Wyoming’s all-state and all-conference football teams are out for 2020.

All-state football teams were released Sunday, while all-conference teams came out Sunday and Monday.

All-state team listings are here. Let me know if anything is misspelled, and I’ll get it fixed ASAP.

All-conference team listings are here via Wyopreps.

Some quick notes on the all-state teams:

Lusk’s Drake Lamp was named to his fourth all-state team. By my records, he is only the third Wyoming player in a century of all-state choices to be a four-time first-team choice, joining Meeteetse’s Ty Barrus from 1987-90 and Kaycee’s James Caro from 2009-12.

Three players were named to their third first-team all-state: Big Horn’s Carson Bates, Buffalo’s Hyrum Hatch and Thermopolis’ Logan Cole.

A total of 47 others were two-time selections: Big Horn’s Winfield Loomis and Josh Thompson; Big Piney’s Kaden Raza; Cheyenne Central’s Andrew Johnson, Jimmy Koenig and Carter Lobatos; Cheyenne East’s Trey Bower, Graedyn Buell, Dakota Heckman, Jackson Hesford and Julian Vigil; Cody’s Keaton Stone and Nic Talich; Cokeville’s Nate Barnes, Ethan Bird and Tyler Moyes; Farson’s Parker Clawson; Jackson’s Colter Dawson and Sadler Smith; Lander’s Jack Sweeney; Lingle’s Cooper Hill; Lusk’s Dylan Molzahn; Lyman’s Hansen Bradshaw and Preston Brewer; Mountain View’s Hunter Meeks and Ashton Schofield; Newcastle’s Kale Corley; Pinedale’s Colby White; Riverton’s Lucas Engle; Rocky Mountain’s Tyler Banks and Trace Moss; Saratoga’s Noah Rimmer; Sheridan’s Quinton Mangus and Carter McComb; Shoshoni’s Tryston Truempler; Snake River’s Zander Risner; Southeast’s Ryan Clapper and Harrison Hall; Star Valley’s Lucas Chappell, Brant Nelson and Gabe Nield; Thunder Basin’s Nate Jones and Jaxon Pikula; Upton-Sundance’s Brayden Bruce, Jess Claycomb and Wyatt Gillespie; and Wheatland’s Jake Hicks. Of those players, nine — McComb, Dawson, Smith, Engle, Chappell, Thompson, Hicks, Molzahn and Clapper — are juniors.

–patrick

The 2020 season ended up not being as weird as we thought it could be.

At the end of it all, we saw five champions crowned on the second weekend of November, which is about as normal as we can get this year.

Cheyenne East, Cody, Lyman, Southeast and Farson finished as state champions, each coming about it in their own way but all five finishing at the same spot.

Southeast (1A nine-man) and Farson (1A six-man) both finished undefeated, wrapping up 11-0 campaigns.

Cheyenne East will also enter 2021 riding an 11-game winning streak, the longest in school history, after avenging a season-opening loss to Thunder Basin in the 4A title game.

Cody and Lyman both overcame midseason losses to teams that didn’t make it all that far — Cody lost to Star Valley, which didn’t make it out of the first round, while Lyman lost to Big Piney, which didn’t even qualify for the playoffs.

One trend that showed this weekend was the importance of the fourth quarter.

As I noted on Twitter, East, Lyman and Southeast were all behind starting the fourth quarter; they won by 14, 11 and 19, respectively.

Trailing 15-7 starting the final quarter, East ran off 22 consecutive fourth-quarter points to win 29-15. Lyman trailed 3-0 starting the fourth but scored twice to win 14-3. And Southeast was behind 28-27 to start the final quarter but outscored Lusk 20-0 over the final 12 minutes for a 47-28 victory.

Farson did the opposite. The Pronghorns led Meeteetse 42-8 entering the fourth quarter but gave up 22 points — enough to make a late onside kick a bit interesting, but not enough to keep Farson from winning 42-30.

The other game of the weekend, the 3A matchup between Jackson and Cody, didn’t have that late drama. Cody jumped out to a 26-0 halftime lead, and although Jackson climbed back to within 26-13, Cody chewed up clock late and emerged 34-13.

And the 2020 season ended as it should, on the field in the second week of November.

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The 2020 season is now part of the site, with results, champions, all-time standings, and everything else on wyoming-football.com now updated to be current through the end of the season. If anything looks weird, incorrect, or out of place, let me know.

My next project is publishing a second edition of my book, “A Century of Fridays,” as soon as I possibly can. Keep reading the blog for more on the book.

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Here are the results of my picks from last week, this season and all-time:

Last week: 5-0 (100 percent). This season: 240-62 (79 percent). 16-year overall mark: 3,824-949 (80 percent).

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If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship. Sponsorships are $20 per year, and they help keep the site running. If you’re interested in sponsoring a page, email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com. A big thank you to all my page sponsors for this year!

–patrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last week: 8-2 (80 percent). This season: 235-62 (79 percent).

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Who you got winning the five title games happening this week? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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

–patrick

Pine Bluffs’ 42-point loss to Shoshoni in the first round of the Class 1A nine-man playoffs was not the way the Hornets wanted to end their season.

However, the loss — and specifically, the margin by which Pine Bluffs lost — puts the team in unique company.

For the 2020 season, the Hornets scored 258 points; they also gave up 258.

This statistical anomaly has only happened 28 times in Wyoming high school football history (to teams with a minimum of four games played in a season). It’s an anomaly nobody tries for and nobody plans for, which is what makes it so interesting to me.

It last happened in 2013, to Riverton. And, oddly enough, it’s happened twice to Pine Bluffs, which also had an even tally for the season occur in 2002.

Mathematical instinct tells us an even tally should mean an average record. This season, Pine Bluffs finished 5-4, one of just seven teams to finish with a winning record in this scenario. Green River also did so in 2009 at 6-4, but the Wolves were the first team to put up a winning record with an even season score since Deaver-Frannie went 5-3 in 1967. Of the remaining teams, 15 finished with losing records, while six finished exactly at the .500 mark.

The best team to finish with an even scoring tally was probably Laramie’s 1954 team, which shared a state championship with Cheyenne Central despite allowing and scoring 147 points during a 6-3 season.

Pine Bluffs is one of five programs to have hit the even tally twice, joining Douglas (1930 and 1940), Gillette (1936 and 2007), Powell (1962 and 1977) and Star Valley (1938 and 1956).

Only three times has it happened in the same season to two different teams: in 1938 (Lingle and Star Valley), 1967 (Deaver-Frannie and Evanston) and 2002 (Dubois and Pine Bluffs). Although the season isn’t officially over, it’s probably pretty safe to say the Hornets will be the only team to accomplish this feat in 2020.

Here’s the full list of teams who have scored exactly as many points as they allowed in a season (minimum four games played):

Douglas 1930 (3-3): 65 points
Cowley 1931 (3-4): 78 points
Gillette 1936 (4-2): 85 points
Lingle 1938 (3-3-1): 83 points
Star Valley 1938 (2-2-1): 45 points
Douglas 1940 (5-2): 63 points
Upton 1947 (2-3-1): 40 points
Sheridan 1951 (2-3-1): 98 points
Laramie 1954 (6-3, state champs): 147 points
Star Valley 1956 (3-3-1): 145 points
Natrona 1959 (3-4-2): 116 points
Powell 1962 (5-4): 137 points
Shoshoni 1963 (3-3-1): 64 points
Deaver-Frannie 1967 (5-3): 187 points
Evanston 1967 (4-6): 177 points
Powell 1977 (4-5): 119 points
Lyman 1980 (3-5): 113 points
Burlington 1987 (3-5): 152 points
Pinedale 1989 (3-5): 141 points
Moorcroft 1992 (3-5): 120 points
Big Horn 1993 (3-5): 202 points
Dubois 2002 (4-5): 233 points
Pine Bluffs 2002 (4-5): 176 points
Gillette 2007 (5-6): 233 points
Green River 2009 (6-4): 281 points
Hulett 2012 (3-6): 320 points
Riverton 2013 (5-5): 270 points
Pine Bluffs 2020 (5-4): 258 points

–patrick

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

That looks fresh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Which 10 teams do you see emerging from this week and reaching the championship games? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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

–patrick

An updated version of my 2011 book, “A Century of Fridays,” will be complete in the next month.

And I’m looking for a cover photo.

In case you missed it, after the 2011 season, I wrote and published the book “A Century of Fridays,” chronicling high school football in Wyoming from 1894 to the end of the 2011 season. It looked like this:

I’ve since decided to overhaul and update the book, which is now almost 10 years old. The second edition’s release also falls in line with the 100th anniversary of what I regard as Wyoming’s first full statewide high school football season, 1921.

While I love the photo on the cover of the first edition (my wife Charlynn took the photo at a game we attended together in Big Horn), it’s time for something new. However, since I no longer live in Wyoming, I need some help.

That’s where you come in.

I’m looking for a new cover photo for the second edition, and I’d like you, dear reader, to submit one for consideration.

Photos should be emailed to me directly at pschmiedt@yahoo.com with the subject line “A Century of Fridays.” You must be the creator of any photos you submit — if somebody else took the photo, you shouldn’t submit it. The deadline for submissions is the end of the day Tuesday, Nov. 17.

I’m looking for a clean, sharp action photo without a distracting background. Don’t submit posed photos, portraits, Photoshop projects or photos with excessive blur or fuzziness.

I also have room inside for 4-5 more photos, so entries that don’t make the cover could be placed inside the book, as well.

Email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com with any questions, and THANK YOU in advance for your submissions!

Also, keep an eye on this space for details about ordering the new edition of the book. Christmas is just around the corner, and I hope to have the book done in time for that.

–patrick

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

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

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

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

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

Wyoming Department of Health, 10-23-20.

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

It hasn’t happened.

Yet.

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

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

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

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

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

Non-playoff games
Thursday
Burns at Newcastle

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

+++

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

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

+++

Who do you think is ready to pull a big surprise in the first round of the playoffs? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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

–patrick

Projected playoff pairings for the 2020 Wyoming high school football playoffs. Official pairings will be released by the Wyoming High School Activities Association at the end of the regular season:

Class 4A
(8) Laramie at (1) Cheyenne East
(5) Rock Springs at (4) Sheridan
(7) Kelly Walsh at (2) Cheyenne Central
(6) Natrona at (3) Thunder Basin

Class 3A
(4E) Worland at (1W) Cody
(3W) Powell at (2E) Lander
(4W) Star Valley at (1E) Douglas
(3E) Riverton at (2W) Jackson

Class 2A
(4W) Cokeville at (1E) Torrington
(3E) Wheatland at (2W) Mountain View
(4E) Big Horn at (1W) Lyman
(3W) Lovell at (2E) Upton-Sundance

Class 1A nine-man
(4W) Riverside at (1E) Southeast
(3E) Pine Bluffs at (2W) Shoshoni
(4E) Saratoga at (1W) Rocky Mountain
(3W) Greybull at (2E) Lusk

Class 1A six-man
(4E) Hanna at (1W) Farson
(3W) Encampment at (2E) Hulett
(4W) Snake River at (1E) Kaycee
(3E) Guernsey at (2W) Meeteetse

Championship games will be played at host sites this year. Per WHSAA specifications, the West champion will be the top seed for the 3A and 1A six-man playoffs, while the East champion will be the top seed for the 2A and 1A nine-man playoffs.

–patrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+++

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

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

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

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

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

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

+++

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

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

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

+++

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

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

+++

What’s been the most surprising thing to you so far this season? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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

–patrick

Here’s a quick look at the playoff scenarios for Wyoming high school football teams entering Week 8 of the 2020 season:

Class 4A
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Cheyenne Central at Laramie; Cheyenne East at Rock Springs; Natrona at Cheyenne South; Thunder Basin at Sheridan.
Cheyenne East: In. Either No. 1 or No. 2 seed. Can still get No. 1 seed with loss; can still get No. 2 seed with victory.
Thunder Basin: In. Seed between No. 1 and No. 3. No. 1 seed with victory in all scenarios. No. 1 seed with loss and Rock Springs victory. No. 2 seed with loss, Laramie victory and East victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Central victory.
Cheyenne Central: In. Seed between No. 2 and No. 4. No. 2 seed with victory and Sheridan victory. No. 3 seed with victory and Thunder Basin victory. No. 3 seed with loss and East victory. No. 3 seed with loss, Rock Springs victory and Sheridan victory. No. 4 seed with loss, Rock Springs victory and Thunder Basin victory.
Rock Springs: In. Seed between No. 3 and No. 5. Can get no higher than a No. 4 seed with loss; either a No. 3, 4 or 5 seed with victory.
Sheridan: In. Seed between No. 4 and No. 6. No. 4 seed with victory in all scenarios. Either a No. 4, 5 or 6 seed with loss.
Natrona: In. Seed between No. 5 and No. 6. No. 5 seed with victory and Thunder Basin victory. No. 6 seed with victory and Sheridan victory. No. 6 seed in all scenarios with loss.
Kelly Walsh: In. No. 7 seed.
Laramie: In. No. 8 seed.
Campbell County, Cheyenne South: Out.
Three-way tie explanation 1: If East, Central and Thunder Basin all finish 7-2 tied for the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 seeds, Thunder Basin would be the 3 seed by virtue of a loss to Sheridan (the highest ranking non-tied team). East then takes the 1 seed due to a head-to-head victory against Central.
Three-way tie explanation 2: If Rock Springs, Sheridan and Central all finish 6-3 tied for the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 seeds, Rock Springs would be the 5 seed by virtue of a loss to Thunder Basin (the highest ranking non-tied team). Central then takes the 3 seed due to a head-to-head victory against Sheridan.

Three-way tie explanation 3: If Natrona, Rock Springs and Sheridan all finish 5-4 tied for the No. 4, 5 and 6 seeds, Rock Springs would be the 4 seed by virtue of a victory against Central (the highest-ranking non-tied team where the tiebreaker applies). Natrona then takes the 5 seed due to a head-to-head victory against Sheridan.
All other tiebreakers in 4A are head-to-head tiebreakers. Because the “highest-ranked non-tied team” tiebreaker breaks all potential three-way ties, score differential should not be necessary.
Note: Tables below updated 11:52 a.m. Monday to reflect that the Kelly Walsh-Campbell County game does not affect the scenarios.

4A scenarios

If Central beats Laramie…

EastThunder BasinCentralRock SpringsSheridanNatrona
East, Natrona, Thunder Basin win213465
East, Natrona, Sheridan win132546
East, South, Thunder Basin win213546
East, South, Sheridan win132546
Rock Springs, Natrona, Thunder Basin win213465
Rock Springs, Natrona, Sheridan win132546
Rock Springs, South, Thunder Basin win213456
Rock Springs, South, Sheridan win132546

If Laramie beats Central

EastThunder BasinCentralRock SpringsSheridanNatrona
East, Natrona, Thunder Basin win213465
East, Natrona, Sheridan win123546
East, South, Thunder Basin win213546
East, South, Sheridan win123546
Rock Springs, Natrona, Thunder Basin win214365
Rock Springs, Natrona, Sheridan win213546
Rock Springs, South, Thunder Basin win214356
Rock Springs, South, Sheridan win213546

Class 3A East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Riverton at Rawlins; Worland at Douglas.
Douglas: In. No. 1 seed.
Lander: In. No. 2 seed.
Riverton: In. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Douglas victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Worland victory.
Worland: In. No. 3 seed with victory and Rawlins victory. No. 4 seed with loss OR Riverton victory.
Buffalo, Rawlins: Out.

Class 3A West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Cody at Jackson; Green River at Star Valley; Powell at Evanston.
Jackson: In. No. 1 seed with victory. No. 2 seed with loss.
Cody: In. No. 1 seed with victory. No. 2 seed with loss and Powell victory. No. 2 seed with loss, Evanston victory and Green River victory. No. 3 seed with loss, Evanston victory and Star Valley victory.
Powell: In. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Green River victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Star Valley victory.
Star Valley: Neither in nor out. No. 2 seed with victory, Jackson victory and Evanston victory. No. 3 seed with victory, Cody victory and Evanston victory. No. 4 seed with victory and Powell victory. Out with loss.
Green River: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with victory. Out with loss.
Evanston: Out.
Two potential three-way ties exist in 3A West scenarios for Week 8. If Jackson, Star Valley and Powell all win, Cody, Powell and Star Valley tie for second, third and fourth at 3-2. Cody wins with score differential of +5 (Powell 0, Star Valley -5) and is the second seed. Powell is the third seed with head-to-head victory over Star Valley; Star Valley is the fourth seed. … If Evanston and Green River win, Powell, Star Valley and Green River tie for third, fourth and fifth (out) at 2-3. Powell wins this tiebreaker with head-to-head victories over both. Green River would have the head-to-head over Star Valley to get the fourth seed.

Class 2A East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Big Horn at Upton-Sundance; Newcastle at Wheatland; Torrington at Burns*.
Torrington: In. Seeding TBD, likely No. 1 or 2. Likely No. 1 seed with Upton-Sundance victory. Likely No. 2 seed with Big Horn victory.
Upton-Sundance: In. Likely No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss.
Big Horn: In. Likely No. 1 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Newcastle victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Wheatland victory.
Wheatland: In. No. 3 seed with victory and Upton-Sundance victory. No. 4 seed with victory and Big Horn victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Burns, Glenrock, Newcastle, Tongue River: Out.
*-The Torrington-Burns game has been canceled due to COVID-19. It’s not certain what contingencies will be used to break any playoff seeding ties that might come of this cancellation. However, the WHSAA’s plans set out in the summer note that in cases like this, the coaches from the conference would decide on seeding. However, with no mathematical possibilities of any three-way ties, such a scenario isn’t likely needed here… but these projections come with an asterisk just in case.

Class 2A West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Cokeville at Lovell; Lyman at Mountain View.
Lyman, Mountain View: In. No. 1 seed with victory. No. 2 seed with loss.
Cokeville, Lovell: In. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Big Piney, Kemmerer, Pinedale, Thermopolis: Out.

Class 1A nine-man East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Saratoga at Lusk.
Southeast: In. No. 1 seed.
Lusk: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 2 seed with loss by 11 or fewer points. Tie for No. 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with Saratoga victory by 12 or more points.
Pine Bluffs: In. No. 3 seed with Lusk victory. No. 3 seed with Saratoga victory by 11 or fewer points. Tie for No. 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with Saratoga victory by 12 or more points.
Saratoga: In. Tie for No. 2-3-4 seeds (coin flip to break) with victory by 12 or more points. No. 4 seed with victory by 11 or fewer points. No. 4 seed with loss.
Lingle, Wright: Out.
Moorcroft: Ineligible.
In the case of a Saratoga victory against Lusk, which would prompt a tie for the No. 2, 3 and 4 seeds, the scoring differential tiebreaker kicks in. Saratoga has to win by 12 or more to tie the scoring differential and force a coin flip. A Saratoga victory by 11 or fewer means Lusk wins the score differential tiebreaker, with Pine Bluffs finishing third due to its head-to-head win against Saratoga.
Note: Updated 2:54 p.m. Saturday with clarification from WHSAA regarding conference standings and ineligible teams. Games against Moorcroft this year do NOT count toward conference standings, which created some different playoff scenarios than having the games count but having Moorcroft drop from the standings with regard to playoff eligibility. Apologies for the confusion.

Class 1A nine-man West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Riverside at Shoshoni.
Rocky Mountain: In. No. 1 seed.
Shoshoni: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss.
Riverside: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Wind River: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with Riverside victory. Out with Shoshoni victory.
Greybull: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with Shoshoni victory. Out with Riverside victory.
In the 3-4-out tiebreaker between Riverside, Wind River and Greybull, score differential would be used. Greybull finishes +11, Riverside -4 and Wind River -7. Greybull gets the third seed. Riverside then gets the fourth seed by virtue of its head-to-head victory over Wind River.

Class 1A six-man East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: None.
Kaycee: In. No. 1 seed.
Hulett: In. No. 2 seed.
Guernsey: In. No. 3 seed.
Hanna: In. No. 4 seed.
Midwest, NSI: Out.
A potential tiebreaker at 2-3 for the No. 3-4-out seeds exists between Hanna, Guernsey and NSI. However, Guernsey wins that tiebreaker with head-to-head victories against the other two. Even with a victory in Week 8, NSI loses both two-way and three-way ties for either third or fourth place with either Hanna or Guernsey due to head-to-head losses against both. There’s also potential for a tie for the No. 2-3-4 seeds with Hulett, Hanna and Guernsey, which Hulett wins due to head-to-head victories against both.
Note: These scenarios were updated at 2:02 p.m. Saturday to reflect the results of Saturday’s game.

Class 1A six-man West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Burlington at Encampment; Farson at Snake River.
Farson: In. No. 1 seed.
Meeteetse: In. No. 2 seed.
Encampment: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Farson victory. Out with loss and Snake River victory.
Snake River: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with victory and Burlington victory. No. 4 seed with Encampment victory, win or lose. Out with loss and Farson victory.
Burlington: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with victory and Farson victory. No. 4 seed with victory and Snake River victory. Out with loss.
Dubois, Ten Sleep: Out.
In the scenario where Burlington, Dubois and Snake River tie for the No. 4 seed with 2-4 records, Snake River would win the berth on score differential (Snake River +8, Burlington 0, Dubois -8).
In the scenario where Encampment, Snake River and Burlington tie for the 3-4-out positions with 3-3 records, Snake River would win the tiebreaker due to a victory against the highest-ranked non-tied team (Farson). Then Burlington takes the No. 4 seed due to the head-to-head victory against Encampment.
Note: These scenarios were updated at 4:47 p.m. Saturday to reflect the results of Saturday’s games.

–patrick

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