Big Piney’s refrain bounced across the valley, hitting the Wind River Range to the east, the Wyoming Range to the west. But then it settled into the basin of the upper reaches of the Green River, just like the famous inversions that keep Big Piney cold in the winters. It stayed there, unheard but still present through times of change — new coach, new classification, new style of play. Still, the Punchers asked.

What about us?

The call grew louder as the Punchers’ season started. A road victory over Lusk to start the season barely turned any heads; close game, not unexpected, welcome to nine-man. But the shout grew in Week 2 after the Punchers shocked last year’s runner-up and this year’s expected contender, Rocky Mountain. This wasn’t a whisper; this was a yell.

What about us?

A 20-point victory against Greybull last week sent Big Piney to 3-0, one of four remaining undefeated teams in Class 1A nine-man along with Pine Bluffs and Lingle from the East and Wind River from the West.

This week, though, one undefeated will fall, as Wind River ventures into Sublette County.

The Cougars were expected to be here, though, and they’ve followed through. Like Big Piney, Wind River is also 3-0, outscoring their opponents so far by a combined tally of 172-26. The Cougars have every reason to think this year is their year.

However, in a top-heavy classification that just got a little bit heavier, the Punchers’ rallying cry is now less of a plea and more of a demand. Rocky Mountain learned the hard way, and Wind River has the luxury of learning from the Grizzlies. Meanwhile, the Punchers keep moving forward, so far perfect against a new set of rivals.

What about us?

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Some other Week 4 games will help me understand what I’ve seen so far in 2022, because I’m easily confused:

Thunder Basin has lost two in a row heading into its game against undefeated Sheridan. But the ‘Bolts should be ready for this one, and Sheridan can’t get caught looking ahead to Cheyenne East next week. If they do, Thunder Basin could turn 4A upside down in one fell swoop. …

Cody and Jackson meet in a rematch of the past two Class 3A championship games. Cody is obviously Cody, so far the dominant team in the classification, but Jackson is no slouch — something I wasn’t sure I could say in August but I am sure of now. …

Worland’s trip to Douglas is super intriguing. The 3A East has been a crapshoot so far, and these two teams have represented that uncertainty with dominating victories surrounded by losses surprising either by the margin or the opponent. If either one of these teams strings together some consistency, they will be dangerous, and that starts right here. …

The Bridger Valley Bowl has an undefeated team in it — and it’s not Lyman. Instead, 3-0 Mountain View has the loss goose egg it’s trying to protect against the 2-2 but two-time 2A champ Lyman (say that twice fast). …

I do find it interesting that by the end of Friday night, every 4A team (and a handful of others) will have played five games and Farson will have played one. …

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Let’s pick some games. Bold teams, I pick to win. All teams, I pick as my valentine. No, it’s not February.

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

For a full schedule including kickoff times, click here. You can click on “Week 4” 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: 26-7 (79 percent). This season: 94-24 (80 percent).

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Also of note this week is the change in head coach for St. Stephens, as Melvin Blackburn takes over for Dee Harrison. The change was posted by WyoPreps on Twitter on Wednesday. Blackburn was the Eagles’ coach in 2013 and 2014.

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Which teams that were under-appreciated in the preseason are showing us all why they should be appreciated? Who’s going to come out of the woodwork in the second half of the season and pull some surprises, maybe starting this week? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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–patrick

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