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

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

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

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

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


Snow at War Memorial Stadium, Laramie.

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

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


A Century of Fridays cover. Book by Patrick Schmiedt.

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

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


Cheyenne East was facing a team that had allowed it to score just six points in their past two meetings combined.

Powell was facing a team that obliterated it just 14 days ago.

But football is a fun and funny game. The past means nothing once toe meets ball and the game starts.

On Friday, both Cheyenne East and Powell reminded us why we love football so much. We don’t love football because it is rote and predictable; we love it because we never can tell what might happen over the next minute, much less the following 47.

Cheyenne East shook off a 26-3 loss to Natrona on Sept. 30 in Cheyenne and beat the previously unbeaten Mustangs 24-19 in Casper, while Powell scored in the waning seconds to beat Green River — a team it had lost to 38-14 just 14 days ago on the same field — and end the Wolves’ season with a 23-21 victory.

Maybe no one other than the most faithful and romantic of fans actually believed either upset could happen. Maybe the players themselves still can’t believe what they’ve accomplished.

Doesn’t matter now. Both the Panthers and the Thunderbirds are headed to War Memorial Stadium for the state championship games.

East controlled Natrona from the start, building a 21-7 lead before relying on its defense to bring home the victory. Even that wasn’t assured until late, until after Natrona scored in the final two minutes but could not recover an onside kick.

Powell’s victory was a bit more dramatic.

The Panthers rallied from a 14-3 halftime deficit and scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. However, after Green River scored with 41 seconds remaining to take a 21-17 lead, Powell had to summon all of its gusto to come back — and did so by scoring with 12 seconds to go to take the lead.

The only other road team to win on Friday was Lyman, which beat Glenrock 22-14 in a game that got really, really good in the fourth quarter. I was fortunate enough to be at this game and I was having a lot of trouble just keeping up with all the action in the fourth quarter: three turnovers, two goal-line stands, a missed field goal. It was a great end to what, up until that point, had been a less-than-memorable game. But, again, it’s supposed to be a fun and funny game. Lyman-Glenrock was both.

Douglas (20-14 over Buffalo) and Lovell (23-20 over Newcastle) also eked out too close for comfort victories on Friday, too. Douglas staved off Buffalo in what was a typical Douglas-Buffalo game, both in the score and, recently, in the victor. Lovell, however, led 23-6 before the upstart Dogies came roaring back and very nearly pulled of what would have been an upset for all time. Instead, it’s just another close call for the undefeated Bulldogs.

The other games were less intense. Sheridan, Cokeville, Southeast, Snake River and Dubois all won with relative ease when compared to the other five games on Friday. Nevertheless, these five teams, at this point in the season, aren’t really sweating the method too much — they’re just happy to survive and move on to Laramie.

So what did you see on Friday that drew your attention? Comment below with your thoughts and let’s start talking semifinals, Laramie, fun and funny.

This week: 8-2 (80 percent). This season: 249-50 (83 percent).


Newcastle has been playing football since 1920.

Never, in 92 years of playing the sport, had the Dogies accomplished what they did on Saturday.

For the first time, the Dogies have won a playoff game at home. And, boy, did they do it in style.

Newcastle thumped Thermopolis 28-0 on Saturday to give the Dogies just the second playoff victory in school history. And that’s why Newcastle’s victory on Saturday means so much: history. The Dogies had an all-time playoff record of 1-18 entering this year’s bracket, with the only victory coming in 1996 on the road against Kemmerer.

The other four times the Dogies has hosted playoff games, they had lost — 20-0 to Torrington in 1955, 27-7 to Torrington in 1957, 7-7 to Douglas in 1959 (Douglas won the game in a modified overtime) and 12-6 to Big Piney in 2006.

This victory wasn’t a fluke, either. The Dogies shut down Thermopolis, the two-time defending 2A champions, and kept them off the scoreboard. Newcastle has now won six of its past seven games, the lone loss a 33-14 road slip-up at Glenrock.

Yes, Newcastle now draws undefeated and top-ranked Lovell in the semifinals, and yes, Newcastle has to make the trip to Lovell for that game.

The Dogies of old might cringe at such a challenge. It’s clear the Dogies of 2011 relish it. After all, they’re doing things no other Newcastle team has ever done. Why stop now?

Second mad props to Buffalo, which made the more-than-400-mile trip to Afton and notched a 24-13 victory — something that is not easy to do. The math seemed to add up to a Braves victory: The distance between the communities, plus the home-field advantage Star Valley usually enjoys, plus the fact that Buffalo only got about 10 minutes’ worth of football in last week, should have equaled the end of Buffalo’s season. Instead, the Bison ignored the math and concentrated on the football. That, quite simply, was the difference.

That was all the Humble Pie for the first round of the playoffs, but that’s not all there is to talk about:

The best game of the first round may have been played in Cheyenne, where East beat Evanston 28-27 in overtime. East and Evanston have a deep postseason history the past few years, and East has been the one controlling the postseason matchups: The Thunderbirds ended the Red Devils’ season in 2006, 2007, 2010 and now, 2011. …

The East-Evanston game was actually the only one in the first round decided by fewer than 10 points. And only two road teams — Powell (correction: not Lander) and Buffalo — won. Aside from the Class 3A bracket, the hierarchy was well-established entering the first round of the playoffs. That stability was remarkably well-maintained in the first round. …

Six of the 10 matchups we will see in the semifinals are rematches of regular-season games. Games in 4A, 3A and 1A six-man are all rematches; games in 2A and 1A 11-man are all new to 2011. In all six cases, the team that is hosting in the semifinals won the regular-season game against the team it is facing. …

So what did you think of the first round of the playoffs? Any thoughts to share? Post them below and show off your knowledge to the rest of the state.

This week: 18-2 (90 percent). This season: 241-48 (83 percent).


So much of what happened in Week 8 was based in being unconfirmed or uncertain.

But we know this for sure: Kemmerer wants to keep playing.

How do we know? Well, look at the Rangers’ victory over Mountain View on Friday. Kemmerer won it 28-26, and coupled with a loss by Greybull and a victory by Thermopolis, ensured that the season will extend at least four more days.

That’s when the state’s first triangular playoff since 1999 will be staged between the Rangers, Greybull and Thermopolis, with two playoff spots up for grabs.

We know this much about that game after Friday: Don’t count out the Rangers. Since an embarrassing 42-6 loss to Thermopolis on Sept. 23, Kemmerer has been on a tear, winning three of its past four games (the only loss to top-ranked Lovell), including key victories over Greybull and Mountain View to keep its dwindling playoff hopes alive.

Those hopes are dwindling no more. If anything, Friday’s big victory will allow the Rangers to prove on the field they deserve to be playing postseason football. Really, that’s all any team ever wants.

That’s my ONLY slice of Humble Pie this week. That’s right — only one missed pick for yours truly. It ties my best regular-season showing ever, in seven years of doing picks.

But as I alluded to earlier, uncertainty ruled Week 8 this week in three ways.

First: Ten Sleep beat Hanna, we know that. What is uncertain is the final score. The final was widely reported as 86-55, but was posted to the WHSAA website as 85-66. No big deal, right? Well, it is, actually, since an 85-66 final would set the state record for most combined points in a game (151), while the 86-55 final would not. Late Friday, I also heard the final may have actually been 86-65. Three scores, one game. I mean, let’s be real. I know it was a lot of points, but didn’t anyone keep track correctly? If you know the REAL final, post a comment below or email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

Second: Buffalo beat Rawlins 21-0. Sort of. The game was called off before the first quarter ended due to a power failure in Rawlins. As it is, it really doesn’t matter for playoff seeding, because Lander beat Riverton so Buffalo is the third seed no matter what (and Rawlins is out no matter what). No big deal, right? Well, it is, actually, since Rawlins is approaching the state record for consecutive losses, and Friday’s game was either the school’s 31st loss in a row, or the game was canceled and doesn’t count in the records — and the Outlaws are still sitting on 30.

That’s the difference, I suppose, between being a fan and being the self-appointed state record-keeper. D’oh! For some it’s no big deal; for me it is.

Now, third, onto uncertainty we can all agree upon: Uncertain playoff brackets AFTER the regular season has concluded. That’s just what happened in both the 2A West and 1A East conferences this year. In 2A, it’s aforementioned Kemmerer tying with Greybull and Thermopolis for the third and fourth seeds out of the conference; in 1A, it’s Lingle, Sundance and Pine Bluffs tying for the third and fourth playoff spots.

The triangular playoffs will be the 11th and 12th in state history, but each of the six teams participating can take a little comfort in knowing that two state championship teams emerged from similar playoffs in the past to win it all. (Which two? Well, check back in a couple days to this blog to find out as I give a refresher on the 10 triangular playoffs that have come before.)

Other stuff that caught my eye this week…

Lusk: Five shutouts in a row. My goodness. If the Tigers can get past Saratoga in the first round and Cokeville beats whichever team it ends up facing, the semifinal between these two teams could come down to which team scores first. 6-0 anyone? …

Speaking of shutouts and the 1A East, Pine Bluffs has four victories this season. They’re all by shutout. Basically, if you score against the Hornets, you’re gonna win. …

Most of the Week 8 games were blowouts. Only three games were decided by eight points or fewer: Natrona’s 41-34 victory over Gillette (and that game wasn’t even that close until the final three minutes or so), Lander’s 24-22 victory over Riverton and Kemmerer’s nailbiter over Mountain View. That might be unprecedented. I can’t remember a week with such a lack of close games. …

Five schools — Cheyenne South, Rawlins, Wright, Big Piney and Meeteetse — finished winless. Big Piney, at 0-8, finished with its first winless season since 1969. Rawlins’ losing streak, now at 30/31 games, is still the state’s longest; second is Meeteetse’s 13-game streak. … Conversely, four teams enter the playoffs unbeaten — Natrona, Lovell, Southeast and Snake River. Snake River’s 18-game winning streak is the longest active one in the state, while Natrona is second with 12 victories in a row. …

What caught your eye this week? Anything interesting you see coming down the pike for the playoffs next week? Thoughts on the regular season? Post them in the comments below.

(Clarifications: Buffalo-Rawlins was officially ruled a 21-0 final; Buffalo picks up the victory. Ten Sleep-Hanna final was 86-65.)

This week: 30-1 (97 percent). This season: 223-46 (83 percent).


Come the postseason, your regular season doesn’t matter.

Two schools are grateful for this for two very different reasons.

Burns is grateful its three consecutive losses to start the season are a thing of the past. Glenrock is grateful its loss to Burns — its first loss of the season — can probably remain as just a blip on the radar.

Right now, Burns may be the hottest team (pun not intended) coming out of the 2A East, thanks in part to its 22-14 upset of the previously undefeated Herders on Friday. And even though the Broncs can’t gain anything higher than the No. 4 seed and will have to travel to top-ranked Lovell in the first round of the playoffs, Friday night helped prove the Broncs are up for just such a challenge.

For the Broncs, the start of the season — losses to Lusk, Big Horn and Newcastle in Weeks 1-3 — may have provided more inspiration than desperation. Since then, Burns has won four in a row, none bigger than the victory over Glenrock, a team that came to Burns riding the crest of a six-game winning streak.

For Glenrock, the loss really doesn’t change all that much. With victories over Big Horn and Newcastle, the two teams the Herders are now tied for atop the league standings, Glenrock still controls its own playoff destiny. If the Herders beat Moorcroft at home next week, they are still on line to be the top seed from the East and have all the benefits that come with such a seed.

Burns, though, has all the benefits that come with confidence. Glenrock learned that the hard way on Friday.

Second mad props to Lingle, which knocked off Pine Bluffs 16-13 to make a big mess of things in the 1A East. The Doggers needed this victory to keep any realistic chance of a playoff berth alive. Lingle must have felt that, because the Doggers eked out the victory at home and, in doing so, may have just saved their season. Lingle has to play conference champ Southeast in Week 8, but if the Doggers can keep the momentum moving in the right direction, they may squeeze their way back into postseason play.

Third mad props to Cheyenne East, 21-13 victors over Evanston in a game that secured a first-round home playoff game for the Thunderbirds. Playing at home in the playoffs is a nice luxury to have, and knowing that the team you beat to get there may be your first-round opponent may give East enough of an endge to go deep into the playoff bracket this year. Of course, we all remember what happened to Evanston and East last year, right?

Fourth mad props to Hill City, S.D., which beat Sundance.

As for the rest of the week? I guess the biggest thing that Week 7 gives us is a more accurate picture of what matters in Week 8. I’ve listed the playoff seeding scenarios in the post below this one. Already, 14 teams have been eliminated from postseason consideration and 16 teams already know where they will be seeded for the postseason (prior to the six-man games scheduled for Saturday). Only two top seeds (3A West and 2A East) are not yet certain. That means the biggest moving and shaking will happen in the middle and bottom seeds, especially at the bottom of 4A, the middle of the 3A East and the bottom of the 2A and 1A 11-man West. …

I watched the Snake River-Midwest game on Friday night and came away impressed with both teams — Midwest for keeping it close (game was tied 33-33 at halftime) and Snake River for opening it up in the second half (35 straight points in the third quarter). Snake River’s still the favorite, but teams like Midwest and Dubois are going to make sure the Rattlers work hard for another title. …

The most interesting score of the night: Thermopolis 44, Mountain View 33. I picked Thermop to win, but didn’t see the teams combining for 77 points. …

Another Lusk game, another shutout. That makes it four in a row. …

From the “weird scores” department comes Central’s 11-7 victory over Rock Springs. The only other time in state history that score has been achieved was when Burns beat Lusk by that score in 1990. …

What else caught your attention? Let me know by saying something below.

This week: 27-4 (87 percent). This season: 193-45 (81 percent).


All season long, Class 4A football has had a clear, demonstrable order. Until Friday.

That’s when Rock Springs and Cheyenne Central showed just how interesting the playoffs might become.

Rock Springs rebounded from last week’s demoralizing loss to Kelly Walsh and not only beat Cheyenne East, the Tigers handled the Thunderbirds quite easily. The final score, 27-6, showed just how much the Tigers wanted to (a) make the playoffs, (b) show the rest of 4A they should be taken as a serious contender, and (c) prove last week was an aberration, not a trend. It’s the first time all season a “top six” 4A team (East, Central, Gillette, Sheridan, Natrona, Evanston) has lost to a “bottom four” (Rock Springs, Kelly Walsh, Laramie, South), and in doing so the Tigers Tunguskaed the whole idea of a “top six” and a “bottom four.”

And unsung Cheyenne Central, the team that all season long has been at the bottom of the “top six,” knocked frontrunner Gillette off its tack with a 41-33 victory. The Camels, like Rock Springs, were coming off a rough loss last week, but the Energy Bowl hangover plus the long trip to Cheyenne — as well as an Indian team playing with renewed purpose — proved to be too much for the Camels to overcome. With the playoffs just a couple weeks away, the 4A bracket suddenly looks a lot less predictable.

Third mad props to Lander, which pulled off a big victory at home by knocking off perennial power Buffalo 14-7. The Tigers — who last week were lambasted 45-7 by Douglas — rebounded from that loss in dramatic fashion and beat Buffalo in a low-scoring, hard-fought defensive affair, a game the Bison typically win. With losses to Douglas and Lander, Buffalo’s run of eight consecutive years of hosting a first-round playoff game appears to be over. And it looks like it may be Lander that takes that spot for its own.

Fourth mad props to Burns, which outscored Wheatland 19-0 in the second half to knock off the Bulldogs 36-29. The victory is great for Burns, a team that started the season 0-3 but is now right back in the playoff hunt with three consecutive victories. This is the Burns team we expected to see when the season started. But the loss may be even worse for Wheatland than the victory is important to Burns. After last week’s fourth-quarter collapse against Big Horn, Wheatland has now lost two conference games in a row — and three of four — heading into a crucial game next week against Newcastle. Even a victory against the Dogies might not be enough for Wheatland; even Raquel may not be able to salvage a playoff spot for the Bulldogs. Especially after what happened Friday.

Fifth mad props to Wind River, which kept its playoff hopes alive by beating Burlington 19-13. As I explained earlier this week, every victory is important in the wild, wild 1A West, but this one was especially critical for the Cougars. A loss would have knocked Wind River down to 1-4 in conference play; now, the Cougars are 2-3, tied with Saratoga and Burlington for the fourth and final playoff spot in the west. The Cougars now have to find a way to keep the momentum going as they face their two biggest tests of the season the next two weeks: conference frontrunner Cokeville on the road next week and second-place Riverside at home in Week 8.

Sixth mad props to Pinedale, which picked up its first victory of the season by beating Big Piney 28-20. Obviously, this game was not going to affect the playoff race all that much. Both teams came in winless. But the release and relief the Wranglers gained by beating their cross-county rivals should do a lot for the mentality of the team. The Punchers had beaten the Wranglers in 11 of their past 12 meetings, so to get this victory means a lot to the folks in the northern half of Sublette County — even if it’s the only victory of the season. (By the way, with games against Greybull and Lovell coming up the next two weeks, the Punchers are now staring down the gunbarrel of a winless season. If Big Piney loses those two games, it will be the school’s first winless season since 1969, a 42-year span.)

Saturday edit: Seventh mad props to Kemmerer, which put itself into the thick of the 2A West Conference playoff race by beating Greybull 21-14 on Saturday in Kemmerer. The Rangers had a less-than-impressive resume entering Saturday’s contest, with the team’s lone conference victories coming against winless Big Piney and winless-until-beating-Big Piney-this-week Pinedale and two big losses to Lyman and Thermopolis. Nevertheless, the Rangers are now 3-2 in conference play and can secure a playoff spot in the next two weeks. To do that, though, Kemmerer has to keep the momentum rolling against two of the conference’s better teams: Lovell in Lovell next Friday and Mountain View in Kemmerer to close out the regular season. It’s a tough task, but the Rangers proved Saturday that it’s a task they may just be able to accomplish.

Other stuff I noticed this week:

Buffalo, Kemmerer and Mountain View: The only three teams in the state that have neither won two games in a row nor lost two games in a row. They’ve perfectly alternated wins and losses all season. … Saturday edit: So much for Kemmerer. The Rangers’ win-loss alternating ended with their big victory over Greybull.

Since losing to Southeast three weeks ago, Lusk has notched three consecutive shutouts. Up next for the Tigers: home dates against Normative Services and Upton to close the regular season. …

I mentioned this early Friday on Twitter, but the fact that two games ended up as 66-6 finals on Friday (both six-man games, Dubois over Hanna and Snake River over Kaycee) was quite unusual. Prior to Friday, the 66-6 final had only been achieved four other times in state history: Powell over Basin in 1940, Wheatland over Newcastle in 1988, Custer/Melstone MT over Meeteetse in 2003 and Midwest over Farson 2010. In addition, Ten Sleep also beat the Riverside JV 66-6 in Zero Week this season. …

I neglected to mention this last week, but I figured better late than never: The Sheridan Broncs’ 38-14 victory over Gillette last week was the 500th victory in Sheridan program history, according to my tallies. The Broncs are just the third program in the state to crack the 500-victory barrier, joining Cheyenne Central and Natrona. Central and Natrona both started the 2011 season with 529 victories. … I also neglected to mention that Sheridan’s 28-0 victory over Rock Springs two weeks ago was coach Don Julian’s 100th career victory as a head coach, spanning his time at both Riverton and Sheridan. Congratulations are (over)due to Don on the achievement.

Here is a quick look at what the playoffs would look like if the season ended today, using current standings and not projections; tiebreakers explained in parentheses:

4A: (8) Laramie at (1) Natrona; (5) Cheyenne East/Evanston at (4) Cheyenne East/Evanston; (6) Cheyenne Central at (3) Gillette; (7) Rock Springs at (2) Sheridan (Rock Springs over Kelly Walsh and Laramie due to win over East; Laramie over KW due to head-to-head win)
3A: (4W) Cody at (1E) Douglas; (3E) Riverton at (2W) Green River; (3W) Powell at (2E) Lander; (4E) Buffalo at (1W) Star Valley (Buffalo over Torrington due to win over Riverton; Star Valley over Green River due to win over Powell)
2A: (4W) Greybull at (1E) Glenrock; (3E) Newcastle at (2W) Lyman; (3W) Kemmerer at (2E) Big Horn; (4E) Burns at (1W) Lovell (Big Horn over Newcastle due to win over Wheatland; Kemmerer over Greybull due to head-to-head win)
1A 11-man: (4W) Wind River at (1E) Southeast; (3E) Pine Bluffs at (2W) Riverside; (3W) Shoshoni at (2E) Lusk; (4E) Lingle at (1W) Cokeville (Wind River over Burlington and Saratoga due to win over Rocky Mountain)
1A six-man: (4S) Hanna at (1N) Dubois; (3N) Kaycee/Ten Sleep at (2S) Snake River; (3S) Farson at (2N) Kaycee/Ten Sleep; (4N) Hulett/Meeteetse at (1S) Midwest (Midwest over Snake River due to win over Farson)

Obviously, these seedings aren’t final and games in weeks 7-8 will prove to be critical for both qualifying and seeding. At this point, no team has cemented its seed yet, although some teams have already qualified.

There were some huge games this week — games we knew would be huge when we saw them on the schedule and games that turned out to be huge because of who won unexpectedly. What was it about this week that was so surprising, amazing or fantastic to you? Post your thoughts below.

This week: 24-7 (77 percent) (not including Saturday’s four games). This season: 166-41 (80 percent).




Star Valley beating Powell when they play in Afton.

Those, my friends, are the three certainties in life. Get to know them; they will come in handy.

In retrospect, we should have anticipated unranked and underappreciated Star Valley’s 19-13 upset of top-ranked and rolling Powell. The Braves always play better at home — 12 of Star Valley’s past 17 victories have been in Afton — and they always play well against Powell, especially in Afton.

Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane of Powell’s recent trips to the Little Switzerland of America:

2009: Powell and Star Valley meet up in a game that seems to be even on paper. Result: Star Valley 29, Powell 3.

2007: Powell, then the defending state champion, comes into Afton reeling after a double-OT loss to Cody. Result: Star Valley 20, Powell 13, in overtime.

2005: Powell comes to Afton undefeated, winners of its first six games of the season. Result: Star Valley 20, Powell 0.

2004: In the second game of the season, both teams are 0-1 and looking to gain some momentum in Afton. Result: Star Valley 19, Powell 7.

2002: Powell comes into Afton high after a 1-0 start; Star Valley is 0-1 and looking to gain traction. Result: Star Valley 27, Powell 7.

2001: Powell, the only team to beat the Braves in the regular season, rolls into Star Valley for a semifinal playoff game. Result: Star Valley 21, Powell 7.

And now, 2011: Powell comes to Afton as the top-ranked team in 3A to face the unranked Braves. Result: Star Valley 19, Powell 13.

With Friday’s loss, the Panthers are now 2-15 all-time in Afton.

What this game reveals, too, is a more alarming trend for Star Valley. Since 2007, the Braves are 12-8 in Afton and are just 5-18 away from home (a mark that includes two road wins this year). I am having a hard time finding another school that has such a huge disparity between home and road records in that same time span.

The numbers aren’t deceiving. They’re clear as a valley stream. In short: Don’t ever, ever, EVER underestimate the Braves at home. They win games in Afton that they would lose on the road. That’s as certain as death and taxes.

Staying in 3A, second mad props to Torrington, which lambasted Rawlins 34-3 to keep the Outlaws’ losing streak alive. You wonder sometimes what inspires teams. Clearly, Torrington was motivated to not be the team to which Rawlins ended its losing streak. It’s not the strongest motivation, but it’s motivation nonetheless. And it just might be enough to spark the Trailblazers to finish the season stronger than they have started it. It might not save the 2011 season, but it might bring some hope and inspiration for future seasons and point the program in the right direction. As for the Outlaws…. well, they have a new mascot.

Third mad props to Saratoga, which threw itself right back into the 1A West playoff mix by picking up an important 22-21 victory over a resurgent Wind River squad. Waddie Love’s 2-point conversion with less than four minutes remaining was the difference for the Panthers. In a conference where three teams are currently tied for the third and fourth playoff spots — and where three other teams are just one game back — every victory will be important not only for conference standings, but for potential tiebreaker use down the line.

Staying in the 1A West (where you pick the winners at your own peril), fourth mad props to Riverside, which became the frontrunner for the No. 2 bid for the West’s other home playoff game behind Cokeville with its 19-6 victory over Shoshoni. Both teams came in at 2-1 and desperately needed to win for the same reasons Saratoga and Wind River needed victories on Friday: positioning for the playoffs and possible tiebreaking victories. A little bit of a hierarchy was established by the Rebels with this victory; now, the Rebels need to continue cashing in on their opportunities to put some breathing room between them and the rest of the field. First up, Saratoga next week in Basin….

Fifth mad props to Sheridan, which not only beat Gillette, it destroyed the Camels 38-14 in the Energy Bowl. It was ex-Camel Jordan Roberts who made the difference for Sheridan: 37 carries, 271 yards, three touchdowns. The Sheridan defense also did its part, holding the Camels scoreless for the game’s final 33 minutes. The victory helps Sheridan inch ever closer to home-field advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs — something they can wrap up if they keep playing like they did on Friday.

Sixth mad props to Sundance, which surprised everyone but itself by beating Lingle 15-6. This is slowly becoming a Sundance tradition: beating an unexpecting team from the south. This year, Lingle; last year, Southeast; in 2009, Pine Bluffs; in 2008, Saratoga. Don’t take the Bulldogs for granted at home, especially if you’re supporting a team from the south.

And what else drew my attention this week? Well:

The Bridger Valley Bowl is looking like possibly the best game of the week next week. Eager to see how Mountain View and Lyman stack up against each other. … Cody finally got moving in the right direction with its 22-7 victory over Jackson. For a team that has had so many frustrating losses this season, this one had to feel good — and it assures the Broncs that they still have a pretty good shot of not only making the playoffs, but maybe doing some damage once they get there. … Lander’s first loss of the season was rather emphatic, wasn’t it? I figured Douglas would win, but I never counted on a 45-7 Bearcat whitewash. … Friday was not a pretty day in six-man. The four games were decided by an average of 46 points. The closest game was Midwest’s 56-19 victory over Hulett, and that was a game the Oilers led 50-0 at halftime.

So with 31 games this week, I certainly have not touched on everything worth talking about. So what do you think? What Week 5 moments were the most surprising or interesting to you? Post some thoughts below, if you feel the urge.

This week: 25-6 (81 percent). This season: 142-34 (81 percent).


We knew certain things about the Douglas-Buffalo game before the first snap on Friday.

We knew that Douglas and Buffalo have built a nice rivalry the past few years based on the relative success of both programs.

We knew Buffalo had a gauntlet of a schedule thrown down to them: Powell, Green River and Douglas in consecutive weeks.

We knew Douglas had its long winning streak busted in the season opener but had quietly started to piece together another streak in its wake.

And we knew (or at least I knew) that when these two teams took to the Bison Bowl field on Friday, the winner was going to win by only a few precious points.

The final score — 27-21, Douglas — tells a small piece of a big puzzle. What may be bigger than the victory itself is what it means for the rest of the season.

With the victory, Douglas now controls its own destiny for home-field advantage in the playoffs, something that, given the parity we’ve seen atop Class 3A this fall, could determine who goes to Laramie and who stays home in mid-November.

Maybe the Bison don’t care about that now. After all, they’ve lost two big games at home (Powell and Douglas) but won their one big game on the road (Green River) and also beat Worland in Week 1 in Washakie County.

Maybe these two teams will have the chance to play each other again. If they do, we’ll know a heck of a lot about the game before it starts. We’ll just have no idea who will win the darn thing.

Believe it or don’t, that is the only slice of Humble Pie I have to give out this week. The rest is going back into the refrigerator, where it will sit until next week.

(Saturday addition): Until now and Wind River. Second mad props to the Cougars, who not only beat Rocky Mountain, they throttled the Grizzlies 49-2. It’s Wind River’s biggest victory ever against Rocky Mountain — and it makes me wonder what the heck is going on in the 1A West. Three weeks into the conference season, every team has at least one conference victory, but only Cokeville has a spotless league record. Five teams are 1-2. And, yes, I know, comparing scores is dangerous, but dig this: Rocky Mountain beat Wyoming Indian 56-6, Wyoming Indian beat Wind River 14-8, and Wind River beat Rocky Mountain 49-2. What?

(Sunday addition): Third mad props to Ten Sleep, which beat Hulett in fairly impressive fashion. That 47-20 score should be a warning to the rest of the six-man classification. The Pioneers have quietly built a three-game winning streak and their only loss was on the road at Snake River in Week 1. All of a sudden, Ten Sleep’s date with Dubois next Friday in Ten Sleep is a heck of a lot more intriguing. Just as importantly, the Red Devils are now 0-2 in the North Conference and will need to make some progress before facing Dubois and Meeteetse in Weeks 7 and 8, respectively, to close out the league slate.

In between then and now, I can pontificate on what else caught my attention this week:

I had the chance to watch the Glenrock-Big Horn game on Friday, a game the Herders won 30-19 even though they didn’t score a point in the second half. After watching that game, I can say for certain that we have yet to see the Herders at their best — and the Rams are going to be really good not only this year but for the next few years. Lots of youth on that Rams roster. …

I mentioned earlier this week that Evanston just might be tired of losing close games. However, winning in the fashion they did — a touchdown in the final minute to beat Cheyenne Central 30-26 — might give their fans and coaches heart attacks way before their time. …

Don’t look now, but Midwest has won three games in a row. Second-longest streak in six-man behind, well, you know. …

I’ll keep repeating it, because I think it’s true: Rawlins will win at least one game this year. Maybe more. …

Mountain View is better than you think. That secret got released this week when the Buffalos played step-for-step with top-ranked Lovell before succumbing 21-19. Makes the Bridger Valley Bowl, scheduled for Oct. 7, a heck of a lot more appealing, doesn’t it? …

The most frustrated team in the state right now has to be Burlington. The Huskies’ two losses the past two weeks have been by a combined eight points. I won’t say that Burlington’s playoff hopes are irreparably damaged, but let’s just say this: If the Huskies were a car, it would need Xzibit to save itself from itself. …

Your thoughts? I know you got ’em. You should post ’em below. Then we should talk about ’em. And then I can stop saying the word ’em.

This week: 29-3 (91 percent). This season: 117-28 (81 percent).


The trip from Sheridan to Evanston is a long one — about eight hours and about 470 miles, to be exact.

About the only thing the two communities have in common is that they are both in Wyoming and they both have Class 4A football teams.

It’s not much, but on Friday those similarities gave us a heck of a high school football game, accentuated by one heck of a running back.

Jordan Roberts’ 345 rushing yards carried Sheridan to a 42-35 victory over Evanston. The 345 yards is the best in Wyoming in at least the past three seasons (my records prior to 2009 are hidden away in my storage unit, buried underneath dishes and books and a couch), and certainly ranks among the best in state history because of the circumstances around it.

The Broncs fell behind early, 14-0 and 21-7, but Roberts and the Broncs swung the momentum quickly and went on a 35-7 run before the Red Devils scored a late touchdown to make it close. Both teams entered 2-1 and neither one wanted to fall behind Class 4A’s undefeated teams, Natrona and Gillette. The offensive statistics reflect that desperation: a combined 900 yards of total offense.

Roberts had 345 of those on the ground, but more importantly scored four times to help his team overcome all it had to — the long trip and the big stakes — to win a heck of a football game.

Second mad props to Buffalo, which overcame a long road trip of its own to beat Green River 17-14 in overtime. For a while, it looked like the Bison left their game on the bus, as they fell behind 14-0 at halftime. But the Bison came alive in the second half, scored late in regulation to force overtime, then let their special teams take over: Buffalo blocked a field goal attempt by the Wolves in overtime and then kicked one of their own to seal it. Don’t look now, but the only remaining undefeated team in 3A is Lander…. This game, however, may have been a demonstration more in the parity atop 3A this year.

Third mad props to Glenrock, which straight took it to Wheatland on the Bulldogs’ home field and won in impressive fashion. That 35-6 score may not have been an aberration, either. The Herders frustrated the Bulldogs all night long and intercepted seven Wheatland passes. Are the Herders now the clear favorite in the 2A East? If they aren’t, I don’t know who is.

Now, in a series of crow-eating for a bunch of wrong picks in the 1A West: Fourth mad props to Wyoming Indian. The Chiefs beat Wind River for the first time since 1987 and earned the right to celebrate big time with their 14-8 victory. The Chiefs’ 11-game losing streak, dating back to the 2009 season, is broken. The Chiefs’ 14-game losing streak to their county rivals is snapped, as well. This is the type of victory that can carry a team for an entire season, and with the Chiefs playing a couple key league games the next two weeks (Saratoga and Burlington), the blue and red could be a dangerous team in the West if they can build on the momentum from this one.

Fifth mad props to Shoshoni (3-0!), which beat Burlington in an old-fashioned OK-Corral-style shootout, 41-36. The 36 points Burlington scored is the most ever for the Huskies in a losing effort. In the parity-filled midsection of the 1A West, this may end up being a huge game when we come to the end of the season and look at playoff seeding and/or qualifying. The Wranglers, meanwhile, are off to a 3-0 start for the first time since starting 6-0 in 2001.

Sixth mad props to Riverside, which knocked off Rocky Mountain 22-13. Excuse me while I repeat myself, but it’s just as true for this one as the last one: In the parity-filled midsection of the 1A West, this may end up being a huge game when we come to the end of the season and look at playoff seeding and/or qualifying. At least one or two really good teams may be left out of the 1A playoffs because of these types of key losses. Riverside bought itself some time with this victory; Rocky Mountain now has to scramble, with Wind River, Cokeville, Shoshoni and Burlington — in that order — on the docket the next four weeks. This loss makes each one of those games unusually large for the Grizzlies.

Seventh mad props to Newcastle, which thumped on Burns in a 31-6 wipeout. I’m still a little confused about the Dogies this year, but you can’t argue with the 2-0 start Newcastle has put together in conference play. The schedule the next four weeks will be critical, as Newcastle faces Wright, Glenrock and Wheatland, all on the road, in addition to an unexpected bye week created by the loss of the Tongue River game. Nevertheless, the Dogies proved Friday that no one can overlook them, and if all goes right they could be hosting a playoff game….

Eighth mad props to the Cheyenne East sophomores, who beat Lingle in a high-scoring 46-34 game on Thursday night.

Here is some other stuff that caught my attention this week:

Four of the five road teams won in Class 4A this week. The lone exception was Cheyenne East, which beat Cheyenne Central, which was barely a road game for the Indians. … Staying in Laramie County, how about the Pine Bluffs Hornets? The purple and yellow still have not allowed a point this season after shutting out Sundance 20-0. The Hornets host Southeast in a key 1A East game next Friday. … The final game at Tonkin Stadium went well for the Riverton Wolverines, eh? 35-20 over Cody is not a bad way to close the old stadium out. … Pay attention to these words: Don’t forget about Big Horn. … I know no one wants to see half of a football game just disappear into the ether, but Mountain View’s 41-0 victory over Big Piney on Friday was cut short at halftime by lightning. Imagine what the score may have become if the second half had been completed. Mountain View’s biggest victory ever over Big Piney was by 51 points. … How have I gotten this far and not mentioned two of the biggest games of the week? Lovell and Southeast both picked up huge victories on Friday; both came against teams they may see later in the season. …

I had the pleasure (indeed, the pleasure) of attending the Gillette-Kelly Walsh game on Friday night. The winless Trojans put a heck of a scare into the undefeated Camels before falling 30-23. The game was tied 16-16 deep in the third quarter, and after the Camels went ahead 30-16, the Trojans scored with 15 seconds remaining and then recovered the onside kick. KW couldn’t convert from there, but that’s what this game is all about, right? Having the chance? It was a great finish to a great game, a game I could take 1,000 words to explain and still feel like I didn’t do it justice.

So what caught your attention this week? Post your thoughts below and we can chat about all that happened in Week 3.

This week: 24-8 (75 percent). This season: 88-25 (78 percent).


Maybe the Lander Tigers benefited from being under the radar throughout the offseason.

Maybe the Tigers didn’t mind that all the preseason talk was focused on Douglas and its winning streak, Green River and its drop from Class 4A, Powell and its returning all-staters, Cody and its potential, Buffalo and its tradition.

Maybe the guys in green used their offseason as a chance to improve and prove — improve their game to prove their doubters wrong.

The secret is loose, now, of course, after Lander made the trip to Afton and came away with an impressive 35-16 victory over the homestanding Star Valley Braves — and after the Tigers demolished Wheatland 44-7 in Week 1.

This Lander team is a force; the Tigers could, and probably should, be 4-0 when they take on Douglas in Week 5. And now everyone is aware of just how good the Tigers could be this fall.

Second mad props to another Fremont County squad, Shoshoni, which ended 10 years of futility against Wind River and beat the Cougars 29-20. The last time the Wranglers had beaten the Cougars was 2001 — and between then and about 6 p.m. Thursday night, the Cougars had a 278-18 scoring advantage on the Wranglers in that time span (yes, you read that right). But Shoshoni showed the moxie necessary to shake off that history, even after falling behind 13-0 at halftime. And don’t look now, but the Wranglers, the team that started the season on a 19-game losing streak, is now 2-0.

Third mad props to Big Horn, which made the long trek to Burns but found a way to come out with a 27-22 victory in a seesaw affair. The Rams struggled the past two weeks, which made them easy to overlook in a game where a long trip and a good team were not enough to slow down the defending 2A runners-up. This victory may have just saved the Rams’ season. And with dates with Wright, Glenrock and Wheatland coming the next three weeks, the timing could not be better for the maroon and yellow.

And that’s this week’s mad props. But here are some other gleanings from Week 2’s games:

Gillette stepped up big time in its 30-21 victory over Cheyenne East in an early showdown of undefeated teams. Now, the Camels and Natrona are the only two undefeated teams in 4A. But don’t look ahead to that Week 8 Camels-Mustangs showdown just yet. There’s some parity at the top of 4A, as NC’s 20-13 squeaker over Cheyenne Central on Friday demonstrated. …

Green River and Riverton set the early mark for combined points between 11-man teams in the Wolves’ 54-30 victory over the Wolverines. Both teams proved they can pile up the points. …

Congratulations to Kyhler Cummings, who scored Cheyenne South’s first varsity touchdown. Even in a 62-6 loss (to Sheridan), there is reason for optimism in the Bison camp. …

I’ll just go ahead and say it now: Game of the week next week is Lyman-Lovell. If you’re within a 100-mile radius of Lovell at 7 p.m. Friday, you need to gather your buddies, get in your car and motor on down to the KPR to watch this game. …

Pop quiz: The only team in Wyoming that still hasn’t allowed a point this season? That’s right. Pine Bluffs. …

Congratulations go out to Southeast coach Mark Bullington, who notched his 100th career victory in the Cyclones’ 41-14 victory over Sundance. He is the 22nd coach to accomplish the feat and is only the third active coach in the state to reach the century mark.

As for me? Well, it was a better week this week than last week:

This week: 29-3 (91 percent). This season: 64-17 (79 percent).


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