Richie Mitchell.

Rob Russell.

Casey Lass.

These three Wyoming high school football players are bound by one similarity — their shoes were the last thing to touch a football in a state championship game.

All three had game-winning kicks on the final play of a championship game, the only three such players to have that honor since state football title games started officially in Wyoming in 1931.

Perhaps not coincidentally, all three had their kicks in overtime.

Russell came first in the capper to one of the most exciting championships in state history. Russell’s extra-point kick on the final snap of the third overtime helped Cody defeat Laramie 41-40 in the Class AA championship in 1976.

Mitchell kicked an extra point on the final snap of overtime to give Thermopolis a 21-20 victory against Lovell in the Class 2A title game in 1990.

Lass’ 18-yard field goal (shorter than an extra point) came on the final play of overtime in Worland’s 17-14 victory against Star Valley in the 2002 3A title game.

Across 260 all-time championship games, they are the only three to end with a kick through the uprights to make title dreams come true.

Honorable mentions

The closest Wyoming has ever come to a regular-season final-play deciding kick came in 1997. Brooks Paskett kicked a field goal with 9 seconds left in the Class 3A title game in 1997 to boost Riverton to a 23-20 victory against Star Valley.

Also, Moorcroft’s Kyle Workman (1996), Meeteetse’s Jason Yockey (1993), Jackson’s Bill Wiley (1986) and Pinedale’s Tanner Boone (1975) hit field goals in the final two minutes of their games to help their respective teams win state championships. Workman and Yockey broke ties; Wiley and Boone boosted teams that trailed at the moment of their kicks.

On the “what could have been” end of things, Cokeville missed a short field goal in the final minute of the 2006 Class 1A title game that would have likely won the game; instead, Guernsey-Sunrise claimed the crown.

Is there a title-game, playoff or regular-season kick that sticks out in your memory? Leave a comment about it!


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