Ryan Utterback will be Worland’s new head coach, the Northern Wyoming Daily News reported.

Utterback replaces Todd Weber, who went 5-11 in his two years as head coach. Utterback is Worland’s seventh head coach in seven years, following Wade Sanford in 2011, Curt Mayer in 2012, Josh Garcia and Bryan Bailey in 2013, Thor Ware in 2014 and Weber in 2015 and 2016.

Utterback has been an assistant coach with the Warriors the past three seasons. Prior to that, he was the head coach at Shields Valley, Montana, for six seasons, from 2008-13.

Worland was 3-5 last season.

New coaches have also been named at LaramieThunder Basin, Jackson, Tongue River and Snake River this offseason. If you know of a program seeking a new coach, please comment below or email me: pschmiedt@yahoo.com.


When I lived in Fargo, North Dakota, from 2012-15, I got exposed to the Minnesota style of high school football playoffs.

They were unlike anything I’d ever heard of: Every team qualifies for the playoffs, and the playoffs are set in regions.

That means the first three rounds of playoffs are against the teams from your conference — usually teams you’ve played before.

Minnesota’s regions are divided pretty evenly, with most regions having six, seven or eight teams. The first two rounds of the playoffs are played in the same week — first-round games on Tuesday, second-round games on Saturday — and then the regional final, the section final, the semifinals and the championship game coming on successive Fridays (usually) after that.

That means the Minnesota high school playoffs are six rounds: three rounds of regional qualifying, three rounds of section-level and state-level finals. For example, here’s last year’s Class AA bracket.

I started to think what playoffs might look like in Wyoming under the same system. So… here’s what Wyoming’s 2016 playoffs would have looked like under a Minnesota-style playoff system where every team qualifies, and playoffs are in regions rather than statewide cross-bracketing:

Class 4A
First round
(10) Evanston at (7) Cheyenne East
(9) Cheyenne Central at (8) Cheyenne South
Second round
Central/South winner at (1) Gillette
(5) Natrona at (4) Kelly Walsh
(6) Laramie at (3) Rock Springs
Evanston/East winner at (2) Sheridan

Of course, there wouldn’t be any changes in 4A, except for the addition of a first-round game for the bottom four seeds.

Class 3A East
First round
(6) Buffalo at (3) Riverton
(5) Rawlins at (4) Lander
Second round
Buffalo/Riverton winner at (2) Torrington
Rawlins/Lander winner at (1) Douglas

Class 3A West
First round
(6) Jackson at (3) Green River
(5) Worland at (4) Cody
Second round
Jackson/Green River winner at (2) Star Valley
Worland/Cody winner at (1) Powell

In 3A, we definitely don’t get a Powell-Star Valley title game. That comes as a regional final rather than a state championship.

Class 2A East
First round
(7) Thermopolis at (2) Big Horn
(6) Burns at (3) Wheatland
(5) Moorcroft at (4) Newcastle
Second round
Thermopolis/Big Horn winner vs. Burns/Wheatland winner
Moorcroft/Newcastle winner vs (1) Glenrock

Class 2A West
First round
(7) Kemmerer at (2) Greybull
(6) Big Piney at (3) Pinedale
(5) Lovell at (4) Lyman
Second round
Kemmerer/Greybull winner vs. Big Piney/Pinedale winner
Lovell/Lyman winner at (1) Mountain View

In 2A last year, we ended up with an East vs. West title game. Would we see the same in a different qualifying path, though?

Class 1A 11-man East
First round
(6) Lusk at (3) Pine Bluffs
(5) Wright at (4) Southeast
Second round
Lusk/Pine Bluffs winner at (2) Tongue River
Wright/Southeast winner at (1) Upton-Sundance

Class 1A 11-man West
First round
(6) Wyoming Indian at (3) Cokeville
(5) Wind River at (4) Saratoga
Second round
Wyoming Indian/Cokeville winner at (2) Rocky Mountain
Wind River/Saratoga winner at (1) Shoshoni

Obviously, in 1A 11-man, we don’t get a Pine Bluffs-Tongue River title game. At best, that’s a second-round game. At worst, neither one of those teams even makes it to Laramie.

Class 1A six-man East
First round
(7) Rock River at (2) Guernsey-Sunrise
(6) Hulett at (3) Midwest
(5) NSI at (4) Hanna
Second round
Rock River/Guernsey-Sunrise winner vs. Hulett/Midwest winner
NSI/Hanna winner at (1) Kaycee

Class 1A six-man West
First round
(7) Ten Sleep at (2) Meeteetse
(6) St. Stephens at (3) Snake River
(5) Dubois at (4) Burlington
Second round
Ten Sleep/Meeteetse winner vs. St. Stephens/Snake River winner
Dubois/Burlington winner at (1) Farson

And, in 1A six-man, both top seeds advanced. These brackets were drawn up eliminating Riverside and Lingle.

Would a Minnesota-style playoff qualifying system work for Wyoming? Post your thoughts and let’s walk through what would work and what wouldn’t about this system being applied in the Equality State.


Thanks to some digging into Idaho newspapers at newspaperarchive.com, I’ve made the following updates:

Added the result of Jackson’s 39-13 victory against Montpelier, Idaho, on Oct. 27, 1967.

Added the result of Star Valley’s 13-7 loss to Montpelier, Idaho, on Oct. 30, 1936.

Added the result of Star Valley’s 28-6 loss to Montpelier, Idaho, on Sept. 24, 1931.

Noted that the scheduled game between Kemmerer and Montpelier, Idaho, on Nov. 15, 1929, was not played; Montpelier played Malad, Idaho, on Nov. 11 of that year and had a game scheduled with Idaho Falls for Nov. 18, and no indication of any game with Kemmerer was noted for Nov. 15.

All relevant pages have been updated with the new info.


More than a million yards from scrimmage have been gained in 11-man football in Wyoming since 2009.

But how many of those were through the air? And how many were on the ground?

And which teams were the best at what they do?

An analysis of statistics from 2009 to 2016 shows certain teams have varied only slightly in their attacks the past eight seasons, while others have completely changed their approaches based on the talent of the players or the philosophies of coaches.


A cloud of dust (or black rubber): The best at the running game

In 2016, the trend was clear: Keep it on the ground.

Statewide, coaches and players in 2016 gave us a season that focused on the run — much more so than any season since at least 2009. In 2016, 65.06 percent of all yards gained were gained on the ground, a total higher than 2015 (61.07 percent), 2014 (60.92), 2013 (61.4), 2012 (62.71), 2011 (61.86), 2010 (61.95) and 2009 (64.55).

That was shown most clearly in the approach of the Glenrock Herders.

The most run-heavy team since 2009 was last year’s Glenrock team, which gained 99.08 percent of its yards via the rush (3,757 rushing yards to 35 passing yards.) In second was Lingle’s 2015 team, which got 95.79 percent of its yards on the ground (3,322 rushing to 146 passing).

Overall, from 2009 to 2016 combined, the most run-heavy program was Lingle, with 93.37 percent of its yards coming on the ground in that time. Glenrock was next at 89.11 percent of its yards gained on the ground, while Lusk was third at 86.38. Others above 80 percent were Cokeville (82.43), Burlington (80.8) and Kemmerer (80.32).


Air it out: The best at the passing game

Oddly enough, the teams that have gained the highest percentage of their yards through the air got there by accident.

For example: The most pass-heavy team since 2009 was NSI’s 2011 team, which gained just 4.46 percent of its yards on the ground (40 rushing yards to 856 passing yards). But that came in part because of two factors — (1) NSI was a horrible rushing team that year, and (2) lots of negative rushing yards came via quarterback sacks. A similar fate befell Rawlins in 2010, when the Outlaws gained 4.99 percent of their yards on the ground (35 rushing yards, 667 passing yards) after taking a bunch of negative yardage on QB sacks.

Of teams that weren’t just sacked into oblivion, the lowest percentage of rushing yards came with Riverside in 2013; the Rebels got 22.58 percent of their yards on the ground (466 rushing yards to 1,598 passing yards).

In the past eight seasons combined, NSI was the most pass-happy team, with only 37.86 of its yards coming on the ground. Rawlins was second at 39.4 percent, while Riverside (44.51), Wheatland (48.17), Cheyenne Central (48.74) and Laramie (49.89) were all more pass-heavy than run-heavy.


Always the same… or always different

Some teams take the Remember the Titans approach and run just six plays.

For an example of that, look no further than Lingle, the team that varied its offensive approach the least over the past eight seasons.

The Doggers’ yardage percentages had a standard deviation of 2.48, the lowest in the state; Lingle’s percent of yardage gained on the ground, from 2009 to 2015, was 94.96, 92.86, 90.35, 95.1, 94.22, 89.45 and 95.79.

Of programs with at least four years of data, Upton-Sundance, Lusk and Lovell also had standard deviations below 5, meaning they had the most consistent offensive approaches.

The programs with at least four measured seasons with the highest standard deviation was Mountain View, which had a deviation of 20.23. From 2009 to 2016, Mountain View’s percent of yards gained on the ground were 86.43, 87.72, 75.45, 45.19, 51.61, 72.17, 35.89 and 46.1. Rock Springs, Rawlins and Greybull also had high standard deviations. The changes came in part because those programs saw coaching changes in those spans and offensive gameplans adjusted accordingly — Mountain View, Rawlins and Greybull toward more pass-heavy approaches and and Rock Springs to a more run-heavy style.

Of programs that retained the same coach from 2009 to 2016, the one that saw the highest standard deviation — or, in layman’s terms, the most ability to be flexible with the talent of the players it has — was Newcastle. Coach Matt Conzelman has had percentage of run yardage be as low as 36.43 in 2009 and as high as 87.35 in 2015.

If you want to dive into the data and explore teams’ rushing and passing yardage totals from 2009-16, click here. What sticks out to you?

Note: Six-man play was not included due to the lack of consistency in six-man statistics from 2009 to 2016. Seasons were excluded if team statistics were missing from three or more games. The following 11-man seasons were excluded due to lack of consistent statistics: Burlington 2015, 2013, 2010 and 2009; Rocky Mountain 2015; Wyoming Indian 2015, 2014 and 2010; Wind River 2010; Shoshoni 2015 and 2009; Riverside 2010; NSI 2009; Upton 2009.


The North squad put up a record margin of victory in Saturday’s 49-7 victory against the South in the 44th annual Shrine Bowl all-star football game.

Even though the North piled on the points and held the South’s offense in check, only one Shrine Bowl record was set on Saturday. Riverton’s Teron Doebele tied a Shrine Bowl record with three touchdown catches.

Riverton’s Brady Fullerton kicked five extra points, second-most in Shrine Bowl history; the North scored seven offensive touchdowns and seven total touchdowns, both second-most in game history; the North scored 49 points, also second-most in game history;

Also of note was the appearance Farson’s Eddie Barlow, who became the first Pronghorn to play in the Shrine Bowl.

The North has won eight of the last 10 Shrine Bowls and now leads the all-time series 23-18-3.

See a full history of the Shrine Bowl and an updated list of records here.


Rosters are set for the 44th annual Shrine Bowl all-star football game, which will kick off at 2 p.m. Saturday at Cheney Alumni Field in Casper.

The rosters for the North and South teams are here.

The North leads the all-time series 22-18-3. The North has won the last four Shrine Bowls.

Shrine Bowl game records are available here.

You can watch the Shrine Bowl live via mylocalradio.com.

For more information, visit the Wyoming Shrine Bowl website.


Green River’s James Bunderman will be a late addition to the Shrine Bowl’s South roster.

He will replace Laramie’s Carless Looney, executive director John Cundall said in an email.

Practice for the annual all-star football game started Saturday. The game will be this Saturday in Casper.



A coach with a history of turning around struggling football programs is heading to Jackson.

David Joyce, who has turned losing programs into winning programs at three separate schools, will take over this fall, Jackson Hole News and Guide reporter Clark Forster reported on Twitter on Sunday.

Jackson AD Mike Hansen confirmed the hiring via email with wyoming-football.com Monday.

Joyce was most recently the head coach at Mountain Home, Arkansas. Mountain Home went 4-7 last year and made the playoffs for the first time in eight years. Mountain Home was 1-9 in 2015 and 0-10 in 2014, Joyce’s first two seasons as head coach.

Prior to that, Joyce led Doherty High in Colorado Springs from a 2-8 record in 2012 to an 8-3 record in 2013. Before that, he led Battle Mountain High in Edwards, Colorado, for four seasons (2008-11), improving each season from 0-10 to 2-8 to 3-7 to 9-2.

Joyce is a native of Arkansas and graduated from the University of Arkansas.

Joyce replaces James Howell, who resigned after seven years as Jackson’s head coach. The Broncs were 1-8 last season.

New coaches have also been named at LaramieThunder BasinTongue River and Snake River this offseason, while Worland is still seeking head coaches. If you know of a program seeking a new coach, please comment below or email me: pschmiedt@yahoo.com.


Edit: Updated 9:07 p.m. Monday, June 5 to note confirmation of the hire.