Class 2A football this week will be full of matchups of Biblical proportions.
Well, maybe not Biblical. But the parallels to at least one story are hard to ignore.
In both the 2A East and 2A West conferences, one game will decide the last playoff entrant from that conference. Coincidentally, both games match up teams with boatloads of recent success against teams that have all too often just been fodder for that success — two scenarios of David meeting Goliath in real time.
In the West, it’s simple. Kemmerer and Mountain View will meet with the fourth seed from the conference at state. The winner heads to Big Horn in the first round of the playoffs; the loser stays home.
The past decade for these two programs could not be any different. In the past nine years, Kemmerer has made the playoffs once. Mountain View has made it eight times, and won three state championships.
But Goliath was struck down by David last season when Kemmerer beat Mountain View 21-20 in Lincoln County, the Rangers’ first victory over the Buffalos since 2011.
In the East, Torrington and Newcastle encounter a similar scenario. Win, they’re in — Newcastle as the No. 4 seed, Torrington as either No. 3 or 4 depending on how the rest of the week’s games play out. Lose, they’re out.
And again, one team has a decided recent advantage, one that goes beyond this decade.
Newcastle’s last victory against Torrington came in 2006 — the only time in their 18 games since 1984 that the Dogies came out on top against the Trailblazers. Read that again, slowly.
Torrington is the big man on campus in the East, or more specifically the big campus on campus, moving from 3A to 2A a couple years ago. Still, Torrington has reached the championship game in whatever classification it’s been in three of the past five years. Newcastle, meanwhile, has as many state championship game appearances as programs like St. Stephens and Encampment — one — and zero state titles.
In the West, Goliath (Mountain View) gets the home field. In the East, it’s David (Newcastle).
In both cases, the question of which program will find success and a playoff berth, the one with recent success or the one trying to establish its own legacy, is the kind of stuff that keeps me coming back to this week after week. If a moment like this can’t get you fired up for high school sports, nothing will.
And in 2A this week, we get it twice.
In all, 19 games have an effect on playoff seeding this week. Here are a handful that are really driving my attention in Week 8, playoff affecting or not:
Riverton and Worland are in the same situation as those 2A teams mentioned above — win and they’re in, lose and they’re out. The only problem with winning this week is the winner has to go to Cody in the first round of the playoffs. Next time your English teacher asks you to define a Pyrrhic victory, just show them this scenario right here. …
Similarly, Riverside and Big Piney are locked in to a winner in/loser out marriage, although Big Piney’s potential seedings are more variable than Riverside’s are. Also in the 1A nine-man West is a hugely important game between Rocky Mountain and Wind River, two teams with big hopes but imperfect conference records. And all of it will be sorted out by Thursday night, thanks to some earlier-in-the-week scheduling. …
Another matchup that pits two teams striving for home-field rights in the first round is the one between Lyman and Cokeville. And it’s a big one, because the loser has to spend about eight years on a bus to get to Dayton and play Tongue River in the first round of the playoffs. With gas prices as high as they are, look for a more spirited game than usual. …
Three teams are fighting for the final two home playoff spots in Class 4A, with Thunder Basin’s visit to Natrona the lynchpin of all the scenarios. Both teams have looked solid this season, so I’m curious to see how this plays out. …
Outside of six-man, the only first-round pairing that is absolutely set is the 4A game between locked-in 7 seed Rock Springs and locked-in 2 seed Cheyenne East. Rock Springs gets practice traveling to the Capital City this week by playing at Central; East gets practice hosting this week by welcoming Kelly Walsh. What an odd quirk. …
The best game on the schedule just might be the one in six-man between 6-1 Dubois and 7-0 Burlington. With both teams on the same side of the six-man bracket — and both knowing they’ll likely have to go through the other to reach Laramie — don’t look for too much crazy stuff this weekend. Both teams are likely saving that for two weeks from now. …
I don’t know what it is (masochism? pity? empathy? familiarity?), but I kind of like it when two winless teams meet in Week 8. We know at least one will end the season with a victory. That’s happening twice this week, with Moorcroft hosting Guernsey and Ten Sleep traveling to Hanna.
For the last time this regular season, here are some choices. Some were tough. Some were not. All were interesting. Bold means projected winner, as per usual ’round these here parts.
Class 1A nine-man
Riverside at Big Piney
Rocky Mountain at Wind River
Natrona JV at Shoshoni
Rock Springs JV at Snake River
Campbell County at Sheridan
Cheyenne South at Laramie
Kelly Walsh at Cheyenne East
Rock Springs at Cheyenne Central
Thunder Basin at Natrona
Buffalo at Rawlins
Cody at Powell
Green River at Evanston
Lander at Douglas
Riverton at Worland
Star Valley at Jackson
Big Horn at Burns
Glenrock at Upton-Sundance
Kemmerer at Mountain View
Lovell at Thermopolis
Lyman at Cokeville
Torrington at Newcastle
Wheatland at Tongue River
Class 1A nine-man
Guernsey at Moorcroft
Lusk at Wright
Saratoga at Lingle
Southeast at Pine Bluffs
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at Burlington
Casper Christian at Hulett
Cody JV at Meeteetse
Pinedale at Rich County, Utah
Class 1A six-man
Kaycee at Farson
Midwest at Encampment
Ten Sleep at Hanna
Wyoming Indian at Shoshoni JV
For a full schedule including kickoff times, click here. You can click on “Week 8” at the top of the page to take you directly to this week’s schedule.
Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:
Last week: 31-1 (97 percent). This season: 211-34 (86 percent).
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