“Did you know that the Chinese use the same word for crisis as they do for opportunity?”
The crisis: Kemmerer’s losing streak is now reaching historic proportions.
The opportunity: On Friday, the Rangers can end the streak.
Kemmerer has now lost 34 consecutive games dating back to 2012. Only one streak — Rawlins’ 35-game losing streak from 2008-12 — is longer than the one the Rangers are on now.
A loss on Friday in Lovell assures Kemmerer of tying the ignominious record; a loss Friday coupled with a loss next week to Lyman would give the Rangers 36 consecutive losses, and the state record.
Not that they want it.
As I said with Rawlins in 2012, no school deserves this. However, Kemmerer’s streak is a bit more difficult to live through than Rawlins’ streak, particularly because the Rangers’ senior class faces the possibility of going all four years of their high school football careers without a single varsity victory.
Kemmerer went 0-8 in 2013, 0-8 in 2014, 0-8 in 2015 and, so far, 0-6 in 2016. (Add on four losses to close 2012, and that totals 34.)
Rawlins, even at the depths of its losing streak, never went four straight full seasons without a victory. And yet, Kemmerer — despite being on the brink of a state record — would not be the first Wyoming high school football team to go through a four-year winless streak, to graduate a class of seniors who never knew what a varsity gridiron victory feels like.
In fact, two Wyoming programs went five years without victories, graduating two consecutive classes of seniors who went without a W. The first to do so was Fort Washakie, which went from 1936-40 without a victory; however, the Indians greatly reduced the number of games per season after 1937. Fort Washakie went 0-7, 0-6-1, 0-2, 0-3-1 and 0-1, respectively, in those five years.
The other program to go five years without a victory was Big Horn, which went from 1959-63 without winning a game (0-5, 0-6, 0-4, 0-5, 0-6).
Four other programs at five other times have graduated a senior class without a victory. Chronologically, they were Sundance (0-7, 0-8, 0-6 and 0-6 from 1951-54), Hulett (0-8, 0-8, 0-8 and 0-7 from 1975-78), Wyoming Indian (0-7, 0-7, 0-7 and 0-7 from 1976-79) and Greybull, twice (0-8, 0-8, 0-7 and 0-8 from 1978-82; 0-7, 0-7, 0-7 and 0-7 from 1997-2000).
Hanna also went from 1993-96 without a victory, going 0-7 in 1994, 1995 and 1996, but the Miners did not field a team in 1993.
If Kemmerer is going to turn around its fortunes, it will need some help. Since 2013, every one of the Rangers’ losses has been by a double-digit margin. This season, Kemmerer’s closest game was a 34-0 loss to Mountain View. Kemmerer’s been outscored this season 275-13.
The “crisitunity” Kemmerer faces Friday against Lovell is the same one the Rangers have faced in every game the past 34 games.
Eventually, Kemmerer will win a game again, and this crisis will stop.
Until then, every new game is an opportunity.
Other games that deserve some extra-special attention this week:
Laramie has won four games in a row for the first time since 2000. Now, the Plainsmen host Gillette in what might be the biggest regular-season football game in Laramie since, oh… Who knows? I still think the Camels are the favorites — Gillette has won 18 straight true road games, one of the longer such streaks in state history — but Laramie is playing well and playing with confidence. …
Riverton can make a real mess of the 3A East if it can beat Douglas. The Wolverines have put up 49, 61 and 54 points their past three games; the Bearcats have given up 6, 6 and 0 points their past three games. Irresistible, immovable, etc. …
In the 3A West, four teams (Green River, Cody, Star Valley and Powell) are tied for first at 2-1. Green River plays at Cody this week. Frankly, I don’t see how this conference doesn’t end up, one way or another, with a shared conference title. …
The marquee game in 1A 11-man is Pine Bluffs at Tongue River. Both teams are looking sharp right now, and both are threats to play in Laramie. However, the winner of this game will be in much better shape to do so. …
The top of the 1A six-man West is unbelievably competitive: Farson, Burlington, Snake River and Meeteetse are a combined 21-4. This week, Burlington heads south to play Snake River in a game that could decide who has to hit the road in the first week of the playoffs and who stays home. Should be a good one in Baggs. …
The playoff implications are all over the place this week. They’re too numerous to mention right now. A full breakdown of playoff possibilities will be posted ahead of Week 8. I got you. In the meantime, here’s a quick glance at the top and bottom of the food chains:
Glenrock has already won the 2A East. This week, three squads could win the top seeds from their conference with victories: Douglas in the 3A East, Mountain View in the 2A West and Kaycee in the 1A six-man East. In addition, Gillette could wrap up 4A’s top seed with a victory and a Sheridan loss to Natrona; Shoshoni could win the 1A 11-man West with a victory and if Cokeville somehow loses to Wind River; and Farson could win the 1A six-man West with a victory and a Burlington victory against Snake River. The 3A West is the only conference that definitely will NOT have a clear-cut top seed after Week 7, no matter what happens.
Evanston, Rock River, Dubois and Ten Sleep have been eliminated from playoff contention; several more teams could be eliminated this week.
For the record: Kemmerer could still qualify for the playoffs. Opportunity…
This week’s picks, with projected winners in bold, as is tradition:
Cheyenne East at Evanston
Cheyenne South at Rock Springs
Gillette at Laramie
Kelly Walsh at Cheyenne Central
Sheridan at Natrona
Douglas at Riverton
Green River at Cody
Jackson at Powell
Lander at Rawlins
Star Valley at Worland
Torrington at Buffalo
Big Horn at Moorcroft
Big Piney at Mountain View
Glenrock at Lyman
Kemmerer at Lovell
Newcastle at Thermopolis
Pinedale at Greybull
Wheatland at Burns
Class 1A 11-man
Cokeville at Wind River
Pine Bluffs at Tongue River
Saratoga at Rocky Mountain
Southeast at Lusk
Upton-Sundance at Wright
Wyoming Indian at Shoshoni
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at St. Stephens
Farson at Riverside
Hulett at Lingle
Rock River at Guernsey-Sunrise
Class 1A six-man
Burlington at Snake River
Meeteetse at Ten Sleep
Midwest at Kaycee
Normative Services at Hanna
For a full schedule with kickoff times, click here.
I pick games every week. Then I record how many picks I get right and how many I get wrong. Here are those tallies from last week:
Last week: 26-6 (81 percent). This season: 161-44 (79 percent).
Now, I turn to you. Which teams are most likely to take advantage of their opportunities this week? Leave a comment and let’s talk!