School: Cheyenne East
Nickname: Thunderbirds
Colors: powder blue and black
Stadium: Okie Blanchard Stadium
State championships: 1970, 1974 and 2007
Times worth remembering: In the three years from 2005-07, the Thunderbirds played in three consecutive Class 5A championship games, a run unmatched in school history. Each year was a bit different — the 2005 team was the favorite but lost to Central in the title game; the 2006 team won two straight games on the road in the playoffs before losing 16-14 to Gillette in the championship; the 2007 squad finally broke through and won the championship, capping the school’s most successful three-year stretch.
Times worth forgetting: For 14 seasons, from 1986-99, East never had a winning record. Twice in that span, in 1996 and again in 1999, the Thunderbirds went 0-8, losing the Class 4A consolation game, affectionately referred to as the “Toilet Bowl,” both times.
Best team: On records alone, the 1974 squad was East’s best, with a 9-1 final mark and the Class AA championship. The team’s only loss was a 9-7 defeat at the hands of Poudre, Colo. However, only three players from that team made the AA all-state team; Rawlins, which lost 14-0 to East in the AA title game, had eight players make all-state. Go figure.
Biggest win: Actually, three victories in October 1970 helped establish as East as a legit annual threat, something more than just an upstart program. In three weeks, the T-Birds won three conference games by three points apiece — 30-27 over Central, 10-7 over Natrona and 10-7 over Laramie — to earn the conference championship and a berth in the title game. The next week, East beat Thermopolis 35-15 in an anticlimactic title game, but the three narrow wins before that title game were the ones that really set up East’s first state championship.
Heartbreaker: The 2005 Class 5A title game is still a sore spot for some East fans. The T-Birds had one of the best teams in the state and had won eight in a row heading into the title game against Central — including a 31-7 victory over the Indians a few weeks prior to the championship game — but in the rain and muck in front of a huge Capital City crowd, East could never find its groove. Underdog Central won 27-14, leaving East wondering what happened.

Cheyenne East team page.

Quality, not quantity, has often been Cokeville’s calling card.

Only 18 players in uniform? No problem — if those 18 are quality 18.

Only two pass completions in a game? No problem — if those two completions are important.

Seven years without a championship? No problem — because, now, that’s where the streak stops.

And for the Panthers, their 18th state football championship was proof that it’s truly quality that counts.

With more players on the field than on the bench, the Panthers ran over, around and through the Lusk Tigers. Maybe even more critically, the Panthers stopped the Tigers from doing the same to them.

The effort on both offense and defense was exactly what Cokeville needed to break its long championship drought. Well, long for Cokeville. The Panthers had won 17 championships since 1978, but the Panthers had not hoisted the championship trophy since 2003 — an eternity in Cokeville. “Too long,” according to Cokeville coach Todd Dayton.

The mix of consistent offense and overpowering defense was too much for Lusk. It was too much for all of the Panthers’ opponents this season, actually.

The reward is a championship “too long” in the making.

Second mad props to Thermopolis, which blasted any memories of their regular-season meeting with Big Horn — a 42-7 loss — by beating the Rams 13-9 in the Laramie rematch. It’s the Bobcats’ second consecutive championship, and it came courtesy of just enough offense and a whole lot of defense.

The Rams kept threatening to break the game open, but instead had to settle for three Colby Wollenman field goals. But while the field goals gave the Rams the lead, they alone were not enough to keep that lead secure. And Thermopolis took advantage of the crack in the door and on their last drive, a 16-play, 75-yard drive that took almost six minutes to complete.

The difference is that Thermopolis completed the drive. Big Horn couldn’t do that all day long. Thermopolis only did twice, but that was enough to earn another championship trophy.

As for the other three teams to earn state championships this weekend in Laramie — Douglas, Natrona and Snake River — they all demonstrated exactly why their programs were the ones that each team in their respective classifications were trying to emulate all fall.

Douglas won its 31st consecutive game and third consecutive state title by rallying from an early 14-0 deficit to beat rival Buffalo 26-14. The Bearcats were calm and efficient even after falling behind early, and the defense put the clamps down hard on the Bison offense after giving up the two quick scores early. Field position came up big for the Bearcats’ two third-quarter scores, and from there the Bearcats just did what they had to do, what they always do, what is becoming tradition in Converse County.

Natrona capped the weekend of games by breaking open a tight game with Sheridan, scoring the game’s final 20 points in a 34-14 victory. What stuck out to me most in this game was Natrona’s third score, the one that broke the 14-14 tie. The Broncs had just made a long drive down the field and capped it with a touchdown. Then, on the first play from scrimmage on the Mustangs’ subsequent drive, Cole Montgomery found a seam in the pass defense, hauled in a pass from Jimmy Shellenberger and raced almost 70 yards. You could just see Sheridan sag after that; they had done all that work to get into a tie game, and then in one play the orange wave destroyed all that work. The game from that point on was all Mustangs.

And let’s not forget Snake River. The Rattlers capped an undefeated season by bowling over county rival Hanna 67-12 with surprising efficiency. After poking and prodding the Miners for the game’s first 10 minutes, the Rattlers exploded in the second and third quarters, scoring 49 points in those 20 minutes. Even in the world of six-man football, that sort of explosion just is not what you expect to see in a championship game. Hanna definitely didn’t expect it…. especially since the first game between these two teams was only decided by 16 points (50-34). The title game was different, though, and because of that efficiency, the Rattlers wrapped up their first state football championship in just the second year of the program’s resurrection.

So what were your favorite moments of the weekend? Or of this season? Post some of your thoughts below as we put the cap on the 2010 season.

This week: 3-2 (60 percent). This season: 241-54 (82 percent — my best in six years!). Six-year total: 1,342-398 (77 percent)


With Natrona and Sheridan facing off for the 4A title, I figured it would be appropriate that the trivia for this game would look back at the last time these two teams played each other for the title — 1996.

That year, Natrona beat Sheridan 7-0. The only score of the game came in the second quarter on a pass from one Natrona player to another. Can you tell me who scored Natrona’s touchdown? And, for a bonus point, can you tell me who threw the pass?

Guesses as comments, hints, etc., you know how this is done by now…


Cokeville and Lusk are squaring off for the 1A 11-man championship, so that must mean it’s time for some more trivia! Let’s stay on coaches.

OK, so if you follow the site at all, you know that Cokeville coach Todd Dayton is the winningest coach in Wyoming football history, with 252 victories entering today’s title game. My question: Which coach, since 1933, has piled up more LOSSES than any other coach in state history?

Post guesses as comments; each wrong guess earns a hint.


With Big Horn and Thermopolis facing off in about an hour and a half for the 2A championship, I’m ready to pose another trivia question… and this one is about the Rams’ history.

The Big Horn football program started in 1939 with Lee Straley as the coach. Straley coach the Rams in their first three seasons, but in 1942, Marvin Nottingham was named the program’s mentor. But there’s something unique about Nottingham. So I want you to fill in the blank for me: Marvin Nottingham is the only coach in Wyoming history to _____________________.

Post your guesses as comments below. For every wrong answer, I give a hint. Good luck….


Natrona resets mindset, Sheridan brings game changers, Douglas-Buffalo recap and sidebar, and Snake River-Hanna recap and sidebar (Casper Star-Tribune). … Gillette breaks records (Gillette News-Record). … Snake River-Hanna recap (Rawlins Times). … Douglas-Buffalo recap (Douglas Budget).


OK, with Buffalo and Douglas playing right now… trivia time! Back in 2008, these two teams played for the title as well, and in that game — won by Douglas 34-21 — a certain Douglas player scored three touchdowns. Who was that player?

Post your guesses here…


To keep you entertained while the football games keep ME entertained, I will be all over War Memorial Stadium this weekend. I’ll be joining the blog with my old employers at, so if you get a chance, stop by the live chat and say hi.

As for THIS blog, well… it’s trivia time. I’ll post one trivia question per game; winner(s) get bragging rights. Post your answers as comments to this post; for every wrong guess, I give a hint.

We’re about an hour and 45 minutes away from our first championship game of the weekend, the six-man title game between Hanna and Snake River. Both teams are from Carbon County, marking the fifth championship game in state history that has pitted two teams from the same county. My question: Name the other four games — the year, the classification and the two teams that played each other.

Let the guessing begin.