Colors: black and gold
Stadium: Panther Field at Battlecat Stadium
State championships: none
Times worth remembering: After some lean years in the 1990s, the Panthers got untracked in the 2000s, running off five straight winning seasons from 2002-06. The run was highlighted by a 9-1 season in 2004 — a season cut short by a 13-8 loss to Mountain View in the semifinals — and a 7-4 season in 2005 that was capped with an appearance in the 2A championship game.
Times worth forgetting: The ‘90s were not kind to Wright, which didn’t have a winning season for the entire decade. The problem came at the start of the decade — the Panthers went 0-8 in 1990 and 0-9 in 1991. In only one game in that stretch did the Panthers score more than 13 points in any game — and only twice did they hold their opponents to less than 14.
Best team: Although the final result of the season doesn’t really reflect it, the 2004 Panthers were probably the most talented bunch the Wright school has put on the field. The Panthers were unbeaten in the regular season; they shut out their first six opponents and outscored their opponents 274-26. Although a 13-8 loss to Mountain View cut Wright’s season short at 9-1, the Panthers put five players, all seniors, on the first-team all-state squad.
Biggest win: In 2005, the Panthers had to prove they belonged in 2A’s upper echelon — twice. The first chance came in the second week of the season, when Wright beat two-time defending champion Big Horn 7-0 in Wright. But not quite two months later, the same two teams met again, this time in Big Horn, with a spot in the championship game at stake. Once again, it was the Panthers that came out on top, upending the favored Rams 13-7 to make it to the state title game for only the second time in school history.
Heartbreaker: It really didn’t take long for Wright to get up to speed — in fact, in their first full season of varsity play in 1985, the Panthers made the 1A championship game. However, a fumble on Big Horn’s 2-yard line in the final two minutes snuffed out the Panthers’ comeback bid in a 7-6 loss to Big Horn. It took 20 years for Wright to make it back to the championship game again.
After putting it off and putting it off and putting it off, I finally got around to double-checking my records with those listed in the 1994 Shrine Bowl program. Not surprisingly, I came up with a ton of discrepancies — about 20 rows’ worth on college-ruled notebook paper. Most of them I’m pretty sure are errors on the Shrine Bowl program’s end, but double-checking did help me uncover a few places where I had miscounted season records. These corrections listed here aren’t corrections to any single game; they’re to season records, which I counted manually a couple years ago and botched in these cases. The corrections:
In 1982, Big Piney went 4-4, NOT 5-3
In 1980, Gillette went 5-4, NOT 4-5
In 1987, Douglas went 5-3, NOT 5-2
In 1962, Evanston went 6-3, NOT 5-4
In 1989, Green River went 5-4, NOT 6-3
In 1992, Kelly Walsh went 4-4, NOT 3-5
In 1993, Kelly Walsh went 3-5, NOT 2-6
In 1957, Kemmerer went 6-3, NOT 5-3
In 1954, Natrona went 5-4, NOT 4-5
In 1961, Natrona went 5-1-2, NOT 4-2-2
In 1977, Natrona went 6-3, NOT 7-2
In 1958, Lusk went 5-3, NOT 4-4
In 1990, Pine Bluffs went 7-2, NOT 6-3
In 1990, Riverside went 4-4, NOT 3-5
In 1984, Riverton went 5-4, NOT 6-3
In 1969, Shoshoni went 3-5, NOT 4-4
In 1991, Southeast went 2-5, NOT 3-4
In 1986, Tongue River went 2-6, NOT 3-5
These corrections have been posted on all the relevant pages.
Laramie’s first chance at hosting all five state football championship games went about as well as it could have.
Except for the weather.
There wasn’t much the University of Wyoming or the Wyoming High School Activities Association could do about the weather, which, right on cue, struck a mid-November tone. Snow covered the field, and it was deep. Really deep. Remnants from that snow are still hanging around War Memorial Stadium more than a week after the first kickoff.
Given the conditions, the two groups with the most influence (UW and the WHSAA) put on a pretty good show.
Although I haven’t heard a final count on the attendance, crowds were pretty good all weekend. Even if 4,000 or 5,000 people doesn’t look like many in a 30,000-seat stadium, it’s still a good crowd for a high school game. In fact, after the 1A 11-man championship — where the crowd was not very large considering the size of the stadium but huge considering it was a Class 1A game — Southeast coach Mark Bullington said he and his coaches weren’t ready for the noise in the stadium. Never mind what the crowd looked liked and accept it for what it was in all five cases: really good for a neutral-site high school game.
Across the board, players and coaches enjoyed the experience. I covered all five championship games and didn’t hear a single complaint from anyone on the field, even despite the weather. Players and coaches understood that there was only so much that could be done with the weather. It was unrealistic to expect those fields to be clear on Friday, not with how fast the snow was falling.
Of course, home-field advantage was one of the most cited reasons for not moving the games to Laramie. And since last Saturday, the most vocal complaints about the weekend came in two forms — about the weather and about the idea in and of itself.
Weather? OK, I understand the complaint. Laramie in November ain’t Honolulu. Nowhere in Wyoming is. Any of the games in the southeastern corner would have been struck with the same problems that Laramie was last week. Look at today’s weather: low 30s, clouds, but no snow. If you can predict the weather, go work for DayWeather and put your skills to better use.
As for the idea itself… I think it proved itself on Friday and Saturday. This is a good idea. There were no complaints — at least no public complaints — from any of the participants. The only complaints came from people on the fringes of this event, from people that don’t like driving, from people that don’t like brushing the snow off their own seats in the stadium, from people who don’t understand how cool it is for those players to step on the turf at War Memorial Stadium for a surreal experience.
Those who are still against it are nostalgic. And I understand that. I even empathize with it. State football championships are a special event, and it’s hard to let go of that.
The championships at the War do take away the opportunity for a special event at five other Wyoming towns. But those towns’ losses will be the state’s gain. Rather than being five small and separate events for those towns, the War provides a chance for one large event for the entire state.
Wyoming has been described as one small town with long streets. Let’s give the town of Wyoming something to make its own. In time, it will be more special than anything any one community could do.
CHEYENNE CENTRAL: Trevor Mordhorst, TE; Kyle Grott, WR; Levi Henrie, OL/DL; Michael Davis, RB; Hayden Jones, DE; Connor Long, DB; Matt Carver, LB; Josh Borm, K. CHEYENNE EAST: Jeremiah Hunter, WR; Jacob Edwards, DL. EVANSTON: Jose Campos, OL; Jeff Lee, KR. GILLETTE: Brek Carper, WR; Jordan Roberts, RB; Steven Turpin, DE; Cammryn Nelson, DB; Alex Coolidge, LB; Alan Sisel, at large. GREEN RIVER: Chris Andrews, OL; Colter Rood, RB; Drew Martinez, DB. KELLY WALSH: Malachi Bennett, TE; Noah Creel, OL/DL; Lucas Nolan, QB/DB; Thomas Manning, RB/P; Harrison Johnson, DE. LARAMIE: Luke Knapton, LB. ROCK SPRINGS: Clayton Holler, DL; Josh Ward, LB; Riley Yerkovich, at large. SHERIDAN: T.J. Stender, WR; Michael Leibrich, OL/DL; J.C. Hespe, OL; Austin Woodward, QB/P; Will Hendrickson, RB/DB; Devan Reilly, LB; Kody Williams, KR; Drew Slikker, K.
Lineman of the year: Levi Henrie, Cheyenne Central.
Offensive player of the year: Austin Woodward, Sheridan.
Defensive player of the year: Drew Martinez, Green River.
CHEYENNE CENTRAL: Josh Conine, OL; Connor Long, QB; Josh Borm, P/DB; Ryan Kuster, DL. CHEYENNE EAST: Michael Galacia, RB. EVANSTON: Jeff Lee, WR/DB; Jose Campos, DL. GILLETTE: Alex Coolidge, TE; Patrick Snead, OL/DE. GREEN RIVER: Zach Kennah, WR; Jade Bunderman, OL; Cooper Palmer, RB; Keenan Carroll, DE; Chris Andrews, DL; Colter Rood, LB; Tommy Thoman, at large. KELLY WALSH: Jacob Paulson, OL; Matt Brown, LB; Kyle Smith, LB/at large; Cameron Stanek, K. LARAMIE: Ben Farber, OL; Jon Sorenson, RB/at large; Tyler English, DL. NATRONA COUNTY: Kyle Vinich, WR; Taylor Villegas, WR; Cole Montgomery, RB/LB/at large; Steven Halsey, P; Paul Miller, DE; Jordan Dick, DB; Jed May, DL. ROCK SPRINGS: Zack Rosette, TE; Kason Twomey, OL; Wesley Padilla, QB; Luke Aust, RB; Riley Yerkovich, DB; Jazz Bozner, KR; Alec Lever, K. SHERIDAN: Kody Williams, DB; Austin Woodward, LB; Will Hendrickson, KR.
BUFFALO: Jace Jensen; Dave Long; Donny Scantling. CODY: Jeremy Tuten; Matt Frost; Stephen Petras; Sascha Hess; Brady Gulde; Travis Calkin. DOUGLAS: Pierre Etchemendy; Justin Melton; Quentin Kane; Colter McNare; Trent Boner; Dylan Klava; Hayden Barker; Tyler Crawford; Mitch Espeland; Paul Foy. JACKSON: Jack Maguire. LANDER: Hawk Cain; Garrett Irene; Jarrod Tammez. POWELL: Trent Gillett; Kyle Woodward. RIVERTON: Seth Hoskin; Kolby Smith. STAR VALLEY: Larry Chavez; Bill West; Alex Cooper; Mark Van Slyke. TORRINGTON: Mitch Schlager; Sam Branham. WHEATLAND: Quinn Zimmerman; Tyler Smart. WORLAND: Cody Smith; Robert Heyer; Steven Soderstrom; Matt Osbon.
East player of the year: Pierre Etchemendy, Douglas.
East coach of the year: Jay Rhoades, Douglas.
West player of the year: Cody Smith, Worland.
West coach of the year: Cris Williams, Cody.
BIG HORN: Colby Wollenman; Michael Klepperich; Cole Ponce. BIG PINEY: Boone Bowker; Ken Howard; Shane Copeland. BURNS: Frankie Vossler; J.T. Hirsig. GLENROCK: Dustin Worthington; Kyle Farley; Austin Smith; Cory Dewald; Colter Macormic; Troy Pinkerton. GREYBULL: Alex Aguilar; Chayce Goton; Clay Cundall; Austin Frazier. KEMMERER: Eric Robinson; Taylor Doherty; Cole Shimmin; Shane Corpening. LOVELL: Shane Dickerson; Tyler Anderson; Cris Davila. LYMAN: Blake Condos. MOORCROFT: Dee Jay Hacklin. MOUNTAIN VIEW: Wynston Anglen. NEWCASTLE: Derek Gregory. PINEDALE: Jake Brunette; Devin Call. THERMOPOLIS: Mitch Syverson; Colin Herold; Chris Leyba; Tanner Cornwell; Kyle Larson; Chris Ryan; Riley Sikes. TONGUE RIVER: Andrew Orchard. WRIGHT: Drew Hostetter; Ryan Haefele; Holden Fauber. WYOMING INDIAN: Dwight Timbana; Travis Harris.
Class 1A 11-man
BURLINGTON: Shawn Christiansen; Samuel Davidson. COKEVILLE: Beau Peterson; Chance Maddock; Kaden Thornock; McKay Tonga; Jordan Sparks; Hadley Harmon. HULETT: Leland Pfeifer, Dylan Bush. LINGLE: Dakota Forkner; Theron Hageman; Zack Ellis; Mike Hill; Jordan Mirich. LUSK: Lance Hladky; Ace Thurston. PINE BLUFFS: Chris Gorman; Blayne Gilbert. RIVERSIDE: Mike Herebia; Bobby Anderson. ROCKY MOUNTAIN: K.J. Blackburn; Casey Pickett. SARATOGA: Sam Gates. SOUTHEAST: Tanner May; Dane Hansen; Jake Foos; Blake Herbst; Zac Zimmerer; Andy Carpenter; Colby Sturgeon; Dyllon Nipper. SUNDANCE: Kirksey Dodd. WIND RIVER: Trent Jordan; Doug Jordan; Lex Leonhardt; Matt Smith; Kyle Thoman; Zane Debuse.
Offensive player of the year: Tanner May, Southeast.
Defensive player of the year: Dane Hansen, Southeast.
GUERNSEY: Kevin Boomhower, sr; Kyler Copsey, jr; Clay Cundall, sr; Troy Hunt, sr. HANNA: James Montez, sr; Jon Borah, sr; Morgan Dewitt, sr. KAYCEE: Shawn Straub, jr; James Caro, fr. MEETEETSE: Travis Guthurie, jr. MIDWEST: Kyle Redding, sr; Ty Fenster, so; Jacob Sanders, sr. SNAKE RIVER: Shawn Reitveld, jr. TEN SLEEP: Tony Villereal, jr; Scott Erdahl, jr.
Offensive Player of the Year: Kevin Boomhower, Guernsey.
Defensive Player of the Year: Kyle Redding, Midwest.
The Casper Star-Tribune announced its 19th annual Super 25 football team today on its Web site. You can check out the player biographies here; the live blog where the team members’ names were released is here.
The annual Super 25 special section will be inserted into Friday’s editions of the Star-Tribune, and it will include the second- and third-team Super 25s as well. Go get one.
This year’s first team Super 25 lineup:
Noah Creel, 6-5, 240, sr, OT/DT, Kelly Walsh
Clay Cundall, 6-1, 160, jr, QB/LB, Greybull
Michael Davis, 5-9, 170, sr, RB/DB, Cheyenne Central
Pierre Etchemendy, 6-1, 175, sr, TB/LB, Douglas
Dakota Forkner, 5-9, 155, sr, RB/S, Lingle
Kyle Grott, 6-2, 185, sr, WR/DB, Cheyenne Central
Will Hendrickson, 6-0, 165, sr, WR/DB, Sheridan
Levi Henrie, 6-1, 230, sr, OT/DT, Cheyenne Central
Quentin Kane, 6-0, 210, sr, OT/DT, Douglas
Chance Maddock, 5-6, 140, jr, RB/DB, Cokeville
Drew Martinez, 6-1, 170, sr, QB/S, Green River
Tanner May, 5-10, 155, sr, HB/DB, Southeast
Colter McNare, 5-11, 178, sr, RB/DE, Douglas
Lucas Nolan, 6-1, 170, sr, QB/DB, Kelly Walsh
Eric Robinson, 6-4, 235, sr, OL/DL, Kemmerer
Donny Scantling, 6-1, 255, sr, OL/DL, Buffalo
Alan Sisel, 6-2, 190, sr, QB, Gillette
Austin Smith, 5-7, 147, sr, RB/S, Glenrock
T.J. Stender, 6-3, 170, sr, WR/DB, Sheridan
Mitch Syverson, 6-1, 160, jr, QB/DB, Thermopolis
Steven Turpin, 6-5, 200, sr, WR/DE, Gillette
Jeremy Tuten, 5-11, 195, sr, HB/LB, Cody
Kody Williams, 6-0, 145, sr, WR/DB, Sheridan
Austin Woodward, 6-2, 210, sr, QB/LB, Sheridan
Dustin Worthington, 6-3, 178, sr, RB/LB, Glenrock
Site updates: Lyman, Dubois, Shoshoni, Burns, Saratoga, Hanna, Sundance, Meeteetse, Ten Sleep, Hulett
I’ll be posting my thoughts about the Laramie championship games sometime this week… I’m still wrapping my head around some of the implications of the weekend, but I hope to have that posted sometime soon.
In the meantime, I’ve been chipping away at doing some site updates, trying to knock some games off of the missing games list. A few were kayoed this week:
Found locations for the following games:
The Oct. 15, 1997, game between the Evanston JV and Lyman (at Lyman)
The Sept. 29, 1993, game between the Green River JV and Dubois (at Green River (date was also corrected from Sept. 30))
The Oct. 21, 1993, game between the Riverton JV and Shoshoni (at Shoshoni)
The Oct. 25, 1991, game between Burns and Saratoga (at Burns)
The Sept. 23, 1987, game between Hanna and the Saratoga JV (at Hanna)
The Oct. 7, 1980, game between Sundance and Hill City, S.D. (at Sundance)
The Oct. 19, 1979, game between Sundance and Edgemont, S.D. (at Sundance)
Found dates for the following games:
The Sept. 22, 2000, game between Meeteetse and Ten Sleep
The Sept. 3, 1993, game between Hulett and the Gillette JV
Anyway, those games have been updated on all the relevant pages.
Also, I’ve been looking at the records listed in the 1994 Shrine Bowl program (if you don’t know that story, click here) and double-checking them against what I have listed. I’ve found a few discrepancies and I’m trying to resolve those soon. As I make changes, I will post here.
That’s it for now. Now that the 2009 season is over, though, don’t put your thoughts on hold until next August… I’ll be posting information here throughout the winter, spring and summer, so keep coming back in the offseason.
School: Pine Bluffs
Colors: purple and yellow
Stadium: Carlstrum Field
State championships: None
Times worth remembering: The Hornets were a tough team to beat in the 1960s and early 1970s, going 11 years (1963-73) without a losing season. Pine Bluffs was a combined 55-29-4, including a school-best 7-1 season in 1963. That span also included two years in the Minuteman Conference in western Nebraska.
Times worth forgetting: The late 1990s were a time of constant rebuilding for the Hornets, who went a combined 7-27 from 1996-2000, including an 0-7 season in 1996. The problem wasn’t that the Hornets weren’t competitive — they were — they just couldn’t keep games close. Of those 27 losses, 22 were by at least 20 points.
Best team: By record alone, the 1963 Hornets were the best of the bunch. After losing to Glenrock 20-2 in the season opener, Pine Bluffs rattled off seven consecutive victories. The Hornets didn’t win their games by wide margins, but the offense was efficient with almost 27 points per game and four of the seven wins were by double digits.
Biggest win: Despite a 5-1 regular-season record, the Hornets had to go on the road for the first two rounds of the 1994 playoffs. After easily beating Moorcroft in the first round, the Hornets trekked to Byron to play highly rated and Northwest champion Rocky Mountain. The Hornets weren’t fazed, though — they controlled the game from beginning to end and earned a place in the state championship game with a 35-21 victory.
Heartbreaker: Just one week after the big win over Rocky Mountain, the Hornets experienced the other side of playoff football in a 17-8 loss to Cokeville in the 1A state championship — a game that started with senior Matt Davison being carted off the field in an ambulance and ended, more or less, with two devastating second-half turnovers. It was Pine Bluffs’ second championship-game loss to Cokeville in four years; the Hornets haven’t been back to a state championship game since.