One of the most bizarre coincidences about the opening round of the Wyoming high school football playoffs in 2022 is how neatly divided the rematches and the new games are.
Two classifications will have games that we’ve seen recently.
Two classifications won’t.
And 3A is split right down the middle.
In both 4A and six-man, the games are rematches of regular-season matchups — mandatory in 4A due to its round-robin schedule, but more surprising in six-man where that’s not the case. Meanwhile, none of the games in the 2A or 1A nine-man brackets are rematches of earlier 2022 games.
In 3A, both the Powell-Douglas and Worland-Cody games are rematches of regular-season games. The other two games — Star Valley-Lander and Jackson-Buffalo — are not. Yet all four are rematches of first-round playoff games from a year ago. In the case of the last two, the games are being played at the opposite stadium from last year’s quarterfinals.
The regular-season repetition is more eerie in six-man, though.
Every game in six-man is a repeat of a Week 5 game. And three of the four games are in the same location as those Week 5 games; only Hulett-Snake River, which was played on a neutral field in Midwest in Week 5 but will be in Baggs this week, is in a different spot from the other games.
In the land of foreignness, Burns and Lyman are meeting for the first time ever in each other’s program histories, as are Big Piney and Pine Bluffs. Those games are always cool to keep an eye on, as they open a new chapter of a new series for all four teams.
Everyone who is a host this week has been a host for at least one playoff game since 2019 except Tongue River, which is hosting its first playoff game since 2016, and Dubois, which is hosting a playoff game for the first time since 2014.
Natrona is in the playoffs for the 31st consecutive year, Cokeville the 30th, Big Horn the 24th, Douglas the 21st. Meanwhile, Tongue River breaks the longest active drought, reaching the playoffs for the first time in six seasons.
Quarterfinal games usually end up in one of three categories: (1) ugh, (2) maaay-beeee, and (3) heck yes. Short list of heck-yes games: Cokeville-Tongue River, Lingle-Rocky Mountain, Wind River-Southeast. Those three games will be worth the admission price. The other 17 maaay-beeee, too, but in different ways.
On to the picks, where bold means what you think it does:
(8) Laramie at (1) Sheridan
(5) Thunder Basin at (4) Cheyenne Central
(7) Rock Springs at (2) Cheyenne East
(6) Campbell County at (3) Natrona
(4W) Powell at (1E) Douglas
(3E) Lander at (2W) Star Valley
(4E) Worland at (1W) Cody
(3W) Jackson at (2E) Buffalo
(4W) Mountain View at (1E) Big Horn
(3E) Burns at (2W) Lyman
(4E) Newcastle at (1W) Lovell
(3W) Cokeville at (2E) Tongue River
Class 1A nine-man
(4W) Big Piney at (1E) Pine Bluffs
(3E) Lingle at (2W) Rocky Mountain
(4E) Lusk at (1W) Shoshoni
(3W) Wind River at (2E) Southeast
Class 1A six-man
(4S) Farson at (1N) Burlington
(3N) Meeteetse at (2S) Dubois
(4N) Hulett at (1S) Snake River
(3S) Encampment at (2N) Kaycee
For a full schedule including kickoff times, click here. You can click on “Quarterfinals” 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: 30-4 (88 percent). This season: 241-38 (86 percent).
What road team seems the most likely to come away with a first-round victory and buck the home-field advantage trends we typically see in the playoffs? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.
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