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.

Thursday
Interclass
Greybull at Sheridan JV
Natrona sophs/frosh at Midwest
Shoshoni at Evanston JV
Friday
Class 4A
Campbell County at Cheyenne South
Laramie at Cheyenne East
Natrona at Kelly Walsh
Sheridan at Rock Springs
Thunder Basin at Cheyenne Central
Class 3A
Cody at Buffalo
Evanston at Lander
Green River at Worland
Jackson at Riverton
Rawlins at Star Valley
Class 2A
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
Saturday
Class 2A
Lovell at Lyman
Torrington at Tongue River
Class 1A six-man
Burlington at Snake River
NSI at Ten Sleep
Interclass
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). 

+++

Which game has you ready to snap on the chinstrap and go crazy? 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

Douglas and Powell will not play their scheduled game on Friday after two COVID-19 cases emerged in Douglas’ schools.

The story was first reported by Wyopreps.

The Douglas High School activities website noted the cancellation of Douglas’ varsity game with Powell as well as cancellations of a freshman game with Laramie on Thursday and a JV game with Riverton scheduled for Monday.

The Converse County School District No. 1 posted additional information on the cases on its website.

A release from the Converse County Emergency Management Agency said, as of Tuesday, the county has 28 active cases and 93 people under quarantine.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Wyoming Department of Health’s COVID-19 website listed 28 lab-confirmed cases, with 12 of those 28 being confirmed in the past 24 hours. As of Wednesday, the state was averaging just more than 38 new confirmed cases per day, using a 14-day average.

Powell Tribune reporter Carson Field reported Wednesday on Twitter that Douglas’ team had multiple cases.

UPDATE: Multiple players have tested positive on Douglas’ end, according to Powell AD Scott McKenzie, leading to the cancellation.— Carson Field (@CarsonDField) September 16, 2020

Douglas is 2-0, having defeated Torrington two weeks ago and Belle Fourche, S.D., last week. Powell is 3-0. The game will be listed as a no-contest cancellation, not as a forfeit.

This is the second time this season a Wyoming football game has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. A Week 1 game between Newcastle and Buffalo was also canceled after Newcastle players were exposed during a game against Hot Springs, S.D.

Wyoming Indian and St. Stephens had previously canceled their fall sports seasons due to COVID-19.

–patrick

Wyoming’s three longest active winning streaks entering the season are all kaput.

The state’s longest active winning streak came to an end on Friday, when Big Horn’s 22-game winning streak was halted by an emphatic 26-0 loss to Lovell.

The second-longest streak also ended, as Mountain View lost to Evanston 36-21 to end and 11-game streak.

The second-longest streak entering the season belonged to Star Valley, but that 21-game streak has given way to a losing streak. The Braves lost consecutive games to Summit Academy, Utah, and Preston, Idaho, to start 2020.

As far as the end of streaks goes, it’s no surprise to see these end when they did. When long winning streaks end in the regular season, almost half the time, they end in the first week.

Of Wyoming’s 32 unbeaten streaks that have reached at least 20 games, 13 ended with season-opening losses, including both Big Horn and Star Valley this year. For perspective, only four of those streaks ended in playoff losses; the 15 others ended in some other week in the regular season.

Now, the two teams with active double-digit winning streaks are trying to avoid the less-statistically-likely Week 2 trap.

Snake River, winners of 10 straight heading into the start of this season, beat Hanna last week to extend that streak to 11; Sheridan, with a 2-0 start, has won 10 straight games.

Sheridan has victories against Laramie and Cheyenne South to put the Broncs at 2-0, one of three teams in Class 4A who can claim that.

The hurdle for Sheridan this week is that another one of those 2-0 teams, Cheyenne Central, comes to Homer Scott Field on Friday.

Snake River has a different challenge — new Carbon County rival Encampment, which started its first varsity season since 1990 by beating Midwest by 60.

The challenges for Sheridan and Snake River are similar: keep winning, and do so against teams who appear ready for the challenge.

Fortunately for both the Broncs and the Rattlers, their biggest statistical challenge — the season opener — is behind them.

+++

Other games that are wetting my whistle:

Both Buffalo and Saratoga have season openers this week, so it’ll be interesting to see how those go. Buffalo and Newcastle didn’t get to play last week; conversely, Buffalo opens its season at Green River on Friday in what should be a close one. (Newcastle played in Week 0). Saratoga, meanwhile, had an open week last week, so the Panthers, too, are starting their season a week later than usual. They host Moorcroft on Saturday. …

The last time Lyman won in Cokeville was in 1985; the Panthers have won seven straight at home against the Eagles, including last year. As Class 2A West Conference foes for the first time since 1989, I’m curious to see how both teams handle the game differently. …

Will Wheatland-Big Horn be a changing of the guard in the 2A East? With the Rams’ loss last week and the Bulldogs’ fast start (2-0, 94-6 scoring margin), it’s possible. …

Jackson is now 2-0 against Idaho competition and faces another Gem State team this week in Pocatello — an opponent that figures to be a bit tougher than the others the Broncs have faced. But Jackson has looked sharp and could pull off another victory, especially at home. …

Two 1A six-man West Conference openers (between Encampment and Snake River, and between Farson and Burlington) will be huge for the early edge on home-field advantage in the playoffs. It won’t be decided by the end of Week 2, but we’ll look back in Week 8 to this week as the one that decided a lot. …

On to the picks. Bolded teams are the ones I think will win, but I like surprises, too. I don’t even shake my Christmas gifts before I open them, I like surprises that much.

Thursday
Interclass
Cheyenne Central JV at Rawlins
Friday
Class 4A
Cheyenne Central at Sheridan
Cheyenne East at Campbell County
Cheyenne South at Thunder Basin
Laramie at Natrona
Rock Springs at Kelly Walsh
Class 3A
Buffalo at Green River
Evanston at Riverton
Lander at Powell
Worland at Cody
Class 2A
Big Piney at Thermopolis
Glenrock at Torrington
Lyman at Cokeville
Mountain View at Lovell
Pinedale at Kemmerer
Tongue River at Burns
Upton-Sundance at Newcastle
Wheatland at Big Horn
Class 1A nine-man
Lingle at Southeast
Pine Bluffs at Lusk
Riverside at Wright
Rocky Mountain at Shoshoni
Wind River at Greybull
Class 1A six-man
Farson at Burlington
Interclass
Hulett vs. Sheridan JV
Interstate
Douglas at Belle Fourche, S.D.
Pocatello, Idaho, at Jackson
Star Valley at Sugar-Salem, Idaho
Saturday
Class 1A nine-man
Moorcroft at Saratoga
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at Midwest
Kaycee at NSI
Snake River at Encampment
Ten Sleep at Meeteetse
Interclass
Cheyenne South JV at Guernsey-Sunrise
Hanna at Natrona frosh

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 2” 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: 28-5 (85 percent). This season: 40-8 (83 percent). 

+++

Which Week 2 matchup has you shaking the package under the Christmas tree, trying to find out how it’s all going to turn out once you actually get to open it? 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

Buffalo and Newcastle will not play their scheduled game on Friday after Newcastle officials learned their players had been exposed to COVID-19 during the Dogies’ game last week.

A press release from Weston County School District No. 1 Superintendent Brad LaCroix said a player from Hot Springs, S.D., who played against Newcastle last week tested positive for the disease earlier this week.

The Dogies did not practice on Thursday, the release said, and one Newcastle player was put on COVID-19 testing protocol.

The release said no one on the Newcastle football team has yet tested positive for COVID-19. Schools remain open. Other activities will go on as scheduled.

“We suspended team activities immediately when a member of the team went into the protocol, and had hoped we would have information this morning from health officials that would allow us to life that suspension and play tonight’s game,” LaCroix said in the release. “We were able to buy a little time last night, but we simply had to make a ‘go’ or ‘no-go’ decision this morning. Without new information from health officials, we can’t justify lifting the suspension yet and sadly have to cancel tonight’s game out of caution. The health and well-being of our players and their families — both here and in Buffalo — has to be our first priority, and we just don’t have enough information at this time to go ahead and play tonight.”

The game was a nonconference game, with Buffalo in Class 3A and Newcastle in Class 2A. Previously, officials with the Wyoming High School Activities Association have said games lost to COVID-19 would be listed as no-contest games, not as forfeits.

Wyoming Indian and St. Stephens had previously canceled their fall sports seasons due to COVID-19.

This story was first reported by WyoPreps.

–patrick

The 2020 Wyoming high school football guide, previewing every active team in the state, is out!

Click here to read it.

Free print copies will be available in print at the locations of all the advertisers, hopefully within a few days (depending on how fast the mail can make it happen). Be sure to support the advertisers who are in the magazine — this can’t happen without them!

Also, a HUGE thanks to the publishers, CNS Inc., for putting it all together — they do they layout, sell the ads and handle distribution.

–patrick

A total of 23 Wyoming high school football games during the regular season match up teams from the same county.

Two of those games happen this week. By coincidence, both games involve defending state champions. The opponents of those defending champs, though, are on the schedule for significantly different reasons.

Of the two matchups, let’s start with the more traditional one. Snake River visits Hanna in a rematch of last year’s Class 1A six-man championship.

The Carbon County rivals were six-man’s two best teams last year, and both entered the title game undefeated — oddly enough, because they didn’t play in the regular season. Snake River won that game and the title. The rematch on Saturday won’t have the same drama as their last meeting, but it will help set the pace for the rest of six-man.

The other intra-county game happening this week hasn’t happened often. In fact, despite long histories, these two teams have only played each other twice before, in 1984 and 1985.

Those two teams are defending Class 2A champion Mountain View and winless-at-Class 3A last year Evanston.

It’s hard to know what to make of this game. Then again, it’s hard to know what to make of Mountain View this year, as the Buffalos lost a ton of seniors from last year’s championship squad.

Meanwhile, Evanston started slow last week in a 29-14 loss to Ben Lomond, Utah, losing its 12th game in a row dating back to 2018.

The only other times these two Uinta County programs faced each other came in heady days for both programs. In 1984, both teams reach their respective championship games — Mountain View winning 2A, Evanston losing 3A — and although they didn’t repeat that success in 1985, they did repeat the game, and both were competitive all season. Evanston won both games.

This time around might be a bit different, with the smaller Mountain View riding a wave of program momentum and Evanston trying to gain confidence.

And of those 23 intra-county games scheduled this season, the Evanston-Mountain View game is the only varsity-vs.-varsity game that has two teams from different classifications facing each other.

The little guy doesn’t get this intra-county chance again this season.

+++

Week 1 is always intriguing, because we learn so much about so many things. Every game will be fun to watch unfold. Regardless, these are the ones I’ll be watching with a more focused eye:

After losing to Wheatland in a Week 0 game last week, Rawlins plays Lyman this week in a game that will tell us a lot about the relative strengths of the two 2A conferences. …

I can’t shake the feeling that Pinedale-Glenrock could be one of the best games of the week. …

Every single 1A nine-man game will be fun to follow. With as much shake-up as there was last offseason — teams moving in and out, in addition to learning the nuances of the nine-man game — anything is possible. …

Dubois could be a breakthrough team in six-man this year. The opener with a veteran but shallow Kaycee team will be interesting to watch unfold.

+++

Now, for the picks. I put the teams I think are going to win in bold, but I think really hard before I do so. Or I flip a coin.

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

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 1” 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: 12-3 (80 percent). This season: 12-3 (80 percent). 

+++

Which matchup has you fired up for Week 1? 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

Cheyenne made up 50% of the teams in last year’s Class 4A semifinals.

If you believe what you read, there’s a good chance Cheyenne teams could make up 100% of the teams in this year’s 4A championship.

The Cheyenne hype train will leave the Capital City on Friday, bound for Casper and Gillette. Upstart Cheyenne Central will make its way to the Oil City to face Natrona; annual contender Cheyenne East moves through the Powder River Basin to play Thunder Basin.

Cheyenne victories here? Everyone’s chase goes through Laramie County.

Cheyenne losses here? The Thunderbirds and Indians are left doing the chasing.

These games will, one way or another, establish Class 4A’s hierarchy in the early goings of this season. A loss in the opener won’t make or break anyone’s season in 4A — Sheridan in 2009 won the 4A title after losing its opening game by 22, Gillette did the same in 2008 after losing its opener by 34, and Central did that in 2005 after falling by 38 to open its year. But, hey… no team since 2009 who’s lost its opener has won a 4A title, so there you go.

Their opponents are formidable. Natrona is always tough, with just one losing season since 1993. Thunder Basin was unbeaten until mid-November last year.

Barring anything catastrophic, the 2020 season will ultimately be decided in November. August, though, is a good time to set some expectations — and to make everyone else follow your lead.

+++

Other games I’m watching this (abbreviated) week:

Seven interstate games are on the docket for this week, and each one brings its own unique angle to it. I’m most interested to see how the 3A West does, as Jackson heads to Teton, Idaho, and Star Valley hosts Summit Academy, Utah. …

Although the nine-man super-jamboree has been canceled, we’ll still see some interesting nine-man scrimmages pop up this week. Two are in Casper — an extra treat for central Wyoming fans who just can’t get enough football.

+++

On to some picks, which I do weekly ’round these parts. Teams I think will win are in bold, because it’s the simplest way to show you, and I’m a simple guy.

Friday
Class 4A
Cheyenne Central at Natrona
Cheyenne East at Thunder Basin
Cheyenne South at Kelly Walsh
Laramie at Sheridan
Rock Springs at Campbell County
Class 3A
Riverton at Powell
Interclass
Natrona sophs at Glenrock
Rawlins at Wheatland
Interstate
Jackson at Teton, Idaho
Lead-Deadwood, S.D., at Upton-Sundance
Lyman at Malad, Idaho
Newcastle at Hot Springs, S.D.
Ben Lomond, Utah, at Evanston
Summit Academy, Utah, at Star Valley
Torrington at Gering, Neb.
Saturday
Class 2A
Tongue River at Lovell

The rest of the schedule is scrimmages and jamborees. No picks here, because no winners or losers here. But hey, it’s football, so everybody wins because it’s being played at all.
Friday
Big Piney, Cokeville at Kemmerer jamboree
Cody at Douglas
Dubois, Farson, Guernsey-Sunrise at Encampment jamboree
Lander at Pinedale
Lingle at Pine Bluffs
Mountain View at Green River
Saturday
Big Horn at Buffalo
Greybull vs. Lusk, at Casper (Kelly Walsh)
Kelly Walsh frosh/sophs at Midwest
Meeteetse at Cody JV
Moorcroft at Southeast
Shoshoni vs. Wright, at Casper (Natrona)
Thermopolis at Worland
Open: Burlington, Burns, Hanna, Hulett, Kaycee, NSI, Riverside, Rocky Mountain, Saratoga, Snake River, Ten Sleep, Wind River.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 0” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

+++

What game has you the most charged up for the opening of the 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

Some updates to the site:

I added a page for the annual award winners from the Wyoming Chapter of the National Football Foundation.

Some coaching updates:

Added Midwest’s coach for 1940; it was Henry Hartwell.

Also added the first name for Laramie’s coach in 1923; it was Stewart Clark. It’s the same Stewart Clark who later went on to be the basketball coach at UW later in the 1920s.

All the updates have been made on all the relevant pages.

–patrick

Fewer new coaches were hired in the 2020 offseason than in any season in more than 20 years.

With only seven new head coaches statewide — Kevin Cuthbertson at Green River, Joe Campbell at Midwest, Chase Kistler at Powell, Greg Mendenhall at Riverside, Troy Anderson at Riverton, Dane Weaver at Ten Sleep and Patrick Sweeney at Worland — Wyoming has fewer new head coaches than in any year since 1997.

In 1997, as well as in 1996 and 1985, only six new head coaches were hired statewide, although Wyoming did have fewer football programs at those times.

Since 1997, the number of new head football coaches statewide has varied between eight and 14 in any given year. There were 14 new head coaches prior to both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

–patrick

It’s impossible to talk about Class 4A football in Wyoming without talking about the influence of the Big Four.

Combined, the group of Sheridan, Natrona, Cheyenne East, and the unique circumstance of Gillette (up to 2016) and Thunder Basin (since 2017) have combined for 71 playoff victories since 2009.

The other 4A programs in Wyoming — Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne South, Kelly Walsh, Rock Springs and Laramie, and previously Evanston (left after 2016) and Green River (left after 2010) — have combined for six.

The stratification seemed to break a bit in 2019, as Cheyenne Central reached the semifinals while Natrona didn’t. Even so, two Big Four programs — Sheridan and Thunder Basin — met for the championship.

Sheridan won the big-school championship for the fourth time in five years, continuing the Big Four’s domination over the classification.

Central’s resurgence, though, is showing the path other 4A schools can take to challenge the supremacy of the programs that have dominated the goings-on for a decade.

Four questions to answer

Is the guard really changing in Class 4A? Yes, but don’t get too excited. Cheyenne Central — which hadn’t won a playoff game since 2009 prior to last year — will be the fifth team in the title chase, breaking up the “Big Four” of Cheyenne East, Thunder Basin, Sheridan and Natrona. And Rock Springs is hovering. However, there’s still a clear split between the top and the bottom of the classification.

Who’s going to win it all this year? Probably a team from Cheyenne. Both East and Central are absolutely loaded this year, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them play each other in a title game in November. That said, Sheridan can never be counted out, Thunder Basin will again be extremely talented, and Natrona lacks experience but has loads of tradition and depth.

Any hope for anyone else? Not really. I love what I saw from Rock Springs last year, and if they can turn close losses into close victories, the Tigers can be one of those teams other coaches hate to see on a schedule. Campbell County showed some spunk in the quarterfinals, too. And Laramie’s been the beneficiary of a transfer boom. All that said, a quarterfinal victory for anyone who’s not Thunder Basin, East, Central, Natrona or Sheridan would be a surprise. Central’s entry into this discussion is welcome surprise in a staid 4A, but a surprise nonetheless.

Really — nothing about Sheridan? OK, time for the Broncs to get their love. They deserve it. With four championships in five years, Sheridan can never be ruled out of a 4A championship chase. No program develops talent faster or more consistently than the one up north.

Four players to watch

Graedyn Buell, Cheyenne East. Buell did something pretty rare last year — he was named the Class 4A offensive player of the year as a junior. The stats back that choice, though. He led the entire state regardless of classification with 2,989 passing yards, completing 201 of 327 passes while sporting a 35-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Carter Lobatos, Cheyenne Central. No player in Wyoming will be a bigger threat on both offense and defense than Lobatos. He led the Indians’ rushing attack with 1,238 yards last year, and he also led Central’s defense with 127 tackles — second-best in 4A last year.

Jaxon Pikula, Thunder Basin. Pikula was a consistent threat out of Thunder Basin’s backfield, running for 1,189 yards and 16 touchdowns last year. He also caught 17 passes for 129 yards as part of a balanced ‘Bolts offense.

Andrew Johnson, Cheyenne Central. Johnson led Class 4A in receptions last year with 73 and was second in receiving yards with 994. But on defense, he finished with five interceptions and 10 pass deflections, numbers that no other returning player in 4A could match in 2019.

Four key games

Week 0 games, Aug. 28. The opening week of the season gives us two critical games that will go a long way in shaping this season’s 4A race — Central at Natrona and East at Thunder Basin. Both Cheyenne teams have high hopes, and if they can anchor those hopes to a 1-0 record, those hopes turn into expectations.

Thunder Basin at Rock Springs, Sept. 4. The Tigers could be 4A’s biggest surprise this year. All it would take is a couple attention-getting victories early in the season. Rock Springs has no better opportunity than this game against the ‘Bolts in Sweetwater County in the second game of the season.

Cheyenne East at Sheridan, Sept. 25. The Broncs have won the past seven games they’ve had with the Thunderbirds. East will need to find a way past Sheridan, at Homer Scott Field, to really show it belongs in the championship conversation.

Cheyenne East at Cheyenne Central, Oct. 9. The annual Capital Bowl takes on added fervor in 2020 with both teams trying to stake claims to the top spot in 4A. This might be the most critical rendition of the intra-city rivalry in more than a decade.

Predicted order of finish

Cheyenne East, Sheridan, Cheyenne Central, Thunder Basin, Natrona, Rock Springs, Laramie, Campbell County, Kelly Walsh, Cheyenne South.

Way-too-early title game score prediction

Cheyenne East 33, Sheridan 26. Class 4A will probably be (and normally is) the classification with the most variability between teams from the beginning to the end of a season. The game we see between them in September will probably be wildly different from any playoff rematch.

What do you think about 4A’s changes? Leave a comment, or drop a line on Twitter or Facebook.

–patrick