Between now and the second weekend of November 2023, a lot is possible.

We do know that, at the end of it all, five teams will be crowned champions, and 60 others will be left to chase.

Just which teams will win those five championships, we won’t know until the clock in War Memorial Stadium hits 0:00 on five separate occasions.

That doesn’t mean we can’t speculate.

So, here’s some way-too-early speculation on what might happen almost exactly 10 months from now on which teams might be the title holders come the end of a season that’s still months away from starting.

Class 4A
1. Cheyenne East
: With five first-team all-state players coming back — and with the rest of 4A only having four combined — the Thunderbirds are the early favorites to win it all in 2023. That tally also includes QB Cam Hayes and RB Drew Jackson, a good place to start.
2. Sheridan: Never, ever rule out the Broncs, who will need to replace a talented senior class but always seems to do so no matter who’s on the roster. DB Dane Steel, the conference defensive player of the year, and lineman Alex Haswell are the key pieces on which to rebuild.
3. Cheyenne Central: Central’s five returning first-team all-conference selections gives the Indians just as many as East, and a lot of that strength rests in an improving defense that could carry the team early.
4. Thunder Basin: Returning QB Alonso Aguilar gives the ‘Bolts some experience under center, a necessary piece for a team that has lots of holes to fill.
5. Rock Springs: The Tigers return some key offensive pieces in QB Michael Faigl, RB Brycen Cooms and WR Goodness Okere but might need to outscore opponents until the defense comes along.
Wild card: Natrona. The Mustangs were a senior-loaded bunch last season, but they always seem to be in the same position every season and usually come out OK on the other side. Some untested talent will need to grow quickly.

Class 3A
1. Star Valley
: The defending champs return three all-state picks, tops in the classification. The biggest offensive weapons are gone to graduation, but a solid group of up-and-coming players should make the Braves the favorites from day one.
2. Douglas: Douglas is loaded with solid returners, including QB Trey Rinn, linemen Tegen Seeds and Malachy Lehnen and maybe the best up-and-coming junior in the state in Carter Archuleta. The Bearcats will definitely be the East favorites.
3. Buffalo: The Bison had a solid campaign in 2022 and with four returning all-conference players (tied with Douglas for the most in 3A), they should be right in the championship discussion again this year. RB Will Hammond emerged as a solid offensive centerpiece.
4. Cody: How will the Broncs react to losing all 13 of their all-conference picks and all nine of their all-staters? If Cody’s returners learned anything in practice, it’ll be time to show it in the games.
5. Powell: A trio of returning all-conference selections, led by all-state WR Trey Stenerson and QB Jhett Schwahn, should put the Panthers in a good spot entering 2023.
Wild card: Evanston. The Red Devils get back a pair of all-staters in Cohen Morrow and Brady Roberts and could be a team on the rise but will need to adjust to a new head coach.

Class 2A
1. Lyman
: Three teams in 2A return four all-conference players; Lyman just happens to be one of them. The Eagles’ title hopes went awry in 2022, but honestly — a play here, a play there and maybe we’re talking four-peat.
2. Big Horn: The defending champs proved a lot in their title run, and with a pair of returning all-staters in Kiefer Dunham and Drew Heermann, the Rams should be in the chase for a repeat.
3. Tongue River: The Eagles had a breakthrough season in 2022, and they did so with a bunch of younger players leading the way. With four all-conference players returning — all of whom were key pieces of TR’s turnaround — watch out.
4. Mountain View: The Buffalos’ four returning all-conference players might be the most exciting group of talent returning to any team in 2A. Both Jayce Schultz and Carson Eardley were all-state, and they lead a group that’s eager to return to the top.
5. Cokeville: Three all-conference players (but no all-staters) return for Cokeville, and it goes without saying that the Panthers consistently put out winners.
Wild cards: Lovell and Newcastle. For opposite reasons, two teams show up here — Lovell, last year’s runner-up, gets back just a pair of all-conference players and loses a senior class that was clearly carrying the bulk of the weight. Newcastle, meanwhile, improved significantly last year and gets back a trio of all-conference selections, enough to compete in the East.

Class 1A nine-man
1. Pine Bluffs
: In a classification that was hit hard by graduation (only six returning all-state players statewide), the defending champs earn the recognition of early favorite by returning four all-conference choices, tied for the most of any team in 1A nine-man.
2. Big Piney: The Punchers get back four of their five all-conference choices and lead the state with a pair of returning all-state picks in seniors Karsyn Gurr and Ruben Stoutenberg.
3. Southeast: The Cyclones don’t return any all-state choices but do get back four of six all-conference picks, setting them up well to compete in the East.
4. Lingle: The Doggers will rely on two returning all-state choices in Louden Bremer and Kaiden Riggs, who both made the team as sophomores, to be leaders in 2023 for a team that was one big play away from hosting a playoff game.
5. Wind River: RB Cooper Frederick is the centerpiece of a Cougar game plan that will rely on him heavily, but in a depleted West Conference, that may be enough to carry the day.
Wild cards: Rocky Mountain and Shoshoni. Between them, they combined for 18 all-conference and 11 all-state choices. Every single one has graduated. Underclass talent will have to develop in a hurry for them to stay in a title conversation.

Class 1A six-man
1. Burlington
: Last year’s runners-up return four all-conference players, tied for the most in six-man with Kaycee, but with some key players graduated, rebuilding will need to happen fast.
2. Dubois: RB Wyatt Trembly set a single-season rushing record in six-man last year, and his presence alone will keep the Rams competitive — which is good, because four all-conference players will leave upon graduation.
3. Encampment: The Tiger trio of all-conference players (Quade Jordan, Ryon Miller, Kaben Pickett) will be tough to top as seniors, and that experience will help Encampment find some success, especially early.
4. Snake River: The Rattlers have had back-to-back undefeated seasons, but this might be the year they come back to earth. They’ll still be competitive with all-stater Isaiah Skalberg leading the way, but the senior class is thinner than usual.
5. Kaycee: Four all-conference returners will help Kaycee improve, and all-stater Vaun Pierson will help set the pace for a thin but improved Buckaroo squad.
Wild cards: Meeteetse and Midwest. Both the Longhorns and Oilers return all three of their all-conference choices, and Meeteetse’s Joseph Pina was the North’s co-defensive player of the year. Both teams should be improved in 2023.

What do you think, in January at least? Who’s poised for a breakout year? Leave a comment and share your ideas. And then let’s keep talking for another 10 months until all of this actually, finally, gets settled on the field.


Quick trivia: Since 2009, what’s something that Natrona’s football team has done 193 times that Lusk’s has done zero times?

Answer: Attempt a field goal.

A compilation of statistics since 2009 shows Natrona is, by far, the state’s leading team when it comes to field goal tries — and that Lusk is the most field goal-averse.

From 2009-22, Natrona’s kickers attempted 193 field goals, making 120 of them. The number of attempts far outpaces second-place Sheridan (123) and third-place Star Valley (86), and the number of makes also far exceeds runner-up Sheridan (76).

On the other side, Lusk has gone the past 14 seasons, and maybe longer, without attempting a single field goal. So have St. Stephens and Wyoming Indian, although their streaks are a bit shorter.

Three other active programs — Upton-Sundance, Farson and Encampment — as well as now-defunct NSI have only attempted one field goal in that span.

Five programs haven’t missed a field goal in that time, with Hulett’s perfect 3-for-3 in the past 13 years leading the way. Wheatland, at 2-for-2, also hasn’t missed a field goal since at least 2009. NSI, Upton and Upton-Sundance are 1-for-1.

Meanwhile, aside from Encampment and Farson (both 0-for-1), Moorcroft is the team with the roughest percentage, making just 22% (2-for-9) of its attempts.

The state average over this span has been 57.1%, with kickers making 1,114 field goals in 2,003 attempts. The number of field goals attempted statewide in a season has ranged from as few as 120 (in both 2020 and 2018) to as many as 179 (2011). The 2022 season saw 131 field goal attempts.

The team that both attempted and made the most field goals in a season was Natrona’s 2015 team. That season, Natrona kickers made 20 of 28 field goals.

Kicking field goals, though, is by no means a measure of success. Many championship teams went their entire seasons without so much as attempting a field goal, including Big Horn and Snake River this season. Snake River also did so last season and Big Horn also did so in 2018.

Note: Since this data was compiled from the existing stat sheets, data may be incomplete. For example, six-man data is missing for 2009 and 2010, and some team statistics are missing if a team decided not to compile individual statistics, which has happened a handful of times over the past 13 years. Still, this is the best we can do with what we have, so enjoy.

Total field goals from 2009-2022:

Campbell County518063.8%
Star Valley508658.1%
Cheyenne Central487762.3%
Cheyenne East488258.5%
Kelly Walsh467759.7%
Green River376457.8%
Thunder Basin315952.5%
Big Horn274165.9%
Pine Bluffs183946.2%
Cheyenne South153641.7%
Mountain View142948.3%
Rock Springs143737.8%
Rocky Mountain101758.8%
Tongue River5771.4%
Snake River3475.0%
Wind River3837.5%
Big Piney2450.0%
Ten Sleep1250.0%
Rock River00#DIV/0!
St. Stephens00#DIV/0!
Wyoming Indian00#DIV/0!


A trophy of a cowboy throwing a football.
A trophy of a cowboy throwing a football.
Slim MacGuffin

Everyone, meet Slim MacGuffin.

He might just be the next great piece of Wyoming high school football lore.

Right now, Slim belongs in the trophy case at Sheridan High School.

In addition to winning the Class 4A championship this year, the Sheridan Broncs also held onto an important honor they didn’t even know they were playing for — the Wyoming football MacGuffin.

Some of you may have heard of the MacGuffin, which has built a following on Twitter by tracking college football’s most interesting theoretical traveling trophy.

The concept is simple: All you have to do to get the trophy is beat the team that has it.

In this case, we start with the first Wyoming high school football game ever played, and the winner gets a trophy — Slim, in this case. They get to hold onto that trophy until they lose; the team that beats them gets the trophy. That team then holds onto it until they lose. And so on, and so on, and so on.

In the college ranks, there have been more than 1,500 MacGuffin games; the trophy has traded hands 317 times since the first intercollegiate game in 1869, and 93 teams have had the trophy, including the University of Wyoming for a bit, including the entire 1994 offseason.

If we had a Wyoming high school football MacGuffin, though, Sheridan would be the rightful owners of that trophy, at least for now.

Starting with the first game between two Wyoming high schools in 1908 — played on Nov. 3 of that year between crosstown rivals Laramie and University Prep — there have been 907 Wyoming football MacGuffin games, as of the end of the 2022 season. In all, 24 different teams will have held the trophy, and 38 programs will have played in MacGuffin games.

Since 1908, the trophy would have logged some significant miles in every corner of the state. Every Class 4A team except Cheyenne South would have had it at least once. And, oddly enough, it would have been up for grabs in every 4A/5A championship game since 1987.

Here’s a breakdown of the teams who would have had the trophy in their possession, with tallies of how many times they defended the trophy and how many times they beat teams with the MacGuffin to steal it for themselves:

SchoolGames defendedTimes won
Cheyenne Central8016
Campbell County5013
Rock Springs469
Cheyenne East3515
Kelly Walsh196
Thunder Basin72
Green River12

For the Wyoming high school version, I limited the potential transfer of the trophy to in-state, varsity teams; we can’t have some out-of-state team taking Wyoming’s MacGuffin with them, and we can’t be giving it to a town team, JV team or college team, either. So it’s only up for grabs in varsity vs. varsity, in-state games.

And here’s a look at how those games have gone, and who’s played in those games:

TeamMacG WinsMacG LossesMacG GamesLast MacGameLast held
Cheyenne Central918117120222020
Rock Springs557513020222021
Campbell County636412720222016
Cheyenne East507112120222021
Kelly Walsh25487320222005
Green River3242720102007
Thunder Basin971620222021
Cheyenne South011112022never
Star Valley0441998never
St. Mary's0221952never
University Prep0221909never
Ten Sleep0111933never

One of the challenges of a traveling trophy like this is that it needs to travel. Due to Class 4A’s round-robin schedule, the MacGuffin has been, and will continue to be unless the schedule changes, the exclusive domain of Wyoming’s big schools. The last interclass game where the MacGuffin was up for grabs was in 1998, when Evanston held onto the trophy by nudging Star Valley 13-7.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of all 907 Wyoming football MacGuffin games.

Even though Slim’s presence in any school’s trophy case is still just theoretical, it’s still fun to look at where Slim may have gone on his travels around the state and which schools, even if only for a week, got to have him in their possession.


See part 1 of this series here.

Last week, five teams — Sheridan, Cody, Lovell, Pine Bluffs and Snake River — entered the playoffs as the No. 1 ranked team in their classification.

By default, that means they’re the favorites to win the state championships.

And while the chances of the top-ranked team entering the playoffs actually winning the championship is barely above half, the chances that the eventual champion will come from one of the teams ranked either first or second is extremely high.

Since 1984, the start of the “one poll” era, teams ranked No. 1 entering the playoffs have won the state championship 52% of the time.

If it’s not No. 1 winning it all, it’s usually No. 2. Together, teams ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 entering the playoffs win a title 83% of the time. (Do the math, and the No. 2 ranked team wins the state title 31% of the time.)

The No. 3 team wins the title 10% of the time; teams ranked fourth, almost 4% of the time.

The remaining 3% of championships is evenly divided between teams ranked fifth and teams not ranked at all. A team entering the playoffs ranked fifth or unranked and winning a state championship hasn’t happened since 2011.

The six teams to win championships ranked either fifth (three titles) or not at all (three titles) entering the playoffs?

First, the three teams ranked No. 5 all entered the playoffs on a low but were at some time during their championship season ranked in the top two:

  • Powell, Class 3A 2011 (Highest rank during the season: No. 1)
  • Cheyenne Central, Class 5A 2005 (Highest rank during the season: No. 2)
  • Glenrock, Class 3A 2003 (Highest rank during the season: No. 1)

Meanwhile, of the three teams that won titles after entering the playoffs unranked, two were previously No. 1 during the season:

  • Big Piney, Class 3A 2006 (Highest rank during the season: No. 1)
  • Powell, Class 3A 1987 (Highest rank during the season: No. 5)
  • Jackson, Class 3A 1986 (Highest rank during the season: No. 1)

The seven teams to win titles that went into the playoffs as the No. 4 ranked team are dominated by 3A teams, including Cody in 2017, Worland in 2001, Star Valley in 1995 and Riverton in 1994. Other No. 4-ranked champs are Cheyenne East (4A, 2013), Glenrock (3A, 2002) and Cokeville (1A, 1986).

Either the No. 1 or No. 2 team entering the playoffs has won every title in each of the past four seasons. It’s the longest such streak since playoffs restarted in 1975.

And it just so happens that the five No. 1 teams all won last week.

See each week’s poll by clicking on each year’s set of rankings here.


Evanston and Green River played the 100th game in their series on Friday, becoming just the seventh series in Wyoming to reach that milestone.

Other series with more than 100 games played are:

  • Cheyenne Central-Laramie: 138 games
  • Lander-Riverton: 126 games
  • Cody-Powell: 125 games
  • Natrona-Sheridan: 116 games
  • Central-Natrona: 109 games
  • Big Piney-Pinedale: 107 games

Of those rivalries, only Big Piney-Pinedale won’t be played or has not been played this season. Other series close to the 100 milestone are:

  • Torrington-Wheatland: 99 games
  • Worland-Thermopolis: 97 games
  • Douglas-Wheatland: 96 games
  • Green River-Rock Springs: 96 games
  • Evanston-Star Valley: 95 games
  • Douglas-Torrington: 94 games
  • Lovell-Greybull: 92 games
  • Laramie-Natrona: 92 games

In the Evanston-Green River series, Green River leads 59-35-6. Of all series with at least 100 games played, it’s the most lopsided.


Here are the playoff scenarios for all classifications of Wyoming high school football entering Week 8 of the 2022 season:

Class 4A
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Cheyenne South at Laramie; Kelly Walsh at Cheyenne East; Rock Springs at Cheyenne Central; Thunder Basin at Natrona.
Sheridan: In. No. 1 seed.
Cheyenne East: In. No. 2 seed.
Natrona: In. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Rock Springs victory. No. 5 seed with loss and Central victory.
Cheyenne Central: In. No. 3 seed with victory and Thunder Basin victory. No. 4 seed with Natrona victory, win or lose. No. 5 seed with loss and Thunder Basin victory.
Thunder Basin: In. No. 3 seed with victory and Rock Springs victory. No. 4 seed with victory and Central victory. No. 5 seed with loss.
Campbell County: In. No. 6 seed.
Rock Springs: In. No. 7 seed.
Laramie: Neither in nor out. No. 8 seed with victory. Tie for No. 8 seed (score differential to break) with loss and East victory. Out with loss and Kelly Walsh victory.
Kelly Walsh: Neither in nor out. No. 8 seed with victory and South victory. Tie for No. 8 seed (score differential to break) with loss and South victory. Out with loss and Laramie victory.
Cheyenne South: Out.
Tiebreaker possibility 1: In a case where Natrona, Central and Thunder Basin tie for the 3-4-5 seeds, Central wins the tiebreaker and the No. 3 seed; even if Thunder Basin wins by 12 or more, the ‘Bolts can’t overtake the Indians (current differential is Central +8, Natrona +4, Thunder Basin -12). Thunder Basin would then be the No. 4 seed due to a head-to-head victory against Natrona.
Tiebreaker possibility 2: In a case where Central, Thunder Basin and Campbell County tie for the 4-5-6 seeds, Central wins the tiebreaker with head-to-head victories over both. Thunder Basin would be No. 5 with the head-to-head victory against Campbell County.
Tiebreaker possibility 3: In a case where Laramie, Kelly Walsh and South tie for the 8 seed, score differential would be the tiebreaker. Laramie wins a tiebreaker if it loses by four or fewer points; KW wins a tiebreaker if Laramie loses by five or more points. Currently, the differences are Laramie +7, Kelly Walsh +3 and South -10. If South wins by three points or fewer, Laramie would win the tiebreaker and advance. If South wins by four, Laramie and Kelly Walsh would tie in the score differential, Laramie then advancing on head-to-head over KW. If South wins by five or more points, Kelly Walsh would win the tiebreaker. Even if South wins by 12 or more, the Bison can’t win a score differential tiebreaker.

Class 3A East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Buffalo at Rawlins; Lander at Douglas; Riverton at Worland.
Douglas: In. No. 1 seed with victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (score differential to break) with loss and Buffalo victory. No. 2 seed with loss and Rawlins victory.
Buffalo: In. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (score differential to break) with victory and Lander victory. No. 2 seed with Douglas victory, win or lose. No. 3 seed with loss and Lander victory.
Lander: In. No. 1 seed with victory and Rawlins victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (score differential to break) with victory and Buffalo victory. No. 3 seed with loss.
Riverton, Worland: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with victory. Out with loss.
Rawlins: Out.
In a scenario where Buffalo, Lander and Douglas tie for the 1-2-3 seeds, score differentials will be used. All three teams have a chance to be the No. 1 seed in this scenario depending on margin of victory in the Lander-Douglas game. Current differentials are Douglas +7, Buffalo +1, Lander -8. In this scenario, if Lander beats Douglas by six or fewer points, Douglas wins the tiebreaker. If Lander beats Douglas by seven or eight points, Buffalo wins the tiebreaker. If Lander wins by nine or more points, it wins the tiebreaker. The head-to-head winner of the two remaining teams takes the No. 2 seed, the remaining team the No. 3.

Class 3A West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Cody at Powell; Green River at Evanston; Star Valley at Jackson.
Cody: In. No. 1 seed.
Star Valley: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Cody victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Powell victory.
Powell: In. No. 2 seed with victory and Jackson victory. No. 3 seed with victory and Star Valley victory. No. 3 seed with loss, Star Valley victory and Green River victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Evanston victory. No. 4 seed with loss, Jackson victory and Green River victory.
Jackson: Neither in nor out. No. 2 seed with victory and Cody victory. No. 3 seed with victory and Powell victory. No. 3 seed with loss, Cody victory and Evanston victory. No. 4 seed with loss, Powell victory and Evanston victory. Out with loss, Cody victory and Green River victory. Out with loss, Powell victory and Green River victory.
Green River: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with victory, Star Valley victory and Powell victory. No. 4 seed with victory, Star Valley victory and Cody victory. Out with Jackson victory. Out with loss.
Evanston: Out.
Tiebreaker possibility 1: In a scenario where Star Valley, Jackson and Powell tie for the 2-3-4 seeds, Powell would take the No. 2 seed with the victory against the highest seeded non-tied team, Cody. Jackson takes the No. 3 seed with the head-to-head victory against Star Valley, which would be No. 4.
Tiebreaker possibility 2: In a scenario where Jackson, Powell and Green River tie for the 3-4-out seeds, score differentials would be used (Powell +9, Green River 0, Jackson -9). Powell wins the tiebreaker with a +9 differential and would be the No. 3 seed. Green River then takes the No. 4 seed with the head-to-head victory over Jackson.

Class 2A East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Big Horn at Burns; Torrington at Newcastle.
Big Horn: In. No. 1 seed.
Tongue River: In. No. 2 seed.
Burns: In. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Newcastle victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Torrington victory.
Newcastle: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with victory. Out with loss.
Torrington: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with victory and Big Horn victory. No. 4 seed with victory and Burns victory. Out with loss.
Glenrock, Upton-Sundance, Wheatland: Out.

Class 2A West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Kemmerer at Mountain View; Lyman at Cokeville.
Lovell: In. No. 1 seed.
Cokeville, Lyman: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss.
Kemmerer, Mountain View: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with victory. Out with loss.
Pinedale, Thermopolis: Out.

Class 1A nine-man East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Lusk at Wright; Saratoga at Lingle; Southeast at Pine Bluffs.
Pine Bluffs, Southeast: In. No. 1 seed with victory. No. 2 seed with loss.
Lingle: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Wright victory. Tie for 3-4-out seeds (score differential to break) with loss and Lusk victory.
Lusk: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with victory and Lingle victory. Tie for 3-4-out seeds (score differential to break) with victory and Saratoga victory. Tie for No. 4 seed (score differential to break) with loss and Lingle victory. Out with loss and Saratoga victory.
Saratoga: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with victory and Wright victory. Tie for 3-4-out seeds (score differential to break) with victory and Lusk victory. Out with loss.
Wright: Neither in nor out. Tie for No. 4 seed (score differential to break) with victory and Lingle victory. Out with Saratoga victory. Out with loss.
Guernsey: Out.
Moorcroft: Ineligible for playoffs.
Tiebreaker possibility 1: In a scenario where Lingle, Saratoga and Lusk tie for the 3-4-out seeds, score differentials would be used. Currently, Lingle has the advantage, as current differentials are Lingle +12, Lusk 0, Saratoga -12. Saratoga would have to win by 12 or more to force a tie and a coin flip to decide the seeds. If Saratoga wins by 11 or less in this scenario, then Lingle wins the score differential tiebreaker and the No. 3 seed and Lusk takes the No. 4 seed with the head-to-head victory against Saratoga.
Tiebreaker possibility 2: In a scenario where Saratoga, Lusk and Wright tie for the No. 4 seed, score differentials would be used. Current differentials are Lusk +12, Wright -4 and Saratoga -8. If Wright wins by eight or more, it would win this tiebreaker. A loss by seven or fewer would give Lusk the tiebreaker victory. Saratoga is out in this scenario.

Class 1A nine-man West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Riverside at Big Piney (Thursday); Rocky Mountain at Wind River (Thursday).
Shoshoni: In. No. 1 seed.
Wind River: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Riverside victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential to break) with loss and Big Piney victory.
Rocky Mountain: In. No. 2 seed with victory and Riverside victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential to break) with victory and Big Piney victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Riverside victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Big Piney victory.
Big Piney: Neither in nor out. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential to break) with victory and Rocky Mountain victory. No. 3 seed with victory and Wind River victory. Out with loss.
Riverside: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with victory. Out with loss.
Greybull, St. Stephens: Out.
Wyoming Indian: Ineligible for playoffs.
Tiebreaker possibility 1: In a scenario where Wind River, Big Piney and Rocky Mountain tie for the 2-3-4 seeds, score differentials would be used. Current differentials are Big Piney +2, Wind River +2 and Rocky Mountain -4. A Rocky Mountain victory by five or less would give Wind River the tiebreaker victory and the No. 2 seed, with Big Piney taking the No. 3 seed due to a head-to-head victory against Rocky Mountain. A Rocky Mountain victory by exactly six points would tie Wind River and Rocky Mountain atop the score differential, giving Rocky Mountain the No. 2 seed due to head-to-head against Wind River and the Cougars the No. 3 seed due to head-to-head against Big Piney. The same thing happens if Rocky wins the score differential by winning by seven or more: Rocky 2, Wind River 3, Big Piney 4.
Tiebreaker possibility 2: In a scenario where Big Piney, Rocky Mountain and Riverside tie for the 3-4-out seeds, score differentials would be used. Current differentials are Rocky Mountain +8, Big Piney +4 and Riverside -12. A Riverside victory by any margin would not be enough to overtake Rocky Mountain, so Rocky would win that tiebreaker and the No. 3 seed. Riverside would the be the No. 4 seed due to a head-to-head victory against Big Piney.

Class 1A six-man playoff pairings (decided in Week 7)
(4S) Farson at (1N) Burlington
(3N) Meeteetse at (2S) Dubois
(4N) Hulett at (1S) Snake River
(3S) Encampment at (2N) Kaycee


Updated at 11:24 a.m. Oct. 15 to clarify Powell’s status. Updated at 9:52 p.m. Oct. 15 to reflect the final pairings for six-man.

Whenever Sheridan returns a kickoff for a touchdown, I think the same thing — man, no one does this better than the Broncs.

It happened again on Friday:

But that was never more than just a hunch.

Until now.

In looking at the past four years (2018-21) of kickoff and punt return touchdowns, the only four years where such data is immediately available, the Broncs are indeed Wyoming’s return kings. And it isn’t even close.

With 14 such touchdowns, nine via kickoff and five via punt return, no other team has been able to match Sheridan’s efficiency with special teams touchdowns.

Only two other teams are in double digits, and they both played six-man in that time. Burlington had 11 return touchdowns, nine via kickoff and two via punt, while Guernsey had 10, with nine by kick and one by punt.

Big Horn, Riverside and Douglas are tied for the fourth spot with eight returns apiece; Big Horn and Riverside each had six kickoffs and two punts that they returned for touchdowns, while Douglas flipped that with six punt return and two kick return touchdowns.

Dubois, Mountain View, Snake River and Star Valley have had seven apiece.

Conversely, six programs — Cheyenne Central, Green River, Newcastle, Tongue River, Wyoming Indian and Ten Sleep — haven’t returned a kick or punt for a touchdown in the last four seasons. Ten Sleep, though, sat out three of those seasons, while Wyoming Indian missed one.

Check out the full spectrum of kick and punt return touchdowns over the past four years below. Note that the totals are taken from the official stat sheets, so there is a chance that something might be missing if original stats were off, and that these totals do not include the 2022 season:

Big Horn268
Mountain View347
Snake River347
Star Valley437
Big Piney145
Thunder Basin235
Pine Bluffs235
Rocky Mountain224
Wind River224
Cheyenne South033
Rock Springs123
Kelly Walsh022
St. Stephens022
Cheyenne East011
Campbell County101
Cheyenne Central000
Green River000
Tongue River000
Wyoming Indian000
Ten Sleep000

Got any statistical hunches you think might be true that you’d like for me to explore? Let me know in the comments!


If it feels like home-field advantage isn’t what it used to be, you’re right.

Or you’re completely wrong.

It depends on what your definition of “used to” is.

In looking at the 24,426 games on since 1894 where we know the winner, the loser and the location — and where the location was not a neutral site — we can see a consistent pattern in how often home teams win games. In total, home teams have 13,495 victories, 10,392 losses and 539 ties, a baseline winning percentage of .564. (If your math isn’t up to par, or if you’re just skimming, that means home teams have won 56.4 percent of Wyoming high school football games.)

Remember .564. It’s the measuring stick against which all other numbers in this post are measured.


From season to season, home teams deviate subtly, but consistently, away from that baseline.

And those deviations are a factor of time — as long as that time is your great-grandpa’s time.

From 1920 to 1938, for 19 consecutive seasons, the home teams won Wyoming high school football games at above-average rates. Since 1939, though, winning percentages have been much more consistent.

Moreover, since 1939, there has been no consistent pattern. There have been stretches of home-field success and home-field struggle. In fact, since 1939, the winning percentage for Wyoming high school football teams is .557, which almost a full percent lower than our baseline.

For five straight years from 1942-46, home teams won at above-average rates, the longest such stretch in that era. However, in the 18 seasons from 1958-75, home teams won at an above-average rate just twice (1962 and 1968). That includes a seven-year stretch from 1969-75 where home teams won at below-average rates, the longest such streak.

That record was recently challenged; from 2013-18, the home team won at a below-average rate, too. In 2019 (.592) and 2020 (.577), the rate was above average, though; last year’s .563 was almost exactly on the average.


The outliers stretch our expectations of what’s possible.

In 1977, home teams had a winning percentage of .483, the only time in Wyoming’s history that home teams finished below .500. Twice — in 1917 and again in 1984 — home teams went exactly .500, going 140-140 in 1984 and a much more modest 6-6-1 in 1917. The fourth-lowest winning percentage for home teams came recently, in 2015, when home teams had a winning percentage of .507.

Home teams did best in the early years. Since 1939, when numbers began evening out, home team’s best success came in 2002, when home teams had a winning percentage of .613. That was followed by 1989 (.612), 1983 (.612), 1991 (.611) and 2010 (.608).

Between 1921 — when high school football really took off in Wyoming — and 1939, the best home-field winning percentage came in 1923, when home teams went 62-27-4 (.688). In the 18 years between 1921 and 1938, home teams had a winning percentage of .622, almost 6 percent better than the average.


So what happened? Why was home-field advantage so advantageous in the early years and less meaningful since 1939?

The short answer boils down, I think, to two factors: consistency and infrastructure.

In Wyoming’s early days of high school football, referees weren’t always the most neutral parties. The Wyoming High School Activities Association wasn’t even formed until 1931, 10 years after high school football got going. And even then, it took a while before the WHSAA coordinated officiating. Once officiating became more consistent, so did the game results.

As for infrastructure, take a look at this map of Wyoming in 1927. Count up the number of paved roads. Not many, are there? As the road system improved — as evidenced by this map from 1951, just 24 years later — teams could travel faster, spend less time on the road and arrive at games more refreshed and ready to play.

Since 1939, the most remarkable thing isn’t the change in home-field advantage. It’s the lack of it.


Here’s a table listing the home-team records and winning percentages by year for Wyoming high school football:

YearWLTHome win %
1918No games


Lovell has had its fair share of football success.

With a pair of championships to its name and a runner-up finish in Class 2A last year, the Bulldogs have a proud gridiron history.

And now, Lovell can also call itself the capital of high school football coaches in Wyoming.

Three Lovell alumni will be head coaches across the state this year — Nicc Crosby for his alma mater, Richard Despain at Rocky Mountain and Eli Moody at Cheyenne South.

With three alumni among Wyoming’s head football coaching ranks, Lovell can claim more than any other program.

While seven other schools (Campbell County, Cheyenne Central, Douglas, Green River, Hulett, Kelly Walsh and Wheatland) have two alumni leading up Wyoming high school football programs, no one can touch Lovell’s trio.

Here’s a quick glimpse of where Wyoming’s high school football coaches went to high school:

Crosby is one of 11 coaches who ply their trade at their alma mater. The others:

  • Andrew Rose, Campbell County
  • Mike Apodaca, Cheyenne Central
  • Kevin Cuthbertson, Green River
  • Patrick Sweeney, Worland
  • Travis Romsa, Burns
  • Jeromy Moffat, Big Piney
  • Trent Aagard, Burlington
  • Boz Backen, Hulett
  • Dave Largent, Kaycee
  • Jack Cobb, Snake River

Most Wyoming head football coaches come from Wyoming high schools, with 42 of the 64 coaches statewide graduating from in-state high schools. The count of 42 is up quite a bit from the total of 34 in 2018. Fifteen others come from bordering states, with Nebraska and Idaho (four each) the most popular. Coaches also hail from Montana and Utah (three apiece) and Colorado (one).

The remaining seven head coaches come from Washington (two) and New York, North Carolina, California, Maryland and Ohio (one each).

On the college level, though, only 19 coaches are graduates of the University of Wyoming. It’s still the most of any college, though, as Black Hills State claims nine alumni, and Chadron State has four.

Schools with two alumni among the ranks of Wyoming high school head football coaches include Sioux Falls, Montana State, Colorado Mesa, Weber State, Utah State, Southern Utah, Dakota Wesleyan and Dickinson State. Schools with a single alumnus are Augustana (South Dakota), Dana (Nebraska), Hiram (Ohio), Idaho State, Marist (New York), MSU-Billings, MSU-Northern, Montana-Western, Northern State, Tabor (Kansas), UNLV and Wayland Baptist (Texas). Four coaches statewide have not finished a bachelor’s degree.


I love hopping on Google Maps and planning a trip — whether it’s to British Columbia, Australia, Kazakhstan or somewhere in between — that I will likely never take in my life.

So, once again, it’s time to plan the trip I’ll never take.

This annual version of “what if” always leads me back to Wyoming and the roundabout trip I would take if I had forgotten my job, maxed out my credit card and alienated my wife. This is that trip: the dream Wyoming high school football road trip for 2022:

Week 0 (Aug. 26-27)
Casper nine-man jamboree, noon Friday
Rock Springs at Kelly Walsh, 6 p.m. Friday
Shoshoni nine-man jamboree, 10 a.m. Saturday
Right now, five teams are scheduled to be at the Casper jamboree, including defending 1A nine-man champ Shoshoni, so a stop there will help suss out where the season might be headed. Then, to make it easy, let’s stay in Casper to watch last year’s runner-up Tigers face Kelly Walsh. The Saturday slate is jamboree-heavy, so why not another bunch of nine-man scrimmages in Shoshoni?

Week 1 (Sept. 1-3)
Pine Bluffs at Shoshoni, 4 p.m. Thursday
Kaycee at Hanna, noon Friday
Campbell County at Laramie, 6 p.m. Friday
Ten Sleep at Encampment, 2 p.m. Saturday

There’s no way I’d miss the 1A nine-man title game we missed last year, with Pine Bluffs-Shoshoni at the top of the docket for the week. A little adventuring around the Snowies will give me three games all intriguing in their own right, although none stands out on the can’t-miss list in the preseason (although seeing Ten Sleep in its first game back after missing 2021 is a cool opportunity).

Week 2 (Sept. 8-10)
St. Stephens at Wind River, 5:30 p.m. Thursday
Snake River at Dubois, 3 p.m. Friday
Evanston at Riverton, 6 p.m. Friday
Ten Sleep at Midwest, 2 p.m. Saturday

This is a big week in Fremont County, so why not hit up as many games in County 10 as I can? The marquee matchup is Snake River-Dubois, pitting two six-man teams that figure to be near the top of the classification this year. And Midwest is the closest Saturday game, so let’s go for it.

Week 3 (Sept. 15-17)
Big Piney at Greybull, 6 p.m. Thursday
Lovell at Lyman, 1 p.m. Friday
Sheridan at Rock Springs, 6 p.m. Friday
Lusk at Saratoga, 2 p.m. Saturday

It’s an early wake-up call to get from Greybull to Lyman, but it’s worth it to see rematches, plural, of two of the 2021 state title games on the same day. The 2A game is reprised in the Bridger Valley between Lovell and Lyman, while the 4A game sees a do-over in trona country between Sheridan and Rock Springs. Everything else is gravy.

Week 4 (Sept. 22-24)
Burlington at Meeteetse, 7 p.m. Thursday
Cody at Jackson, 5 p.m. Friday
Farson at Dubois, 2 p.m. Saturday

After two consecutive 3A title game showdowns, there’s no way I’d miss another Cody-Jackson showdown, especially since this one is the 3A West opener for both teams. I could have snuck in another game with some creative planning, but a one-game Friday is worth it if this is the game.

Week 5 (Sept. 29-Oct. 1)
Upton-Sundance at Newcastle, 6 p.m. Thursday
Torrington at Tongue River, 2 p.m. Friday
Campbell County at Thunder Basin, 7 p.m. Friday
Hulett vs. Snake River, at Midwest, 2 p.m. Saturday

I finally get to the northeast corner of the state in Week 5, where I can catch a pair of 2A East games as well as the Coal Bowl. Seems like the right way to spend the week.

Week 6 (Oct. 6-8)
Wright at Guernsey, 7 p.m. Thursday
Tongue River at Burns, 2 p.m. Friday
Cheyenne Central at Cheyenne East, 6 p.m. Friday
Snake River at Encampment, 2 p.m. Saturday

The Capital Bowl between Central and East is always worth your attention, and the games around it make for a fun week. A thin Saturday slate is highlighted by the six-man title game rematch, though, and Carbon County is now becoming a frequent stop… not that I’m complaining.

Week 7 (Oct. 13-15)
Shoshoni at Wind River, 7 p.m. Thursday
Cokeville at Thermopolis, 2 p.m. Friday
Worland at Lander, 6 p.m. Friday
Burlington at Ten Sleep, 2 p.m. Saturday

I’m really curious to see how the Fremont County rivals Shoshoni and Wind River stack up against each other this year, so the Thursday game is the one that drove the other choices for the week. That said, everything else is intriguing in its own way — especially as we get closer to the playoffs.

Week 8 (Oct. 20-22)
Riverside at Big Piney, 4 p.m. Thursday
Lyman at Cokeville, 1 p.m. Friday
Star Valley at Jackson, 6 p.m. Friday
Kaycee at Farson, 3 p.m. Saturday

Numbers won out here. There were lots of great games scheduled for Week 8 across the state, but the most intriguing pair of games that was geographically feasible was the Cokeville-Jackson duo, both of which could have some big postseason ramifications hanging on the line.

In this scenario, I end up seeing 46 of Wyoming’s 64 teams, including 15 teams twice — Rock Springs, Campbell County, Jackson, Lyman, Tongue River, Cokeville, Shoshoni, Wind River, Big Piney, Kaycee, Encampment, Dubois, Meeteetse, Burlington and Farson. I’d also see Ten Sleep and Snake River three times apiece. I’d see eight of the 10 4A teams, seven of 12 3A teams, nine of 15 2A teams, 11 of 16 1A nine-man teams and all 11 1A six-man teams.

I’d also make it to 28 locations, including Jackson, Shoshoni, Wind River, Dubois, Encampment and Midwest twice.

And I’d be broke, so I’d probably start a GoFundMe after Week 8 so I could see the playoffs.

If you want to plan your trip, or at least just see when and where your favorite teams are playing, check out the full 2022 season schedule. Bookmark it — it’s where I will post results all season long and any updates to the schedule.


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