Let me get this out of the way right now: I feel like a jerk for writing this post.
In general, I try to use this blog to highlight the good things happening in Wyoming high school sports — and, although all that surrounds high school sports is not all roses and unicorns, I try to bring attention to the negative only when I feel like it’s deserved.
That’s why I feel like a jerk, because Rawlins doesn’t deserve this.
Rawlins doesn’t deserve what’s happened to its football program. Specifically, the Outlaws don’t deserve to break the state record for consecutive losses, which they will do if they lose to Torrington at home on Friday. Generally, the program doesn’t deserve what has happened the past 12 years, or, really, the past 25-plus years.
Since winning the Class 3A championship in 2000, the Outlaws are 8-88. Spelled out, it looks more dramatic: eight victories, eighty-eight losses.
Only once since 2001 have the Outlaws won more than one game in a season; that came in 2008, when Rawlins went 2-7. The 2008 season also had one of Rawlins’ two playoff qualifications in this span, as the 2003 team, at 1-7 in the regular season, barely qualified for the playoffs and earned the right to be crushed in the first round of the postseason.
But the struggles on the Rawlins gridiron date to well before 2000. In fact, in the 13 years leading up to the title run in 2000, the Outlaws had just one winning season — and that came in 1999, the year prior to the Outlaws’ undefeated championship run. From 1987-2000, even including the 9-0 title season, the Outlaws were just 29-85.
What’s weird, though, is that Rawlins’ drop-off, minus the flare-up of the 2000 championship class, was incredibly quick and incredibly thorough, and it stunned a program that had been fairly successful prior to 1987. In fact, the Outlaws were the Class AA (big school) runners-up in 1986 and in 1982, as well, losing to Sheridan in the title game both times, both at home. The Outlaws also lost the 1974 Class AA title game at home to Cheyenne East.
Heading into the 1987 season opener, the Outlaws’ all-time record was 241 victories, 272 losses and 25 ties, a winning percentage of .471.
Heading into Friday’s game with Torrington, the Outlaws’ all-time record is 278 victories, 445 losses and 25 ties, a winning percentage of .388.
In case you’re counting (and I always am), over the past 25 and a half seasons, Rawlins has had 37 victories and 173 losses, a winning percentage of .176.
That includes 35 losses in a row, heading into Friday, tied for the state record and on the brink of breaking it.
And I feel like a jerk for pointing it out, because no one should have to go through that, or go through the scrutiny that comes with setting a “negative” state record.
So, to the Rawlins Outlaws, their coaches, their fans and their supporters: Sorry you have to go through this, and I apologize for piling on.
Like all streaks, this one, too, shall pass. And the unforgiving nature of the scoreboard demands that only one solution exists.
Here are the rest of my picks for the week. Projected winners are in bold. But, of course, I don’t mind being proven wrong.
Natrona JV at Lingle
Cheyenne East at Natrona
Evanston at Cheyenne South
Gillette at Sheridan
Kelly Walsh at Rock Springs
Laramie at Cheyenne Central
Buffalo at Riverton
Douglas at Lander
Green River at Worland
Jackson at Cody
Star Valley at Powell
Torrington at Rawlins
Big Piney at Kemmerer
Glenrock at Newcastle
Greybull at Lovell
Lyman at Thermopolis
Moorcroft at Burns
Pinedale at Mountain View
Tongue River at Wright
Wheatland at Big Horn
Class 1A 11-man
Burlington at Wyoming Indian
Normative Services at Southeast
Pine Bluffs at Lusk
Rocky Mountain at Cokeville
Saratoga at Wind River
Shoshoni at Riverside
Class 1A six-man
Midwest at Hulett
Hill City, S.D., at Upton-Sundance (at Sundance)
Class 1A six-man
Farson at Guernsey
Hanna at Snake River
Kaycee at Meeteetse
Ten Sleep at Dubois
Last week: 27-4 (87 percent) (doesn’t include the Upton-Sundance/Natrona JV game, which wasn’t on my schedule and no one in official capacity bothered to let me know the game was being played until after it was done, so I couldn’t include it). This season: 117-25 (82 percent).
What do you think about this week’s schedule? Any games you’re excited to see? Any upsets in the making? Post your thoughts below and we can chat about it.