Pine Bluffs’ 42-point loss to Shoshoni in the first round of the Class 1A nine-man playoffs was not the way the Hornets wanted to end their season.

However, the loss — and specifically, the margin by which Pine Bluffs lost — puts the team in unique company.

For the 2020 season, the Hornets scored 258 points; they also gave up 258.

This statistical anomaly has only happened 28 times in Wyoming high school football history (to teams with a minimum of four games played in a season). It’s an anomaly nobody tries for and nobody plans for, which is what makes it so interesting to me.

It last happened in 2013, to Riverton. And, oddly enough, it’s happened twice to Pine Bluffs, which also had an even tally for the season occur in 2002.

Mathematical instinct tells us an even tally should mean an average record. This season, Pine Bluffs finished 5-4, one of just seven teams to finish with a winning record in this scenario. Green River also did so in 2009 at 6-4, but the Wolves were the first team to put up a winning record with an even season score since Deaver-Frannie went 5-3 in 1967. Of the remaining teams, 15 finished with losing records, while six finished exactly at the .500 mark.

The best team to finish with an even scoring tally was probably Laramie’s 1954 team, which shared a state championship with Cheyenne Central despite allowing and scoring 147 points during a 6-3 season.

Pine Bluffs is one of five programs to have hit the even tally twice, joining Douglas (1930 and 1940), Gillette (1936 and 2007), Powell (1962 and 1977) and Star Valley (1938 and 1956).

Only three times has it happened in the same season to two different teams: in 1938 (Lingle and Star Valley), 1967 (Deaver-Frannie and Evanston) and 2002 (Dubois and Pine Bluffs). Although the season isn’t officially over, it’s probably pretty safe to say the Hornets will be the only team to accomplish this feat in 2020.

Here’s the full list of teams who have scored exactly as many points as they allowed in a season (minimum four games played):

Douglas 1930 (3-3): 65 points
Cowley 1931 (3-4): 78 points
Gillette 1936 (4-2): 85 points
Lingle 1938 (3-3-1): 83 points
Star Valley 1938 (2-2-1): 45 points
Douglas 1940 (5-2): 63 points
Upton 1947 (2-3-1): 40 points
Sheridan 1951 (2-3-1): 98 points
Laramie 1954 (6-3, state champs): 147 points
Star Valley 1956 (3-3-1): 145 points
Natrona 1959 (3-4-2): 116 points
Powell 1962 (5-4): 137 points
Shoshoni 1963 (3-3-1): 64 points
Deaver-Frannie 1967 (5-3): 187 points
Evanston 1967 (4-6): 177 points
Powell 1977 (4-5): 119 points
Lyman 1980 (3-5): 113 points
Burlington 1987 (3-5): 152 points
Pinedale 1989 (3-5): 141 points
Moorcroft 1992 (3-5): 120 points
Big Horn 1993 (3-5): 202 points
Dubois 2002 (4-5): 233 points
Pine Bluffs 2002 (4-5): 176 points
Gillette 2007 (5-6): 233 points
Green River 2009 (6-4): 281 points
Hulett 2012 (3-6): 320 points
Riverton 2013 (5-5): 270 points
Pine Bluffs 2020 (5-4): 258 points

–patrick

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