Over its past 20 games, Lovell has a record of 16-4.

Three of those four losses were to Lyman.

One of those was an 8-6 loss in the Class 2A championship game last season.

So it’s safe to say that when these two teams renew acquaintances Friday afternoon in the Bridger Valley, the Bulldogs will be keen to exact some revenge.

And this just might be the time to do so.

Lyman may be as vulnerable now as it has ever been in the past two-plus seasons. After all, both the 2020 and 2021 seasons ended with the Eagles as the Class 2A champions, including an undefeated season last year.

The Eagles’ run of success, though, has already hit unexpected challenges.

Lyman’s 20-game winning streak ended in a Week 1 loss to Bear Lake, Idaho. Injuries have taken a severe toll on the Eagles’ three-peat chances, and the adjustments players and coaches make will be key. However, the Eagles started 2A West play by pasting struggling Pinedale 40-0. Oddly enough, every Lyman game has been a shutout — two by Lyman’s defense, one by its offense.

Lovell, meanwhile, has started 2-0 behind a stout defense and just enough offense. In the Week 1 victory against Big Horn, a 14-7 slugfest, the Bulldogs’ defense forced a late fumble near the goal line to snuff out the Rams’ potential game-tying or game-winning drive. Last week in a 27-7 victory against Cokeville, the Bulldogs’ consistency on both sides of the ball simply overwhelmed the Panthers — a hallmark of teams that want to contend for championships.

Lovell enters as 2A’s top-ranked team, an honor will have for a second consecutive week after Lyman’s streak-breaking loss.

For as much as Lovell is now the hunted instead of the hunter, the Bulldogs know how tough it is to beat Lyman.

The past two seasons are evidence of that.

And beware a top-ranked team motivated, at least in part, by revenge.

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Every game is special, but these are some games that, at least on paper, have the appearance of potentially being the most special of the week:

Cheyenne Central has had a tough go, with its two losses by a combined seven points. The Indians draw Thunder Basin this week, another tough test. If Central can somehow manage to get on the right side of the scoreboard up in Gillette, watch out. ….

It doesn’t matter what the rest of the season looks like, the Oil Bowl is always an important game in Casper. Natrona is the obvious favorite, and over the past couple decades upsets in the Oil Bowl have been exceptionally rare. …

Powell-Douglas is one of the most interesting 3A games, in part because of their similar paths. They both got knocked off in Week 1 against opponents who were ready for them; they both rebounded with solid victories last week to put them back on track. Now they play each other, so their paths will have to diverge somehow. …

Wheatland, Torrington, Burns and Newcastle all played overtime games last week, with Newcastle beating Wheatland in two overtimes and Torrington nipping Burns. Conveniently, they all play each other this week, with Burns venturing to Newcastle and Torrington hosting Wheatland. We’ll know quickly this week just how the 2A East might shake out — well, with these four teams, at least. …

It didn’t take long for the ranks of undefeated teams to shrink. Riverside’s game against Wind River is the only game above six-man this week to pair up two unbeaten teams. …

Dubois looked good despite a loss to Snake River last week. Now the Rams have to muster the same intensity to keep up with 2-0 Encampment to have any hope of a home playoff game. That 1A six-man South is brutal at the top. …

Three teams in the 1A six-man North are undefeated in Midwest, Burlington and Kaycee. And three are winless. Midwest and Burlington will meet Saturday, and the winner moves one huge step closer to home-field advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs. …

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I’m convinced no one reads this paragraph. I think everyone probably skip right over it to see the picks. Because by now, you know that bold means the team I think will win. If you’ve made it this far, you’ve proven me wrong. Congratulations! May a few of the non-bolded teams join you this week in proving me wrong, just to spice it up a bit.

Thursday
Interclass

Shoshoni at Cheyenne East JV
Friday
Class 4A
Campbell County
at Cheyenne South
Cheyenne Central at Thunder Basin
Laramie at Cheyenne East
Natrona at Kelly Walsh
Sheridan at Rock Springs
Class 3A
Cody
at Buffalo
Evanston at Lander
Green River at Worland
Powell at Douglas
Star Valley at Riverton
Class 2A
Big Horn
at Glenrock
Burns at Newcastle
Lovell at Lyman
Pinedale at Cokeville
Mountain View at Thermopolis
Tongue River at Upton-Sundance
Wheatland at Torrington
Class 1A nine-man
Big Piney
at Greybull
Guernsey at Lingle
Moorcroft at Southeast
Riverside at Wind River
Wright at Pine Bluffs
Interclass
Shoshoni JV at St. Stephens
Interstate
Jackson
at South Fremont, Idaho
Moffat County, Colo., at Rawlins
Rich County, Utah, at Kemmerer
Saturday
Class 1A nine-man
Lusk at Saratoga
Wyoming Indian at Rocky Mountain
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at Encampment
Hanna at Snake River
Hulett at Meeteetse
Kaycee at Ten Sleep
Midwest at Burlington
Open: Farson.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, click here. You can click on “Week 3” at the top of the page to take you directly to this week’s schedule.

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Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 29-6 (83 percent). This season: 68-17 (80 percent).

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Whose hot start is the sign of things to come? Whose slow start is an anomaly? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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–patrick

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