Three of Wyoming’s five state football championship games in 2022 were one-possession games, providing enough thrills for a weekend that all too often has been lacking them.
The Class 3A, 2A and 1A nine-man championship games were decided by seven, one and six points, respectively, and the 2A and 1A nine-man games were decided by scores in the final minute of their games.
Meanwhile, the 4A game was close until Sheridan pulled away late… and the 1A six-man game was great if you appreciate the dominance of an excellent team.
Here’s a brief recap of 2022’s final games.
The first half was even; the second half was all Sheridan. In winning their 29th state championship, the most of any program in Wyoming, the Broncs overcame a 14-10 deficit and went on a 24-3 run after the break, the impetus of a 34-23 victory. The run was capped by Colson Coon’s 30-yard pick-six, which extended Sheridan’s lead to three possessions (34-17) with less than six minutes remaining.
Coon finished with four touchdowns, four extra points and two field goals; he scored all 34 of Sheridan’s points.
Derek Astle’s 17-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter provided the winning margin in Star Valley’s 14-7 victory against Cody, a game that gave Star Valley its 13th state championship and its fifth since 2015.
Cody’s 26-game winning streak came to an end, and the Braves thwarted the Broncs’ three-peat attempt. The Broncs had three turnovers, including two on muffed punts. The Braves’ defense, meanwhile, held Cody to just seven points, significantly less than Cody’s average entering the championship game of 52.4 points per game.
The Broncs played without quarterback/defensive back Luke Talich, who broke his collarbone in last week’s semifinals.
Big Horn only led the Class 2A championship game for 11 seconds, but they were the right 11 seconds. The Rams got a 61-yard touchdown pass from Cooper Garber to Dawson Richards for their first score of the game with 11 seconds remaining — capping a 98-yard drive in less than two minutes, with no time-outs.
Then the Rams went for the victory, and how. With a reverse pass from Avon Barney to Garber, who started the play by taking the snap, then sneaking out to the short left corner of the end zone, the Rams scored and took an 8-7 lead. That score that ended up being the final margin.
Class 1A nine-man
Dalton Schaefer’s 13-yard touchdown with 53 seconds remaining was the difference as Pine Bluffs beat Shoshoni 33-27 to win the 1A nine-man title.
In a back-and-forth game, the late score broke a 27-all tie and sealed Pine Bluffs’ third championship in program history. The Hornets finished the season 11-0. Shoshoni, meanwhile, finished 9-2, with both losses to Pine Bluffs; the Wranglers lost in Week 1 in a game that finished with an almost identical final score (34-26) to the title game.
Schaefer also scored on the first offensive play of the game on a 61-yard touchdown run to give Pine Bluffs the early lead, but Shoshoni took a 20-13 lead heading into halftime.
Class 1A six-man
Saturday’s first game was competitive for about a quarter. After that, it was all Snake River. The Rattlers won their second consecutive championship and 21st game in a row after blowing out Burlington 55-8.
Burlington scored first and led 8-0, but Snake River ran off the game’s final 55 points, sneaking into a running clock late in the fourth quarter.
The Rattlers won their fifth state title in program history and their third in four years.
Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:
Last week: 2-3 (40 percent). This season: 270-44 (86 percent). 18-year overall mark: 4,355-1,043 (81 percent).
Full site updates for all the pages will begin Sunday and end… who knows? Whenever I get it done.
That’s it. The 2022 season is done. Seniors — thank you. You’ll never forget it. Underclassmen — only 267 (4A) or 274 days until the first practice of 2023.
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