Lusk and Rocky Mountain haven’t crossed their football paths very often.
But when the two undefeated Class 1A nine-man behemoths face off on Friday, they’ll resurrect a matchup that had its best moments in the ’90s.
The Tigers and Grizzlies played against each other in two Class 1A-Division I championship games back in the 1990s, with Rocky winning both times (1995 and 1997). The victories were part of a run of four titles in the 1990s for Rocky; the Tigers later won titles of their own in 1999, 2000 and 2002.
Neither one has won a championship since.
This year might break that streak for one of them — they both have the talent to make a run in 2020, as evidence by their records and how they’ve racked them up.
The Tigers and Grizzlies have been two of the biggest beneficiaries from the move to nine-man football this season. The 5-0 Tigers have nine-man’s highest-scoring offense, averaging 56.4 points per game. The 4-0 Grizzlies aren’t far behind, ranking second in the class at 49 ppg, but Rocky has also given up nine-man’s fewest total points (26).
Even so, Rocky Mountain and Lusk rank second and third, respectively, in the Wyopreps.com coaches and media poll for 1A nine-man; they both trail Southeast in the rankings.
The stakes aren’t much higher than pride this week — the game has no effect on the playoffs, as Rocky’s in the West Conference, and has already wrapped up the top seed out of the West at that, and Lusk is in the East.
But for pride? Rankings? The renewal of a little-played but often-intense rivalry?
Plan on seeing the best out of each squad. This one’s important.
Some other games:
The Capital Bowl between East and Central is for more than bragging rights this year. Central is 6-0, and East, at 5-1 and with five consecutive victories, is the Indians’ biggest obstacle to a perfect regular season. It’s been a long time since this game has meant so much. …
Four teams are tied at 3-3 in Class 4A, and the game between Sheridan and Kelly Walsh will break up that logjam. That’s a tiebreaker scenario that could get all kinds of messy by the end of the season. …
Riverton hosts Lander in the Fremont County rivalry game that really deserves a nickname. They’re both 1-1 in the 3A East, so a victory here will mean everything in terms of postseason momentum. …
The 2A West is a mess of parity right now, but the only team that remains unbeaten in league play — Mountain View — could do itself a huge favor if it can beat once-beaten Big Piney on Friday in Uinta County. …
One other good geographic rivalry is this week, as Riverside and Greybull meet on the field for the first time since 2014. Here’s to hoping this is a long-lasting renewal in what could be a close game in the reintroduction to the rivalry.
The picks have been my nemesis this year; it seems like every close game on Friday (or Saturday) goes against the team I have bolded on Thursday.
Natrona JV at Wind River
Cheyenne East at Cheyenne Central
Laramie at Thunder Basin
Natrona at Campbell County
Rock Springs at Cheyenne South
Sheridan at Kelly Walsh
Buffalo at Worland
Cody at Star Valley
Evanston at Jackson
Lander at Riverton
Powell at Green River
Rawlins at Douglas
Big Horn at Glenrock
Big Piney at Mountain View
Cokeville at Kemmerer
Pinedale at Lovell
Torrington at Newcastle
Upton-Sundance at Burns
Wheatland at Tongue River
Class 1A nine-man
Lingle at Moorcroft
Riverside at Greybull
Rocky Mountain at Lusk
Southeast at Saratoga
Wright at Pine Bluffs
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at Farson
Hulett at Midwest
Kaycee at Guernsey-Sunrise
Snake River at Meeteetse
Thermopolis at Lyman
Class 1A six-man
Encampment at Ten Sleep
Hanna at NSI
Kelly Walsh JV at Shoshoni
For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 6” 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: 21-11 (66 percent). This season: 129-47 (73 percent).
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