Colors: orange and black/black and yellow
Stadium: Viking Stadium
State championships: 2004, 2006 and 2009
Times worth remembering: Two time periods help define the Guernsey-Sunrise program. The Vikings were consistently one of the toughest teams in the southeast corner during the 1970s, putting together eight consecutive winning seasons from 1971-78. In that span, Guernsey-Sunrise went 55-17, including a stretch of 24-3 in the 1975, 1976 and 1977 seasons. Missing from that span, though, is a state title — Guernsey missed the playoffs in 1975, lost the title game in 1976 and lost in the semis in 1977. That’s why the Vikings’ recent streak of title game appearances — five in six years from 2002-07, including titles in 2004 and 2006, and an all-too-easy 9-0 season in 2009 that gave the school its first six-man state championship — represents the second golden era of Viking football.
Times worth forgetting: The time right before the Sunrise school closed in 1963 and right after represented the toughest time for the Longhorns/Vikings. Consecutive winless seasons in 1961 and 1962 for the Longhorns were followed up with one-win seasons in 1963 and 1964, the first two years of the Vikings.
Best team: From the two “golden eras” for Guernsey, two teams stand out, the squad from 1976 and the squad from 2004. The 1976 team led the B-C division with five first-team all-staters and had its only loss in the state title game; the 2004 team had seven first-team all-staters, lost in the regular season to Lingle but won the state championship by edging out Cokeville at Cokeville (this after beating Burlington on the final play of the game in the semis). Put them on the field at the same time, I think it’s a great game, but the 2004 team’s penchant for winning the big games gives them the edge.
Biggest win: The 2004 title game, bar none. The Vikings were big underdogs in the game against Cokeville, which had beaten Guernsey 54-0 in the 2002 title game and 52-0 in the 2001 quarterfinals. The momentum built from beating Burlington in the semifinals a week earlier on the road gave the Vikings the confidence, and a touchdown in the final two minutes from Nigel Bristow gave the Vikings the title. (The 2006 title game win, a 14-12 victory also over Cokeville at Cokeville, helped lend legitimacy to the Vikings’ title-game run, as well. But the 2004 game was the bigger win.)
Heartbreaker: The Vikings just couldn’t catch a break in the mid-1970s. In 1975, the top-ranked Vikings lost to third-ranked Saratoga, a team Guernsey-Sunrise beat 16-12 earlier in the season, 20-6 on the final day of the regular season. The loss kept the Vikings out of the playoffs. Then, a year later, the Vikings went 9-0 and reached the Class B state championship game, only to get thumped by Lyman 28-12.