Douglas-Buffalo (Buffalo Bulletin). … Douglas-Buffalo (Douglas Budget). … Powell-Jackson (Powell Tribune). … Laramie-Evanston (Uinta County Herald). … Lingle-Lusk, Torrington-Wheatland and Southeast-Pine Bluffs (Torrington Telegram). … Hanna-Kaycee preview (Rawlins Daily Times).


School: Big Horn
Nickname: Rams
Colors: maroon and yellow
Stadium: Dow Memorial Field
State championships: 1985, 2003 and 2004
Times worth remembering: Under Bobby St. John, the Rams of 2002-04 went to three consecutive state championship games. They won two, but more than that, they set a standard of excellence that the 21st-century teams have aspired to reach. Since ’04, the Rams have made it back to the title game two more times and have been perennial contenders in Class 2A.
Times worth forgetting: The Rams went five years without a win from 1959-63, going 0-26-2. The streak eventually reached 31 games — fourth-longest in state history — before Big Horn beat Ten Sleep 19-7 on Sept. 25, 1964. After that, the Rams promptly went 0-12-1 in their next 13 games.
Best team: What set the 1985 state championship team apart was its defense. That year, the Rams shut out their first five opponents and only gave up 35 points the entire season. Big Horn rode that defense to the Class 1A championship, winning three tight, critical games in a row (a 14-12 win over Midwest in the final week to make the playoffs, followed by a 21-3 win over Cokeville and a 7-6 victory over Wright in the postseason) to cap a 10-0 season and the school’s first championship.
Biggest win: Beating Lusk in the 2003 Class 2A title game officially completed Big Horn’s resurrection. Only a year before, the Tigers had thumped Big Horn 31-0 in the title game, but with a core of seniors surrounding some talented juniors, the Rams blew through the regular season with only one close game and rampaged the 2A playoff field, culminating with the win over the Tigers, the long-awaited championship and something else that came much later, but was certainly aided by that championship: the title of perennial contender.
Heartbreaker: St. John’s last game as coach of the Rams is one they’re still talking about in Wyoming’s football circles. The 2007 2A title game came down to the final moments, and Riverside snuck out a 21-20 victory after driving 99 yards on a late fourth-quarter drive, then cashing in a two-point conversion on a run by Chanse Darling.

I’ve corrected a couple of errors I had listed for Cheyenne Central. For 1993, the Indians went 3-5; I had them listed at 2-6. Also, in 1968, the Indians went 8-1; I had them listed at 7-2. The two wins have been added, the two losses subtracted, and all the updates have been made on all the relevant pages.


Green River-Natrona (Casper Star-Tribune). … Midwest taps inspiration from tragedy (CST via Billings Gazette). … Gillette-Sheridan (Gillette News-Record). … Worland-Star Valley and Thermopolis-Moorcroft (Northern Wyo Daily News, click today before it disappears).


Meet Rock Springs, your Class 4A favorites.

Meet Cheyenne East, the team that’ll play the Tigers in the 4A title game.

And meet Week 4 in Class 4A football, a perfect microcosm of the 2009 season in which anything is possible, no one is a favorite and all 10 teams in Wyoming’s big-school football division are legitimate threats to win a state championship.

Both Rock Springs and Cheyenne East won their first games of the season on Friday — Rock Springs by a 17-14 overtime tally over Kelly Walsh in Casper, East in a 21-14 victory over previously unbeaten and second-ranked Cheyenne Central in the Capital Bowl.

It’s a classification where no one is safe. Along with Central, the only other undefeated team in 4A, Gillette, lost on Friday. The Camels never got any offense going and lost at home for the first time since 2004 in a 23-14 loss to Sheridan in the Energy Bowl.

Meanwhile, the last two winless teams — East and Rock Springs — beat ranked opponents.

Don’t even try to compare scores in this division. It’ll make your head hurt.

Laramie beat Evanston 24-17 in overtime on Friday. Two weeks ago, Natrona beat Laramie 38-7 in Laramie. The week before that, Evanston beat Natrona 28-7 in Casper.

Sheridan beat Green River 34-21; Green River beat Kelly Walsh 27-20; Kelly Walsh beat Sheridan 42-20.

There are a ton more examples, but…. ow. I’m going to quit now.

What’s this all mean, then?

It means nothing in 4A can be classified as an upset.

It means no team can be considered the favorite.

It means no team can be counted out.

Nothing is surprising, nothing is shocking, nothing is unexpected and nothing is predictable.

Yours truly went 1-4 picking 4A games this week; I only missed the picks on two other games in the other four divisions combined.

Sheridan, Cheyenne East, Rock Springs and Laramie all earned mad props this week, and Natrona nearly made it 0-for-5 for me but came up just short in a 14-7 loss to Green River.

It’s an absolutely crazy year in 4A. You can’t read too much into any one game — because if you do, next week will throw your theories into a tailspin.

The best you can do is take it one week at a time, enjoy the ride and don’t let anything surprise you.

Just remember that when you’re watching Rock Springs and East play each other in the state championship game.

The other two teams to earn mad props this week were a pair of 1A teams: Riverside and Lingle.

Lingle earned mad props by topping Lusk 49-20 in yet another impressive offensive showing. The Doggers’ offense has been one of the most consistent in 1A — and that’s a good thing when you’re topping 40 points per game. I’ll cop to this: I was one of the four voters statewide to give Lingle a No. 1 vote in last week’s 1A-11 poll. And yet I picked Lusk. Either way, I thought this game would be closer than 49-20, and Lingle proved it deserved that No. 1 vote with its 29-point victory.

As for Riverside, the Rebels ratcheted up their defensive effort to beat Burlington 28-0 in a game that may well end up deciding a playoff spot. The game was likely for the No. 4 spot out of the 1A West — Cokeville, Wind River and Rocky Mountain are likely slotted for the top three spots, and Riverside’s win on Friday is a huge step forward to the No. 4 spot — or maybe something higher.

Other than that, I was perfect in my picks — got ’em all right in 3A, 2A and 1A-6 man. And in that, some other interesting stuff stood out:

The 2A West has clearly separated its haves from its have-nots. Four teams — Big Piney, Greybull, Lovell and Kemmerer — are unbeaten in conference play at 3-0. The other four — Pinedale, Lyman, Mountain View and Wyoming Indian — are all 0-3 in league action. The Greybull-Lovell game next week reigns as the biggest one in a division where the four playoff qualifiers might already be decided….

Midwest also took a big step forward to be the team to lose to Guernsey in the six-man championship game. The third-ranked Oilers beat second-ranked Hanna 32-20 in Midwest. Of course, the top-ranked Vikings still loom over the entire division; Guernsey won again on Friday, beating the Natrona freshmen and sophomores 59-19 to join Midwest at 4-0….

Who didn’t believe me when I said Torrington was for real? Torrington 40, Wheatland 6. That Week 8 game against Douglas just keeps getting bigger and bigger for the ‘Blazers, but Rawlins, Riverton and Buffalo would love to spoil Torrington’s success in the next three weeks…..

Don’t look now, but Powell is a dangerous team….

Rocky Mountain has played in nothing but shutouts — three victories to open the season, and last night’s 31-0 loss to Wind River….

Don’t forget about Cokeville. The Panthers have given up six points this season. Six. That is incredibly impressive for four weeks, no matter who the opponent is.

What caught your eye this week? Post a comment below and let’s talk.

This week: 25-6 (81 percent). This season: 114-27 (81 percent).

East-Central (Wyoming Tribune Eagle). … Sheridan-Gillette (Gillette News-Record). … Laramie-Evanston (Laramie Boomerang). … Saratoga-Dubois and Rawlins-Riverton (Rawlins Daily Times). … Scottsbluff Star-Herald roundup (includes Torrington-Wheatland, Southeast-Pine Bluffs, Tongue River-Burns, Guernsey-Natrona sophs). … Casper Star-Tribune roundup.


Kelly Walsh-Rock Springs preview, Natrona-Green River preview and Sheridan-Gillette/Central-East preview (Casper Star-Tribune). … Sheridan-Gillette preview, and cannon shoot becomes tradition at Gillette (Gillette News-Record). … Laramie-Evanston preview (Laramie Boomerang). … Rocky Mountain-Riverside and Burlington-Shoshoni (Basin Republican Rustler). … Wheatland-Worland (Platte County Record Times). … Lusk-Southeast (Lusk Herald). … Kemmerer-Pinedale (Kemmerer Gazette). … Guernsey-Hanna (Guernsey Gazette).


The Midwest Oilers were plenty motivated before last Thursday.

The guarantee of a playoff berth — and the desire for maybe even a playoff win, or even better, a chance to play in a state championship game — was motivation enough for the team with the state’s longest active playoff drought.

The Oilers won their first two games, beating the Natrona freshmen and sophomores 45-33 and Meeteetse 80-24.

Then, last Thursday happened.

Starting quarterback Taylor Weber was seriously injured in a car crash on Interstate 25. His mother, Retha, died in the crash.

Since then, there has been an outpouring of support for the Weber family. The Midwest community rallies when one of its own is in trouble — and that’s been the case this week.

In the Oilers’ 42-29 victory over Kaycee on Tuesday (a game pushed back from Friday because of the crash), the Midwest team saved a spot for Taylor on the bench.

oiler1cvPhoto courtesy Cathy VanNorman

The Oilers also broke out special helmet decals to keep Taylor and the Weber family close to their minds.

oiler2trPhoto courtesy Tandi Rinker

But time and football seasons continue. This Friday, the Oilers host Hanna in a game with huge 1A six-man East Conference race implications. A victory moves the Oilers to 2-0 in conference play and sets up a big game with top-ranked Guernsey on Oct. 15. Midwest has a great chance to be undefeated by the time it reaches that game in Week 7.

The Oilers haven’t had a 3-0 start to a season since 1991 — the last time the team made the playoffs. It just so happens that Midwest won the state championship in the 9-man division that season.

Midwest had been playing to erase that drought.

Now they’re playing for more than that — they’re playing for the honor of their teammate and his family.

When the Oilers take the field at 7 p.m. Friday against Hanna, that extra passion will show. And it will continue to show throughout the season.

Playing for your team is one thing; playing for something even bigger than even your team is another.

Unfortunately, death and tragedy have a way of inspiring people. The Oilers would gladly trade their extra motivation to bring their quarterback uninjured and to bring his mother back alive.

But the reality of the situation will inspire the Oilers in their first home game since the accident. I think Midwest wins on Friday — because this team is now bigger than the sum of its parts.

It has to be.

Here are my other picks for this week (oddly enough, all the games are on Friday this week), with the projected winning teams in bold and the projected non-winning teams biding their time to prove me wrong:

Class 4A
Cheyenne Central at Cheyenne East: Even though the Indians are 4-0 and the Thunderbirds are 0-4, this game will be closer than you think. Just as Gillette. 5 p.m.
Evanston at Laramie: Someone needs this game. Evanston has dropped a pair of rough games after beating Natrona in Week 1; Laramie has lost three in a row by a combined 105-14. I’ll give the nod to the Red Devils. 7 p.m.
Natrona County at Green River: I can’t quite tell whether the Mustangs will come off the Oil Bowl focused or distraught. Either way, though, drawing the Wolves on the road the week after a tough loss is an immense challenge to overcome. 7 p.m.
Rock Springs at Kelly Walsh: No one will be underestimating the Tigers from here on out, but a little post-Oil Bowl hangover might keep the Trojans from winning by more than a touchdown. 7 p.m.
Sheridan at Gillette: It’s hard for me to imagine the Energy Bowl having more hype around it than it did last year — but this year will probably top it. And the game should match the hype. It shapes up as a great game between two of the state’s best programs. 7 p.m.
Class 3A
Cody at Lander: The Broncs are still stinging a bit from last week’s tough loss, but I think that’ll just serve as motivation in the first week of conference play. I still like Lander, and I think the Tigers will keep it close…. 7 p.m.
Douglas at Buffalo: A rematch of last year’s 4A championship is still a critical conference game, even though some of the luster disappeared with Buffalo’s loss last week. It’s a shame this game is the league opener, though…. 7 p.m.
Jackson at Powell: Just in case you haven’t noticed, the Panthers have won three in a row. 6 p.m.
Riverton at Rawlins: A pair of teams with three-game losing streaks meet up in Carbon County — and your guess is as good as mine. Just based on the comparative scores, I think the Wolverines break their streak and add to the Outlaws’. 7 p.m.
Star Valley at Worland: Worland has been steadily improving every week. No reason for me to think that trend will stop now. 7 p.m.
Torrington at Wheatland: Succinctly: Torrington is for real. 7 p.m.
Class 2A
Big Horn at Glenrock: OK, I admit it — Big Horn has really impressed me the last couple weeks. I like what the Rams are doing. But, come on, this is Glenrock at home. The Herd has won 16 straight at the Rock and is 40-6 at home this century. 6 p.m.
Big Piney at Lyman: Lyman took a big step forward last week and got off the scoreboard schneid. If that improvement continues, the Eagles could pull off the upset… but I’ll stick with the “safe” pick here. 4 p.m.
Kemmerer at Wyoming Indian: Last two weeks: Kemmerer 116, Opponents 3. Ouch. 7 p.m.
Lovell at Mountain View: In case you’ve forgotten, Lovell is 3-0 and pretty good. As long as the Bulldogs can keep their focus on the improving Buffalos and not next week’s Buffaloes (Greybull), they have what it takes to go into the Bridger Valley and come away with a victory. 4 p.m.
Newcastle at Wright: I called for the Panthers to break into the win column last week. Didn’t happen. Now I’m thinking that maybe I was just a week off. 7 p.m.
Pinedale at Greybull: Greybull has the same problem as Lovell. If they can focus on the Wranglers and not look ahead to next week’s potential showdown of undefeateds, they’ll win. Otherwise, Pinedale has the talent it takes to make the Buffs pay. 6 p.m.
Thermopolis at Moorcroft: Potential game of the week material right here. Bobcats’ air game vs. Wolves’ ground game. Should be a great one — and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the victory go to either team. As for the pick, well, I went back to the old standby in my moments of indecision — I flipped a coin. 4 p.m.
Tongue River at Burns: I vow, at some point this season, I WILL correctly pick a Burns football game. Maybe this week. Maybe. 6 p.m.
(Random 2A note: If Greybull, Lovell, Kemmerer and Big Piney all win as predicted, the 2A West will have four teams at 3-0 and four teams at 0-3. Weird.)
Class 1A 11-man
Lingle at Lusk: Somewhere along the line, a disciplined defense will slow down the Doggers’ offense. Lusk has that. But if the Doggers win this one, watch out. There might not be a 1A team out there that can stop them if Lusk can’t. 7:30 p.m.
Normative Services at Hulett: The Wolves are in need of something positive, but it doesn’t look good — NSI’s month from you-know-where is coming up, and the Red Devils are ready to take out two weeks of frustration. 2 p.m.
Riverside at Burlington: If you’re looking for a great under-the-radar game, look here. This one has all the makings of a close, tense, exciting game. Call it 14-13ish. 3 p.m.
Rocky Mountain at Wind River: Granted, it’s only Week 4, but playoff implications are dripping all over this one. Both teams are 3-0 and want to keep that momentum rolling. It’s a critical two-week stretch for the Grizzlies, who host Cokeville next week. 6 p.m.
Saratoga at Dubois: It’s been a difficult three weeks for the Panthers and Rams, who have scored 14 points between them. Both teams would love to put a notch in that win column and try to turn the season around before it’s too late. 2 p.m.
Shoshoni at Cokeville: Cokeville 132, three opponents so far this season 6. The Panther Express keeps gaining momentum…. 1 p.m.
Southeast at Pine Bluffs: The Cyclones know how to bounce back — they haven’t lost two consecutive games in the same season since 2002. 7:30 p.m.
Sundance at Upton: The chase for a playoff spot gets immensely tougher for the squad that loses this game. It’s not a must-win, but… well, yeah, it is. 7 p.m.
Class 1A 6-man
Kaycee at Meeteetse: Two games in one week shouldn’t faze the Buckaroos. 2 p.m.
Ten Sleep at Farson: The Pioneers are now the team to beat in the 1A six-man West. Look for them to keep rolling. 3 p.m.
Natrona frosh-sophs at Guernsey: Speaking of rolling… do you think the Vikings can reach 100 points in a game this season? Maybe this week. 1 p.m.

Snake River has a bye this week.

So what’cha all think of those picks? Through the uprights? Wide left? Blocked by a 4-foot-11 freshman? Let me know what your picks are by posting your thoughts with a comment below.


Player profiles: Laramie’s Nathan Cowper (Laramie Boomerang) and East’s Jacob Edwards (Wyoming Tribune Eagle). … Powell-Buffalo (Buffalo Bulletin). … Green River-Evanston (Green River Star). … Sundance-Pine Bluffs (Sundance Times). … Torrington-Cody, Lusk-Southeast and Lingle-Hulett (Torrington Telegram). … Rawlins-Riverton preview (Rawlins Daily Times).


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