jackson has to be ready for revenge.
The case for the (Cody) Broncs: Cody has the kind of consistency coaches dream of; the Broncs are second in Class 3A in both offense and defense. That’s led to a lot of victories. Moreover, Cody doesn’t rely on any one player or unit to get the job done — eight running backs and six receivers have triple-digit yards this year. And after winning big against Jackson three weeks ago, Cody has to be confident.
The pick: I’m only guaranteeing one thing in this game — it’ll be much closer than 48-6, the score between these two teams in Week 8. Jackson will play much better this time around. The black-and-orange Broncs will keep the pressure on from the start. All that said, the blue-and-gold Broncs, at home, have the edge. … Cody 31, Jackson 24.

Class 2A, 1 p.m. Saturday
Lyman (1W, 10-1) at Torrington (1E, 8-2)
Series record: First meeting.
State championships: Lyman four, most recently in 2012. … Torrington three, most recently in 1990.
Previous title game record: Lyman, 4-1. … Torrington, 2-11.
The path to the title game: Lyman won big a couple times, beating Big Horn 42-7 in the quarterfinals and Upton-Sundance 37-15 in the semifinals. … Torrington topped Cokeville 34-14 in the quarterfinals and beat Mountain View 31-20 in the semifinals.
The case for the Eagles: Lyman wins with a simple formula: overwhelming defense, enough offense. The Eagles lead Class 2A in scoring defense and have allowed the fewest yards of any team in the classification. The offense relies on the run first, but timely passing keeps defenses from committing fully to stopping the run. Aside from a 6-0 loss to Big Piney, Lyman has used that formula to be almost unbeatable.
The case for the Trailblazers: With a junior-heavy roster, and coming off a 1-7 season, I honestly thought Torrington was a year away from competing for a state title. But the Trailblazers have been really consistent all year. Like, scary consistent — you know exactly what you’re getting from this group on a weekly basis. Losing QB Beau Bivens to injury in the semifinals hurts Torrington’s chances, but inspiration — and momentum — are always tough things to track in the minds of teenagers.
The pick: Of the five games this weekend, this is the one I’ve waffled on the most. With 2A’s parity, it’s no surprise that we have such an evenly matched championship game. I’m leaning on an old cliche here, so forgive me, but defense wins championships. … Lyman 20, Torrington 19.

Class 1A nine-man, 5 p.m. Friday
Lusk (2E, 8-2) at Southeast (1E, 10-0)
Series record: Lusk leads 25-20.
Last meeting: Southeast beat Lusk 35-16 on Oct. 16 in Yoder.
Last playoff meeting: Southeast beat Lusk 40-6 on Nov. 10, 2012, in the Class 1A 11-man championship at Laramie.
State championships: Lusk five, most recently in 2002. … Southeast nine, most recently in 2012.
Previous title game record: Lusk, 5-9. … Southeast, 9-2.
The path to the title game: Lusk bombed Greybull 54-0 in the quarterfinals and outscored Rocky Mountain 52-35 in the semifinals. … Southeast blasted Riverside 63-6 in the first round and beat Shoshoni 44-18 in the semifinals.
The case for the Tigers: Nine-man’s most high-powered offense averages 500 yards and more than 50 points per game — and if that isn’t enough for you, what is? With 166 more rushing yards, RB Drake Lamp will crack 3,000 yards rushing this season (yes, you read that right) and is on track to be just the third four-time all-state pick in Wyoming history. Conversely, the defense has been on the field a lot; if the offense weren’t such a quick-striking unit, the Tigers’ D would look a lot better.
The case for the Cyclones: Anyone paying attention saw this coming. Deep and experienced, Southeast has been mowing over everyone in its way — including Lusk, 35-16, in Week 7. Southeast rolls up almost 200 more yards per game than it allows, and they do so with a team approach that spreads out the responsibilities on both sides of the ball.
The pick: It’ll be easy to look at this and concentrate on Lusk’s offense vs. Southeast’s defense. When those kind of matchups happens, look the other way, too: Southeast’s offense vs. Lusk’s defense. I think the Tigers will put up more points than they did a month ago, but Southeast still has the edge. … Southeast 38, Lusk 28.

Class 1A six-man, 1 p.m. Saturday
Meeteetse (2W, 8-1) at Farson (1W, 10-0)
Series record: Meeteetse leads 7-6.
Last meeting: Farson beat Meeteetse 35-16 on Oct. 17 in Farson.
Last playoff meeting: First playoff meeting.
State championships: Meeteetse two, most recently in 2013. … Farson one, in 2018.
Previous title game record: Meeteetse, 2-2. … Farson, 1-2.
The path to the title game: Meeteetse thumped Guernsey 63-7 in the quarterfinals and then nudged out Kaycee 46-38 in the semifinals. … Farson shut out Hanna 70-0 in the quarterfinals and came back to beat Encampment 42-41 in the semifinals.
The case for the Longhorns: Meeteetse has been one of six-man’s most surprising teams this fall. With only one loss — to Farson in Week 7 — the Longhorns have shown a penchant for both pluckiness and toughness. A defense that’s shallow but consistent deserves a lot of praise, and Dace Bennett keys the offense both with his arms and his legs.
The case for the Pronghorns: Let’s start with 10-0: Farson’s record this year. Behind an offense and a defense that both rank second in 1A six-man, few teams have challenged the Pronghorns. When they have been challenged, they’ve responded well, including in last week’s 42-41, come-from-behind victory against Encampment. Farson also has one of six-man’s deepest rosters.
The pick: Historically, undefeated teams do really well in six-man championship games. Farson has the depth and the experience to win their second title in three years — but Meeteetse won’t be patsies. … Farson 48, Meeteetse 37.

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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: 235-62 (79 percent).

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Who you got winning the five title games happening this week? 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

For the first time in a long time, I can honestly say this about any round of semifinal playoffs:

That looks fresh.

I’m talking specifically about the Class 2A bracket, where we’ll see two games between programs who have never faced each other before now.

In a parity-filled classification, it only seems right to get the only two such games in the state happening in the same classification.

Torrington and Mountain View meet in one semifinal game, while Upton-Sundance and Lyman meet in the other.

In short, no one knows what to expect, least of all me.

Torrington and Mountain View are both 7-2, with each of them suffering a loss to a 3A program (Torrington to Douglas, Mountain View to Evanston) as well as a conference opponent.

It’s a great matchup for two programs that crossed paths in both 2017 and 2018, but as ships passing in the night, not ships destined for a collision. Those years, both the Buffalos and Trailblazers reached Laramie, with the ‘Blazers finishing as 3A runners-up both seasons and the Buffalos winning the 2A title in 2017 and finishing second in 2018.

Now, they get to finally meet each other. And that’s pretty cool.

Also pretty cool? Lyman (9-1) and Upton-Sundance (8-1) are meeting in a semifinal game that will likely be defined by defense. Upton-Sundance and Lyman are the only two teams in 2A who have allowed fewer than 100 points this season, with the Patriots allowing 89 and the Eagles just 67.

These two programs, too, are strangers to each other, but that’s to be expected with the Upton-Sundance co-op being less than a decade old. However, Lyman also never played either Upton or Sundance when they were separate programs.

Of the other eight games this week, six (East-Sheridan, Kelly Walsh-Thunder Basin, Powell-Cody, Shoshoni-Southeast, Lusk-Rocky Mountain, Encampment-Farson) give us matchups have already been played this season. So… not as fresh, as most of those games weren’t all that close in the regular season. Cheyenne East and Sheridan played a 16-14 thriller in Week 4, but all the other games were decided by double-digit margins.

Jackson and Douglas haven’t played since 2013, so that game has a semblance of freshness. And Meeteetse and Kaycee haven’t played each other since 2017, but they played against each other in every postseason from 2013 to 2017, so it’s almost nostalgic to see that pairing brought back.

Class 2A, though — Wyoming’s biggest and most parity-filled classification — will draw much of my attention this week. That attention has been earned by a pair of games that help make the bracket even more unexpected — and fun.

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Here are my picks for this week’s games. Chances are you’re not even reading this paragraph, because you know by now that bold means that I’m picking that team to win. So you’re just glazing right past this to see who I think will win. Glaze… mmmm, donuts…

Friday
Class 4A
(4) Sheridan at (1) Cheyenne East: Unstoppable force, immovable object, blah blah blah. The bottom line is that these are the two hottest teams in 4A, and it seems weird to have them playing in the semis. East, but just barely, in what could be the game of the year in the entire state, all season.
(7) Kelly Walsh at (3) Thunder Basin: The Trojans proved their mettle last week and will give the ‘Bolts a challenge, but I still like Thunder Basin at home in this one.
Class 3A
(3W) Powell at (1W) Cody: Think Cody won’t be ready for this one? Then again, think Powell won’t be? Broncs in a tight one in an intra-county rivalry that deserves all the love it’s gonna get this week.
(2W) Jackson at (1E) Douglas: Jackson’s offense looked on point last week, and even though I think Douglas will present a challenge, I like what the Broncs have going right now. I wish it was more nuanced than that, but it’s not.
Class 2A
(2W) Mountain View at (1E) Torrington: With the parity that’s present in 2A this year, I’m totally not going to be surprised by a Mountain View victory. But Torrington looked great last week, and the Trailblazers have home field.
(2E) Upton-Sundance at (1W) Lyman: If there’s one team that can give the Eagles’ defense fits, it might just be the Patriots. I get the feeling this is one of those that’s gonna be decided by extra points, like 14-13 or something close to that.
Class 1A nine-man
(2W) Shoshoni at (1E) Southeast: The Cyclones shut out the Wranglers 22-0 in Yoder in Week 1. The problem for an improved Shoshoni team is that Southeast has improved, too.
(2E) Lusk at (1W) Rocky Mountain: We saw this matchup four weeks ago. Remember how wild that 62-50 shootout Grizzlies victory was? Well, that means anything could happen this time around, and the Tigers are dangerous.
Saturday
Class 1A six-man
(3W) Encampment at (1W) Farson: Undefeated Farson won the first go-round of this season 74-32 back in Week 3. It’ll be closer this time, but the undefeated Pronghorns have too much depth.
(2W) Meeteetse at (1E) Kaycee: The Longhorns have been lights out basically all season, and I like their chances against a Kaycee team who’s — get this — playing its seventh home game in the past eight weeks.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Semifinals” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

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

Last week: 20-1 (95 percent). This season: 227-60 (79 percent).

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Which 10 teams do you see emerging from this week and reaching the championship games? 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

Forty Wyoming high school football teams will play this week with state championship hopes motivating them.

In 2020, that in and of itself is reason to be grateful.

In a season where two teams couldn’t play at all due to COVID-19 and several games were rescheduled or canceled, the fact that the postseason is moving forward as scheduled can’t be overlooked.

I’ll admit it — I was not sure this would be possible.

With COVID-19 cases rising steadily across the state all season long…

Wyoming Department of Health, 10-23-20.

… and with early-season scares with Newcastle and Douglas and a late-season KO from Burns… and complete cancellations from St. Stephens and Wyoming Indian… I kept waiting for more. A more severe outbreak not localized to one community or one team. A quarantine that couldn’t be overcome. A season-ender after a season had started.

It hasn’t happened.

Yet.

COVID-19’s autumn surge in Wyoming should make everyone take note of how fragile all of this is. It should make every Wyoming football fan more vigilant, more careful, more cognizant of the risks and more responsible for the direction of the line in that chart.

Mask up. Distance apart. Wash up. Or watch a season come to an end at the least wanted time.

Football was the test balloon. Indoor winter sports like basketball and wrestling are going to require even more care. Let’s get used to it now, and keep the seasons, plural, going.

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Against the backdrop of COVID-19, the games almost seem secondary. But with state championships on the line, and with half of this week’s teams kissing those hopes adios, you can bet you’ll see some great stuff this weekend. I think the teams in bold will win, but everyone deserves some praise for just being here in one of the weirdest seasons we’ll probably ever see.

Friday
Class 4A
(8) Laramie at (1) Cheyenne East: East won their Week 3 game 56-13, and unless Laramie loads up on magic wands before the game, expect a similar result this time.
(5) Rock Springs at (4) Sheridan: After shutting out Thunder Basin 35-0 last week, there may not be a hotter team in the state right now than the Broncs.
(7) Kelly Walsh at (2) Cheyenne Central: The Indians stumbled down the stretch, going 1-2, but should still have enough in the tank to beat the Trojans.
(6) Natrona at (3) Thunder Basin: Two weeks ago, the ‘Bolts won this matchup by 40. I think it’ll be closer this time, but Thunder Basin still has the edge.
Class 3A
(4E) Worland at (1W) Cody: Man alive, was Cody’s 48-6 victory over Jackson last week an eye-opener. The Broncs are 3A’s team to beat.
(3W) Powell at (2E) Lander: Powell won their Week 2 matchup 31-0, and although Lander will fight hard, Powell is still the favorite.
(4W) Star Valley at (1E) Douglas: Even though Douglas is 7-0 and Star Valley has a losing record, I’m REALLY tempted to pick the Braves. But I still like the Bearcats at home.
(3E) Riverton at (2W) Jackson: Week 3. 57-7, Jackson. The Broncs have a definitive advantage in this one.
Class 2A
(4W) Cokeville at (1E) Torrington: These are the playoff matchups I love — ones between two programs who have never played each other before. The Trailblazers have the advantage, but the Panthers always play well in the postseason.
(3E) Wheatland at (2W) Mountain View: How badly was the Buffalos’ confidence shaken after their Bridger Valley Bowl loss last week? If it’s more than “a bit,” Wheatland could pull the surprise.
(4E) Big Horn at (1W) Lyman: The hot-and-cold Rams could be tough, but the Eagles’ defense has been on point every week, all season long.
(3W) Lovell at (2E) Upton-Sundance: Between them, these two teams have three losses by a combined 11 points. This could be the game of the week across all classifications.
Class 1A nine-man
(4W) Riverside at (1E) Southeast: Southeast averages about 44 points a game. Riverside has scored 66 points all season.
(3E) Pine Bluffs at (2W) Shoshoni: The Hornets will definitely put up a better fight than they did when they lost to the Wranglers 40-13 in Week 5. But Shoshoni still has the edge.
(4E) Saratoga at (1W) Rocky Mountain: Saratoga has been playing well of late. The only problem is Rocky Mountain has been playing well all year long.
(3W) Greybull at (2E) Lusk: Don’t let a 1-2 finish to the season fool anyone; Lusk is still a legit title contender.
Class 1A six-man
(4E) Hanna at (1W) Farson: Farson’s unbeaten record speaks for itself. The Pronghorns should advance easily to the semifinals.
(3W) Encampment at (2E) Hulett: The Tigers are in their first postseason ever. They’ll get a test from the Red Devils, but a tough West Conference schedule should make Encampment more than ready for this test.
(4W) Snake River at (1E) Kaycee: The Buckaroos’ defense has been scary consistent all season, so if Kaycee can get enough points, they should be good. Against Snake River, that’s a big if, though.
(3E) Guernsey at (2W) Meeteetse: Meeteetse has been one of six-man’s most pleasant surprises this fall. They should be able to keep the momentum going at home against the Vikings.

Non-playoff games
Thursday
Burns at Newcastle

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Quarterfinals” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

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

Last week: 24-4 (86 percent). This season: 207-59 (78 percent). Does not include forfeit from last week.

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Who do you think is ready to pull a big surprise in the first round of the playoffs? 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

Occasionally, just before the playoff starts, we get a playoff game.

Now, I’m not talking about a game that’s a part of the actual playoff bracket, being played a week early. That’s crazy talk.

Instead, I’m talking about the simplest of propositions facing a team in Week 8: Win and you’re in. Lose and you’re not.

So even though the regular-season finale on Friday for Green River and Star Valley isn’t a playoff game… it is. They face that winner-takes-a-spot, loser-takes-a-seat scenario, and they’ll do so together.

The game between the Wolves and Braves the only game in the state like that this week.

Of the 40 playoff spots available in Wyoming’s five classifications of football, 36 teams already have one of those postseason spots secured. That includes all eight teams in Class 4A and Class 2A, seven of eight in 3A and 1A nine-man and six of eight in 1A six-man.

In Class 1A six-man, three teams (Burlington, Snake River and Encampment) are going for the final two spots, and conveniently Burlington and Encampment play each other. That will help settle a lot of uncertainty. However, only Burlington is in a true win-and-in, lose-and-out spot; both Encampment and Snake River could lose and still get in.

And in Class 1A nine-man, in a weird twist, the eighth spot (the final spot from the West), going to either Greybull or Wind River, will be decided by a game played by Shoshoni and Riverside. If Shoshoni wins, Greybull makes the playoffs. If Riverside wins, Wind River is in. Wind River is off this week; if I’m the Cougars, I’m organizing a trip across Fremont County to Shoshoni to go root for the Rebels.

A bit different than Star Valley-Green River, isn’t it?

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Even though the bulk of spots are sets, multiple questions still exist for seeding. Particularly in Class 4A, the scenarios are complicated, as four of the five games have an effect on who ends up where. While I’ll pay particular attention to 4A, every game has something interesting going on; here’s what I’m intrigued by the most this week:

Anyone else get the feeling that Sheridan might sneak up on Thunder Basin in a potential trap game for the ‘Bolts? Just me? OK. …

Can Rock Springs sweep the Cheyenne schools? The Tigers had a huge attention-getting victory last week against Central, and if they can do the same to East the week before the playoffs, Katie bar the door. …

I’m still not sure how Buffalo is 1-5 and not making the postseason. Buffalo is one of those teams that’s better than its record; the Bison’s five losses are by scores of 8-6, 14-6, 13-6, 27-23 and 20-17. It’s too bad their season will end this week. The Bison could give Lander a true challenge, even though the Tigers will be playing at home next week and the Bison will be watching from home. …

The 2A East’s top seed will be decided one way or another by the game between Big Horn and Upton-Sundance. Don’t let the Rams’ slow start fool you; they’re playing really well right now. And don’t let the previous sentence fool you, either; the Patriots are in great shape, and their only loss all season was on the road by 3 points. …

The Bridger Valley Bowl between Lyman and Mountain View means way more this season, as it will decide the top seed from the 2A West. Lyman’s defense has been its calling card all season long, so I’m curious to see how the Eagles will match up against a diverse Mountain View offense.

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Picks. I make ’em. You read ’em. I bold ’em; you know it means that’s who I’m picking.

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

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 8” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

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

Last week: 28-3 (90 percent). This season: 183-55 (77 percent).

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What’s been the most surprising thing to you so far this 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

Over the next couple weeks, you will probably hear a lot about home-field advantage in the playoffs.

And you may ask yourself how much it really matters, playing at home in the postseason.

The short answer? It matters a lot.

While home teams win an average of about 56% of Wyoming high school football games, that skyrockets to 74% in the playoffs.

Moreover, no active team in Wyoming has a better road playoff record than home playoff record.

And for some teams, the difference is pretty drastic.

Take, for example, Farson. All-time, Farson is 6-0 in home playoff games but 0-7 in road playoff games. It’s safe to say that Farson — who’s playing Meeteetse this week, with the winner holding home-field advantage from the 1A six-man West — wants to play as many playoff games at Pronghorn Field as possible.

Or Big Horn, one of four teams chasing the top two spots out of the 2A East: 33-6 at home, 3-17 on the road.

Or Rock Springs, which needs some help to avoid a first-round road trip in 4A: 13-1 at home, 6-31 on the road.

And Sheridan, which is working hard to try to get the up-for-grabs fourth seed in Class 4A, would much rather play its opening-round game at home, where the Broncs are (get this) 39-2 all-time in playoff games.

So when you look at the standings and try to parse through what’s possible, keep in mind just how important it is to stay off the bus as much as you can in the postseason.

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With that in mind, let’s clarify a bit of confusion about the potential hosts for state title games.

Without realizing it, the Wyoming High School Activities Association put out some conflicting information about who would host the championship game if two teams with equal seeds (say, both top seeds, or both No. 2 seeds, and so on) met in the championship.

WHSAA Associate Commissioner Trevor Wilson gave me some definitive answers via email this week, though, and what it boils down to is this: When in doubt, check the handbook.

Wilson clarified that, in the case of two equal seeds meeting, the WEST team will host the 3A and 1A six-man title games, while the EAST team will host the 2A and 1A nine-man title games. These are the scenarios outlined in the WHSAA handbook for this season.

Wilson also clarified that if the two teams have met in the regular season, that regular-season result will NOT be used to determine the host.

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As we approach the final two weeks of the regular season, surprises become fewer and fewer. But that makes surprises more interesting when they do happen. These are the games that could bring us the most surprises:

Riverton and Worland could give us a close game in a key 3A East matchup. I really considered picking the Wolverines this week, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them KO the Warriors in Washakie County. …

Opposite momentums will meet in Cokeville Friday. The host Panthers have won three in a row after starting 2A West play with consecutive losses. Meanwhile, Big Piney’s lost two in a row after starting 4-0. How big will “Big Mo” be for both teams? …

Wheatland and Torrington meet in a huge game that will go a long way in deciding 2A East title rights. No matter who wins, they’ll both need a little help next week for the top seed, but the top seed doesn’t happen at all without a victory right here. …

The Lusk-Southeast winner is the top seed from the 1A nine-man East Conference. Meeteetse and Farson face the same stakes, just for the 1A six-man West. Both games could come right down to the final moments; Southeast hasn’t yet played anyone with Lusk’s firepower, and undefeated Meeteetse has been plucky enough to give also-undefeated Farson a challenge.

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Here are the weekly picks. If you’re new here, I pick teams to win every week, and I signify my choices in bold. But you’re not new here, are you?

Wednesday
Class 3A

Star Valley at Evanston (as picked before the game on Twitter)
Thursday
Class 1A nine-man
Greybull at Shoshoni
Interclass
Natrona sophs 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
Douglas at Buffalo
Green River at Cody
Jackson at Powell
Rawlins at Lander
Riverton at Worland
Class 2A
Big Piney at Cokeville
Burns at Newcastle
Glenrock at Upton-Sundance
Lovell at Kemmerer
Lyman at Pinedale
Mountain View at Thermopolis
Tongue River at Big Horn
Wheatland at Torrington
Class 1A nine-man
Lusk at Southeast
Moorcroft at Riverside
Pine Bluffs at Lingle
Wind River at Rocky Mountain
Wright at Saratoga
Class 1A six-man
Midwest at Kaycee
NSI at Guernsey-Sunrise
Ten Sleep at Burlington
Saturday
Class 1A six-man
Encampment at Dubois
Hulett vs. Hanna (at Midwest)
Meeteetse at Farson

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 7” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

+++

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

Last week: 26-5 (84 percent). This season: 155-52 (75 percent). Does not include last week’s forfeit.

+++

Like I brought up before… you’re not new here. So give me your insight. What Week 7 game has you the most fired up? 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

Lusk and Rocky Mountain haven’t crossed their football paths very often.

But when the two undefeated Class 1A nine-man behemoths face off on Friday, they’ll resurrect a matchup that had its best moments in the ’90s.

The Tigers and Grizzlies played against each other in two Class 1A-Division I championship games back in the 1990s, with Rocky winning both times (1995 and 1997). The victories were part of a run of four titles in the 1990s for Rocky; the Tigers later won titles of their own in 1999, 2000 and 2002.

Neither one has won a championship since.

This year might break that streak for one of them — they both have the talent to make a run in 2020, as evidence by their records and how they’ve racked them up.

The Tigers and Grizzlies have been two of the biggest beneficiaries from the move to nine-man football this season. The 5-0 Tigers have nine-man’s highest-scoring offense, averaging 56.4 points per game. The 4-0 Grizzlies aren’t far behind, ranking second in the class at 49 ppg, but Rocky has also given up nine-man’s fewest total points (26).

Even so, Rocky Mountain and Lusk rank second and third, respectively, in the Wyopreps.com coaches and media poll for 1A nine-man; they both trail Southeast in the rankings.

The stakes aren’t much higher than pride this week — the game has no effect on the playoffs, as Rocky’s in the West Conference, and has already wrapped up the top seed out of the West at that, and Lusk is in the East.

But for pride? Rankings? The renewal of a little-played but often-intense rivalry?

Plan on seeing the best out of each squad. This one’s important.

+++

Some other games:

The Capital Bowl between East and Central is for more than bragging rights this year. Central is 6-0, and East, at 5-1 and with five consecutive victories, is the Indians’ biggest obstacle to a perfect regular season. It’s been a long time since this game has meant so much. …

Four teams are tied at 3-3 in Class 4A, and the game between Sheridan and Kelly Walsh will break up that logjam. That’s a tiebreaker scenario that could get all kinds of messy by the end of the season. …

Riverton hosts Lander in the Fremont County rivalry game that really deserves a nickname. They’re both 1-1 in the 3A East, so a victory here will mean everything in terms of postseason momentum. …

The 2A West is a mess of parity right now, but the only team that remains unbeaten in league play — Mountain View — could do itself a huge favor if it can beat once-beaten Big Piney on Friday in Uinta County. …

One other good geographic rivalry is this week, as Riverside and Greybull meet on the field for the first time since 2014. Here’s to hoping this is a long-lasting renewal in what could be a close game in the reintroduction to the rivalry.

+++

The picks have been my nemesis this year; it seems like every close game on Friday (or Saturday) goes against the team I have bolded on Thursday.

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

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 6” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

+++

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

Last week: 21-11 (66 percent). This season: 129-47 (73 percent).

+++

Which is your game-of-the-week choice for Week 6? And are you going to be there in person? 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

Only the most astute Wyoming high school football fans noticed the peculiarity of Cheyenne Central’s 62-15 victory against Cheyenne South last week.

Yes, certainly, the GAME itself had significance. Central stayed unbeaten, South stayed winless, the Indians moved a step closer to the Capital City title… but I think I’m the only person who realized the significance of the SCORE.

Since Wyoming high schools started playing football in 1894, Friday’s game was the first time a game had ended with a final score of 62-15.

More than 25,000 games, and Indians-Bison was the first 62-15.

That blows my mind.

The amazing thing is that this happens nearly every week, usually more than once.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of Scorigami, I recommend taking 20 minutes and watching this video. If you’re into sports, and into breaking down sports until the amazing appears, it’ll be the best 20 minutes of your day:

And then check out this website that tracks NFL scorigami. It’s pretty cool.

The difference between scorigami in the NFL and scorigami in Wyoming high school football is that scorigami for Wyoming high school football has many more opportunities. With six-man in particular, scores of games often go high enough to necessitate more squares on the board — hence more empty squares to fill.

This season alone, we’ve had 14 instances of Wyoming high school football scorigami. In addition to Central’s victory Friday, we’ve also seen our first instances of games ending with final scores of:

  • 43-33 (in Week 3, Meeteetse over Dubois)
  • 44-23 (in Week 1, Cody over Riverton)
  • 52-4 (in Week 2, Kaycee over NSI)
  • 57-30 (in Week 1, Burlington over Hulett)
  • 57-32 (in Week 3, Ten Sleep over NSI)
  • 58-33 (in Week 3, Natrona sophs over Midwest)
  • 58-35 (in Week 2, Lusk over Pine Bluffs)
  • 60-19 (in Week 2, Natrona sophs over Hanna)
  • 64-8 (in Week 1, Lusk over the Kelly Walsh sophs)
  • 67-7 (in Week 1, Farson over Guernsey)
  • 74-32 (in Week 3, Farson over Encampment)
  • 78-52 (in Week 3, Kaycee over the Sheridan sophs)
  • 85-6 (in Week 1, Dubois over Midwest)

While most of these involved six-man or nine-man teams, two 11-man games this season (the aforementioned Central-South and Cody-Riverton) produced scorigami.

And the pace of 14 scorigami games through four weeks is pretty close to the pace we’ve come to expect. In 2019, 28 games were scorigami; in 2018, 31; in 2017, 27; and in 2016, 43.

Slowly but surely, though, the spaces are filling. As that happens, scorigami will become less and less common.

A chart showing scorigami in Wyoming high school football.
Wyoming high school football scorigami chart. Gray squares represent games prior to 2016; red is 2016, green is 2017, yellow is 2018, blue is 2019 and purple is 2020. Click to see a bigger version.

When I initially did this research after the 2015 season, I used it to detail the state’s most common final scores. Now I’m finding the less common scores drawing my interest more often.

Even with all the scores that have been “filled in” on the chart above, some scores are still out there to be obtained. NSI’s four-point final against Kaycee two weeks ago may become more common, as six-man field goals are worth four points. (Final scores of 4 points, as well as 5, are already ridiculously uncommon, as I’ve detailed in a previous post.) The losing scores of 9 and 11 also have bunches of empty squares.

Then there are the really random empty spots, like 23-15, 25-17, 36-19, 31-23 or 56-18, that have never been filled. Up until last Friday, 62-15 was one of those, too.

And even though a 4-2 game sounds like a boring defensive slugfest, it would be a scorigami dream.

As long as there are still squares to be filled, scorigami will exist.

+++

Now let’s actually talk about what’s going on this week. Here are some Week 5 games that butter my bread:

Natrona hosts Sheridan in the 4A game of the week, and I’m not sure what to expect. Both teams are coming off losses, and while it’s not desperation time yet for either team, a loss here might make it that way. …

Lander-Douglas could end up being for the 3A East championship when it’s all said and done. Buffalo was the only other team to win its conference opener last week, so…. you do the math. …

After Star Valley and Powell finish their game on Friday, one of them will be 0-2 in 3A West play. Didn’t see that one coming. But don’t let that fool you into thinking the loser isn’t still a threat. …

Another great round of 2A West games awaits with Cokeville traveling to Thermopolis and Lovell going to Big Piney. Count on games decided by single digits, and count on unpredictability of who’s actually going to be ahead by the time it’s all finished. …

Farson and Kaycee meet in a showdown of six-man undefeated teams. Farson will be the favorite in a game that will tell us a ton about the relative strengths of the East and West conferences. …

Don’t look now, but Meeteetse’s 4-0, the only other six-man undefeated team behind Farson and Kaycee. Beat Encampment this week, and we’ll have to start taking the Longhorns seriously. …

+++

Now, for everyone’s favorite part of their Thursday, picks! Did you know I bold teams who I think will win? Well now you do, because I just told you.

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

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 5” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

+++

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

Last week: 19-10 (66 percent). This season: 108-36 (75 percent). Does not include forfeits from last week.

+++

Want more scorigami content? Let me know! 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 top two-thirds of the Class 2A West Conference was going to be filled with parity — we knew this, more or less, last November.

After two weeks of conference play, trying to distinguish between the top six teams in that conference is tougher than a $2 steak.

Games between Big Piney, Cokeville, Lovell, Lyman, Mountain View and Thermopolis have been the kinds of games that can swing on a single play.

Just look at these scores from six teams through two weeks of conference play: 14-12, 16-0, 23-13, 12-9, 12-7. That kind of parity is rare, especially among so many teams. And it makes the conference a blast to follow.

Big Piney, Mountain View and Lyman have started conference play 2-0; Thermopolis is at 1-1, and Cokeville and Lovell 0-2.

(Pinedale and Kemmerer are also in the 2A West mix, but their starts have been less auspicious, less a part of the parity defining the relationships among the other six.)

This week, we’ll likely get two more close games in showdowns between these schools, as Lyman faces Big Piney and Thermopolis meets Lovell.

The rub in all of this, of course, is that only four of these teams can make the playoffs.

And in a season with hundreds of plays for every team, just one can make the difference between being a part of the postseason and being apart from it.

++++

Here are some other Week 4 games that look as delicious as a Genoise cake:

Cheyenne East and Sheridan each have one loss in Class 4A play, and they can ill afford another and hope to maintain any hopes of home-field advantage past the first round. This one will be big — and competitive. …

Cody and Powell will get together for the Big Horn Brawl. For the first time since 1936, both teams enter the game undefeated, a side effect from the game usually being played much later in the season. Both are 3-0, and Powell has the added benefit of a week off after last week’s game with Douglas was canceled. As the conference opener for both teams, this game also sets the standard for the rest of the conference to follow. …

Star Valley and Jackson also have a great 3A West rivalry, and their meeting Friday in the shadows of the Tetons will be telling. Are Jackson’s fast start and Star Valley’s slow start trends or flukes? …

Worland looked great last week in beating Green River; I’m curious to see if the Warriors can keep the momentum going against 3A East preseason fave Lander in Fremont County. …

After two weeks, six of the eight teams in the 2A East have at least one loss. The only two without a loss? Upton-Sundance and Torrington. I figured U-S would be in the mix this year, but I thought a junior-heavy Torrington team might be a year away. Clearly, Torrington’s young guys have met the challenge. I’m eager to see how they match up Friday in Goshen County. …

Lingle and Lusk won their games last week by a combined 114-16. They’ll meet this week, and something has to give. …

Even though Meeteetse is undefeated, the Longhorns will be the underdogs when they play Burlington on Friday. The Huskies have had a much tougher schedule so far and gave top-ranked Farson its biggest test of the season two weeks ago in a 31-24 loss. …

+++

On to the picks. Bolded teams are the ones that I think will win. But the teams that aren’t bolded still deserve orange slices after the game.

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

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 4” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

+++

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

Last week: 25-7 (78 percent). This season: 89-26 (77 percent). 

+++

Had you ever heard of a Genoise cake before this post? If so, why hadn’t I? 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

Across the state this week, five games — one in each classification — will pair up teams who are still undefeated.

Four will be played. One will stay on the schedule, unplayed, a tantalizing “what-if” we can wonder about all year.

The 3-0 face-off between Class 4A’s two remaining undefeated teams, Thunder Basin and Cheyenne Central, will command a big chunk of the statewide attention this week, and rightly so.

These aren’t soft 3-0 starts, either: Central’s beaten both Natrona and Sheridan on the road and has a home victory against Kelly Walsh, while Thunder Basin topped preseason No. 1 Cheyenne East in the season opener in Gillette before beating Rock Springs and Cheyenne South.

In a season where home-field advantage means a little bit more, this game is crucial. It won’t make or break a season, but it may decide where the make-or-break game is played.

In Class 3A, though, the game between Powell (3-0) and Douglas (2-0), a combined 5-0, will remain unplayed, as Douglas works to keep its players safe. Maybe we’ll see this matchup again later this year. For now, it’s a tantalizing what-if, and for now, I’d rather see it stay that way.

Even though the 4A game gets top billing, and 3A will draw the wonder, the other classifications have games that are just as interesting:

Now that Big Horn has fallen off a bit, the Class 2A East game between Wheatland (3-0) and Upton-Sundance (2-0) on Friday in Upton looks mighty interesting. Keep in mind, though, that the opponents of the Patriots and Bulldogs are a combined 1-12 this season. …

Moorcroft and Lusk both got out to quick 2-0 starts, and I really want to see how they match up against each other in Niobrara County on Friday. Lusk has scored 122 points in its first two games, by far tops in Class 1A nine-man; Moorcroft has given up just 19, second only to Southeast in the classification. …

With both Encampment and Farson starting 2-0, Friday’s game between the two of the in Farson has all kinds of playoff implications for the Class 1A six-man West Conference. Yes, Meeteetse is also 2-0, and Burlington and Snake River are still in it, but this has all the earmarks of a game that could decide a conference championship. …

Quickly, other games that you should be watching: Natrona-Kelly Walsh (because the Oil Bowl is always fun, even if it’s normally one-sided); Lovell-Lyman (two teams with fast starts and high hopes need this one in a competitive 2A West); Burlington-Snake River (the loser starts 1A six-man West play 0-2, and neither expected, or wanted, that).

+++

On to the picks. If you look closely, you’ll see I bold half the teams. Those are the teams I think will win. It’s apparently not self-explanatory, which is why I explain it every week.

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

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 3” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

+++

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

Last week: 24-11 (69 percent). This season: 64-19 (77 percent). 

+++

Which game has you ready to snap on the chinstrap and go crazy? 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

Wyoming’s three longest active winning streaks entering the season are all kaput.

The state’s longest active winning streak came to an end on Friday, when Big Horn’s 22-game winning streak was halted by an emphatic 26-0 loss to Lovell.

The second-longest streak also ended, as Mountain View lost to Evanston 36-21 to end and 11-game streak.

The second-longest streak entering the season belonged to Star Valley, but that 21-game streak has given way to a losing streak. The Braves lost consecutive games to Summit Academy, Utah, and Preston, Idaho, to start 2020.

As far as the end of streaks goes, it’s no surprise to see these end when they did. When long winning streaks end in the regular season, almost half the time, they end in the first week.

Of Wyoming’s 32 unbeaten streaks that have reached at least 20 games, 13 ended with season-opening losses, including both Big Horn and Star Valley this year. For perspective, only four of those streaks ended in playoff losses; the 15 others ended in some other week in the regular season.

Now, the two teams with active double-digit winning streaks are trying to avoid the less-statistically-likely Week 2 trap.

Snake River, winners of 10 straight heading into the start of this season, beat Hanna last week to extend that streak to 11; Sheridan, with a 2-0 start, has won 10 straight games.

Sheridan has victories against Laramie and Cheyenne South to put the Broncs at 2-0, one of three teams in Class 4A who can claim that.

The hurdle for Sheridan this week is that another one of those 2-0 teams, Cheyenne Central, comes to Homer Scott Field on Friday.

Snake River has a different challenge — new Carbon County rival Encampment, which started its first varsity season since 1990 by beating Midwest by 60.

The challenges for Sheridan and Snake River are similar: keep winning, and do so against teams who appear ready for the challenge.

Fortunately for both the Broncs and the Rattlers, their biggest statistical challenge — the season opener — is behind them.

+++

Other games that are wetting my whistle:

Both Buffalo and Saratoga have season openers this week, so it’ll be interesting to see how those go. Buffalo and Newcastle didn’t get to play last week; conversely, Buffalo opens its season at Green River on Friday in what should be a close one. (Newcastle played in Week 0). Saratoga, meanwhile, had an open week last week, so the Panthers, too, are starting their season a week later than usual. They host Moorcroft on Saturday. …

The last time Lyman won in Cokeville was in 1985; the Panthers have won seven straight at home against the Eagles, including last year. As Class 2A West Conference foes for the first time since 1989, I’m curious to see how both teams handle the game differently. …

Will Wheatland-Big Horn be a changing of the guard in the 2A East? With the Rams’ loss last week and the Bulldogs’ fast start (2-0, 94-6 scoring margin), it’s possible. …

Jackson is now 2-0 against Idaho competition and faces another Gem State team this week in Pocatello — an opponent that figures to be a bit tougher than the others the Broncs have faced. But Jackson has looked sharp and could pull off another victory, especially at home. …

Two 1A six-man West Conference openers (between Encampment and Snake River, and between Farson and Burlington) will be huge for the early edge on home-field advantage in the playoffs. It won’t be decided by the end of Week 2, but we’ll look back in Week 8 to this week as the one that decided a lot. …

On to the picks. Bolded teams are the ones I think will win, but I like surprises, too. I don’t even shake my Christmas gifts before I open them, I like surprises that much.

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

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 2” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

+++

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

Last week: 28-5 (85 percent). This season: 40-8 (83 percent). 

+++

Which Week 2 matchup has you shaking the package under the Christmas tree, trying to find out how it’s all going to turn out once you actually get to open it? 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

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