When the 2020 and 2021 Wyoming high school football schedules came out at the end of October, we knew they’d be different.

Reclassification, paired with a new nine-man division to replace 11-man in Class 1A, meant changes were bound to happen.

However, from top to bottom, the 2020 and 2021 schedules are significantly different from schedules of past years. Some of those changes are welcome. Some are just different. Some are new. And some are just flat-out mistakes.

Here’s a breakdown of what I’m seeing in the state’s schedules for the next couple years:

Pros

A fuller Zero Week. Many more teams are opting for games in Zero Week as opposed to scrimmages or jamborees, and I’m for it. I know, not all of you agree with my method for recording Zero Week games into the season records for programs, but I do like the tidiness a game provides, and I don’t mind seeing more games on the schedule.

Renewed rivalries. I love seeing some rivalries resurrected for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, with Thermopolis and Worland staging a Zero Week game, Greybull and Riverside playing a 1A nine-man West Conference game in Week 6 and Wheatland and Torrington meeting in a 2A East Conference game in Week 7. It’ll also be fun to see St. Stephens get Fremont County rivalries started with Wind River, Wyoming Indian and Shoshoni in the 1A nine-man West.

Travel is reduced — slightly. In the 2019 schedule, teams averaged 176.8 miles per away game, one-way, including 183.3 miles per conference game and 162 miles per nonconference game. In 2020, teams will average 171.7 miles per game, with conference games at 170.7 and nonconference at 175 — although those numbers may fluctuate slightly as teams add sub-varsity nonconference games in open weeks, especially in six-man.

Meh?

Rivalry Week in 4A is dead. I kind of liked having all the big 4A rivalry games on one week, but those opportunities are now spread out across the season. The big ones in 4A are all in different weeks, with the Oil Bowl (Natrona-Kelly Walsh) in Week 3, the Coal Bowl (Campbell County-Thunder Basin) in Week 4, the Capital Bowl (Cheyenne Central-Cheyenne East) in Week 6 and the Energy Bowl (Sheridan-Campbell County) in Week 7. Although I liked rivalry week, it might also be nice to have that rivalry energy spread out in a variety of weeks — it might give each rivalry its own moment in the spotlight.

Cons

The 1A six-man East got shafted. In what was probably the most avoidable problem, most of the 1A six-man East Conference ended up with open weeks in both Week 2 and Week 3. That’s due to the unbalanced conferences in six-man, with six teams in the East and seven in the West. However, this imbalance could have been fixed by giving BOTH conferences eight-team round-robin schedules for conference play in the final seven weeks of the season; at least then, only one East team per week has an open week in weeks 2-7 rather than having five teams from the same conference all have an open week at the same time, which is pretty much what’s happening in Weeks 2-3. The scramble for JV games is on.

The geography of the 2A West. With the 2A West next year, there will be two pretty clear geographic divisions — north (Lovell and Thermopolis) and south (the other six teams: Kemmerer, Cokeville, Pinedale, Big Piney, Mountain View, Lyman). Therefore, it makes a lot of sense for the south teams to get one north team at home and the other on the road, right? Well… that didn’t happen. Cokeville and Mountain View get both north teams on the road, while Kemmerer and Lyman get both north teams at home. That flips next year… but no one should be put into an altogether avoidable situation.

Four-in-five scheduling. Three teams (Kelly Walsh, Laramie and Evanston) got scheduled for either four road or four home games in five-week spans. Kelly Walsh got four home games in five weeks in weeks 2-6; Laramie got four road games in five weeks in the same span. The game that’s not? Laramie hosting KW in Week 4. … Evanston also got four road games in five weeks in weeks 2-6. Yes, it’ll flip-flop for these teams next season, but no one should have to do the four-in-five even once.

Three-straight scheduling. Lander and Tongue River both open their seasons with three consecutive road games — although part of that was both schools’ choice to open with a Zero Week game on the road. Riverton, though, has three straight home games in weeks 2-4 next season, and that’ll be three straight road games in 2021.

New

At least 19 new series will start up in 2020. It’s always fun to see new opponents play each other. The bulk of the new series come from schools in new classifications and conferences, including Torrington, Upton-Sundance, Cokeville, St. Stephens and Encampment, although a couple other new series sneaked onto the schedule, too. The new series are:
Zero Week
: Star Valley/South Summit, Utah.
Week 1: Lusk/St. Stephens; Burns/Mitchell, Neb.
Week 2: Wright/Wyoming Indian (scheduled once before but was not played due to forfeit); Snake River/Encampment; Jackson/Hillcrest, Idaho.
Week 3: Torrington/Tongue River.
Week 4: Upton-Sundance/Torrington; St. Stephens/Saratoga.
Week 5: Cokeville/Thermopolis; Torrington/Big Horn.
Week 6: Upton-Sundance/Burns; St. Stephens/Wind River; Encampment/Ten Sleep.
Week 7: Glenrock/Upton-Sundance.
Week 8: Cokeville/Lovell; Torrington/Burns; Lingle/Greybull; Rocky Mountain/St. Stephens.
Zero Week matchups that could be scrimmages and not full games: Big Horn/Buffalo and Lander/Pinedale.

So what do you say? What’s your favorite — or least favorite — part of the schedules for 2020 and 2021? Leave a comment and let’s talk about next season(s) now!

–patrick

The 2019 season is done, and we have five more champions.

Four went undefeated — Snake River in 1A six-man, Big Horn in 1A 11-man, Mountain View in 2A and Star Valley in 3A. Sheridan, meanwhile, won the 4A title with an 11-1 record after beating previously unbeaten Thunder Basin 35-26.

There are a host of places where you can read about these games, with info from people who were at the games. That wasn’t me — in case you weren’t aware, I live in California these days, and making it to Laramie in mid-November with work is tough — but I watched as much as I could of the championships via the live video streams online. I do miss attending championship weekend in Laramie, but I don’t miss the snow.

Things I noticed from the title games, and the season:

Both Big Horn and Star Valley will carry long winning streaks into next season. Big Horn has won 22 games in a row, including its 55-7 demolition of Cokeville in the Class 1A 11-man title game, while Star Valley has won 21 in a row with its 49-13 thumping of Powell in the Class 3A championship.

Big Horn has also won 15 consecutive home games, as well as 15 consecutive road games. The Rams’ 15 straight road victories is within sniffing distance of the top five such streaks all-time; however, Natrona has won 18 straight home games and Mountain View has won 17 straight at home.

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With its 71-38 victory in the Class 1A six-man title game, Snake River has now scored in 105 consecutive games, the best active streak in the state but still well short of the state record of 175, set by Cokeville. Snake River hasn’t been shut out since resurrecting its program in 2009.

Snake River was scored on in the title game, leaving the Rattlers tied for the state’s longest shutout streak at nine with three other programs. However, the Rattlers are the only team to have ever done so at six-man, and the only one to have ever done so after World War II. It’s an unbelievable run that I don’t know we’ll ever see again.

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Even though they lost the Class 1A 11-man title game, the Cokeville Panthers notched their 32nd consecutive winning season, a total that’s twice as good as any other program in the state. Meanwhile, Laramie finished with its 19th consecutive losing season, the second-longest such streak in state history.

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Despite losing the 1A six-man title game, Hanna finished the season with 795 points, second-best all-time. The Miners also finished with 72.27 points per game, the highest mark in state history.

Class 2A champ Mountain View didn’t score a lot in the title game, beating Buffalo 24-14, but the Buffalos finished with 549 points this season, second-best all time for 11-man teams. Their average of 49.91 points per game is third-best all time. Meanwhile, Class 1A 11-man champ Big Horn averaged 49 ppg, fourth-best all time, and had 539 total points, tied for fourth-highest in the state’s 11-man annals.

Several other efforts — some good, some not so good — ended up on the list of scoring records.

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Cokeville coach Todd Dayton will reach a heck of a milestone in the first game of the 2020 season. Right now, Dayton has 399 games to his credit; the first of 2020 will be his 400th as a head coach. Similarly, Natrona coach Steve Harshman needs seven more games to reach No. 300 in his Wyoming career. Dayton and Harshman rank 1-2 in Wyoming history in career victories, with Dayton way out in front with 335 and Harshman second with 207. This season, Harshman passed John E. Deti, who has 205 victories, for the No. 2 spot. They’re the only three coaches in state history with more than 200 career victories.

Meanwhile, Lander coach John Scott now has 102 victories in his Wyoming career; he became the 27th coach to join the 100-victory club. Two more coaches could join that group in 2020, as Upton-Sundance’s Andy Garland finished this season with 93 career victories and Cheyenne East’s Chad Goff emerged with 92.

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Here are the results of my picks from title-game weekend, this season and my “career”:

Last week: 5-0 (100 percent). This season: 250-57 (81 percent). The past 15 years: 3,584-887 (80 percent).

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Just because the 2019 season is done doesn’t mean we’re done here. Be sure to follow wyoming-football.com on Facebook or Twitter, or both. I’ll be sharing all kinds of offseason news, including coaching changes and peeks ahead to 2020, as well as all kinds of nerdy stuff related to Wyoming high school football (and occasionally other stuff I hope you find interesting).

The site has been updated with all the information I have available for 2019. Postseason recognition is yet to come — the all-state, Super 25 and all-America listings will be updated with that info when it becomes available — and I’m planning a couple other small tweaks to what’s here, too. If you see anything that’s incorrect or missing, let me know.

Finally, if you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship. I truly appreciate all the sponsors who have already supported the site, but I also have room for more. I have to pay for my web space, and sponsorships help keep me from having to pay for the site out of my own pocket. For $20 a year, you can sponsor a page. If you like having on-demand results of 25,007 Wyoming high school football games across 5,449 team seasons — and you appreciate the work that went into it — then toss me a Jackson.

–patrick

For first-year head coaches in Wyoming high school football, it’s not uncommon to see a coach find immediate success.

In all, 31 coaches in Wyoming high school football — including current Big Horn coach Kirk McLaughlin — started their coaching careers with an undefeated season (with at least four games in the season).

However, maintaining that success has been tricky.

Of the 31 coaches who went undefeated (four or more games) in their first season, 14 of them didn’t return to coach the next season. Of the remaining 17, six posted losing records the following season.

The only other coach to go undefeated his first two seasons as head coach (minimum four games per season) is Joseph Weller, who led Albin to a 5-0 season in 1942 and a 4-0 season in 1943. Those were Weller’s only two seasons as a head football coach in Wyoming.

That brings us to McLaughlin.

McLaughlin started his head coaching career in Wyoming with an 11-0 season in 2018 followed up by a 2019 campaign that, so far, is 10-0, with the Class 1A 11-man state championship game against Cokeville scheduled for Saturday in Laramie.

The 21 consecutive victories to start a head coaching career in Wyoming is a state record.

Prior to McLaughlin, the coach who started his Wyoming head coaching career with the most consecutive victories was Jim Rooks. Rooks led Jackson to a 9-0 season his first season in 1981 and then won his first six in 1982 before losing to Star Valley in the second-to-last game of the 1982 season — notching 15 straight victories before a loss.

Third on the list is Talbot Rudolph, who posted 11 consecutive victories to start his career in one of the most circuitous paths a coach has ever taken. He started his Wyoming career with a 7-0 season at Pine Bluffs in 1941, then went 1-0 in the only game I can find for Big Piney in 1942. I don’t know where he was in 1943… but in 1944, he was coaching again, this time at the Heart Mountain internment camp, where he went 3-1 (winning the first three games to extend his start to 11 consecutive victories).

Three other coaches posted 10 consecutive victories to start their Wyoming head coaching careers — Lou Maiben (10 straight at Byron in 1954 and 1955), Tony Rouse (10 straight at Kaycee in 2017) and Bill Sollars (10 straight at Shoshoni in 1959).

–patrick

Here’s a quick look at broad playoff scenarios entering Week 7 of the 2019 Wyoming high school football season:

Class 4A
In: Thunder Basin, Sheridan, Cheyenne East, Natrona, Cheyenne Central, Rock Springs.
Neither in nor out: Cheyenne South, Gillette, Kelly Walsh, Laramie.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Yep. Thunder Basin can earn the No. 1 seed with a victory against Kelly Walsh.
Break it down for me: The bottom four teams in 4A are all 1-6, chasing the final two playoff seeds. Gillette is probably in the best position to control its own destiny, as the Camels face South and Kelly Walsh while the other three schools play at least one team from the top six (and Laramie plays a pair) in the final two weeks.

Class 3A East
In: Lander.
Neither in nor out: Douglas, Riverton, Worland, Rawlins, Torrington.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Only if Lander beats Douglas and Torrington upsets Worland; if so, then Lander will be the top seed.
Break it down for me: Rawlins and Torrington are both 0-3 and play each other in Week 8. They both need victories in Week 7 to stay alive. Meanwhile, Douglas, Riverton and Worland are all fighting it out at 2-1.

Class 3A West
In: Star Valley, Cody.
Neither in nor out: Jackson, Powell, Green River, Evanston.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? It WILL be decided this week; the winner of Friday’s game between Star Valley and Cody will be the West’s No. 1 seed.
Break it down for me: After the top seed, a lot is up in the air with Jackson, Powell and Green River all 1-2 and Evanston still in it at 0-3 but needing some help. Powell and Green River play each other this week, and that will kickstart the sorting process.

Class 2A East
In: Buffalo.
Neither in nor out: Thermopolis, Burns, Wheatland, Glenrock, Moorcroft, Newcastle.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? It’s already decided; Buffalo is the East’s top seed.
Break it down for me: I’ve already talked about how crazy the 2A East is. Thermopolis, Burns and Wheatland are in the best shape to reach the postseason, and Glenrock, Moorcroft and Newcastle (all 1-3) will need some victories and some help to sneak in.

Class 2A West
In: Mountain View, Big Piney.
Neither in nor out: Lovell, Lyman, Pinedale, Greybull, Kemmerer.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Sure can be; Mountain View earns the top seed by beating winless Kemmerer this week.
Break it down for me: Kemmerer has the most difficult climb; at 0-4, the Rangers need to beat No. 1 Mountain View this week and get some help to tie the right teams to force a tiebreaker. Beyond that, the rest of the conference is a big, muddled mess right now as four other teams chase two spots.

Class 1A 11-man East
In: Big Horn, Upton-Sundance.
Neither in nor out: Southeast, Wright, Lusk, Pine Bluffs.
Out: Tongue River.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Big Horn would win the top seed by defeating Lusk paired with a Southeast loss to Wright; otherwise, it’ll be decided in Week 8.
Break it down for me: In the chase for the final two playoff spots, Southeast and Wright are most comfortable, at 3-1 and 2-2, respectively. That leaves Lusk and Pine Bluffs, both at 1-3, trying to leap ahead of Wright for the fourth spot. Lusk and Pine Bluffs play each other in Week 8, and they’ll both need upsets in Week 7 (Lusk over Big Horn, Pine Bluffs over Upton-Sundance) to keep pace with the Panthers. And Wright holds the tiebreaker over both of them.

Class 1A 11-man West
In: No one.
Neither in nor out: Everyone.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Simply, no.
Break it down for me: This conference is a bit tricky, as Cokeville and Wyoming Indian don’t play each other this season. But Shoshoni is in position to be the No. 2 seed behind the Panthers, and Rocky Mountain and Wind River are potentially Nos. 3 and 4… unless upsets happen, like they did last year.

Class 1A six-man East
In: Hanna, Hulett.
Neither in nor out: Lingle, Kaycee, Guernsey, NSI.
Out: Midwest.
Ineligible: Saratoga.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Sure can; Hanna will be the top seed with a victory against Kaycee in Week 7.
Break it down for me: The chase for the final two spots really boils down to Lingle, Kaycee and Guernsey. Lingle is in a better spot, being 3-2 to Kaycee and Guernsey’s 2-3. This week’s Lingle-Guernsey game will be crucial. Meanwhile, NSI is the longest long shot, needing victories in the final two weeks and a LOT of help just to force a tiebreaker.

Class 1A six-man West
In: Snake River.
Neither in nor out: Farson, Burlington, Meeteetse, St. Stephens, Dubois.
Out: No one.
Ineligible: Riverside.
Can the top seed be decided this week? It’s already been decided — Snake River will be the top seed out of the West.
Break it down for me: Farson at 3-1 needs only one win to secure a playoff spot. After that, Burlington at 2-2 and Meeteetse at 2-3 are in the best positions for the postseason. St. Stephens at 1-3 needs an upset or two, while Dubois at 0-4 REALLY needs some victories and some help, although the Rams still mathematically alive.

–patrick

Some big changes were coming to the Wyoming football landscape in 2020, with or without shifts due to reclassification.

But reclassification in and of itself will bring some changes, as well.

With Class 1A 11-man football changing to nine-man next fall, several schools have petitioned to opt up to Class 2A to keep the 11-man version of the sport going at their school. Between petitions and enrollment changes, as many as 12 schools could play football in a different classification next fall.

With the reclassification numbers released to schools by the Wyoming High School Activities Association during the organization’s district meetings this month, some schools will have easier decisions than others.

Before we dive into the breakdowns for each sport, let’s take a look at the “Average Daily Membership” numbers — projected grade 9-12 enrollment numbers — that the WHSAA will use for enrollment-based classification:

1. Kelly Walsh, 1,996.72
2. Natrona, 1,943.63
3. Rock Springs, 1,642.46
4. Cheyenne East, 1,513.53
5. Cheyenne South, 1,492.05
6. Cheyenne Central, 1,410.04
7. Campbell County, 1,289.55
8. Thunder Basin, 1,238.04
9. Laramie, 1,159.28
10. Sheridan, 1,093.16
11. Jackson, 869.91
12. Evanston, 846.25
13. Star Valley, 816.05
14. Green River, 764.81
15. Riverton, 748.15
16. Cody, 619.23
17. Powell, 586.88
18. Lander, 559.10
19. Douglas, 543.84
20. Rawlins, 473.09
21. Worland, 442.94
22. Buffalo, 356.91
23. Torrington, 352.13
24. Pinedale, 341.15
25. Wheatland, 282.30
26. Mountain View, 275.54
27. Newcastle, 262.35
28. Lyman, 237.37
29. Burns, 229.00
30. Lovell, 226.03
31. Thermopolis, 213.29
32. Kemmerer, 188.70
33. Moorcroft, 188.08
34. Glenrock, 182.35
35. Tongue River, 174.00
36. Big Piney, 160.72
37. Greybull, 147.59
38. Wyoming Indian, 146.95
39. Rocky Mountain, 129.86
40. Big Horn, 127.86
41. Wind River, 127.01
42. Wright, 126.78
43. Sundance, 123.11
44. Shoshoni, 122.63
45. Pine Bluffs, 112.46
46. Lusk, 90.67
47. Riverside, 87.27
48. St. Stephens, 82.74
49. Saratoga, 82.62
50. Lingle, 78.54
51. Cokeville, 77.41
52. Southeast, 76.77
53. Burlington, 76.41
54. Guernsey-Sunrise, 69.39
55. Upton, 66.68
56. Normative Services, 65.00
57. Hanna, 62.87
58. Midwest, 61.00
59. Farson, 57.90
60. Hulett, 56.57
61. Kaycee, 52.82
62. Snake River, 51.40
63. Fort Washakie, 49.93
64. Encampment, 43.44
65. Dubois, 42.79
66. Arapaho Charter, 40.01
67. Meeteetse, 34.50
68. Arvada-Clearmont, 31.06
69. Ten Sleep, 31.04
70. Rock River, 27.67
71. Glendo, 16.42
72. Chugwater, 7.65

Here’s a quick look at how reclassification will likely affect each sport (with football’s changes noted at the end of this post):

BASKETBALL, VOLLEYBALL, TRACK (16-16-16-rest): The only likely change in 3A comes in the Southwest. Kemmerer and Big Piney will switch places, with Kemmerer moving up to Class 3A and Big Piney down to Class 2A.

The only other anticipated change comes with St. Stephens and Southeast, as St. Stephens jumps to 2A and Southeast moves down to 1A.

In 2A, it’s probable (and at this point, my conjecture) that Wright will move to the SE District to take Southeast’s place, Tongue River will move to the NE District to take Wright’s place, and St. Stephens will slide into the NW to fill Tongue River’s spot.

No changes are anticipated for 4A in these sports.

CROSS COUNTRY, GOLF, SWIMMING, WRESTLING (12-16-rest): These three-class (cross country, golf, wrestling) and two-class (swimming) sports will likely see only one change. Jackson and Green River will swap spots in Class 4A, with Jackson moving up and Green River moving down.

SOCCER (14-rest): Soccer will see no classification changes prompted by enrollment.

OTHER SPORTS: Wyoming’s remaining sports have only one classification, which makes this discussion moot to them.

Laird said no other schools or programs in any sports except for football have put forth opt-up or opt-down requests to the WHSAA. However, football has prompted plenty of such requests. … And that brings us to…

FOOTBALL (10-12-14-14-rest): Purely by enrollment differences, several schools will change classifications for 2020.

  • Buffalo and Torrington will flip-flop their spots, with Buffalo moving back to 3A and Torrington to 2A.
  • Tongue River and Greybull will also trade, with Tongue River moving to 2A and Greybull to 1A.
  • Lingle and St. Stephens will be classified as nine-man programs by enrollment and move up.
  • Riverside and Saratoga, currently opting down to play six-man schedules, are scheduled to move to the nine-man division.
  • Southeast will be classified as a six-man school by enrollment (but has requested to opt up).

Then it gets messy, as teams opt up from nine-man (or six-man) classifications to remain 11-man programs.

Five schools — Big Horn, Cokeville, Upton-Sundance, Southeast and Moorcroft — have submitted opt-up or opt-down requests to the WHSAA, WHSAA Commissioner Ron Laird said via email to wyoming-football.com on Tuesday.

With nine-man’s start at the 1A level, two programs — Big Horn and Cokeville — have asked the WHSAA to opt up from nine-man to 2A, with Upton-Sundance also joining 2A per its co-op. Additionally, Southeast has requested to opt up from six-man to nine-man.

Meanwhile, Moorcroft has asked to opt down from Class 2A to Class 1A nine-man. Laird said officials from Moorcroft are scheduled to address the WHSAA board next week to ask for playoff eligibility.

If all opt-up and opt-down requests are approved — which won’t be official until passed twice by the WHSAA board of directors in meetings in both September and November — a total of 12 schools could play in different classifications in 2020, not including the schools staying in 1A and making the change from 11-man to nine-man.

No changes are slated for Class 4A football.

WHSAA Associate Commissioner Trevor Wilson provided a tentative conference alignment via email on Tuesday. However, all conference alignments must be approved by the schools and won’t be finalized until the WHSAA’s second board meeting of the school year in November.

TENTATIVE conference alignments include:

4A: No changes.

3A: Buffalo replaces Torrington in the East; no other changes.

2A East: Big Horn, Burns, Glenrock, Newcastle, Tongue River, Torrington, Upton-Sundance, Wheatland.

2A West: Big Piney, Cokeville, Kemmerer, Lovell, Lyman, Mountain View, Pinedale, Thermopolis.

1A nine-man East: Lingle, Lusk, Moorcroft, Pine Bluffs, Saratoga, Southeast, Wright.

1A nine-man West: Greybull, Riverside, Rocky Mountain, St. Stephens, Shoshoni, Wind River, Wyoming Indian.

1A six-man East: Guernsey, Kaycee, Hulett, Hanna, NSI, Midwest.

1A six-man West: Burlington, Encampment, Dubois, Farson, Meeteetse, Snake River, Ten Sleep.

–patrick

It’s not hard to find articles addressing recent dips in high school football participation and in high school sports participation in general.

Here’s the Washington Post addressing the numbers. Here’s a piece from Forbes expounding on meaning. And here’s The Atlantic trying to address the roots in a very Atlantic kind of way.

Every state faces its own unique circumstances.

In Illinois, football participation is at a 26-year low (Chicago Tribune). In California, numbers are down again, following a consistent trend (L.A. Times). Numbers are also down in New Mexico as several schools are playing as independents (Associated Press).

The same problems are happening in North Carolina (football participation down 23% over 10 years), Connecticut (big drops in participation), Minnesota (flat now but down over five years), Kentucky, Maine, and, yes, Wyoming… You name the state, and it’s probably seeing drops in high school football participation.

As noted, Wyoming is not immune. Figures from the National Federation of High Schools — the same figures used in every single story linked above — show Wyoming’s football participation numbers dropping, but the Equality State has a different picture than most other states.

In all, Wyoming had 2,654 high school football players in the 2018 season, combining totals of 11-man, six-man and girls, which the NFHS tallies separately. In 2017, Wyoming had 2,847 high school football players — meaning the state had a drop of about 6.8 percent from year to year, typical of the kind of drops that made headlines across the country.

Moreover, 2018’s total of 2,654 players was Wyoming’s lowest since 2004, when 2,621 high schoolers played football.

But there’s no reason to panic in Wyoming. Yet.

For now, the 2018 drop in football participation looks to be an anomaly, totally within range of normal participation figures over the past 30-plus years.

Since 1987, Wyoming has had somewhere between 2,618 and 2,924 players come out, with the lowest total coming in 2003 and the highest in 1987. The 2018 total of 2,847 was the state’s fifth-highest total since 1987. In the four seasons between 2014 and 2017, Wyoming was above 2,800 every season, something that had NEVER happened over four consecutive years since NFHS data became more consistent starting in 1979.

If we looked at this data a year ago, we could have said Wyoming was seeing unprecedented growth and consistency.

Also, within the past 30 years, Wyoming has seen drops in participation like this before and has always rebounded. This chart compares Wyoming’s football participation trends to the country:

Here’s a table showing Wyoming’s high school football participation tallies, as provided by the NFHS since 1987 (click on the column headers to sort):

YearTotal Football Players
20182,654
20172,847
20162,819
20152,808
20142,825
20132,793
20122,892
20112,843
20102,874
20092,781
20082,778
20072,822
20062,727
20052,756
20042,621
20032,618
20022,787
20012,825
20002,845
19992,843
19982,635
19972,667
19962,762
19952,892
19942,832
19932,691
19922,748
19912,776
19902,778
19892,783
19882,829
19872,924

(NFHS data prior to 1987 looks really inconsistent when compared to previous seasons — for example, in 1981, Wyoming’s NFHS numbers come in at 1,432, sandwiched between seasons of more than 2,100. So I made the decision to start this analysis at 1987. Numbers include totals of 11-, 9-, 8- and 6-man, both boys and girls.)

Yes, Wyoming high school football participation fell off by almost 7 percent from 2017 to 2018. And yes, drops in participation are affecting programs.

And yes, nationwide, participation in high school sports in aggregate is down, as is participation in football specifically.

For now, last year’s dip in Wyoming looks like an anomaly, not the start of a trend that mirrors what’s happening nationwide.

–patrick

Unlimited money. Unlimited time. A schedule full of Wyoming high school football games.

Two of these, I don’t have.

But if I had all three, and I could spend my Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays parading around the state catching as many of the best games in the state as I could, I’d need a plan.

This is that plan — the games I would watch if I had the time and money to spend the fall the best way I know how.

Week 0: Rock Springs at Sheridan, 6 p.m. Friday; Natrona JV at Lovell, 2 p.m. Saturday. Call this one the week of introductions. With this swing up northern Wyoming, I’m able to see new Rock Springs coach Mark Lenhardt in his 4A debut against the perennially tough Broncs. Then a quick trip over the Bighorn Mountains will give me a chance to see new Lovell coach Nicc Crosby in his debut with the Bulldogs.

Week 1: Riverton JV at Kemmerer, 7 p.m. Thursday; Pinedale at Lyman, 1 p.m. Friday; Laramie at Rock Springs, 6 p.m. Friday; Guernsey-Sunrise at Farson, 1 p.m. Saturday. Southwestern Wyoming has a ton of great games on the docket in Week 1, and I didn’t even get to what might be the best one (Cokeville-Mountain View, inconveniently scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday). I like seeing a Week 1 conference game with Pinedale-Lyman, and I’d be curious to see how Farson stacks up as it starts its title defense.

Week 2: Lingle at NSI, 1 p.m. Friday; Natrona at Sheridan, 7 p.m. Friday; Midwest at Hanna, 2 p.m. Saturday. The Mustangs-Broncs 4A title game rematch is the clear winner on the schedule for Week 2. Before and after, I’d sneak in a pair of six-man games, even though the jaunt from Sheridan to Hanna isn’t a short one.

Week 3: Riverton JV at Shoshoni, 6 p.m. Thursday; St. Stephens at Burlington, 2 p.m. Friday; Douglas at Powell, 6 p.m. Friday; Ten Sleep at Riverside, 2 p.m. Saturday. I’d be curious to see how Douglas looks… and Powell, too, for that matter. Seeing them together is a great option. Around that are a bunch of interesting games that make for easy travel.

Week 4: Natrona JV at Rocky Mountain, 5 p.m. Thursday; Meeteetse at Burlington, 2 p.m. Friday; Jackson at Cody, 6 p.m. Friday; Dubois at Ten Sleep, 2 p.m. Saturday. The Northwest corner gets two straight weeks of attention because, well, that Jackson-Cody game is the most intriguing game on the 3A schedule this year. Everything else is just gravy.

Week 5: Hulett at Kaycee, 2 p.m. Friday; Natrona at Thunder Basin, 7 p.m. Friday. Scenarios exist where I could catch more games, but there’s no way I’d miss Natrona-Thunder Basin, which could be the biggest 4A game of the season.

Week 6: Mountain View at Lyman, 1 p.m. Friday; Jackson at Star Valley, 6 p.m. Friday; Farson at Snake River, 2 p.m. Saturday. Mountain View-Lyman is always good; Jackson-Star Valley could be the most intense 3A game of the year; Farson-Snake River has playoff implications all over it. The drive from Afton to Baggs is a long one, but it’ll be worth it here.

Week 7: Star Valley JV at Cokeville, 4 p.m. Thursday; Riverside at St. Stephens, 2 p.m. Friday; Rocky Mountain at Wind River, 6 p.m. Friday; Hanna at Kaycee, noon Saturday. The Rocky Mountain-Wind River rivalry has taken on a new dynamic now that they play each other twice a year, and it’d be fun to see that play out. And the Hanna-Kaycee game on Saturday could be a fun one in the six-man East Conference.

Week 8: NSI at Kaycee, 1 p.m. Friday; Cheyenne East at Sheridan, 6 p.m. Friday; Lingle at Hulett, 1 p.m. Saturday. The Northeast corner gets some love this week, as the East-Sheridan game is always good and the others are six-man afternoon showdowns that could be just as fun.

What game is your can’t-miss game of the year? Leave a comment below and let’s hash out our road trip plans.

–patrick

As always, Phil Steele’s annual college football preview magazine is a source of inspiration for looking at football, and football stats, in new ways.

Last year, I broke down the Yards Per Point stat that’s highlighted in the Phil Steele preview. This year, though, I wanted to look at something else — the yards per game differential in conference games.

Using last year’s final stats, I broke out the game-by-game statistics and looked at how the yards gained compared to the yards allowed in conference games — and then simply subtracted to find the difference.

Of course, yards aren’t the be-all, end-all statistic to track team strength. No stat is, really, although the closest is obviously a team’s win-loss record. But even wins and losses can sometimes be deceiving, so breaking out yards as a measure of a team’s relative strength can be useful to identify teams that either under- or over-performed based on what we might expect based on how many yards a team gained and gave up.

When I applied this measure to the 2018 Wyoming high school football season, some interesting revelations emerged:

  • Class 2A champ Buffalo was fourth in its own conference in yardage difference.
  • Class 3A Jackson obliterated the rest of the West Conference in yards gained, yet Star Valley went unbeaten in conference play and won the 3A title.
  • There’s a huge gulf between the top and bottom teams in the 1A 11-man East.
  • The teams that went winless in conference play (Gillette, Riverton, Powell, Newcastle, Lovell and Southeast) all finished last in their respective conferences in YPG differential.

Of course, one of the big things you can try to do with this data is compare it to conference standings and compare differences. Teams that finish higher in the conference standings but lower in YPG might have been more fortunate, or won more close games, or won the turnover battle — things that may not carry over to next season. The teams with the biggest differences were Laramie (fifth in 4A, but eighth in YPG) and previously mentioned Buffalo. Two other teams that might have been more “fortunate” in their win-loss records than the YPG would suggest were Big Piney (finished tied for second in the conference standings but was fifth in YPG) and Lander (finished third in the conference but fifth in YPG).

The team that was the least “fortunate” in its win-loss record may have been Thermopolis. The Bobcats finished fourth in the 2A East but were second in YPG differential.

The full YPG stats for conference play are below. (For Class 4A, total yards in all games, regular season and playoff, are included. No stats are included for Class 1A six-man, where per-game stat-keeping is inconsistent, as well as for Wyoming Indian, which played only one conference game.) And if you need a reminder of how the conference standings actually came together last year, click here.

Class 4AOff YPGDef YPGDifference
Natrona410.2206.4203.8
Thunder Basin403.3212.3191.0
Sheridan318.8242.476.4
Cheyenne East341.0323.917.1
Kelly Walsh308.6346.3-37.7
Cheyenne Central272.2316.7-44.5
Rock Springs224.6272.1-47.5
Laramie225.3302.4-77.1
Cheyenne South223.1378.8-155.7
Gillette147.2389.8-242.6
Class 3A EastOff YPGDef YPGDifference
Torrington448.8190.4258.4
Douglas361.6261.899.8
Worland262.2299.4-37.2
Rawlins220.0313.2-93.2
Lander238.0348.4-110.4
Riverton245.6363.0-117.4
Class 3A WestOff YPGDef YPGDifference
Jackson397.6234.8162.8
Star Valley323.0277.445.6
Cody278.4300.6-22.2
Evanston313.8353.6-39.8
Green River249.8299.8-50.0
Powell197.8294.2-96.4
Class 2A EastOff YPGDef YPGDifference
Glenrock417.5170.0247.5
Thermopolis374.8229.5145.3
Wheatland358.2217.2141.0
Buffalo320.3260.360.0
Burns296.3377.5-81.2
Moorcroft198.8332.0-133.2
Newcastle172.7431.2-258.5
Class 2A WestOff YPGDef YPGDifference
Mountain View324.5165.2159.3
Greybull330.5248.881.7
Kemmerer211.2210.50.7
Pinedale245.0263.7-18.7
Big Piney231.3257.4-26.1
Lyman223.6250.0-26.4
Lovell163.2326.7-163.5
Class 1A 11-man EastOff YPGDef YPGDifference
Big Horn434.8194.0240.8
Pine Bluffs313.7189.0124.7
Upton-Sundance411.5290.8120.7
Lusk236.8330.7-93.8
Tongue River199.7303.2-103.5
Wright212.0328.8-116.8
Southeast193.6364.8-171.2
Class 1A 11-man WestOff YPGDef YPGDifference
Cokeville314.3153.3161.0
Wind River218.3223.7-5.3
Shoshoni307.0326.3-19.3
Rocky Mountain147.0283.3-136.3

Note: Big Piney and Lyman totals do not include yards that Lyman’s offense gained against Big Piney. Similarly, Pine Bluffs and Southeast totals do not include yards that Southeast’s offense gained against Pine Bluffs. Those totals were not available in the end-of-year season statistics.

So… whose win-loss record in conference play doesn’t match their yardage difference? What might that say about who’s ready for a breakthrough in 2019? Leave a comment, or hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

–patrick

It’s pretty easy to figure out which players are among Wyoming’s top returners this year.

Take a look at last year’s all-conference, all-state and Super 25 listings, and just remove the seniors.

Or (shameless plug alert) read the upcoming annual Wyoming high school football preview magazine, which I wrote again this year with previews on every team in the state and will be out in mid- to late August.

Rarely, if ever, do typical season previews and postseason recognition lists indicate the number of the player’s jersey. However, that’s the most common way for fans to figure out who’s who on the field.

So what if we put together a team of returning players and chose the best players based on the number of their jerseys — choosing only one player per number?

Let’s do this for Wyoming high school football’s 2019 returners.

I’m certainly not the first to do this. The specific inspiration for this post, though, came from one of my former students, Sam Herder, who’s doing something similar for players at the FCS level of college football for HeroSports.

The problem with taking something that’s normally reserved for the NFL or college teams and applying it to Wyoming high schools is that, um… how to put it politely?… not every number has a bunch of good players from which to choose.

One of the things that became readily apparent during the production of this list was that Wyoming high schools rarely use numbers in the 90s. In fact, using last year’s final stats as my starting point, I couldn’t find a single returning player in the entire state at any level who wore number 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97 or 98 last year.

Similarly, I couldn’t find a returner who wore 46 or 59, either. A few numbers had only one returner in the state (and, no, I won’t tell you which ones, because I don’t want to embarrass anyone who’s listed below). On the flipside, some numbers — like 1, 2, 5 and 12, among others — were overloaded with talented players who would have easily made this list if they had worn a less-common number.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that any of these returning players will wear the same number this year that they did last year. And there’s a chance that the players listed here may not go out, or may have moved or transferred since the end of last season.

The list here is subjective; it’s my opinion, and I made it for fun. Hopefully, you have fun with it too… and I’m more than happy if you disagree with me. 🙂

Anyway, here’s Wyoming’s top returning high school football players for 2019 by jersey number:

NumberNameSchool
1Mason HamiltonThunder Basin
2Dax YeradiWright
3Kirby CastagnoJackson
4Chance AumillerCheyenne East
5Garrett CoonSheridan
6Peter GoettlerJackson
7Hunter HaysCody
8Rowen RubyBuffalo
9Andrew JohnsonCheyenne Central
10A.J. YeamanDouglas
11Dawson MaclearyCheyenne Central
12Quinn McCaffertyBig Horn
13Graedyn BuellCheyenne East
14Todd PaisleyWheatland
15Kaden RazaBig Piney
16Seth HymasRock Springs
17Riggen MyersSnake River
18Tristan BlattCody
19Kimball MadsenMountain View
20Devon MercadoWorland
21R.J. CazierStar Valley
22A.J. McCoolJackson
23Favor OkereRock Springs
24Jhett LetellierHulett
25Wyatt DuncanSnake River
26Jeydon CoxJackson
27Hunter KramerGillette
28Jaxon PikulaThunder Basin
29Emory YoosookKelly Walsh
30Rowdy PfeilMoorcroft
31Austin SansoucieMidwest
32David CastilloStar Valley
33Dante WallaceNatrona
34Hyrum HatchBuffalo
35Caden WerbelowRiverton
36Josiah DiversSt. Stephens
37McCaffrey BillingsBig Horn
38Eli DickeyThermopolis
39Carson OlsenPowell
40Drake LampLusk
41James StoneLusk
42Damien MolzahnLusk
43Bryson DavisEvanston
44Logan ColeThermopolis
45Jeremy HarttGuernsey-Sunrise
46No returners identified
47Bryston Jennings*Glenrock
48Luke MullinaxBig Horn
49Nick TalichCody
50Hunter GrossMountain View
51Anthony GravesBuffalo
52Gavin ThomasKelly Walsh
53Cody PinkertonDouglas
54Hansen BradshawLyman
55Nathan SwanstonBuffalo
56Keith ConnorCody
57Riley ShafferThermopolis
58Parker MerrittStar Valley
59No returners identified
60Nate BarnesCokeville
61Brandon Mortenson*Rock Springs
62Brendan Miller*Kemmerer
63Colter Collver*Wind River
64Mitch MillerBurns
65Remington FerreeThermopolis
66Garrett KingCokeville
67Edel Diaz-JaimeDouglas
68Tyler SchaubTorrington
69Parker SchlaterMoorcroft
70Kie FosterRawlins
71Zane TaylorRiverton
72Cam ThomasBig Piney
73Jasper CalderaLusk
74Jeff WilliamsCody
75Corbin HarrisTorrington
76Hunter MeeksMountain View
77Hunter PopeBuffalo
78Jacob KnoblochTongue River
79Reid FosterDouglas
80Brady StoreboCheyenne Central
81Zion GrahamKelly Walsh
82Tyler MoyesCokeville
83Tyson ChristiansenRocky Mountain
84Chase MerrellStar Valley
85Kaden ReddingMeeteetse
86Jaret TaylorCheyenne East
87Johnathon TrueNatrona
88Mason MastellerThunder Basin
89Kaden GautenbeinRiverton
90Hunter BaileyHulett
91No returners identified
92No returners identified
93Garrett OswaldCheyenne East
94No returners identified
95No returners identified
96No returners identified
97No returners identified
98No returners identified
99Rhiley Grubbs*Torrington

*-Jennings wore both 47 and 64 last year; Mortenson wore both 61 and 63 last year; Miller wore both 62 and 77 last year; Collver wore both 63 and 40 last year; Grubbs wore both 55 and 99 last year.

If you have suggestions for folks I should have put in each spot, leave a comment, or consider hitting me up on Twitter or Facebook.

–patrick

To break three-way ties in conference play in 2019, the Wyoming High School Activities Association will use a new step in its tiebreaking procedures, one that incorporates scoring differential in games against the tied teams.

On paper, it’s a small change, one that’s deep down in the WHSAA’s tiebreaking procedures, just a step ahead of flipping a coin.

However, if we retroactively apply the new tiebreaking procedures to past three-way ties, some interesting results emerge.

+++

PREVIOUS PROCEDURES

Before we dive into that, it’s important to understand that the top two elements of Wyoming’s high school football tiebreaking procedures have remained unchanged for more than a decade.

Since 2009, when power ratings were fully eliminated from playoff seeding, the first two steps of the three-way tiebreaking procedure have been (1) head-to-head results of the tied teams, and (2) records of the tied teams against the highest-ranking non-tied team.

After that, though, the tiebreaking procedures have seen multiple iterations — including the new one to be introduced in 2019.

  • In 2010, after the first two steps, tiebreaker steps included (3) overall record; (4) highest winning percentage in road conference games; (5) triangular playoff; (6) coin flip.
  • From 2011-15, steps after the first two were simplified to include just these: (3) triangular playoff; (4) coin flip (skip 3 if qualifying isn’t involved).
  • From 2016-18, triangulars were eliminated, and the third step was the only step after the first two: (3) coin flip.

In 2019, though, after years of stripping away options, the WHSAA is adding one to its procedures. Starting this season, the third step will be point differential among the tied teams in games between those teams (capped at 12 points per game). After that, the coin flip is the last option.

Although other states have used a similar tiebreaker, Wyoming has never used point differential as a tiebreaker for conference standings.

But what if the Equality State had decided to do this a decade ago?

What if we applied the tiebreaking rules to be used this year to break three-way ties in past seasons? Would the results be any different? Would different teams qualify for the playoffs?

That’s what we’re about to explore here.

+++

THREE-WAY TIES, EXPLORED

Since 2009, Wyoming high school football has had 29 three-way conference ties that affected seeding or playoff qualifying.

Of those 29 ties, the new tiebreaker rules come into play in 24 cases — the other five were broken by one of the first two tiebreaker criteria, either the head-to-head tiebreaker or the record vs. higher teams in the conference tiebreaker.

However, in 17 of the remaining 24 cases, the playoff seedings would have been different with a point differential tiebreaker than whatever the previous tiebreaker created. And in six *and maybe seven* cases, the teams that would have qualified for the playoffs under the new tiebreaker rules were different from those who actually did qualify under old tiebreaker rules.

Let’s break down each one of these seven ties, looking at who would qualify for the playoffs with the new tiebreaking system and comparing it to who qualified under the systems in place at the time:

2018 1A 11-man East
Who would have qualified: Lusk
Who actually qualified: Wright
The most recent of the ties that would be settled differently happened last year, where Wright, Lusk and Tongue River tied for the final playoff spot out of the 1A 11-man East Conference. Last year, Wright won a coin flip to earn that last spot; if the exact same tie happened this year, Lusk would qualify for the playoffs with scoring differentials of Lusk +5, Wright +1 and Tongue River -6.

2014 1A 11-man West
Who would have qualified: Burlington
Who actually qualified: Riverside
In this case, Riverside, Burlington and Wind River all tied for the fourth and final playoff spot out of the West. In 2014, they played a triangular playoff for that spot, with Riverside topping Wind River after Burlington withdrew from the triangular altogether. Using a score differential system for the final spot, though, Burlington would have actually earned the last spot (Burlington +8, Riverside 0, Wind River -8).

2013 1A 11-man West
Who would have qualified: Shoshoni
Who actually qualified: Riverside
This season, Burlington, Riverside and Shoshoni all tied for the final two postseason spots. In real life, Burlington earned the third seed by winning a triangular playoff, and Riverside earned the fourth seed after that by virtue of a head-to-head regular-season win. Using a scoring differential, though, would have given Shoshoni the third spot, Burlington the fourth spot and Riverside a spot on the sidelines (Shoshoni +6, Burlington 0, Riverside -6).

2011 2A West
Who would have qualified: Greybull
Who actually qualified: Kemmerer
Thermopolis, Kemmerer and Greybull tied for the final two spots, and in a triangular playoff, Thermopolis emerged with the No. 3 seed and Kemmerer the No. 4 seed. With a scoring differential tiebreaker, though, Greybull would have been third, Thermopolis fourth and Kemmerer out (Greybull +5, Thermopolis 0, Kemmerer -5).

2011 1A 11-man East
Who would have qualified: Pine Bluffs
Who actually qualified: Lingle
This is perhaps the most famous failure of a tiebreaking system to actually break a tie. Lingle, Pine Bluffs and Sundance tied for the final two seeds from the East. After none of the tiebreakers worked, the teams staged a triangular playoff. After the triangular playoff, though, the teams were still tied. So they flipped coins in the parking lot, and Sundance finished third, Lingle fourth and Pine Bluffs out. However, using a scoring differential system, Pine Bluffs would have been third, Sundance fourth and Lingle out (Pine Bluffs +9, Sundance -3, Lingle -6). (By the way, after the 2011 season, the WHSAA added an overtime system to triangular tiebreaker playoffs in case this ever happened again. It didn’t.)

2010 2A East
Who would have qualified: Wright
Who actually qualified: Newcastle
In this case, Newcastle, Burns and Wright tied for two playoff spots out of the East. Newcastle finished third, Burns fourth and Wright out by virtue of a tiebreaker system that was in its last year — one where the “team with the highest winning percentage of away league games” is the highest seed. In this case, Newcastle’s 2-1 road league record beat Burns’ 2-2 and Wright’s 2-2 to earn the third seed, and Burns’ head-to-head victory over Wright got them the fourth seed. In a score differential system, though, Burns would have finished in the third seed, Wright the fourth seed and Newcastle out (Burns +3, Wright 0, Newcastle -3).

BONUS: 2009 1A 11-man West
Who would have qualified: ???
Who actually qualified: Rocky Mountain and Riverside
In 2009, Rocky Mountain, Riverside and Burlington finished tied for the final two playoff seeds. At the time, one of the tiebreakers was overall record. Burlington’s 4-4 was worse than Rocky’s and Riverside’s duplicate 5-3 marks, bumping them out of the playoffs, and Rocky’s victory against Riverside decided who got the third seed and who got the fourth. However, in a scoring differential system, it’s impossible to know how qualifying would go — the scoring differential for all three teams was 0, as each game between these three programs was decided by more than 12 points. In a case like this, were it to happen again in 2019, the spots would be decided by a coin flip.

+++

In 11 other cases, new tiebreaking procedures in place for 2019 would have generated different seeding than what we saw using old tiebreakers. These changes often affected who was at home and who was on the road for the first round of the playoffs and matchups in the first round. Those ties included:

2018 1A 11-man West
How seeds would be under new tiebreaker
: Wind River 2, Rocky Mountain 3, Shoshoni 4
How seeds actually went: Shoshoni 2, Rocky Mountain 3, Wind River 4

2017 3A East
How seeds would be under new tiebreaker
: Rawlins 2, Buffalo 3, Douglas 4
How seeds actually went: Buffalo 2, Douglas 3, Rawlins 4

2017 1A six-man West
How seeds would be under new tiebreaker: Burlington 1, Snake River 2, Farson 3
How seeds actually went: Farson 1, Burlington 2, Snake River 3

2016 3A West
How seeds would be under new tiebreaker: Star Valley 1, Green River 2, Powell 3
How seeds actually went: Powell 1, Star Valley 2, Green River 3

2016 1A 11-man West
How seeds would be under new tiebreaker: Rocky Mountain 1, Cokeville 2, Shoshoni 3
How seeds actually went: Shoshoni 1, Rocky Mountain 2, Cokeville 3

2016 1A six-man West
How seeds would be under new tiebreaker: Burlington 2, Snake River 3, Meeteetse 4
How seeds actually went: Meeteetse 2, Snake River 3, Burlington 4

2015 1A 11-man West
How seeds would be under new tiebreaker: Rocky Mountain 2, Riverside 3, Cokeville 4
How seeds actually went: Cokeville 2, Rocky Mountain 3, Riverside 4

2014 4A
How seeds would be under new tiebreaker: Sheridan 2, Cheyenne East 3, Gillette 4
How seeds actually went: Cheyenne East 2, Gillette 3, Sheridan 4

2010 2A West
How seeds would be under new tiebreaker: Greybull 1, Lovell 2, Lyman 3
How seeds actually went: Lovell 1, Greybull 2, Lyman 3

2010 1A six-man
How seeds would be under new tiebreaker: Kaycee 2, Ten Sleep 3, Hanna 4
How seeds actually went: Hanna 2, Ten Sleep 3, Kaycee 4

2009 3A West
How seeds would be under new tiebreaker: Worland 1, Star Valley 2, Cody 3
How seeds actually went: Cody 1, Worland 2, Star Valley 3

+++

Six three-way ties unaffected by the new tiebreaking procedures include:

2017 1A six-man East: Hanna, Midwest, Guernsey. Goes to coin flip, even with new tiebreaker.
2016 3A East: Lander, Rawlins, Buffalo. Lander won the coin flip in real life and would have won on scoring differential.
2015 4A: Kelly Walsh, Evanston, Laramie. Goes to coin flip, even with new tiebreaker.
2015 3A East: Buffalo, Douglas, Riverton. Goes to coin flip, even with new tiebreaker.
2015 2A East: Wheatland, Glenrock, Big Horn. Goes to coin flip, even with new tiebreaker.
2010 2A West: Big Piney, Mountain View, Pinedale. Big Piney won the overall record tiebreaker in real life and would have won on scoring differential.

And three-way ties that wouldn’t even reach the scoring differential tiebreaker, whether tied in the past or tied in 2019, are:

2018 4A: Cheyenne Central, Kelly Walsh, Rock Springs. Rock Springs beat both head-to-head.
2016 4A: Natrona, Laramie, Cheyenne East. Natrona beat both head-to-head.
2013 1A six-man East: Hulett, Kaycee, Saratoga. Hulett beat the highest-ranking non-tied team.
2011 4A: Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne East, Evanston. East beat both head-to-head.
2010 4A: Gillette, Evanston, Sheridan. Sheridan beat the highest-ranking non-tied team.

+++

The WHSAA also includes language in its handbook about breaking a four-way tie. A four-way tie break would not include scoring differential. However, the WHSAA handbook does not have any language about breaking a five-way tie, or breaking a tie involving more than five teams.

A four-way, five-way or more-way tie in football conference standings has never happened in Wyoming. Yet.

–patrick

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