In August, the WHSAA released new ADMs (enrollment numbers) to its member schools. The WHSAA will use those numbers to classify schools for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years; that discussion begins in earnest Tuesday when the WHSA Board of Directors meets in Casper for the first of its four quarterly meetings and ends in November when the structures are finalized at the second WHSAA board meeting.

It’s not that simple, though.

On its surface, reclassification is straightforward: Your enrollment, and the enrollment of the schools around you, set where your school will be classified. And yet, every reclassification cycle is divisive, usually (1) because the small schools feel slighted for having to play much larger schools even though they’re in the same classification, (2) because a school moving to a new classification harms an existing rivalry or (3) because conferences within the classifications struggle to represent the classification as a whole.

No matter how reclassification comes out, someone is upset.

But what if I told you that reclassification — and all the heartache and frustration that comes with it — isn’t necessary? The solution is so obvious I’m embarrassed I hadn’t already realized it:

Let’s eliminate enrollment differences altogether and make every high school in the state have the same enrollment.

Think about it — if every school had the same enrollment, theoretically, every school would have the same chance as every other one in the state, and wouldn’t have the “handicap” of a small enrollment or the “advantage” of a large number of students. You’d get to play schools that are nearly the exact same size, and they’d be close by.

Obviously, exact isn’t feasible. But we can get close. Here is how:

Let’s start with the math. With 71 high schools, and a total ADM of 26,812, Wyoming high schools have an average of 378 students per listed high school. That’s the number we’ll aim for with our new schools.

Geography will keep most schools from hitting 378 students exactly, but I think a 50-student leeway on either side (creating a 100-student range of 328 to 428 students per school) would be acceptable.

As we piece together both the geography of Wyoming and the target number of 378, a pattern emerges. Using geography and enrollment as our guides, we can establish 72 feasible high schools that hit the enrollment range of 328 and 428 — one more high school than the state has now, but close enough to work. Of those 72, 45 schools are within 50 students of our target number of 378, and 21 are within 10 students of 378. The smallest is 330.5, the largest 411.


Ranked by enrollment, the schools are:

North Big Horn (Powell, Rocky Mountain, Lovell): 2 schools at 411 students each
Green River: 2 schools at 408.25 students each
Gillette: 6 schools at 406.5 students each
Rock Springs/Farson: 4 schools at 402.5 students each
Riverton: 2 schools at 393.8 students each
Platte County (Wheatland, Guernsey-Sunrise, Glendo, Chugwater): 1 school at 393.5 students
Northeast Conglomerated (Hulett, Moorcroft, Sundance, Upton, Newcastle, Wright): 2 schools at 389.8 students each
Laramie County (Central, East, South, Burns, Pine Bluffs): 11 schools at 385 students each
Carbon County (Rawlins, Snake River, Encampment, Saratoga, Hanna): 2 schools at 380 students each
West Fremont (Lander, Wyoming Indian, Fort Washakie, Dubois): 2 schools at 376.1 students each
Sublette/South Lincoln (Pinedale, Big Piney, Kemmerer, Cokeville): 2 schools at 375.8 students each
Johnson County (Buffalo, Kaycee): 1 school at 375 students
Outer Sheridan (Big Horn, Tongue River, Arvada-Clearmont, NSI): 1 school at 371.5 students
Converse County (Douglas, Glenrock): 2 schools at 368.5 students each
Natrona County (Natrona, Kelly Walsh, Midwest): 10 schools at 364.1 students each
Star Valley: 2 schools at 358.5 students each
South Big Horn Basin (Worland, Thermopolis, Ten Sleep, Meeteetse): 2 schools at 353.75 students each
East Fremont (Wind River, Shoshoni, St. Stephens, Arapahoe): 1 school at 353 students
South Big Horn (Greybull, Riverside, Burlington): 1 school at 352.5 students
Goshen/Niobrara (Torrington, Lingle, Southeast, Lusk): 2 schools at 347.25 students each
Albany County (Laramie, Rock River): 3 schools at 341.2 students each
Sheridan: 3 schools at 338.7 students each
Jackson: 2 schools at 336.5 students each
Uinta County (Evanston, Mountain View, Lyman): 4 schools at 335.75 students each
Cody: 2 schools at 330.5 students each

And I put them in 16 conferences, of 4-5 schools apiece, for ease of state tournament qualifying… By conference, the schools would fit this way:

Northeast (4 schools): Northeast Conglomerated (2 schools), Gillette (2 schools)
Gillette (4): Gillette (4 schools)
Sheridan (4): Outer Sheridan (1 school), Sheridan (3 school)
Casper 1 (5): Natrona County (5 schools)
Casper 2 (5): Natrona County (5 schools)
Southeast (5): Converse (2 schools), Platte (1 school), Goshen/Niobrara (2 schools)
Cheyenne 1 (5): Laramie County (5 schools)
Cheyenne 2 (5): Laramie County (5 schools)
Laramie (4): Laramie County (1 school), Albany County (3 schools)
Southwest 1 (5): Carbon County (2 schools), Rock Springs (3 schools)
Southwest 2 (5): Rock Springs (1 school), Green River (2 schools), Sublette/South Lincoln (2 schools)
Uinta (4): Uinta County (4 schools)
West (4): Star Valley (2 schools), Jackson (2 schools)
Fremont (5): West Fremont (2 schools), Riverton (2 schools), East Fremont (1 school)
North Central (4): South Big Horn County (1 school), South BHB (2 schools), Johnson County (1 school)
Northwest (4): Cody (2 schools), North Big Horn County (2 schools)

This proposal is befitting of the “Equality State” in every sense of the word equality.

Think about it: No classifications means no reclassification problems. Travel is dramatically reduced. No more complaints about the big school/little school divide, especially the consistent cries we hear from the small schools in 4A and 3A. True state champions. Competitive balance. Schools that can sponsor every sport and give every student an equal chance to succeed.

This is what we want.


(Inspired by The United States Redrawn as Fifty States with Equal Population. And, obviously, Jonathan Swift.)


The Class 2A West Conference conversation has been dominated by two programs the past three years: Lovell and Lyman.

Mountain View has a chance to end that this week.

The Buffalos host Lovell on Friday in a game that, if the Buffalos have their way, will help usher in a new era for the 2A West hierarchy — or, if the Bulldogs have their way, a game that will help Lovell maintain the status quo it has helped establish.

Lovell is the known commodity. The Bulldogs won the 2A title in 2011, finished second to Lyman and 2012 and also tied for the conference crown in 2010 before falling to eventual state champ Thermopolis in the semifinals that year. Last week, the Bulldogs won their biggest game of the season — so far — by beating Lyman 32-26 in Lovell.

In the past couple years, that victory, even in Week 3, would have all but cemented a conference championship and home-field advantage in the playoffs.

But 2013 is different in the 2A West this year, thanks in large part to Mountain View.

The Buffs are the rising contenders. Last year, Mountain View notched its first winning season since 2006. With the bulk of their players returning, the Buffalos were the Class 2A preseason No. 1 — even with Lyman and Lovell lurking, two schools anchored by the support of three years of dominance.

This week, Lovell and Mountain View both come in on three-game winning streaks; together, they represent two-thirds of the undefeated teams in 2A West Conference play (surprising Thermopolis is also 2-0 in the conference standings).

One way or another, this game will either preserve or destroy the 2A West as we’ve come to know it the past three years.


The (unfortunate) record watch: If Tongue River loses today to Moorcroft, the Eagles will tie the state record for the longest home losing streak. Tongue River hasn’t won at home since beating Lusk 13-12 in the regular-season finale in 2007. Since then, the Eagles have lost 17 straight in Dayton, including two so far this season. TR has won three games in that span, but they’ve all been road victories. The existing state record of 18 consecutive home losses is held by two teams — Lander (1967-71) and Newcastle (1999-2004). Meanwhile, Saratoga holds the state home winless streak at 19, going 0-18-1 from 1965-70. More information about home and road winning and losing streaks is available here.


Other stuff I’m watching: In the 2A East, Burns-Newcastle pits another up-and-coming team against an established contender. It will be interesting to see if the Broncs can keep rolling. … Two of the best six-man teams in the state so far this year meet Friday when Meeteetse faces Dubois. Can the defending champ Rams stop the Longhorns’ high-powered offense? … Jackson has been one of the most intriguing teams in the state so far this year. We’ll see how legit the Broncs are after they face the Powell steamroller up in Park County, though. … Something amazing I discovered this week: Buffalo hasn’t started a season 0-4 since 1948. The Bison have to beat Douglas this week to avoid starting the 2013 season 0-4.


Here are my picks for the week, with the teams I think will win in bold:

Billings Senior, Mont., JV at Rocky Mountain
Class 4A
Cheyenne East at Kelly Walsh
Cheyenne South at Gillette
Laramie at Cheyenne Central
Natrona at Evanston
Rock Springs at Sheridan
Class 3A
Douglas at Buffalo
Green River at Cody
Jackson at Powell
Riverton at Rawlins
Star Valley at Worland
Torrington at Lander
Class 2A
Big Piney at Lyman
Burns at Newcastle
Glenrock at Wheatland
Kemmerer at Thermopolis
Lovell at Mountain View
Moorcroft at Tongue River
Pinedale at Greybull
Wright at Big Horn
Class 1A 11-man
Burlington at Upton-Sundance (at Sundance)
Lusk at Riverside
Pine Bluffs at Shoshoni
Wind River at Southeast
Class 1A six-man
Guernsey-Sunrise at Farson
Meeteetse at Dubois
Midwest at Hanna
St. Stephens at Snake River
Saratoga at Normative Services
Ten Sleep at Wyoming Indian
Class 1A 11-man
Cokeville at Lingle
Class 1A six-man
Hulett at Kaycee

For a full schedule including kick times, check out the 2013 schedule and results page.

Last week: 26-5 (84 percent). This season: 88-21 (81 percent).

The Week 4 slate has what appear to be a lot of straightforward games. But we all know it’s not that easy (especially in 2A). Who’s ready to pull an upset this week? Who am I overlooking? Post your thoughts below and let’s talk.


Todd Dayton, quite simply, IS Cokeville football.

Most people, including everyone who’s come through the Panther football program in the past three-plus decades, would have trouble envisioning the Panthers without Dayton in charge.

But is it possible that Dayton’s success — and, conversely, Cokeville’s rise as a dynasty spanning multiple decades — could have belonged to another program?

Chances are extremely good that Dayton never wanted any other coaching job other than the one he has now. The Cokeville ties are strong in the Dayton family, and the two are synonymous now. A Cokeville native who was 28 when he took over the Panther program, Dayton took over the program in 1980 and has since piled up an impressive resume — he’s coached more victories (272), more state championships (18) and more games (323) than any coach in state history, and his winning percentage of .842 (272-51) is the highest mark among Wyoming coaches with more than 50 victories. The only record he doesn’t have is total seasons; with 33 seasons coached (2013 is his 34th), Dayton is second only to John E. Deti, who coached 35 seasons (33 in Laramie and one each in Shoshoni and Meeteetse) and held every major coaching record in the state before Dayton came along.

However, consider this: In all, 19 Wyoming high school football programs hired new football coaches prior to the 1980 season. Some worked out well; some didn’t. Every single one of those 19 schools had the chance to hire Dayton. Only one of those 19 schools has won 18 state championships since 1980.

What’s amazing is that several southwestern schools (Evanston, Mountain View, Lyman and Cokeville’s south Lincoln County rival Kemmerer) also hired head coaches prior to 1980. How might Wyoming’s coaching landscape worked out differently if Dayton had decided to stay CLOSE to home rather than to stay AT home?

Hindsight is 20-20, of course, but to help put Dayton’s coaching career in perspective, let’s take a look at how the other 18 head coaching changes prior to the 1980 season worked out:

Burns: Hired Doug Samuels to replace Bob Brewington. Samuels lasted one year and went 2-5.

Evanston: Hired Kay Fackrell, who at the time was head coach in Lyman, to replace Larry Sanich. Fackrell became the winningest coach in Evanston history, going 92-65 in 18 years with the Red Devils, and won two state championships, including one in his final year of 1997. Fackrell remained Evanston’s AD for several more years after stepping down from the head football position.

Gillette: Hired Jim Galt to replace Jim Bujol. Galt went 7-11 in two years with the Camels.

Greybull: Hired Rick Case to take over for Mike Loose, who left to coach at Pine Bluffs. Case had the misfortune of bad timing, taking over a team in the midst of a horrendous losing streak, and he went 0-23 in his three years as head coach in Greybull.

Hulett: Hired Steve Bollenbach to replace Arlan Cloutier. Bollenbach went 0-7 in his only year with Hulett; the Red Devils played a JV schedule in 1981 and didn’t field a team in 1982. Bollenbach was at Hulett for several years as the wrestling coach, though.

Jackson: Hired Fred Staehr to take the place of Don Wadsworth. Staehr went 5-2 but only stayed one year in Jackson. He was the third in a string of years in which Jackson had four head coaches in four years (Lynn Williams in 1978, Wadsworth in 1979, Staehr in 1980 and Jim Rooks in 1981). Staehr wasn’t stopping over in Jackson, though; he was a teacher in the district for four decades.

Kemmerer: Hired Bob Bramlet away from Lingle to take over for Jim Keen, who left for Powell. Bramlet went 39-26 in eight years with the Rangers and went 3-2 against Cokeville and coach Dayton.

Lingle: Hired Roger Fuss for a second stint as coach after Bob Bramlet left for Kemmerer. Fuss was Lingle’s coach from 1970-74, going 20-22, and went 20-11 from 1980-83 in his four-year return stint; he’s tied for the lead with Ron Halley for being Lingle’s all-time winningest coach.

Lyman: Hired John Haning to take over for Kay Fackrell after Fackrell left for Evanston. Haning went 28-23 in six years with Lyman, including a state championship in 1982, but went 2-4 against Cokeville and coach Dayton. He later coached in Utah and is now the principal at Northridge High in Layton.

Moorcroft: Hired Carl Mirich to take over for Charles Cowan. This one worked out well, too: Mirich became by far Moorcroft’s winningest coach, going 110-83 in 23 years with the Wolves, including a state championship in 1996.

Mountain View: Hired Robert Thrasher to take over for Duane Franke. Thrasher was 0-7 in his only year as head coach; his last game was a 47-0 loss to Dayton’s Panthers.

North Big Horn: Made Michael Neville co-head coach with Steve Hutchinson, who was the sole head coach in 1979. The duo went 4-3 before the program reverted to one head coach in 1981 — and it was Gerry Christiansen, not Neville or Hutchinson, who took over as the top man after the one year of co-coaching.

Pine Bluffs: Hired Mike Loose from Greybull to replace Keith Kyser. Loose went 12-17 in four years with the Hornets.

Powell: Hired Jim Keen from Kemmerer to take over for Tom Shoemaker. Keen went 2-15 in two years with the Panthers; he later took over as head coach at Cheyenne East and later coached with his son Aaron in the college ranks.

Rawlins: Hired Bill Murray to take over for Al Morgan. Murray went 37-28 in seven years as head coach, including AA/4A runner-up finishes in 1982 and 1986. Murray was nearly as successful as Dayton in the long run, though, notching 207 victories in his career, most in Michigan.

Riverton: Hired Bob Miller to take over for Ken Boatwright. Miller was 3-6 in his only year with the Wolverines. Riverton had five head coaches in five years — Brent Engleright in 1977, Neil Mellilo in 1978, Boatwright in 1979, Miller in 1980 and Leland Smith in 1981.

Thermopolis: Hired Wayne Ward to take over for Bob Million. Ward went 8-32 in five years with the Bobcats but was a longtime teacher and coach in Thermopolis.

Wind River: Hired Chuck Gomendi to take over for Keith Mills. Gomendi had been coach in 1977-78 and Mills was coach for just one year in 1979. Gomendi returned in 1980 and led the team through 1983, going 14-28 in his six years total. Gomendi spend numerous years in the Wind River district coaching various sports.

(The University of Wyoming also had a new coach in 1980: Pat Dye. He only stayed a year in Laramie. Remember that? Yeah, me neither.)

It’s not fair to say each one of these schools had an equal chance of hiring Dayton, or that Dayton even considered any of them. But of all the coaching hires prior to the 1980 season — and, let’s face it, of all coaching hires in the state, ever — Dayton’s was by far the one that worked the best. Sort of makes you wonder how the 2013 hires will work out in 33 years….


Andy Ray is the new football coach at Ten Sleep. Ray took over prior to the start of the season for Jake Zent, who went 21-23 in six seasons as Ten Sleep’s head coach.

Ray was previously the head coach at Wind River, going 16-4 in 2008 and 2009.

For a full list of coaching changes in the state this year, click here.


Together, Gillette and Natrona have given us some amazing football games.

Since 1999, the two teams have played each other 22 times, including eight playoff games and three state championship games.

Not surprisingly, the two largest high schools in the state — by a wide margin, according to the WHSAA’s most recent release of enrollment numbers — have also been two of the most successful. In the past 15 years, the schools have combined to win eight state championships and have only had three losing seasons between them.

One team’s success always seems to come at the expense of the other. And for this series, the rule is simple: The home team wins.

In the past 22 games between the Camels and Mustangs, the home team is 18-3 (one neutral-site game). Natrona won home games in 1999 (twice), 2001, 2003 (twice), 2005, 2007, 2010 (twice) and 2012; Gillette won home games in 2000 (twice), 2001, 2002 (twice), 2006, 2008 and 2009.

Only on three occasions since 1999 has this rule been broken: Natrona won in Gillette in 2004 and 2011, while Gillette won in Casper in the 2007 playoffs.

In part, the home-field success speaks to the success of both teams. Often, they’re so even that where the game is played decides who wins. We saw this last year, didn’t we? The Mustangs nipped the Camels at home in a battle of unbeaten teams in the final week of the regular season. The two teams met three weeks later in the state championship game in Laramie and Natrona, buoyed by the confidence of their regular-season victory, steamrolled Gillette in the state title game.

This year, both the Camels and Mustangs are again among the best in Class 4A. They play each other Friday. The winner gains a precious foothold in an interesting 4A race.

And Natrona has home-field advantage this week.

As if we need to emphasize it again, we will, with one more odd piece of trivia: Gillette, despite all its recent success, hasn’t won in Casper during the regular season since 1997.

No matter the result, though, when Saturday morning rolls around and either the Camels or Mustangs have won, we won’t be able to help but think how the game might have been different if it had been played in Gillette instead of Casper.

History shows us it would have been.

What else I’m watching this week: Big Horn has to make the long trip to Burns in a key 2A East game. Burns has had a great start but to be taken as a serious contender for the 2A title, the Broncs have to win home games like this one. … Another big 3A East-West cross-conference rivalry week is highlighted by a couple interesting matchups: Star Valley-Douglas and Cody-Riverton. Both will be telling. … Saratoga-Midwest may be for the 1A six-man East title (although Hulett and Kaycee and Guernsey-Sunrise will have plenty to say about that). … Wyoming Indian and St. Stephens have a well-documented basketball rivalry. This may be the only time these two schools meet on a varsity gridiron, though. Forget the 0-2 records; this is a big one. … Lingle’s been easy to overlook, even at 2-0. The Doggers can make a huge statement this week against Lusk. … How did I get this far without mentioning this one: Lyman-Lovell? The 2A title game the past two years has involved these two schools. … Gillette-Natrona gets the nod this week, but another 4A game is just as big: East at Sheridan. They’re both undefeated.


Here are this week’s picks, with the teams I think will win in that more emphatic type:

Class 4A
Cheyenne Central at Rock Springs
Cheyenne East at Sheridan
Evanston at Laramie
Gillette at Natrona
Kelly Walsh at Cheyenne South
Class 3A
Buffalo at Green River
Cody at Riverton
Jackson at Lander
Powell at Torrington
Star Valley at Douglas
Worland at Rawlins
Class 2A
Big Horn at Burns
Big Piney at Mountain View
Greybull at Thermopolis
Lyman at Lovell
Newcastle at Moorcroft
Pinedale at Kemmerer
Tongue River at Glenrock
Wheatland at Wright
Class 1A 11-man
Cokeville at Wind River
Lingle at Lusk
Rocky Mountain at Riverside
Shoshoni at Burlington
Southeast at Pine Bluffs
Class 1A six-man
Hanna at Guernsey-Sunrise
Normative Services at Kaycee
Saratoga at Midwest
Snake River at Farson
Ten Sleep at Meeteetse
Wyoming Indian at St. Stephens
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at Hulett
Open: Upton-Sundance.

For a full schedule including kick times, check out the 2013 schedule and results page.

Last week: 28-4 (88 percent). This season: 62-16 (79 percent).

Now I turn the floor over to you. What games jump out to you? Which games do you want to watch? Post your thoughts below and let’s chat.


Several years ago, the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming digitized a large collection of photographs from the Ludwig-Svenson photography studio in Laramie.

More than 3,500 negatives from the studio were digitized. Many captured scenes and people from in and around Laramie. A few of those captured Laramie High and University High (later University Prep) sports teams, including team photos for numerous LHS and UHS football teams.

Photos cannot be posted on this website because of the AHC’s strict copyright guidelines, so instead I’ve linked to the photos on the AHC website.

Laramie High, 1919 team photo

Laramie High, 1920 team photo

Laramie High, 1920 or 1921 starting 11

Laramie High, 1922 team photo 1

Laramie High, 1922 team photo 2

Laramie High, 1922 starting 11

Laramie High, 1923 team photo 1

Laramie High, 1923 team photo 2

Laramie High, 1923 team photo 3

Laramie High, 1923 team photo 4

Laramie High, 1925 starting 11

Laramie High, 1925 team photo

Laramie High, 1927 team photo

Laramie High, 1927 starting 11

Laramie High, 1929 team photo 1

Laramie High, 1929 team photo 2

Laramie High, 1930 team photo

University Prep, 1920 team photo

University Prep, 1927 team photo

University Prep, 1929 team photo


The collection also captured team photos of nearly every team participating in the 1931 state basketball tournament, which was played at the University of Wyoming.

The 1931 state tournament was significant in several ways: it was the last tournament in Laramie before it moved to Casper for the 1932-37 tournaments; it was the last “all-comers” tournament (no regional or district tournaments were used prior to 1932, and teams “qualified” for state simply by coming to Laramie); and it was the only state tournament in Laramie that didn’t have an all-class finals champion (Cheyenne was declared champ by winning the Class A division).

In these team photos, note: the standard varsity size team was eight players, not 12 like today. Also note that jerseys don’t have numbers, at least on the front.

And, for perspective: A senior in 1931 would likely be either 99 or 100 years old now. Even the youngest person in these photos is probably at least 94 years old by now. If you know someone in one of these photos who is still alive, post a comment below!

Big Piney


Byron (BHB champs and sweet uniform logo)

Carpenter (Class D champs)

Cheyenne (Class A champs)


Cokeville (Class C champs)





Fort Laramie


Green River

Hanna (Class B champs)

Hawk Springs


Iowa Center





Rock River (was Rock River the “Pioneers” before it was the “Longhorns”?)



Superior (unofficial winners of the “best warmups”)

Upton (unofficial winners of “best jersey logo”)




The acquired collection also had several team photos from the 1923 state basketball tournament, also played in Laramie. Many teams had two photos: one in a standard style and one in a “rowboat” seating style.

Big Piney (standard) and Big Piney (rowboat)

Casper and Casper (two photos)

Cody (standard) and Cody (rowboat)

Evanston (standard) and Evanston (rowboat)

Laramie (state champs) and Laramie (with the trophies)


Worland (uncomfortable) and Worland (comfortable)


A few other basketball team pictures from various state tournaments and from University Prep in-season photos were also digitized:

Midwest 1925

Worland 1925 (state runners-up)

Glenrock 1929 (state runners-up; Class B champs)

Wheatland 1929 and again (two photos of the state champs)

University Prep 1931

University Prep 1932

University Prep 1936

University Prep 1937

University Prep 1938

University Prep 1939


The collection is also full of UW sports photos and, of course, photos from in and around Laramie. It’s worth your time to simply browse the collection of 3,650 photos or search for your favorite words… like “basketball” or “football.”


Midwest forfeited its Week 1 victory over Farson after the team used an ineligible player in the victory.

The Oilers beat the Pronghorns 61-21 on Saturday. The game is now listed as a 1-0 victory for Farson on the WHSAA scoreboard.

In an email sent to select media and forwarded to, WHSAA Associate Commissioner Trevor Wilson said Midwest made “an honest mistake” in playing the ineligible player.

Farson is now 1-0; Midwest is 0-1. The game will not affect conference standings, as Farson is in the Class 1A six-man West Conference and Midwest is in the East Conference.


If history is any indicator, the Class 1A 11-man champion will be decided Saturday in Cokeville.

This weekend, Cokeville hosts Southeast in what may be the biggest nonconference game the state will see this year.

After all, these two programs have faced each other 10 previous times; in every single case, the team that won that game also won a state championship that season.

This makes sense — each of the past 10 games have been playoff games. The Cyclones and Panthers played each other in championship games in 1980, 1999, 2003 and 2011; the other six meetings (1993, 1998, 2000, 2008, 2010, 2012) all came in the semifinal playoff round.

If that doesn’t persuade you, then how about this? The state’s all-time standings by winning percentage helps illustrate how momentous this game is. No two active programs are more successful than Cokeville and Southeast. The Panthers have won more than 72 percent of all their games in program history, the Cyclones almost 67 percent. They’ve combined to win 29 state championships, including one a year every year since 2006.

Both teams have put dents in each other’s records. The series is matched about as evenly as it can be: five victories for Cokeville, five for Southeast. Neither team has beat the other more than twice in a row. And home-field advantage has almost been nil; the home team has only won five of the nine games played in either Yoder or Cokeville (one meeting on neutral turf in Laramie).

For the first time on Saturday, the two programs separated by more than 400 miles but bonded by success will play in a regular-season game.

However, the two teams are meeting under unusual circumstances. They both lost last week — Cokeville to Mountain View, Southeast to Burns. That almost never happens — Week 1 of the 2013 season marked the first time since Week 2 of the 2004 season that Cokeville and Southeast lost in the same week. (That week, Southeast lost to Bridgeport, Neb., 21-20, and Cokeville lost to Big Piney 36-14.) Before that, the last time these two teams had lost in the same week was 1995.

One of these teams will start this season 0-2. For Cokeville, that hasn’t happened since 1987 — a year the Panthers won the state title. Last year, the Cyclones lost their first two — the first time that had happened since 1996 — but recovered to win the state title, in part thanks to beating Cokeville in the state semifinals.

The program’s successes have been bred by a pair of the state’s best coaches.

Among Wyoming coaches with at least 100 career victories, Cokeville coach Todd Dayton’s winning percentage (entering the season) of .842 was the best; Southeast coach Mark Bullington’s winning percentage of .810 ranked him second. Dayton is Wyoming’s all-time winningest coach; Bullington, with 18 fewer seasons as a head coach than Dayton, entered the season tied for third-most victories among active coaches and is in the top 20 all time.

tl;dr: The two best active programs in the state are playing on Saturday, facing each other in the regular season for the first time. You better pay attention.


What else I’m watching this week: Anyone else think Cody-Douglas could be one of the best games of the regular season? I’m curious to see how that one pans out. … Big Horn-Newcastle was one of the biggest games of the regular season a year ago. It doesn’t have the same hype this year (it’s too soon in the season for that), but it could have implications on playoff seeding that are just as big. … Don’t overlook this one: Upton-Sundance at Rocky Mountain. The game pits two 1A programs that beat 2A teams last week, and two programs eager to prove they belong in the same breath as Cokeville, Southeast and Lusk.


Here are this week’s picks, with the projected winners in a type that is, like, thicker than regular type:

Natrona JV at Wind River
Class 4A
Cheyenne East at Cheyenne South (moved from East)
Gillette at Cheyenne Central
Natrona at Laramie
Rock Springs at Kelly Walsh
Sheridan at Evanston
Class 3A
Cody at Douglas
Green River at Riverton
Lander at Star Valley
Powell at Buffalo
Rawlins at Jackson
Torrington at Worland
Class 2A
Big Horn at Newcastle
Burns at Wright
Kemmerer at Lyman
Lovell at Pinedale
Moorcroft at Glenrock
Mountain View at Greybull
Thermopolis at Big Piney
Wheatland at Tongue River
Class 1A 11-man
Lingle at Burlington
Riverside at Pine Bluffs
Shoshoni at Lusk
Upton-Sundance at Rocky Mountain
Class 1A six-man
Farson at Dubois
Guernsey-Sunrise at Hulett
Kaycee at Hanna
Wyoming Indian at Saratoga
Class 1A 11-man
Southeast at Cokeville
Class 1A six-man
Meeteetse at Snake River
Midwest at Normative Services
St. Stephens at Ten Sleep

For a full schedule including kick times, check out the 2013 schedule and results page.

Last week: 22-10 (69 percent). This season: 34-12 (74 percent).

What games are YOU keeping an eye on this week? Did I make any picks that you think are wrong? Post a comment below!


Dubois was awarded a forfeit victory over Normative Services last week after the Wolves and Rams failed to meet on the field.

The WHSAA scoreboard page reflects the Rams’ victory. Dubois AD Tina Baker verified via email on Monday the status of the Rams’ victory.

The game was initially canceled. Dubois was scheduled to scrimmage a team from Natrona on Saturday.

The game was the scheduled season opener for both teams, but was a nonconference game. Dubois, which went undefeated last year, is now 1-0. NSI is 0-1.

Dubois hosts Farson on Friday, while NSI hosts Midwest on Saturday.


One quick update: I have updated Manderson’s coach for 1970; it was Gary Sutherland. This one is significant to me because this was the most recent coach I didn’t have. Now, I have every coach from 1964 to the present — the last 50 years! Thanks to Dave Frahm for the help on this one.

To see the other coaches I’m missing, click here.


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