Newcastle has been playing football since 1920.

Never, in 92 years of playing the sport, had the Dogies accomplished what they did on Saturday.

For the first time, the Dogies have won a playoff game at home. And, boy, did they do it in style.

Newcastle thumped Thermopolis 28-0 on Saturday to give the Dogies just the second playoff victory in school history. And that’s why Newcastle’s victory on Saturday means so much: history. The Dogies had an all-time playoff record of 1-18 entering this year’s bracket, with the only victory coming in 1996 on the road against Kemmerer.

The other four times the Dogies has hosted playoff games, they had lost — 20-0 to Torrington in 1955, 27-7 to Torrington in 1957, 7-7 to Douglas in 1959 (Douglas won the game in a modified overtime) and 12-6 to Big Piney in 2006.

This victory wasn’t a fluke, either. The Dogies shut down Thermopolis, the two-time defending 2A champions, and kept them off the scoreboard. Newcastle has now won six of its past seven games, the lone loss a 33-14 road slip-up at Glenrock.

Yes, Newcastle now draws undefeated and top-ranked Lovell in the semifinals, and yes, Newcastle has to make the trip to Lovell for that game.

The Dogies of old might cringe at such a challenge. It’s clear the Dogies of 2011 relish it. After all, they’re doing things no other Newcastle team has ever done. Why stop now?

Second mad props to Buffalo, which made the more-than-400-mile trip to Afton and notched a 24-13 victory — something that is not easy to do. The math seemed to add up to a Braves victory: The distance between the communities, plus the home-field advantage Star Valley usually enjoys, plus the fact that Buffalo only got about 10 minutes’ worth of football in last week, should have equaled the end of Buffalo’s season. Instead, the Bison ignored the math and concentrated on the football. That, quite simply, was the difference.

That was all the Humble Pie for the first round of the playoffs, but that’s not all there is to talk about:

The best game of the first round may have been played in Cheyenne, where East beat Evanston 28-27 in overtime. East and Evanston have a deep postseason history the past few years, and East has been the one controlling the postseason matchups: The Thunderbirds ended the Red Devils’ season in 2006, 2007, 2010 and now, 2011. …

The East-Evanston game was actually the only one in the first round decided by fewer than 10 points. And only two road teams — Powell (correction: not Lander) and Buffalo — won. Aside from the Class 3A bracket, the hierarchy was well-established entering the first round of the playoffs. That stability was remarkably well-maintained in the first round. …

Six of the 10 matchups we will see in the semifinals are rematches of regular-season games. Games in 4A, 3A and 1A six-man are all rematches; games in 2A and 1A 11-man are all new to 2011. In all six cases, the team that is hosting in the semifinals won the regular-season game against the team it is facing. …

So what did you think of the first round of the playoffs? Any thoughts to share? Post them below and show off your knowledge to the rest of the state.

This week: 18-2 (90 percent). This season: 241-48 (83 percent).


Five questions worth asking before the quarterfinal round starts on Friday — and five questions I would love to see you answer in the comments section below:

1. Which road team do you think is most likely to win on Friday? (My answer: Thermopolis. After a rough start, the Bobcats have played very well — and Thermop is no stranger to winning in the postseason.)

2. Which road team in the first round has the best chance of hosting a game in the second round — or, in simpler terms, which bracket half is most likely to see BOTH road teams win? (My answer: Powell. The Panthers were solid, if unspectacular, all season long. They never got that true breakthrough victory. That might be coming against Lander on the road. Next to them on the bracket is Green River-Riverton, and although Green River is the prohibitive favorite, Riverton has given fits to enough good teams for them to be a threat in the 3A bracket, no matter their seed.)

3. Which top seed is likely to have the toughest time winning on Friday? (My answer: Lovell. I’ve mentioned before that Burns is playing really, really well right now. The Broncs will push the Bulldogs to their limits on Friday.)

4. Which regular-season rematch is the most intriguing game of the postseason? (My answer: Central-Gillette. Ha. I also said this in my 2010 quarterfinal picks post. … That said, Central beat Gillette 41-34 in the regular season, but only after the Indians almost gave away a huge lead in the second half. The Camels don’t want to fall that far behind to start; the Indians don’t want it to be as interesting as late as their last meeting was.)

5. If you could attend any of these 20 games, which one would you go to? (My answer: Thermopolis at Newcastle. Newcastle is hosting a playoff game for just the second time since 1960, and I am anticipating a loud crowd at Schoonmaker Field on Saturday. A playoff game has been a rare occurrence the Weston County seat, and with the game pushed back to Saturday to accommodate the 2A West play-in on Tuesday, everyone in Newcastle should be there taking in the contest. For a community that hasn’t had the chance to do that very often, it would be cool to see.)

A couple other random thoughts worth mentioning before I get into the picks:

In the 1A six-man bracket, three of the four games are matchups that did not occur during the regular season. In a classification where schools play eight of the nine opponents possible, the fact that three of the four first-round playoff games pit teams that haven’t played each other yet this season is really odd. …

I just realized no school that starts with a W has a team in the playoffs this year. Wheatland, Wind River, Worland, Wright and Wyoming Indian all missed the postseason this year. …

OK, onto the picks. Projected winners in bold, seeds in parentheses, series records — including 2011 games where applicable — at the end of each pick:

Class 4A

(8) Laramie at (1) Natrona: Natrona has been unbeatable all season long and pretty much dominated the Plainsmen the last time they saw each other. 7 p.m. (NC 44-34-1)
(5) Evanston at (4) Cheyenne East: Don’t know who to pick in this one, but I’ll take East because (1) the Thunderbirds are at home and (2) the T-Birds have already beaten Evanston once this season at home. Of course, we all remember what happened in last year’s East-Evanston playoff game…. Regular-season results don’t mean much. 6 p.m. (CE 15-9)
(6) Cheyenne Central at (3) Gillette: This may have been the worst possible draw for Gillette in the first round of the playoffs. The Indians have already beaten the Camels this season, so Central’s confidence won’t be a question. However, I think Gillette will make the right adjustments to not fall behind big early like they did in Cheyenne a few weeks ago. 7 p.m. (CC 24-22)
(7) Rock Springs at (2) Sheridan: Quite honestly, the most dangerous team in the bracket might be the Tigers because of just how unpredictable they can be. Don’t think that Sheridan isn’t aware of that. 6 p.m. (She 13-4-2)
Class 3A

(4W) Cody at (1E) Douglas: Douglas already has a victory over Cody this season. And it was pretty decisive. 7 p.m. (Dou 2-0)
(3E) Buffalo at (2W) Star Valley: This is one of the most intriguing games of any bracket. I’ve mentioned it on this blog before, but the difference in this game might be the fact that the Braves are playing in Afton, and they always seem to play better at home. 6 p.m. (Buf 3-2)
(3W) Powell at (2E) Lander: This may be the hardest game of the week to pick. I love what Lander has done this season and I think they’ve got a great shot to win at home. But there’s something about the Panthers that can’t let me give up on them yet. 6 p.m. (Pow 35-27)
(4E) Riverton at (1W) Green River: The Wolves are red hot right now. The Wolverines will be game but I don’t think anyone can stop Green River right now. 7 p.m. (GR 20-10)
Class 2A

(3E) Big Horn at (2W) Lyman: Don’t overlook the Eagles — they’ve quietly been one of the most consistent teams in the classification this year. 2 p.m. (First meeting)
(4E) Burns at (1W) Lovell: I mentioned this last week and I still think it’s true: The only team in the 2A bracket hotter than Burns is Lovell. 7 p.m. (Lov 1-0)
Class 1A 11-man

(4W) Shoshoni at (1E) Southeast: Both squads had fast starts to their seasons. The Cyclones’ finish has been a bit stronger than the Wranglers’, though. 6 p.m. (First meeting)
(3W) Saratoga at (2E) Lusk: The Tigers’ recent shutout streak has been impressive, but don’t overlook the fact that Lusk’s offense has averaged 40 points per game in that five-game stretch, too. 6 p.m. (Lus 8-2)
Class 1A six-man
(4S) Farson at (1N) Dubois: Dubois is a long ways from everywhere, so home-field advantage will definitely be a huge part of the Rams’ postseason success this year. 2 p.m. (Dub 4-0)
(3N) Ten Sleep at (2S) Midwest: The Pioneers have what it takes to push the Oilers a bit in this one, but Midwest’s offense has been on fire lately. 6 p.m. (TS 10-5)
(3S) Hanna at (2N) Kaycee: This is the only six-man playoff game that is a rematch of a regular-season meeting — and Kaycee won that game by 30. 1 p.m. (tied 1-1)
(4N) Hulett at (1S) Snake River: The real question in the six-man bracket this year is if any team can actually play a close game with the Rattlers. Noon. (First meeting)

Class 2A
(4W) Kemmerer at (1E) Glenrock: If the Herders have not yet recovered from their Burns hangover, the Rangers have what it takes to make this one close. 1 p.m. (Kem 6-4)
(3W) Thermopolis at (2E) Newcastle: Game of the week in the 2A bracket. Thermopolis’ postseason experience, coupled with the momentum built from Tuesday’s play-in victories, has me leaning toward the Bobcats. 1 p.m. (The 16-7)
Class 1A 11-man
(3E) Sundance at (2W) Riverside: This one may end up close, but the Rebels have shown all season long they know how to win the close ones. 1 p.m. (Rsd 1-0)
(4E) Lingle at (1W) Cokeville: Right now, the only ones that can stop the Panthers are the Panthers. 1 p.m. (Cok 5-1)

Thoughts? Want to try to answer the questions I posed above? Chip in your $.02 worth below.


This Tuesday, we will have two versions of one of the rarer happenings in Wyoming high school football — a triangular playoff. It has been 13 years since one has been played in the state (thanks mostly to power ratings dominating playoff qualification during that time), but the three-way playoff has been a part of Wyoming’s prep football scene for more than 75 years. Here is a quick look back at the state’s first 10 triangular playoffs:

Nov. 16, 1935: The first triangular tiebreaker was touted by the Laramie Republican-Boomerang as “the most unusual football game ever played in Wyoming.” With Casper, Cheyenne and Laramie all tied for the Southeast region’s playoff spot, the three teams met in Laramie to attempt to break the tie. Six quarters were played, with Natrona winning one of its halves, 7-0 over Cheyenne, and tying Laramie 6-6 in the other. Natrona’s spot in the playoffs was assured when Cheyenne beat Laramie 19-6 in their half of football. Natrona lost 19-7 to Rock Springs in the state semifinals the following week.

Oct. 30, 1953: The second three-way playoff pitted six-man teams Pinedale, Cokeville and Hanna, who had all tied for the Southwest region’s top spot and the league’s berth in the state playoffs. The three teams met in Rock Springs, and Cokeville ruled the day — the Panthers beat Hanna 27-6 in one half and Pinedale 14-6 in the other half. Pinedale beat Hanna 19-6 in its half of football. Cokeville lost 32-19 to Glenrock in the state semifinals the following week.

Oct. 29, 1985: It was 32 years before another triangular playoff was staged. This time, it was the Class 2A teams in the southeast corner that met for the league’s one spot in the playoffs. Lusk, Pine Bluffs and Seton had all tied for the conference title. Lusk eliminated Pine Bluffs by beating the Hornets 19-0 in the first half, but Seton was up to the task in the second half and shut out the Tigers 14-0 to advance to the playoffs. Seton beat Moorcroft 7-6 in the state semifinals before losing to Shoshoni 18-7 in the state championship.

Oct. 25, 1988: Three teams tied for the second seed from the 4A West Conference at the conclusion of the 1988 regular season. With just one spot available, those three teams — Evanston, Green River and Riverton — met in Rock Springs to settle their differences. Evanston won both halves, topping Riverton 6-3 and Green River 7-0 in overtime to advance into the playoffs. Once there, the Red Devils made the most of their second chance. Evanston beat Laramie 21-14 in the state semifinals before losing to Cheyenne Central 26-9 in the state championship.

Oct. 22, 1991: It was a big, muddled mess in the middle of the 2A Northeast Conference standings in 1991. Three teams were left chasing conference champion Moorcroft and couldn’t resolve their tie in the regular season. So Upton, Wright and Sundance met in Gillette to play for the league’s No. 2 seed. Upton beat Wright 7-0 in the first half, but fell 21-0 to Sundance in the second half. Sundance lost to Cokeville 32-8 in the state quarterfinals later that week.

Oct. 29, 1991: One week later, three more teams met on the same field to resolve the differences of another conference. This time, it was the 1A nine-man East that had trouble deciding its playoff representatives. The conference’s three members — Big Horn, Hulett and Midwest — had all gone 1-1 against each other. In the playoff, Hulett lost its two halves, 10-0 to Midwest and 22-0 to Big Horn. Midwest earned the higher seed in the playoffs by virtue of its regular-season victory over Big Horn. Both the Rams and the Oilers hashed out that discrepancy later in the playoff bracket: Midwest beat Burlington 8-0 and Big Horn beat Dubois 37-14 in the state semifinals later that week, and Midwest beat Big Horn 6-0 for the championship two weeks later.

Oct. 24, 1995: Three teams, Lander, Cody and Star Valley, tied for top honors in the 3A West in 1995, and with two playoff spots on the line, they met in Riverton to play a triangular. Lander eliminated Cody 13-10 in overtime in the first half, while Star Valley knocked off Lander in the second half to take the conference’s top seed. It was not the last time they met. Star Valley beat Torrington 13-7 and Lander beat Riverton 35-28 in the state semifinals later that week; Star Valley beat Lander 32-14 for the championship two weeks later.

Oct. 29, 1996: The following season, there was another tie atop a 3A conference. This time, the tie came in the East, where Douglas, Riverton and Torrington all tied for the top honors. Playing in Casper, Riverton eliminated Douglas by beating the Bearcats 19-6 in the first half; Torrington took the top seed by beating Riverton 12-6 in the second half. Torrington beat Cody 19-7 and Riverton lost to Star Valley 28-0 in the state semifinals later that week; Star Valley beat Torrington 35-0 for the championship.

Oct. 19, 1998: Three teams posted 1-2 conference records in the Class 1A-Division II Northeast Conference in 1998, setting up a three-way playoff in Gillette for the conference’s second seed in the playoffs. Hulett won both halves it played to take that honor, topping Big Horn 12-0 in the first half and Midwest 11-6 in the second half. Hulett lost to Southeast 56-8 in the state quarterfinals later that week. (I played for Midwest in this playoff.)

Oct. 18, 1999: It was a bit different one year later, when three teams in the Class 1A-Division I Northeast tied for the conference championship. With three teams tied for two playoff spots, Tongue River, Sundance and Moorcroft met in Gillette to break the tie. Tongue River won its two halves of football, beating Sundance 14-6 and Moorcroft 14-0, while Moorcroft beat Sundance 24-0 to earn the conference’s second seed. Tongue River beat Wind River 43-27 and Moorcroft lost to Rocky Mountain 35-20 in the state quarterfinals later that week; Tongue River lost to Lusk 49-7 the next week in the state semifinals.

The short history of triangular playoffs will be added to on Tuesday, when for the first time we will have two triangular playoffs on the same day. Thermopolis, Greybull and Kemmerer will meet at 6 p.m. in Riverton to break the tie for two remaining playoff spots out of the 2A West, while Lingle, Pine Bluffs and Sundance will meet at 6 p.m. in Douglas to play off for two playoff spots from the 1A 11-man East.

Love it or hate it, there’s no ignoring that three-way playoffs have influenced playoff brackets. We’ve even had two state champions emerge from such play-in contests — Midwest in 1991 and Star Valley in 1995. With four teams advancing from Tuesday’s contests, 2011’s playoff brackets may be the most ever influenced by the triangular play-in.


The Class 1A 11-man East Conference play-in contest has been moved from 6 p.m. to noon on Tuesday. The possibility of a snowstorm hitting the area has prompted the move. The contest will still take place in Douglas; the coin flip will take place at 10:30 a.m.

Lingle, Pine Bluffs and Sundance are playing for two playoff spots from the East.


The Class 2A West Conference play-in contest will be Tuesday in Riverton. The coin flip will be at 4:30 p.m. with the first half starting at 6 p.m.

Greybull, Kemmerer and Thermopolis are playing for two slots in the playoffs. The winner of the play-in will earn the No. 3 seed and go to Newcastle in the quarterfinals; the second-place team in the play-in earns the No. 4 seed and goes to Glenrock.


The Class 1A 11-man East Conference play-in contest will be Tuesday in Douglas. The coin flip will be at 5 p.m. with the first half starting at 6 p.m.

Pine Bluffs, Lingle and Sundance are playing for two slots in the playoffs. The winner of the play-in will earn the No. 3 seed and go to Riverside to play Basin in the quarterfinals; the second-place team in the play-in earns the No. 4 seed and goes to Cokeville.


So much of what happened in Week 8 was based in being unconfirmed or uncertain.

But we know this for sure: Kemmerer wants to keep playing.

How do we know? Well, look at the Rangers’ victory over Mountain View on Friday. Kemmerer won it 28-26, and coupled with a loss by Greybull and a victory by Thermopolis, ensured that the season will extend at least four more days.

That’s when the state’s first triangular playoff since 1999 will be staged between the Rangers, Greybull and Thermopolis, with two playoff spots up for grabs.

We know this much about that game after Friday: Don’t count out the Rangers. Since an embarrassing 42-6 loss to Thermopolis on Sept. 23, Kemmerer has been on a tear, winning three of its past four games (the only loss to top-ranked Lovell), including key victories over Greybull and Mountain View to keep its dwindling playoff hopes alive.

Those hopes are dwindling no more. If anything, Friday’s big victory will allow the Rangers to prove on the field they deserve to be playing postseason football. Really, that’s all any team ever wants.

That’s my ONLY slice of Humble Pie this week. That’s right — only one missed pick for yours truly. It ties my best regular-season showing ever, in seven years of doing picks.

But as I alluded to earlier, uncertainty ruled Week 8 this week in three ways.

First: Ten Sleep beat Hanna, we know that. What is uncertain is the final score. The final was widely reported as 86-55, but was posted to the WHSAA website as 85-66. No big deal, right? Well, it is, actually, since an 85-66 final would set the state record for most combined points in a game (151), while the 86-55 final would not. Late Friday, I also heard the final may have actually been 86-65. Three scores, one game. I mean, let’s be real. I know it was a lot of points, but didn’t anyone keep track correctly? If you know the REAL final, post a comment below or email me at

Second: Buffalo beat Rawlins 21-0. Sort of. The game was called off before the first quarter ended due to a power failure in Rawlins. As it is, it really doesn’t matter for playoff seeding, because Lander beat Riverton so Buffalo is the third seed no matter what (and Rawlins is out no matter what). No big deal, right? Well, it is, actually, since Rawlins is approaching the state record for consecutive losses, and Friday’s game was either the school’s 31st loss in a row, or the game was canceled and doesn’t count in the records — and the Outlaws are still sitting on 30.

That’s the difference, I suppose, between being a fan and being the self-appointed state record-keeper. D’oh! For some it’s no big deal; for me it is.

Now, third, onto uncertainty we can all agree upon: Uncertain playoff brackets AFTER the regular season has concluded. That’s just what happened in both the 2A West and 1A East conferences this year. In 2A, it’s aforementioned Kemmerer tying with Greybull and Thermopolis for the third and fourth seeds out of the conference; in 1A, it’s Lingle, Sundance and Pine Bluffs tying for the third and fourth playoff spots.

The triangular playoffs will be the 11th and 12th in state history, but each of the six teams participating can take a little comfort in knowing that two state championship teams emerged from similar playoffs in the past to win it all. (Which two? Well, check back in a couple days to this blog to find out as I give a refresher on the 10 triangular playoffs that have come before.)

Other stuff that caught my eye this week…

Lusk: Five shutouts in a row. My goodness. If the Tigers can get past Saratoga in the first round and Cokeville beats whichever team it ends up facing, the semifinal between these two teams could come down to which team scores first. 6-0 anyone? …

Speaking of shutouts and the 1A East, Pine Bluffs has four victories this season. They’re all by shutout. Basically, if you score against the Hornets, you’re gonna win. …

Most of the Week 8 games were blowouts. Only three games were decided by eight points or fewer: Natrona’s 41-34 victory over Gillette (and that game wasn’t even that close until the final three minutes or so), Lander’s 24-22 victory over Riverton and Kemmerer’s nailbiter over Mountain View. That might be unprecedented. I can’t remember a week with such a lack of close games. …

Five schools — Cheyenne South, Rawlins, Wright, Big Piney and Meeteetse — finished winless. Big Piney, at 0-8, finished with its first winless season since 1969. Rawlins’ losing streak, now at 30/31 games, is still the state’s longest; second is Meeteetse’s 13-game streak. … Conversely, four teams enter the playoffs unbeaten — Natrona, Lovell, Southeast and Snake River. Snake River’s 18-game winning streak is the longest active one in the state, while Natrona is second with 12 victories in a row. …

What caught your eye this week? Anything interesting you see coming down the pike for the playoffs next week? Thoughts on the regular season? Post them in the comments below.

(Clarifications: Buffalo-Rawlins was officially ruled a 21-0 final; Buffalo picks up the victory. Ten Sleep-Hanna final was 86-65.)

This week: 30-1 (97 percent). This season: 223-46 (83 percent).


Class 4A
(8) Laramie at (1) Natrona
(5) Evanston at (4) Cheyenne East
(6) Cheyenne Central at (3) Gillette
(7) Rock Springs at (2) Sheridan

Class 3A
(4W) Cody at (1E) Douglas
(3E) Buffalo at (2W) Star Valley
(3W) Powell at (2E) Lander
(4E) Riverton at (1W) Green River

Class 2A
(4W) Greybull/Thermopolis/Kemmerer at (1E) Glenrock
(3E) Big Horn at (2W) Lyman
(3W) Greybull/Thermopolis/Kemmerer at (2E) Newcastle
(4E) Burns at (1W) Lovell
A three-way playoff will be played to determine the third and fourth seeds. Date, time and location TBA, although tentatively scheduled for Tuesday.

Class 1A 11-man
(4W) Shoshoni at (1E) Southeast
(3E) Pine Bluffs/Lingle/Sundance at (2W) Riverside
(3W) Saratoga at (2E) Lusk
(4E) Pine Bluffs/Lingle/Sundance at (1W) Cokeville
A three-way playoff will be played to determine the third and fourth seeds. Date, time and location TBA, although tentatively scheduled for Tuesday.

Class 1A six-man
(4S) Farson at (1N) Dubois
(3N) Ten Sleep at (2S) Midwest
(3S) Hanna at (2N) Kaycee
(4N) Hulett at (1S) Snake River

Official brackets, with game dates and kickoff times, will be posted here once finalized by the WHSAA.


With Shoshoni’s victory over Wyoming Indian on Thursday night, the following playoff scenarios exist for the 1A West playoff seeding:

IF Burlington wins and Saratoga loses: Shoshoni is 3 seed, Burlington is 4 seed.

IF Burlington wins and Saratoga wins: Burlington is 3 seed, Saratoga is 4 seed.

IF Burlington loses, Saratoga loses and Wind River loses: Shoshoni is 3 seed, Burlington is 4 seed.

IF Burlington loses, Saratoga loses and Wind River wins: Shoshoni is 3 seed, Wind River is 4 seed.

IF Burlington loses and Saratoga wins: Saratoga is 3 seed, Shoshoni is 4 seed.

The scenarios for each team:

Shoshoni is in, unless Burlington and Saratoga both win.

Saratoga is in with a win, out with a loss.

Burlington is in with a win but can still qualify with a loss if Saratoga and Wind River lose, too.

Wind River only qualifies with a win and losses by both Saratoga and Burlington.


Technically, the playoffs start next week.

In reality, for four teams, the playoffs start Friday.

Worland, Cody, Meeteetse and Hulett all play unofficial play-in games in their final games of the regular season. The winner of Worland-Cody earns the No. 4 seed from the Class 3A West Conference and will travel to play Douglas in the first round; the winner of Meeteetse-Hulett earns the fourth seed from the Class 1A six-man North Conference and makes the trip to Baggs to play Snake River in that classification’s quarterfinal round.

Win, you keep playing next week. Lose, you don’t. Just like the playoffs. Simple as that.

Worland has to make the trip to Cody to play the Broncs; the game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Both squads have identical 1-4 conference records, having both beat Jackson, but Worland sports two more victories overall thanks to nonconference victories over Rawlins and Torrington. Cody, meanwhile, is just 1-7 this season after four nonconference losses and an 0-5 start to the season.

In six-man, Meeteetse makes the long trip across the northern half of the state to face Hulett in a 2 p.m. game. The two teams were rivals in the old nine-man league of the early 1990s — the Longhorns beat the Red Devils in the 1993 nine-man championship game — but they haven’t played each other since 1994. Both teams are winless in conference play, but Hulett has experienced the thrill of victory over three South Conference teams while Meeteetse is 0-7.

I’m keeping the picks simple here; I’m going with the home teams, Cody and Hulett.

And, just maybe, the winners of these two games will benefit in a way their first-round opponents can’t: They’ll already understand the feeling of what it really means to play in a playoff atmosphere. After all, that’s what this week basically is for these four teams.

(Cody leads Worland series 38-32-1; Meeteetse-Hulett series is tied 3-3.)

Here are the rest of this week’s picks, with projected winners in bold. If your computer can’t read bold type, you’ll just have to trust me (and you should probably buy a new computer):

Class 1A 11-man
Wyoming Indian at Shoshoni: The Wranglers have been swooning a bit as of late — losers of three of four — but they have the added push of wanting to get into the postseason playing in their favor. 6 p.m. (Sho 22-6-1)
Class 4A
Kelly Walsh at Cheyenne Central: KW will probably keep it close and interesting, but the Indians have too much firepower — and too much momentum from three straight solid victories. 6 p.m. (CC 22-15)
Laramie at Evanston: Just like the KW-Central game, this one pits one team trying to make the playoffs against one team that’s already guaranteed its place in the postseason. 7 p.m. (Lar 11-10)
Natrona at Gillette: It’s always — ALWAYS — tough for NC to win in Gillette. Mustangs haven’t won there since 2004. Don’t be surprised to see the Camels pull off the upset in this one, especially since both teams already have playoff seeds secured. I’m still picking NC, though…. 7 p.m. (NC 34-17)
Rock Springs at Cheyenne South: The quickly improving Tigers know if they win, they’re in. 7 p.m. (First meeting)
Sheridan at Cheyenne East: It’s a long trip and the T-Birds are a good team, but Sheridan has been on quite a roll lately. 6 p.m. (She 19-11)
Class 3A
Buffalo at Rawlins: I’ll be honest: When working through playoff scenarios earlier this week, I worked through all the scenarios where Buffalo lost. Then I realized that Buffalo was playing Rawlins and those scenarios were worthless. 6 p.m. (Buf 15-2-1)
Douglas at Torrington: The Bearcats already know their playoff seed, but they don’t want to lose any momentum in the final week of the regular season. 7 p.m. (Tor 54-26-2)
Jackson at Star Valley: How will the Braves respond to a difficult loss last week? That question, plus the rivalry game angle, makes this one a bit more unpredictable than you’d think. 7 p.m. (SV 59-14)
Powell at Green River: Both of these teams are playing at a really high level right now. Both teams are threats to win the state title. Both want home-field advantage in the first two rounds. Game of the week? Try game of the year. 7 p.m. (Pow 5-4)
Riverton at Lander: The Tigers have been one of the most pleasant surprise teams this season. They want to make sure to win the big one, though — the one the folks in Fremont County will be talking about all offseason, no matter what else happens the rest of the year. 6 p.m. (Riv 58-49-7)
Class 2A
Big Horn at Newcastle: This is a big one in terms of playoff positioning. The winner guarantees a home playoff game but, thanks to 2A’s parity, doesn’t guarantee an easier trip to Laramie. Taking the Dogies just because it’s a home game for them. 7 p.m. (BH 2-0)
Burns at Wright: Is there a hotter team in 2A right now than Burns? Other than maybe the Broncs’ first-round playoff opponent, Lovell, maybe not. 7 p.m. (Wri 11-7)
Greybull at Lyman: Oooohhh. Loving this matchup. Both teams would love to win this one to keep the momentum going into the playoffs. 3 p.m. (tied 5-5)
Lovell at Big Piney: These two teams have been experiencing long seasons in 2011 for completely different reasons. 3:30 p.m. (Lov 5-3)
Moorcroft at Glenrock: The Herders’ loss last week may just be the wake-up call they’ve been searching for. They are more dangerous now than ever before. 7 p.m. (Glk 11-7-1)
Mountain View at Kemmerer: Don’t overlook this game on your 2A schedule this week. It won’t mean much next week, but there is a lot of pride on the line and two good teams clashing that want to end the season right. 3 p.m. (MV 17-15)
Thermopolis at Pinedale: The Bobcats know they can’t afford a slip-up here. 7 p.m. (The 4-0)
Class 1A 11-man
Burlington at Cokeville: The Panthers of 2011 are looking a lot like the Panthers of 2010. And we all know how that turned out. 1 p.m. (Cok 10-1)
Lingle at Southeast: All season, it hasn’t mattered who Southeast lines up against. The Cyclones just win. 6 p.m. (SE 22-10)
Riverside at Wind River: The Cougars need a lot to go their way to make it into the postseason. The most critical is a win here. The problem is they’re playing a Riverside team that has won five in a row. 6 p.m. (Rsd 11-9)
Saratoga at Rocky Mountain: That is a really long trip, but the Panthers know what’s at stake: In every scenario, if Saratoga wins, it’s in the playoffs. 4 p.m. (RM 4-0)
Sundance at Normative Services: The Wolves’ last win came in 2009… over Sundance… in Sheridan… in the final game of the regular season. Tread carefully, Bulldogs. 7 p.m. (tie 1-1)
Upton at Lusk: Is consecutive shutout No. 5 within Lusk’s reach this week? 7 p.m. (Lus 9-5)
Class 1A six-man
Farson at Snake River: Both teams already have their postseason invitations set. That doesn’t mean they won’t take this one seriously. Noon. (SR 4-2)
Hanna at Ten Sleep: This one is an interesting showdown of the two No. 3 seeds in the postseason. It will be fun to see how the middle of the North stacks up against the middle of the South. 1 p.m. (Han 2-0)
Wheatland at Natrona JV: The 2011 season sort of spiraled away from the Bulldogs, but a victory here could be enough to point the program in the right direction for 2012. 5 p.m. (NA)
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at Guernsey: Since losing to Snake River, the Rams have won five in a row — by an average of 44 points per game. 2 p.m. (Gue 1-0)
Midwest at Kaycee: Speaking of North vs. South, here’s another one. The two No. 2 seeds in six-man face off in the final week of the regular season. Once again, it’ll be interesting here to see how two like seeds from the two conferences match up. 3 p.m. (Kay 3-1)
Open: Pine Bluffs

There it is. Those are my final picks for the 2011 regular season. What do you think? Feel free to post a comment below and we can start talking matchups this week, matchups next week, matchups you want to see in Laramie….


Post Navigation