It’s not uncommon for two teams that played in state championships to face each other the next season.

It IS rare, though, for those two teams to be from two different classifications.

However, that’s what’s happening in Week 1 when last year’s Class 3A runner-up, Torrington, heads northwest to play last year’s Class 2A runner-up, Glenrock.

After scrimmages last week, both teams will start their regular seasons with each other. Heading into this week, it’s one of the most intriguing games on the schedule.

Both squads finished 9-2 last season; they had four opponents in common in Wheatland, Newcastle, Riverton and Lander. Torrington swept the four common foes pretty emphatically; Glenrock went 3-1 with the only loss a 50-48 shootout against Riverton.

And both teams had their seasons end in frustrating fashion — Torrington out-gained Cody but still lost 20-0 for the 3A title, while Glenrock couldn’t maintain a 28-14 lead against Mountain View and fell 35-28 in the 2A championship.

They both have reasons to think that 2018 is their year.

They get to begin to prove that by facing each other.


Meeteetse hosts Hafford, Saskatchewan, on Saturday.

Yes, Saskatchewan as in Canada.

The game will be more than a game: The Saskatchewanians are making the trip for more than just four quarters of football. The trip includes some education and bonding, and even a trip to Yellowstone.

By the way, the Canadians are excited for this trip. You can even buy a T-shirt. I might buy one myself — if they’ll take American money.

Wyoming teams don’t play Canadian teams that often. This will be the fifth such game, the others coming between Sheridan and Regina Riffel, Saskatchewan, in 1993 and 1994; Laramie and Raymond, Alberta, in 1998, and Cody and Raymond in 2000.

The Americans are 4-0.


Other games drawing my attention this week:

Kelly Walsh-Cheyenne East is the premier matchup of the 4A schedule, the only game pitting two teams who won last week. Two weeks ago, I’d have picked KW, but after last Friday, I’m inclined to go with East. …

Mountain View-Cokeville is always a fun matchup. The Buffalos have the upper hand this year, but that doesn’t mean the Panthers can’t make it difficult on them. …

The Tongue River-Moorcroft game scheduled for Thursday was a tough game to pick. It’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top in that one. …

Other decisions that required more thought than usual included Powell-Worland, Rawlins-Evanston and Burlington-Kaycee. All three of those games have game-of-the-week potential, for their own reasons. …

Here are my picks for this week’s games. Teams I think will win are in bold, but hey, it’s early in the season and I’ve been know to pick games wrong before so thank goodness they actually play these things or we’d all be in trouble and it’d be a lot less fun.

Hulett at Sheridan JV
Natrona JV
at Rock River
Snake River at Natrona sophs
Tongue River at Moorcroft
Class 4A
Cheyenne Central at Sheridan
Kelly Walsh at Cheyenne East
Natrona at Gillette
Rock Springs at Laramie
Thunder Basin at Cheyenne South
Class 3A
Lander at Green River
Powell at Worland
Rawlins at Evanston
Riverton at Cody
Class 2A
Lyman at Pinedale
Wheatland at Newcastle
Class 1A 11-man
Upton-Sundance at Lusk
Class 1A six-man
Burlington at Kaycee
Dubois at Midwest
Farson at Guernsey-Sunrise
Hanna at St. Stephens
Big Piney at Shoshoni
Burns at Wright
Douglas at Buffalo
Greybull at Rocky Mountain
Mountain View at Cokeville
Thermopolis at Big Horn
Torrington at Glenrock
Wind River at Lovell
Blackfoot, Idaho, at Star Valley
Jackson at Bear Lake, Idaho
Lingle at Sioux County, Neb.
Southeast at Mitchell, Neb.
Yuma, Colo., at Pine Bluffs
Class 1A six-man
Riverside at NSI
Hafford, Saskatchewan, at Meeteetse
Open: Saratoga, Wyoming Indian. Kemmerer will scrimmage the Riverton JV on Thursday.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, click here. Click on “Week 1” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.


Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 13-2 (87 percent). This season: 13-2 (87 percent).

So how about we make this a conversation, and you tell me what YOU think? Leave a comment and let’s talk Week 1 stuff.


Once again, I got some help from friend of the site “Stat Rat” Jim Craig, who helped me track down some missing information:

For Albin’s 1951 season:

Added the score for a 34-26 loss to Dix, Neb., on Oct. 19; added the score for an 18-6 loss to Harrisburg, Neb., on Nov. 2; added a 41-14 loss to Lyman, Neb. (added to the missing games list because I couldn’t pin down a date or location).

For Carpenter’s 1941 season:

Added the scores for a 31-14 loss to Potter, Neb., on Sept. 11; a 36-19 victory against Burns on Oct. 15; and a 56-24 loss to Burns on Nov. 7 (I had previously noted the results of these games, but not the scores); added the result of a 38-29 victory against Hawk Springs on Nov. 12.

Noted that the Lusk coach in 1945 was I.J. Reiste, not Paul Theulin.

I also noted that the Nov. 23, 1907, game between Cheyenne Central and Eaton, Colorado, and the Nov. 30, 1922, game between Wheatland and Guernsey were not played.

Thanks to Jim for the help on those!


I also made a couple other updates.

For Shoshoni’s 1953 season:

Added a 6-2 loss to the Thermopolis JV on Sept. 19 (added to missing games list because I couldn’t find a location); added the result for Shoshoni’s 44-0 victory against Morton on Oct. 16.

I also found the score for Shoshoni’s 21-14 victory against the Lander JV on Oct. 25, 1951. (I had already noted that Shoshoni had won this game.)

All the updates have been made on all the relevant pages.


The two Class 4A programs with more questions hovering over them than any others this offseason? Thunder Basin and Cheyenne Central.

For everyone’s convenience, they’ll play each other in the first game of the year on Friday when the ‘Bolts head south to face the Indians in Cheyenne.

The question marks around Thunder Basin as it enters its second year are sparked by one overarching question.

In their first season, the ‘Bolts stole most of the players from a Gillette Camel team that was supposed to be one of 4A’s top contenders. If anyone should have come out of the gate hot in its first season, it was Thunder Basin.

However, having 90 percent of the available high school football talent in the city of Gillette wasn’t enough to get Thunder Basin past .500 last year. Now, a lot of those key contributors are gone. That brings up questions: What will the ‘Bolts look like in their second year? Will new personnel mean a new approach? And, perhaps most importantly, was Thunder Basin’s .500 finish more attributable to the feeling-out process that comes with a new program, or was it tied to an actual shift in how football functions in the city of Gillette?

In Cheyenne, the Central Indians made one of the biggest offseason splashes by hiring away Mike Apodaca from Silver Creek High School in Colorado. Apodaca had been a successful coach at Silver Creek for more than a decade, but the opportunity to coach his alma mater was too great an opportunity to ignore.

So now Apodaca’s the coach of the Indians — and arguably the red and black will change more than any other 4A team this offseason. The only other new coach in the big-school ranks, Sheridan’s Jeff Mowry, has already said he won’t change much from the previous regime, and the coaching staff remained pretty much in tact for the Broncs. For the Indians, Apodaca’s hiring represents a change not only in personnel but in approach, where most of what was in place has been removed for something that will attempt to make Central a true contender for the first time in almost a decade.

Last year when these two teams met, questions dominated: Right up until the day of the game, questions existed even about the location of the game. Central played Thunder Basin surprisingly tough before falling 34-29.

This year, at least we know where the game will be played.

But there’s arguably more questions around this year’s contest than last year’s.

And that makes it perhaps the biggest 4A game of the week.


While I’m keeping close watch on ‘Bolts-Indians, a few other games are worth noting in Wyoming high school football’s soft launch of 2018:

Three-time defending Class 1A six-man champ Kaycee will have a tough one on its hands when it plays MonDak (Westby-Grenora), Montana’s defending six-man champion, in a halfway-meet game in Broadus, Montana. MonDak was also Montana’s six-man runner-up in 2016 and 2014, so pitting the two dominant regional squads of the mid-teens against each other will be a cool game to watch. It would have been even better if it had been scheduled for last year, though, when both programs were peaking — but hindsight is 20-20. Nevertheless…

Speaking of three-time champs on the road, Sheridan’s first game in the post-Don Julian era will be in Rock Springs as the Broncs take on the Tigers. Rock Springs has floated under the radar a bit this offseason, and with quarterback Graedyn Buell transferred to Cheyenne East, the Tigers could head back to their run-first roots. It will be interesting to see how a rebuilding Sheridan defense handles that kind of challenge. …

Don’t overlook any of the interstate games on Saturday. While Kaycee-MonDak will get the early headlines, the Star Valley-Hillcrest, Idaho, game should be a doozy, and Snake River taking on North Park, Colorado, in a late addition to the six-man schedule should be good, as well. The Friday interstate games aren’t nearly as intriguing, although it will be interesting to see of Jackson can get off the schneid and knock off Teton, Idaho, in Driggs to open the season. …

On to some picks. Just in case you forgot how we do things here, or in case this is your first time here, projected winners are in bold.

Class 4A
Cheyenne East at Gillette
Laramie at Kelly Walsh
Natrona at Cheyenne South
Sheridan at Rock Springs
Thunder Basin at Cheyenne Central
Class 3A
Riverton at Powell
Evanston at Altamont, Utah
Jackson at Teton, Idaho
Lead-Deadwood, S.D., at Upton-Sundance
Newcastle at Custer, S.D.
Evanston JV at Farson
Lovell at Natrona JV
Rocky Mountain at Powell JV
Kaycee vs. Mon-Dak (Westby-Grenora), Montana, at Broadus, Montana
North Park, Colorado, at Snake River
Star Valley vs. Hillcrest, Idaho, at Pocatello, Idaho

Scrimmages and Jamborees
Big Piney, Douglas, Pinedale at Lander Jamboree
Cody, Moorcroft, Wright at Big Horn Jamboree
Cokeville at Kemmerer
Greybull at Tongue River
Lingle, Midwest at Guernsey-Sunrise Jamboree
Lyman at Rawlins
Mountain View at Green River
Pine Bluffs at Glenrock
Saratoga at Rock River
Buffalo at Worland
Burns, Lusk, Thunder Basin JV, Torrington, Wheatland at Southeast Jamboree
Hulett, Riverside at Meeteetse
Shoshoni, Wind River at Thermopolis
Open: Burlington, Dubois, Hanna, St. Stephens, Worland, Wyoming Indian.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, click here.


It’s finally here. Thank goodness. What do you see as the most interesting or intriguing part of the 2018 Wyoming high school football season? Post your thoughts and let’s get full on into the latest chapter of Wyoming high school football.


The 2018 Wyoming High School Football Preview Magazine is now out and posted here at!

I spend two months compiling what you see here — preview stories about every team in the state, interviews with every single head coach, players to watch, schedules, key games, predictions and more. It’s a heck of a lot of work, but I think it’s worth it. You won’t find a more thorough, comprehensive and complete preview of Wyoming high school football anywhere else.

Thanks again to all the coaches statewide for their help! I couldn’t do this without their cooperation, and it’s greatly appreciated.

Hard copies should be out soon. Stop by any of the advertisers listed in the magazine to pick up your FREE hard copy. And mad props to the advertisers for allowing this magazine to become a reality.


Antoine Proctor will be the new head coach at NSI for 2018.

Proctor takes over for Anthony Simmons, who has been the Wolves’ head coach the past four years. NSI went 8-23 under Simmons, reaching the six-man playoffs for the first and only time as a program under him in 2015.

In a text to, Simmons said he has “a lot (of) other duties and obligations” and couldn’t fulfill the responsibilities of head coach.

Proctor played basketball at Sheridan College, Sacramento State and Montana State-Billings. He later played professionally in Slovakia and Iceland before moving back to Sheridan.

Proctor did not reply to a Facebook post or to text messages left Tuesday or to emails sent late last week to his posted address. This post will be updated when possible.


One of my favorite purchases every summer is my copy of Phil Steele’s College Football Preview. I discovered the Phil Steele preview about 15 years ago and refer to it often throughout the season, and it’s the only college football preview I buy.

I love it because it flips a lot of conventional wisdom on its head to make its preseason predictions, looking not only at the win-loss record and who’s back but other factors like two-deep returners, turnover ratio, close games and, one of my favorite stats, yards per point.

Entering the 2018 season, I decided to break down the yards-per-point stat for Wyoming high school football teams, both on offense and on defense. The formula is simple: number of yards gained (or allowed) divided by the number of points scored (or allowed).

On offense, you want a LOWER YPP — that means you’re scoring a lot of points in comparison to the number of yards you’re gaining. A higher YPP means usually means one of two things: you’re gaining yards but not scoring points, or you’re not gaining yards and scoring basically zilch.

On defense, you want a HIGHER YPP — teams may get their yards, but they won’t get their points. High YPPs on defense show either a team that bends but doesn’t break or a team that is on lockdown and doesn’t allow many yards OR many points.

In Phil Steele’s preview, he mentions that YPP is fluid. YPP measures efficiency, not strength. It’s a ratio, not a cumulation. Because of the fluidity of the stat, it’s also often a predictor of how well a team will do the following season. Teams that have really high (or low) YPPs usually have a tough time maintaining that (in)efficiency from year to year; exceptional outliers tend to indicate a particularly lucky (or unlucky) team that either succeeded or struggled because of bad breaks and inefficiency, which are more easily rectified than, say, a lack of talent.

When I dug into Wyoming’s high school football statistics from last season, I found six teams ripe for turnarounds, because they were in the bottom 10 statewide of both YPP offense and YPP defense: Shoshoni, Cheyenne South, Gillette, Burns, Wright and Jackson.

Conversely, seven teams were in the top 10 of both categories, and may have a tough time maintaining that efficiency (and success) in 2018: Pine Bluffs, Sheridan, Natrona, Cokeville, Star Valley, Torrington and Mountain View.

I also found a few weird outliers worth discussing.

One weird outlier — and potentially a team ready to benefit from better luck — is Powell. The Panthers finished dead last statewide in Offensive YPP, at 23.93. However, Powell’s defense checked in with a YPP of 12.4, dead smack in the middle of the statewide ranks. So Powell’s defense was solid, but its offense was horrendously inefficient at scoring points; looking at it that way, it’s no surprise they finished 1-7 despite having a good defense. A few more breaks go the Panthers’ way, and maybe they’re in the hunt in the 3A West. (Other programs with efficient defenses but inefficient offenses in 2017: Lusk, Lander and Kemmerer.)

Another weird outlier is Wind River, which finished 3-6 last year. The Cougars were seventh in the state in offensive YPP last season (10.31). But they were sixth-to-last statewide in defensive YPP (9.62). So the Cougars had one of the state’s most efficient offenses and one of its least efficient defenses, all in the same season. Will the real Wind River please stand up? (Other programs with efficient offenses but inefficient defenses in 2017: Saratoga, Tongue River, Thunder Basin and Rock Springs.)

Here’s a quick glance at the leaders statewide….

Top and bottom 10 in YPP Offense:

Top 10: Pine Bluffs (8.85), Sheridan (8.91), Natrona (9.32), Cokeville (9.44), Star Valley (9.66), Torrigton (9.73), Wind River (10.31), Big Piney (10.49), Mountain View (10.89), Glenrock (10.99).

Bottom 10: Powell (23.93), Shoshoni (23.53), Cheyenne South (23.1), Kemmerer (21.34), Lander (20.81), Lusk (19.83), Gillette (19.31), Burns (17.65), Wright (15.55), Jackson (15.13).

Top and bottom 10 in YPP Defense:

Top 10: Cokeville (32.85), Star Valley (26.86), Sheridan (23.04), Mountain View (22.13), Pine Bluffs (20.93), Cody (19.14), Buffalo (18.3), Natrona (18.11), Rocky Mountain (17.87), Torrington (17.24).

Bottom 10: Jackson (6.29), Cheyenne South (6.94), Gillette (7.06), Saratoga (8.12), Shoshoni (8.6), Wind River (9.62), Wright (9.73), Burns (9.95), Tongue River (10), Thunder Basin (10.61).

(These numbers include 11-man teams only. Six-man stats were too inconsistent to apply these methods.)

And here’s an unsponsored link to go buy Phil Steele’s college football preview.


Four-peats don’t happen often in Class 4A.

The last big-school team to four-peat was Sheridan from 1990-93. Prior to that, it was Worland from 1924-27.

That’s it. For now.

In 2018, Sheridan could complete the third four-peat at the big-school level in Wyoming history. The Broncs have plenty of challenges facing them this year — among them the loss of a big senior class and an entire state’s worth of teams targeting them as the team to beat — but that doesn’t change the fact that Sheridan’s poised to make some history.

Four questions to answer

Will Sheridan win a fourth consecutive championship? The odds are good. If I had to guess, I’d say Sheridan’s odds were about 50/50 — it’s a 50 percent chance that Sheridan will win 4A, and a 50 percent chance the other nine programs combined have. The Broncs have a ton of new personnel and a new coach in Jeff Mowry, but they also have tradition, high expectations and momentum.

Who’s got the best shot to challenge Sheridan? No one knows. Honestly: No. One. Knows. In my interviews with 4A head coaches this summer, the definitive response to this question was seemingly “Uhhhh….” Now, coaches did say some teams are in the running. Kelly Walsh has a chance, maybe Natrona, maybe East, maybe Thunder Basin… but not a single coach could give a specific reason, outside of tradition, why any team other than Sheridan should be considered a legit contender for the 4A crown. And if you’re in Sheridan, that’s a good thing.

So who actually has the best shot? Kelly Walsh. If you cut through all the presuppositions, the team that’s unanimously on the rise is KW. Opposing coaches came away impressed with the Trojans’ performance last year, their ability to finally get a playoff victory (first since 2009) and the personnel that returns. If last year was a breakthrough, this year could be the start of a pattern.

Will new coaches at Sheridan and Cheyenne Central change 4A much? Not this year. Jeff Mowry in Sheridan learned from Don Julian for several years and likely will not mess with what’s working. And Mike Apodaca inherits a rebuilding project at Cheyenne Central that will take longer than a year to turn around completely. In five years, we may look back on this and see the start of something new, but for now, don’t expect too much boat-rocking.

Four players to watch

Parker Christensen, Sheridan. In July, Christensen verbally committed to the University of Wyoming. He earned that opportunity after running for 1,049 yards on just 98 carries (do the math and that’s 10.7 yards per carry). As one of the top running backs in the state, playing for the three-time defending champs, Christensen will have a huge responsibility ahead.

Brock Spiegelberg, Kelly Walsh. As KW shifted to a balanced running game, Spiegelberg piled up the stats. He ran for 1,399 yards and 17 touchdowns last year, and he’s Class 4A’s leading returning rusher. As the centerpiece of the Trojans’ offense, he could put up even bigger numbers this fall — and more importantly, lead KW deeper in the playoffs.

Zach Alexander, Cheyenne East. Alexander is preparing to enter his third year as East’s starting middle linebacker — an honor few 4A players could ever claim. As the centerpiece of the defense, he’s been a steady performer, and he’ll lead East’s defense in a wide-open 4A race.

Chase Brachtenbach, Natrona. Not too many players lead Natrona in defensive points as a junior, but that’s exactly what Brachtenbach did last season. The Mustangs’ leader in tackles for loss and sacks, Brachtenbach will be a key piece of a rebuilding Mustang defense.

Four key games

Thunder Basin at Cheyenne Central, Aug. 24. There’s probably not a 4A game on the schedule that has more questions than this one. How will Thunder Basin come back after losing a large chunk of seniors? How will Central play under new coach Mike Apodaca? Will either one be a surprise challenger? This game should help answer a lot of those queries.

Kelly Walsh at Cheyenne East, Aug. 31. If the Trojans want to be taken as a serious 4A title contender, they have to beat the Thunderbirds. East has beaten KW nine consecutive times, and KW hasn’t won at East since 2006. If the Trojans can get this one, they’ll be right in the thick of things.

Sheridan at Natrona, Sept. 7. Sheridan got the best of Natrona in both of their matchups, including the big one in the state title game. Both teams look to be contenders again this fall, so this early season matchup should set the pace for 4A for the rest of the season.

Natrona at Kelly Walsh, Oct. 5. This Oil Bowl could have higher stakes than any Oil Bowl in the past decade. Both the Mustangs and Trojans want to be in the title chase, and what better way to prove yourself than against your cross-town rival?

Predicted order of finish

Sheridan; Kelly Walsh; Natrona; Cheyenne East; Thunder Basin; Rock Springs; Cheyenne Central; Laramie; Cheyenne South; Gillette.

Way-too-early title game score prediction

Sheridan 34, Kelly Walsh 26. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the 4A ranks this year. What is clear, though, is that no one team has specifically risen up to give Sheridan a challenge for 4A supremacy. An undefeated state champion is unlikely, but Sheridan will remain the favorite until someone — anyone — proves they can knock the Broncs out of the king’s throne.

What do you think? I’ve got Sheridan down to win it all in November. Do you? Who’s the Broncs’ biggest challenger? Leave a comment, because I’ve got some thoughts and I want to work through them with you all.


The Coaches and Media Poll for the preseason was released today. Here was my ballot (and my preseason top fives) for each classification:

Class 4A: 1. Sheridan; 2. Kelly Walsh; 3. Natrona; 4. Cheyenne East; 5. Thunder Basin.
Class 3A: 1. Torrington; 2. Cody; 3. Star Valley; 4. Green River; 5. Douglas.
Class 2A: 1. Buffalo; 2. Mountain View; 3. Glenrock; 4. Wheatland; 5. Greybull.
Class 1A 11-man: 1. Big Horn; 2. Upton-Sundance; 3. Pine Bluffs; 4. Cokeville; 5. Wind River.
Class 1A six-man: 1. Farson; 2. Burlington; 3. Kaycee; 4. Meeteetse; 5. Snake River.


Eleven Wyoming high school football coaches share something in common — they’re the winningest coaches at their schools.

That list could grow to 16 names by the time the 2018 season is complete.

Coaches at Newcastle, Rock River, Lyman, NSI and Kelly Walsh could move up to No. 1 on their school’s all-time coaching victories list if they get enough victories this season.

The coach closest to this milestone is Newcastle’s Matt Conzelman. He needs one victory to tie the Dogies’ current victories record-holder Erv Wentling, and two victories to break Wentling’s record of 48 victories with the program. Other coaches who could become their school’s leader in victories this season include:

Doug Spriggs, Rock River (2 to tie, 3 to break Terrance Reese’s record of 2)
Dale Anderson, Lyman (6 to tie, 7 to break Loren Huntsman’s record of 39)
Anthony Simmons, NSI (6 to tie, 7 to break Mike Gorzalka’s record of 14)
Jon Vance, Kelly Walsh (8 to tie, 9 to break Tom Staffileno’s record of 37)

The 11 coaches who are already their school’s winningest coach are Todd Dayton, Cokeville (315 wins); Steve Harshman, Natrona (190); Mark Bullington, Southeast (138); Ray Kumpula, Glenrock (127); David Trembly, Dubois (83); Larry Yeradi, Wright (80); Chad Goff, Cheyenne East (77); Andy Garland, Upton-Sundance (42 with co-op, 76 total at Upton/Upton-Sundance); Trip Applequist, Farson (35); Trent Pikula, Thunder Basin (5); and Dan Gallas, Cheyenne South (4).


The Wind River football team will play its home games in 2018 in Ethete at Wyoming Indian High School.

County 10 reported that the Wind River football field was reseeded in the spring, and the reseeding process, as well as an incident where a fire truck drove over the newly seeded field, rendered the Cougars’ field in Pavillion unplayable for this fall.

For the full 2018 statewide schedule, including kickoff times, click here.


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