If you look up “dynasty” in the dictionary, it does not say: “See also: Sheridan.”
But give it time.
The way things are going, Webster is going to have to make room for the Broncs.
For the 14th consecutive year, Sheridan is in the Class 4A football semifinals.
Only one other program in state history has had the same level of consistency in the playoffs. Cokeville reached 22 consecutive semifinal rounds from 1993-2014 — the only team to exceed Sheridan’s current streak of success.
But Cokeville isn’t Sheridan.
The Broncs compete at Wyoming’s big-school level, constantly facing the best teams the state has to offer. For almost a generation, the Broncs have shown they are up to the challenge.
Eight times in those 14 years, the Broncs have advanced to the state championship game. Six of those times, the Broncs have won it all.
So fortune should favor top-seeded Sheridan when it plays against Natrona in the 4A semifinals on Friday. After all, the Broncs are — get this — 41-2 at home in playoff games all-time, including last week’s 48-14 victory against Cheyenne Central in the first round of this year’s playoffs.
Read that record again. Forty-one. And. Two. Five away from a Tool song.
The “two,” though, might give Natrona some hope. The Broncs’ only two home playoff losses, ever?
- 2008: Green River. Semifinals.
- 2013: Cheyenne East. Semifinals.
The only two home playoff losses the Broncs have ever had have come in the 14-year streak, and they’ve come in the semifinals.
Natrona: I’m telling you, there’s a chance.
Against a dynasty at their place, sometimes that’s all you can ask for.
Sheridan’s semifinal streak isn’t the only one continuing this year — for the fifth consecutive year, streaks to the championship doorstep for Cheyenne East and Cody also continue. Meanwhile, feel-good Wind River broke an 11-year streak of semifinal-less years by beating Lusk last week, and the Cougars’ semifinal road trip, just down the back road to Shoshoni, is significantly shorter than its quarterfinal trip to Niobrara County.
Meanwhile, where’s Upton-Sundance? The Patriots are out after seven straight years of semifinal berths, the longest such streak broken this year.
Six of the 10 games are rematches from the regular season, including both 4A and 1A six-man games. Meanwhile, Lovell and Torrington are facing each other for the first time ever. Rocky Mountain and Pine Bluffs are playing each other for the fourth time, but for the first time the game is in Laramie County (although Byron High did come to Pine for the 1948 six-man championship).
All that said, the semifinals shape up well this year — lots of contenders, a grand total of zero pretenders (legit, in all five classifications) and quite a bit of uncertainty.
This time of year, that’s how it should be.
Here are the semifinal picks. If you don’t know what bold means by now, then I suggest you come here more often, get acquainted, grab a drink, settle in. We have fun here, and you should be a part of it.
(4) Natrona at (1) Sheridan: Natrona is tough and confident and will give the Broncs a tussle, but I think they might be a year away. Sheridan’s time is now, and it will show at Homer Scott Field.
(3) Cheyenne East at (2) Rock Springs: I love this matchup so much, and I think the Thunderbirds absolutely have the potential to knock off the Tigers on the road. But Rock Springs is rolling right now, and a 31-15 victory against the T-Birds just two weeks ago in the capital city has to give them confidence.
(2W) Jackson at (1E) Douglas: Douglas looked strong in its quarterfinal victory against Powell. The problem is that so did Jackson in wiping the floor with Buffalo. Any other year, 3A is Douglas’ to claim. But this isn’t any other year in 3A.
(3W) Star Valley at (1W) Cody: The Braves are the wild-card pick in 3A’s semifinal round; after starting 3-5, they’ve won three in a row and are playing as well as anyone. Cody, though, has been at that level all season.
(2E) Wheatland at (1W) Lyman: The annoying thing about Lyman is that the Eagles don’t do anything that stands out. Decent offense, decent defense, decent special teams. But darn if their TEAM isn’t the strongest all-around thing we’ve seen in 2A this year, and darn if they don’t know how to win.
(2W) Lovell at (1E) Torrington: Lovell’s six-game winning streak meets Torrington’s eight-game streak in the “something’s got to give” game. And after the way Cokeville put the fear of the ghosteses into the Trailblazers last week, Lovell could come down to Goshen County and win this one. Torrington’s still the fave, though.
Class 1A nine-man
(3W) Wind River at (1W) Shoshoni: I’ll admit it now: Wind River’s turnaround has been my absolute favorite story of 2021, regardless of classification. They’ve been so much fun. The Wranglers, meanwhile, don’t have time for those shenanigans.
(2W) Rocky Mountain at (1E) Pine Bluffs: If the undefeated Hornets are going to find a bugaboo, it might just be the we’ve-won-seven-in-a-row-but-somehow-we’re-still-under-the-radar Grizzlies who present it to them. In Cowley, it might be a different story, but in the air where you can smell the Nebraska corn, I like Pine.
Class 1A six-man
(4W) Dubois at (2W) Encampment: Dubois will be back — next year, and the following year — to this level. Encampment may be, too. For now, though, Encampment’s first semifinal home game in program history is theirs to take.
(3W) Meeteetse at (1W) Snake River: This scenario is exactly what the Rattlers wanted to avoid. Meeteetse was the only six-man team to actually hang with Snake River this season, eventually falling 29-23. I’ll take unbeaten Snake, but don’t overlook a Longhorn team that knows it can play, and beat, the best six-man has to offer.
Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:
Last week: 17-3 (85 percent). This season: 249-47 (84 percent).
If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship.