After five seasons as the head football coach at Wyoming Indian, Todd Ghormley has resigned.

Ghormley confirmed his resignation via email Friday to wyoming-football.com.

Ghormley said he was planning to stay at WIHS, where he teaches science and is also the head wrestling coach. He said a replacement has not yet been named.

The past two seasons, the Chiefs have played mostly sub-varsity opponents in an effort to gain experience and keep the program running. The team is 3-34 the past five years, including 1-4 last season.

Wyoming Indian joins Lovell and Glenrock as schools looking for new head coaches for 2019. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

The Casper Star-Tribune announced its annual Super 25 selections on Friday.

This year’s first-team Super 25 selections included players from 17 programs: Big Horn, Buffalo, Cody, Cokeville, Douglas, Evanston, Glenrock, Greybull, Jackson, Kelly Walsh, Mountain View, Natrona, Sheridan, Star Valley, Thunder Basin, Torrington and Upton-Sundance.

Glenrock’s Tucker Bopp, Big Horn’s Kade Eisele and Seth Mullinax, Torrington’s Bryan Lemmon and Kelly Walsh’s Brock Spiegelberg, all seniors, were all named to the Super 25 first team for the second time.

The paper also announced its second-team and third-team Super 25 picks.

The annual offensive player of the year, defensive player of the year and coach of the year awards will be announced tonight at the Super 25 banquet in Casper.

Previous Super 25 first-team selections are available here.

–patrick

Lander will become the latest school to switch from grass to artificial turf on its football field.

County 10 reports the overhaul of Bill Bush Stadium will also include new lights and a new track in addition to the new playing surface. The report says the changes will be made in time for the start of the 2019 football season.

For more details on stadiums statewide, click here.

–patrick

Lovell’s Jeny Gardner was let go as the Bulldogs’ head football coach on Wednesday.

Gardner said via Twitter direct message with wyoming-football.com that the decision to change coaches was not her choice.

In a tweet, Gardner thanked her players “for believing in what we were trying to do with Lovell Football.”

The Bulldogs finished 1-8 last season. In a Twitter message, Gardner — an assistant with Lovell for three years before she became the state’s first female head coach — said she feared the Bulldogs’ record this year could be used as an excuse to keep other women from coaching football teams. Gardner did say she hopes to continue coaching football.

Lovell joins Glenrock as schools looking for new head coaches this offseason. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

The 2018 season is done. All 310 games.

And I feel unfulfilled.

Maybe that’s just because of how the season ended. Natrona, Star Valley, Buffalo, Big Horn and Farson all won state championships, but none of the title games were all that thrilling. Natrona built a 21-0 halftime lead on its way to beating Sheridan; Star Valley had little trouble in wiping out Torrington 35-14; Buffalo led Mountain View by 29 after two quarters and won 43-18; Big Horn blew out Cokeville in every conceivable way to win 56-3; Farson toyed with Burlington for a quarter before running away to its first title and a 73-38 victory.

If you’re a fan of one of those five programs, that’s awesome. If you’re a fan of exciting football at the highest level the state has to offer, not so much. After all, last year we had Mountain View and Glenrock going down to the wire in 2A, and Pine Bluffs and Big Horn doing the same in 1A 11-man… in 2016, we had Big Horn and Greybull in 2A and Pine Bluffs and Tongue River in 1A 11-man provide nail-biters… in 2015, it was Gillette and Sheridan staging a 4A classic.

This year’s title games, by contrast, were all but anticlimactic at the end. Five deserving teams won state championships, and in a way the way they won proved that dominance. You won’t hear the winners complaining, anyway.

Honestly, maybe I’m just going to miss having football to look forward to every Friday.

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With the culmination of the 2018 season, high-scoring offenses from Farson and Big Horn set a few scoring records:

Farson’s 790 points finished second all-time in points in a season, finishing just short of Meeteetse’s 803 in 2013; however, Farson’s average of 71.82 points per game ranks first all-time. Also, Farson’s 90 points scored against Hulett in the quarterfinals of the six-man playoffs was the second all-time single-game playoff total.

Big Horn, meanwhile, finished with 577 points and an average of 52.45 points per game — both tops all-time among 11-man programs.

On the other side of the records was Dubois, whose 611 points allowed was the most ever from a Wyoming football program in a single season. The Rams’ 76.38 points allowed per game is No. 3 all-time.

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Speaking of scoring, and of streaks, Snake River has now scored in 95 consecutive games, which ranks sixth all-time. Big Horn has scored in 75 consecutive games, which is good enough for the top 20.

Meanwhile, Cokeville notched its 31st consecutive winning season and its 33rd consecutive non-losing season, extending the Panthers’ existing state records in both categories. And Laramie finished its 18th consecutive losing season, the second-longest such streak in state history.

+++

In the coaching ranks, Natrona coach Steve Harshman notched victory No. 200 in the semifinals and finishes the season with 201 in-state victories. He ranks third all-time in in-state victories and now needs just five victories to pass legendary Laramie coach John E. Deti for second place. Of course, Cokeville coach Todd Dayton leads all in-state coaches with 325 victories.

(A quick note on Dayton: He suffered the worst loss of his career, point-spread wise, in Saturday’s 53-point loss to Big Horn. Prior to that, Dayton’s worst loss at Cokeville had been by 32 points. That’s an amazing stat to me — that in 38 years, a Cokeville team had never lost by more than 32 until the Rams dumped them by 53. There isn’t another team in the state that can claim a run like that.)

Also this season, Douglas coach Jay Rhoades passed the 100-victory milestone this season; he now has 101 victories in Wyoming and ranks fifth among active coaches — fourth by 2019 when Glenrock’s Ray Kumpula makes his retirement official.

+++

If you take a look around the site, you should see that the 2018 season results are now a part of all the listings I have. (If they’re not, let me know!) I’m not done with 2018 yet, though. There’s still more to update here — the all-state, Super 25 and all-America listings will be updated when information is available to do so, and the individual records will be updated when final season stats are released.

The 2019 schedule, meanwhile, will most likely be mostly an inverse of the 2018 schedule. The statewide scheduling meeting is coming up this week in Casper, and I’ll post the 2019 schedule after I receive schedules from schools statewide.

+++

My picks for the title games went well… as in perfect. That helps me overcome a slow start and finish above 80 percent correct for the year. This means something only to me, I’m sure, but indulge me:

Last week: 5-0 (100 percent). This season: 245-58 (81 percent). 14-year overall record: 3,334-830 (80 percent).

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Finally, if you like what you’ve seen from this site, consider a page sponsorship. I have to pay for my own web space, and page sponsorships are my way of making sure that I don’t pay out of my own pocket to keep the site running. Sponsorships for single pages run $20 per year — a small contribution to a labor of love that provides me a lot of happiness. I hope it provides you the same. Thanks for your support all season, and in seasons past; it’s a lot more fun to share my passion with others who share it with me.

Now, on to wyoming-basketball.com. …

–patrick

I’m not ready for the 2018 season to end. But all good things must, right? Over the next two days, five games will bring the 2018 season to a close. Here’s what to look for in each of them:

Class 1A six-man, noon Friday
Burlington Huskies (4W, 6-4) vs. Farson Pronghorns (1W, 10-0)
Series record: Farson leads 4-1.
Last meeting: Farson beat Burlington 47-41 on Oct. 12 in Burlington.
Last playoff meeting: First playoff meeting.
State championships: Burlington two, most recently in 1994. … Farson zero.
Previous title game record: Burlington, 2-1. … Farson, 0-2.
The path to Laramie: Burlington rallied in the second half to beat East top seed Hanna 61-36 in the first round before thumping Meeteetse 57-18 in the semis, with both games on the road. … Farson destroyed Hulett 90-22 in the first round and topped Snake River 62-19 in the semis.
The case for the Huskies: The Huskies started slow. And they finished slow. And they came into the playoffs at 4-4. But anyone who was paying attention knew how good the Huskies were. They’ve finally shown it in the postseason, beating two excellent opponents with ease. Moreover, a six-point loss to Farson — the only team to hang within 40 points of the Pronghorns all season — should be a huge confidence booster.
The case for the Pronghorns: Aside from that 47-41 victory against Burlington, the Pronghorns have been absolutely destroying teams. Farson is on pace to have the highest average scoring offense in state history. In six-man terms, its defense is as solid as it gets. Their senior class is loaded and motivated, and Lain Mitchelson will likely eclipse 2,000 rushing yards for the season by the time this game is done. Anything else?
The pick: Don’t let Burlington’s record fool you. The Huskies are more than capable. But the Pronghorns were the anointed team in six-man all season, and they’ve lived up to that hype. All that’s left to do now is close out the season holding the trophy that’s eluded them the past two seasons. … Farson 54, Burlington 42.

Class 3A, 3 p.m. Friday
Torrington Trailblazers (1E, 10-0) vs. Star Valley Braves (1W, 9-2)
Series record: Star Valley leads 10-2.
Last meeting: Star Valley beat Torrington 38-14 on Sept. 8, 2017, in Afton.
Last playoff meeting: Star Valley beat Torrington 42-27 in a 3A semifinal game on Nov. 6, 2015, in Torrington.
State championships: Torrington three, most recently in 1990. … Star Valley 10, most recently in 2016.
Previous title game record: Torrington, 2-10. … Star Valley, 9-10.
The path to Laramie: Torrington took care of Evanston 34-7 in the quarterfinals and then eked past Jackson with a touchdown and two-point conversion with no time on the clock to win 22-21 in the semis. … Star Valley notched a pair of shutouts, beating Worland 48-0 in the quarterfinals and Cody 33-0 in the semifinals.
The case for the Trailblazers: First of all, Torrington is undefeated. Second, Bryan Lemmon is one of the best running backs in the state. Third, the Trailblazers should be plenty motivated to win in Laramie after coming up short last season. Fourth, they have a deep and talented senior class. Sounds like a champion to me.
The case for the Braves: I’ll be honest: After seeing how many seniors the Braves lost last year, I didn’t have high hopes for them this year. But new players stepped into big roles quickly, and after a 1-2 start the Braves have won eight in a row. No single team in the state may have improved as much from last November to this November as Star Valley.
The pick: I’ve been ride or die with Torrington all season. The Trailblazers were my preseason No. 1 and were my No. 1 vote in every weekly poll this season. With what happened last week, this feels like their time, their destiny. So of course it won’t happen. … Star Valley 28, Torrington 24.

Class 2A, 10 a.m. Saturday
Mountain View Buffalos (1W, 9-1) vs. Buffalo Bison (1E, 9-1)
Series record: Series tied 3-3.
Last meeting/last playoff meeting: Mountain View beat Buffalo 18-0 in a 2A semifinal game on Oct 31, 1997, in Mountain View.
State championships: Mountain View five, most recently in 2017. … Buffalo five, most recently in 2005.
Previous title game record: Mountain View, 5-6. … Buffalo, 5-10.
The path to Laramie: Mountain View busted up Thermopolis 41-0 in the quarterfinals and scored 26 unanswered points in the second half against Glenrock in the semifinals to win 33-21. … Buffalo cruised past both Kemmerer (56-20 in the quarterfinals) and Wheatland (50-7 in the semifinals).
The case for the Buffalos: In case you forgot, the Buffalos won here last year. Their small senior class is more than made up for by a cadre of juniors who play like seniors. They’ve won nine in a row, almost all of them by wide margins. Their offensive diversity makes them tough to scout, and their defense stacks up against any in 2A.
The case for the Bison: When we learned Buffalo was moving from 3A to 2A this year, everyone in the state knew the Bison were going to immediately contend for a state title. And here we are. Buffalo’s only loss this year was to Douglas in Week 1, and since then the Bison have been on fire. Moreover, they’ve jumped to another level in the playoffs.
The pick: This is an excellent matchup, and I would pay good money to watch this game. I don’t know that either team has an advantage. When I think too hard about it, my head hurts, so I’ll go with my gut instead, and think about a foot (as in Buffalo kicker Luke Glassock) that might be the hidden game-breaker. … Buffalo 31, Mountain View 28.

Class 1A 11-man, 1 p.m. Saturday
Cokeville Panthers (1W, 10-0) vs. Big Horn Rams (1E, 10-0)
Series record: Cokeville leads 3-2.
Last meeting/last playoff meeting: Big Horn beat Cokeville 12-7 in a 1A 11-man semifinal game on Nov. 3, 2017, in Cokeville.
State championships: Cokeville 22, most recently in 2014. … Big Horn five, most recently in 2016.
Previous title game record: Cokeville, 21-6. … Big Horn, 5-10.
The path to Laramie: Cokeville flexed its muscles in the first round by beating Wright 61-8 in the quarterfinals and topping Upton-Sundance 25-6 in the semifinals. … Big Horn laid waste to its two postseason opponents, beating Wind River 67-8 in the quarterfinals and Pine Bluffs 68-13 in the semis.
The case for the Panthers: If you have to even ask if Cokeville’s a legit contender, you’ve been paying attention to the wrong state. Cokeville is ALWAYS a contender, and always will be with Todd Dayton as coach and entire community on its sideline. Beyond that, the Panthers are undefeated (and beat Mountain View for goodness sake!), relying on a defense that’s only allowed 65 points all season, by far the lowest mark in the state, to carry them.
The case for the Rams: Big Horn isn’t just the best team in 1A this season. The Rams are trying to make a case for one of the best 1A teams in the history of this state. They’re undefeated, but with potential record-setting efficiency: With 24 more points, the Rams will finish as the highest-scoring 11-man offense in state history; with 45 more points, they’ll have a higher scoring average than any other 11-man team in state history.
The pick: Cokeville is having a great season. Big Horn, somehow, is eclipsing even that, with a season for the ages. … Big Horn 40, Cokeville 24.

Class 4A, 4 p.m. Saturday
Sheridan Broncs (3, 9-2) vs. Natrona Mustangs (1, 10-1)
Series record: Natrona leads 57-47-6.
Last meeting: Natrona beat Sheridan 34-7 on Sept. 7 in Casper.
Last playoff meeting: Sheridan beat Natrona 28-14 in the 4A championship game on Nov. 11, 2017, in Laramie.
State championships: Sheridan 26, most recently in 2017. … Natrona 17, most recently in 2014.
Previous title game record: Sheridan, 16-6. … Natrona, 10-7.
The path to Laramie: Sheridan beat Rock Springs 41-8 in the quarterfinals but needed a touchdown in the final 31 seconds to overcome Thunder Basin 14-7 in the semis. … Natrona topped Kelly Walsh 35-7 in the quarterfinals, but needed a touchdown with less than 4 seconds remaining to beat Cheyenne East 21-14 in the semifinals.
The case for the Broncs: Anyone else going for a four-peat this weekend? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Even with a new coach in Jeff Mowry, the Broncs are still the Broncs, tradition lives on and the quest for a fourth consecutive championship is still alive. The two losses Sheridan had back in Weeks 2-3 are basically distant memories now, and with the lessons learned from those losses, everything is lining up well for that fourth title in a row.
The case for the Mustangs: One point is all that separates Natrona from being unbeaten right now. The Mustangs have 4A’s highest-scoring offense, and the defense has been up to the challenge when called upon. Natrona has balance, athleticism, diversity, coaching and momentum — everything you need for a title. All that’s in the way is the same thing that’s been in the way the past two seasons: Sheridan.
The pick: This pick should be easy. After all, Natrona beat Sheridan 34-7 earlier this season. The Mustangs are a no-brainer, right? Except when it’s November, in Laramie, and it involves Sheridan. Ah, what the heck. … Natrona 21, Sheridan 20.

I keep track of who wins and loses games. I also keep track of how well I choose the winners and losers prior to the games being played. This is a tally of how I’ve done with those choices this season:

Last week: 8-2 (80 percent). This season: 240-58 (81 percent).

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

Championship weekend is finally here! It’s better than Christmas. Let’s share in that joy together by gathering around the comments section, sharing stories and drinking hot cocoa.

–patrick

The theory about championship games is that the hot team, not the best team, will come away with the title.

But if “hot” is measured by a semifinal performance, that theory may be misleading.

Inspired by this post, I looked into the margins of victory for semifinal playoff games to see if the teams that won by bigger margins in the semifinals were more likely to win the state championships.

I found that, since 2009 when title games moved to the neutral War (isn’t that an oxymoron?), the teams that win big in the semis are actually LESS likely to win the title game — but just barely.

Since 2009, the team that has won its semifinal game by fewer points is actually more successful in the title game, going 23-22. However, teams that win their semifinal games by wide margins that play teams that won their semifinal games by small margins do have an advantage.

Of the 11 instances since 2009 when a team that won its semifinal game by more than 25 points played a team that won its semifinal game by single digits, the team that won by 25-plus is 9-2 in those title games. The only teams not to uphold this were Douglas in 2014 (won its semifinal by 27, lost the title game to Cody, which won its semifinal by 8) and Tongue River in 2016 (won its semifinal by 31, lost the title game to Pine Bluffs, which won its semifinal by 6). This weekend, this scenario applies to Star Valley (won by 33; opponent Torrington won by 1).

However, simply winning big in a semifinal is no guarantee of title-game success. Of teams that won their semifinal games by at least 30 points, those teams are just 14-11 in title games. This includes five instances of each team playing in the title game after winning their semifinals by at least 30 points, four of those in six-man. This year’s six-man title game matches this scenario.

Looking ahead to this weekend, don’t be fooled by conventional wisdom. Even though it would seem that Star Valley, Buffalo, Big Horn and Farson would have the advantage, having won their semifinals by a wider margin than their opponent, we’ve seen that winning big in the semis guarantees nothing a week later.

–patrick

As you may have heard by now, Torrington reached its second consecutive Class 3A title game by beating Jackson 22-21 on Friday, scoring a touchdown as time ran out before notching the game-winning two-point conversion.

You may have also heard that Jackson supporters were not happy about the way in which the clock was turned on or off in the final few moments of the game — specifically, the final six plays.

Local News 8, the ABC station in Idaho Falls, covered this controversy. Kind of. Unfortunately, the story posted doesn’t match the video of what actually happened. (For example, the story says Torrington never went out of bounds in the final six plays, when Torrington did on its third play of the six; it also notes a fumble “blown dead” that could have happened on the same play, but player and official reactions show that the play was clearly over before the ball came loose.)

So let’s set the record straight.

Well, as straight as we can with gifs.

For this post, I watched the NFHS Network replay of Friday’s game. I timed each play in Torrington’s final drive and compared the announced times on the KGOS/KERM radio broadcast that accompanied the video feed to times I compiled by hand. (The images in this post come from that NFHS Network feed and are used here under fair use journalistic purposes.)

On its final drive, Torrington went 67 yards in 17 plays in 1 minute, 10 seconds. The first 11 plays were pretty standard, with no huge timing problems that I noticed.

The dispute really centers on the final six plays of the game, which Torrington ran in 10.4 seconds without the use of a timeout. (Neither team had any timeouts remaining by this point.) The first two plays were incomplete passes, each running about two seconds off the clock. Let’s take a look at gifs of those two plays.

Play 1

Play 2

 

So far, so good. No controversy. After the first two plays, the announcers from KGOS/KERM radio say the clock is down to 6.3 seconds. I hand-timed these two plays myself and ended up with a similar number of where the clock should be (I had it at 6.0, an acceptable range of difference).

Play 3 is where things start to go a little haywire. On this play, Torrington’s Bryan Lemmon catches a swing pass and is knocked out of bounds. The play takes about 4.6 seconds, according to my stopwatch.

Play 3

This should put the game clock at about 2.2 seconds remaining. (We don’t know what the clock read at this point, because it’s not announced on the audio feed. However, we can assume the clock read more than 2.2 seconds, based on the play call that follows and the reaction of the players after that play.)

Play 4 in the sequence adds to the questions. On fourth-and-1, Lemmon takes a pitch and plows for three yards, reaching the 2-yard line for a first down. The clock stops at this point to reset the chains. By my watch, this play takes 4.1 seconds.

Play 4

The clock starts before Play 5 begins. Play 5 is a spike to stop the clock after the chains are set for the first down. And Torrington does so nice and fast — in 0.9 seconds, according to my watch, from the signal to start the clock to when the ball hits the ground. (In this gif, watch the white hat ref on the right side; also watch the umpire stopping the ball from being snapped until the signal is given to go. This follows proper timing rules.)

Play 5

Play 6 is Lemmon’s 2-yard touchdown. The radio announcers say that, prior to this play, 1.6 seconds remained on the clock. And it doesn’t matter how long this play takes, because (as every player and coach knows) scoring on a play after time has run out is OK as long as the snap happens before the clock runs out.

Play 6

After this touchdown, Lemmon scored on the 2-point conversion to send Torrington back to the 3A title game.

The five plays prior to the game-winning touchdown took, by my stopwatch, 15.4 seconds. The Torrington clock operator said those same five plays took 8.8 seconds.

+++

Ultimately, Torrington won the game, and Torrington will play for a state championship. As Local News 8’s Max Cohan noted on Twitter (via a screencap of an email Cohan says is from Jackson AD Mike Hansen), the WHSAA isn’t in the habit of overruling game officials.

The WHSAA has rarely intervened in cases like this. In fact, I can find only one instance in which the WHSAA has overruled game officials. That came in 1967 in a game between Basin and Byron. Basin originally won 40-34 by scoring in the final minute of their game on Oct. 27, but Byron protested the game’s final 2 minutes, 24 seconds after claiming the officials mis-applied the rules on a fumble. The WHSAA upheld the protest, and the WHSAA forced the two teams to re-play the final 2:24 three days later. No one scored and the game finished as a 34-34 tie, officially.

The only other high-profile questionable timing incident I know of came even further back than that: the final game of the 1955 season between Laramie and Cheyenne Central. Laramie won 18-14 on its home field to claim the Class AA championship, but Cheyenne filed a protest claiming “timing irregularities” gave Laramie an unfair advantage. Two Cheyenne players also punched and tackled an official after he ejected a Cheyenne player. Although the protest was eventually tossed, the timekeeper that day, Edwin Hitchcock, died just days after the game due to a heart attack.

More recently, the most controversial final-play playoff finish came in a Class 5A semifinal game in 2006. In that game, Natrona kicker Garrett Hill’s field goal attempt on the final play of the game was ruled wide left, despite video showing that the kick may have actually gone between the uprights as it went over the top of the left post. Cheyenne East won that game 5-3. Then as now, the WHSAA delegated that responsibility to the officials on the field and supported the ruling the officials made on the field.

The same standard applies here. If Jackson fans have a beef, it’s with the officials, not with the WHSAA. I daresay the beef isn’t even with the timer, who I don’t want to name here (and couldn’t even if I wanted to, because I haven’t asked and don’t plan to). However, if you think you can do better than the officials, prove it by becoming a WHSAA official. It’s a hard and thankless job, especially when we (you and me) can watch replay after replay and critique tenths of a second of their in-the-moment calls and decisions. I thought hard about whether to even post this, because I think many people will use this post as an excuse to trash the game officials and timer even more. Please don’t be that person.

In the course of a 48-minute game, 6.6 seconds slips off the clock, or stays on the clock, easily. To Torrington’s benefit, and Jackson’s dismay, it just so happened these 6.6 seconds came when they did.

–patrick

The 2017 playoffs were so exciting that we’re going to try to have them again.

At least that seems to be the feeling this week.

Of this week’s 10 games, half are rematches from either the semifinals or championship games of last year’s playoffs.

The two rematch games that are coming a week earlier than last year come in Class 2A and Class 1A 11-man, where we get a pair of rematches of last year’s title games. In 2A, defending champion Mountain View hosts last year’s runner-up Glenrock, while in 1A 11-man, defending champ Pine Bluffs heads north to face 2017 second-place finisher Big Horn.

Arguably, the better game will be Glenrock-Mountain View. That’s because Big Horn shook off last year’s title-game loss and has hasn’t lost since. The Rams have been tearing through everyone in 2018, including Pine Bluffs 42-7 in Week 5. Meanwhile, Glenrock’s only losses are to Torrington and Buffalo (both still alive), while Mountain View’s lone loss came to Cokeville (also still alive).

Three other games are rematches from the 2017 semifinals. The most prominent is in 3A, where Cody and Star Valley renew acquaintances for the fourth time in two seasons. Of course, the Broncs upset the Braves 31-21 in last year’s semifinals to propel themselves to the 3A title a week later.

Meanwhile, Natrona and Cheyenne East face off again in 4A after a 44-0 Natrona victory in last year’s playoffs (a loss avenged by East 22-21 earlier this season). Also, Farson hosts Snake River in a rematch of a 1A six-man semifinal game the Pronghorns won last year.

So retro.

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Despite being on opposite ends of the enrollment spectrum, Natrona and Farson have some interesting parallels. In addition to facing the same team in the semifinals this year as last year, both Natrona and Farson lost their games in War Memorial last year, and both come in as the overall No. 1 seeds in their respective classifications this year.

+++

Thunder Basin is hosting its first semifinal game in program history, one week after hosting its first quarterfinal game to notch the program’s first postseason victory. The ‘Bolts’ firsts just keep piling up. …

While six of the 10 home teams hosted semifinal games last year, the wait has been a bit longer for Buffalo than for anyone else. The Bison are hosting their first semifinal game since 2007. Also, they’re in the semifinals for the first time in six years. Both are the longest such droughts broken this week. …

Burlington and Meeteetse have played each other at least 60 times in the past seven decades, but they’ve never faced each other in the postseason. That changes Friday when the Huskies make the short trip over to Park County to meet the Longhorns in the Class 1A six-man semifinals for their first playoff matchup. …

+++

I pick teams to win and lose games every week. You judge me for those choices. It’s a fun game I like to play.

Friday
Class 4A
(4) Cheyenne East at (1) Natrona: It’s looking more and more like the biggest upset in 4A this year was East beating Natrona 22-21 back in Week 4. A banged-up East will have trouble repeating that feat against the Mustangs in Natrona. (Rematch of a 2017 semifinal.)
(3) Sheridan at (2) Thunder Basin: The ‘Bolts won the first game 23-13 in Sheridan, but Sheridan is improved since that first meeting — and the three-time defending champs won’t go down without a fight. This might be the best game of the week, regardless of classification, and I think Thunder Basin will find a way. (First playoff matchup.)
Class 3A
(3W) Cody at (1W) Star Valley: Oh snap. Cody at Star Valley in the 3A semifinals. And here I am, picking Star Valley to win again. I’m going with the Braves, but last year taught us that we shouldn’t be surprised to see Cody go in and do what it needs to do to keep its season rolling. (Rematch of a 2017 semifinal.)
(2W) Jackson at (1E) Torrington: I think Jackson’s turnaround has been inspiring this season. The Broncs definitely have the ability to hang with the Trailblazers. But a loaded, and inspired, senior class in Torrington will be hard for Jackson to beat. (First meeting since 2014 quarterfinals.)
Class 2A
(3E) Wheatland at (1E) Buffalo: Don’t overlook Wheatland. The Bulldogs gave the Bison all they wanted in Week 6 despite losing 24-14. The Bison know that, and they’ll be ready. (First playoff meeting since 2002 4A quarterfinals.)
(2E) Glenrock at (1W) Mountain View: I cannot wait for this game. There’s so many interesting side plots here. I could spend all day thinking about it. In short, both teams have what it takes to win this week — and next week. Herders in a squeaker. (Rematch of 2017 2A title game.)
Class 1A 11-man
(3E) Pine Bluffs at (1E) Big Horn: Week 5: Big Horn 42, Pine Bluffs 7. That wasn’t a fluke. The Hornets’ three-peat attempt is in serious jeopardy as the Rams continue to work on an undefeated season. (Rematch of 2017 1A 11-man title game.)
(2E) Upton-Sundance at (1W) Cokeville: The Patriots can absolutely hang with the Panthers. Play this in Upton, or Sundance, and I think the Patriots could win it. But in Cokeville, I like the Panthers to win it. Barely. (First meeting since 2013 quarterfinals.)
Class 1A six-man
(3W) Snake River at (1W) Farson: It’s not that Farson’s undefeated. It’s that Farson has been absolutely crushing teams. Aside from a six-point win against Burlington, Farson has won every game by at least 42 points, and that includes a 64-19 victory against Snake River a month ago. (Rematch of a 2017 semifinal.)
(4W) Burlington at (2W) Meeteetse: After last week’s comeback victory against unbeaten Hanna, the Huskies’ confidence should be soaring. That might just be enough to pull off another road playoff victory, even though Meeteetse won the first matchup 38-28 in Week 4. (First playoff meeting.)

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

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Something pretty special happened here last week: I picked every game correctly. I did that in last year’s quarterfinals, too… the only times it’s ever happened here for any week prior to the semis or title games. Hurray! Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 20-0 (100 percent). This season: 232-56 (81 percent).

If you don’t feel like leaving a comment, find me on Twitter or Facebook. But try a comment and see how it works.

–patrick