Across the state this week, five games — one in each classification — will pair up teams who are still undefeated.
Four will be played. One will stay on the schedule, unplayed, a tantalizing “what-if” we can wonder about all year.
The 3-0 face-off between Class 4A’s two remaining undefeated teams, Thunder Basin and Cheyenne Central, will command a big chunk of the statewide attention this week, and rightly so.
These aren’t soft 3-0 starts, either: Central’s beaten both Natrona and Sheridan on the road and has a home victory against Kelly Walsh, while Thunder Basin topped preseason No. 1 Cheyenne East in the season opener in Gillette before beating Rock Springs and Cheyenne South.
In a season where home-field advantage means a little bit more, this game is crucial. It won’t make or break a season, but it may decide where the make-or-break game is played.
In Class 3A, though, the game between Powell (3-0) and Douglas (2-0), a combined 5-0, will remain unplayed, as Douglas works to keep its players safe. Maybe we’ll see this matchup again later this year. For now, it’s a tantalizing what-if, and for now, I’d rather see it stay that way.
Even though the 4A game gets top billing, and 3A will draw the wonder, the other classifications have games that are just as interesting:
Now that Big Horn has fallen off a bit, the Class 2A East game between Wheatland (3-0) and Upton-Sundance (2-0) on Friday in Upton looks mighty interesting. Keep in mind, though, that the opponents of the Patriots and Bulldogs are a combined 1-12 this season. …
Moorcroft and Lusk both got out to quick 2-0 starts, and I really want to see how they match up against each other in Niobrara County on Friday. Lusk has scored 122 points in its first two games, by far tops in Class 1A nine-man; Moorcroft has given up just 19, second only to Southeast in the classification. …
With both Encampment and Farson starting 2-0, Friday’s game between the two of the in Farson has all kinds of playoff implications for the Class 1A six-man West Conference. Yes, Meeteetse is also 2-0, and Burlington and Snake River are still in it, but this has all the earmarks of a game that could decide a conference championship. …
Quickly, other games that you should be watching: Natrona-Kelly Walsh (because the Oil Bowl is always fun, even if it’s normally one-sided); Lovell-Lyman (two teams with fast starts and high hopes need this one in a competitive 2A West); Burlington-Snake River (the loser starts 1A six-man West play 0-2, and neither expected, or wanted, that).
On to the picks. If you look closely, you’ll see I bold half the teams. Those are the teams I think will win. It’s apparently not self-explanatory, which is why I explain it every week.
Greybull at Sheridan JV
Natrona sophs/frosh at Midwest
Shoshoni at Evanston JV
Campbell County at Cheyenne South
Laramie at Cheyenne East
Natrona at Kelly Walsh
Sheridan at Rock Springs
Thunder Basin at Cheyenne Central
Cody at Buffalo
Evanston at Lander
Green River at Worland
Jackson at Riverton
Rawlins at Star Valley
Big Horn at Newcastle
Big Piney at Pinedale
Burns at Glenrock
Cokeville at Mountain View
Thermopolis at Kemmerer
Wheatland at Upton-Sundance
Class 1A nine-man
Lusk at Moorcroft
Riverside at Rocky Mountain
Saratoga at Pine Bluffs
Southeast at Wind River
Wright at Lingle
Class 1A six-man
Encampment at Farson
Meeteetse at Dubois
Lovell at Lyman
Torrington at Tongue River
Class 1A six-man
Burlington at Snake River
NSI at Ten Sleep
Cheyenne Central JV at Guernsey-Sunrise
Sheridan sophs at Kaycee
Open: Hanna, Hulett.
For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 3” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.
Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:
Last week: 24-11 (69 percent). This season: 64-19 (77 percent).
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