Since 2000, Wyoming high school football has had 72 regular-season games that were rematches of the previous year’s championship game.

That total will increase to 74 this week, as we will see a pair of rematch games from 2022 title games to jumpstart Week 1 of 2023.

This week, Shoshoni travels to Pine Bluffs on Thursday to reprise the Class 1A nine-man title game, while Big Horn visits Lovell on Friday in a rematch of last year’s 2A championship game.

Big Horn and Pine Bluffs are the defending champs. So they’re the favorites, right? Well, the 72-game rematch history since 2000 tells us… not much.

In those 72 games, the defending champs do have a slight edge. Teams coming off a championship have won 40 of those games and lost 32 — a winning percentage of 55.6% that’s barely above random. 

However, the short-term history favors the defending champs. We had five such games in last year’s regular season, and the defending champs won four. Lovell was the only team to reverse the curse last year, beating Lyman in their rematch of the 2021 2A championship game. But Sheridan, Cody, Shoshoni and Snake River all won their rematches last year.

At the same time, that success from defending champs is a blip on a radar full of blips. Defending champs went a combined 3-9 between 2018 and 2021, so there’s no real discernible pattern in the past few years.

And that makes sense. These are not the same teams that played last year in Laramie. Seniors are gone, freshmen are in, approaches are different, planning is fresh. I hesitated a lot to even use the word “rematch” in describing these games, because so much has changed in the past nine months. 

Two other such games are coming this fall. Sheridan and Cheyenne East will play on Sept. 29 in a 4A showdown, Cody and Star Valley on Oct. 6 in 3A.

But it would be foolhardy to look at last year’s title games and think they’ll have much to do with how things go on the field this year. Barely above random, at least.


On to some other action that’s catching my eye in the first full week of statewide play but the second week for many teams: 

Four of the five 4A teams who won last week face off against each other. Natrona travels south to play Cheyenne East, while Rock Springs makes the long trek to Gillette to play Thunder Basin. It will be interesting to see how that Week 0 momentum rolls into Week 1… or not. …

We have a couple of neutral-site games this week, as Cokeville and Upton-Sundance meet in Shoshoni and Dubois and Hulett play in Ten Sleep. Those are always fun. …

This week’s super-intriguing coin-flip games: Kemmerer/Glenrock and Rocky Mountain/Wright. I can’t get a gut feeling either way on these, which usually means some exciting football to come. …

A late change to the schedule affects Evanston, as the Red Devils will play South Summit, Utah, NOT Jordan, Utah, this week. …

Several changes hit the Week 1 schedule. Lingle will play at sub-varsity team from Cheyenne Central this week instead of St. Stephens as the Eagles prepare to launch their season in Week 2 instead. Wind River will play Campbell County’s JV instead of Saratoga as the Panthers have struggled with numbers so far. And Midwest and the Kelly Walsh sophomores, who were supposed to play on Saturday, will not. Ten Sleep and Encampment will also delay their season openers by a week, although Encampment played in the Dubois jamboree last weekend.


Picks. I got ’em. Half of you love ’em, half of you want me to reconsider. Regardless, I’m bold with my picks, at least when it comes to the typeface.

Class 1A nine-man
Lusk at Big Piney
Shoshoni at Pine Bluffs
Class 4A
Cheyenne Central
at Kelly Walsh
Cheyenne South at Sheridan
Laramie at Campbell County
Natrona at Cheyenne East
Rock Springs at Thunder Basin
Class 3A
at Riverton
Green River at Lander
Jackson at Douglas
Worland at Powell
Class 2A
Big Horn
at Lovell
Cokeville vs. Upton-Sundance (at Shoshoni)
Glenrock at Kemmerer
Thermopolis at Tongue River
Wheatland at Mountain View
Class 1A nine-man
at Moorcroft
Guernsey at Wyoming Indian
Riverside at Southeast
Rocky Mountain at Wright
Class 1A six-man
vs. Hulett (at Ten Sleep)
Hanna at Kaycee
Meeteetse at Snake River
Cheyenne Central JV at Lingle
Farson at Shoshoni JV (nine-man)
Buffalo at Newcastle
Pinedale at Rawlins
Bear Lake, Idaho, at Lyman
Burlington at Custer, Mont.
Burns at Yuma, Colo.
South Summit, Utah, at Evanston
Star Valley at Preston, Idaho
Torrington at Mitchell, Neb.

Burlington JV at Casper Christian
Wind River at Campbell County JV
Open: Encampment, Midwest, St. Stephens, Saratoga, Ten Sleep.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, click here. You can click on “Week 1” 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: 15-3 (83 percent). This season: 15-3 (83 percent).


What do you see on the Week 1 schedule that has you excited for the start of the season? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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