As many frequent readers of this blog might know, I’m putting together a book about Wyoming high school football. With any luck (like finding a publisher and some help) the book will be out in about a year-ish. That said, I’m putting together a crew of the state’s most talented writers to share some of the history of Wyoming football. I’ve got most of the big ideas down pat (keep watching this blog and you might catch hints about what those are), but I’m looking for a range of interesting moments to help fill the book. Here is a short list I put together in about 10 minutes of some interesting moments I want to be SURE to include in the book. In no particular order (roughly by time but not really), they are…
* The Heart Mountain internment camp team in 1944-45. In two years, the Eagles lost just one game. Every win Heart Mountain had came by shutout…
* The introduction of six-man into Wyoming (see this post for more on that).
* The nation’s first lighted high school football game, Midwest, Wyoming, November 1925. Casper beat Midwest 20-0.
* Probably the most messed-up story ever, that of Richard “Dick” Doyle. While working the chains during the Big Piney-Pinedale game on Oct. 21, 1947, the 18-year-old Doyle was killed by 14-year-old George Smith, who stabbed Doyle in the heart with a three-inch pocket knife. Doyle died before he could be taken off the field.
* The Byron Eagles’ long win streak, one that reached more than 40 games in the late 1940s and early 1950s. I’m still digging up the info on this one…
* The final game of the 1955 season between Laramie and Cheyenne Central. Laramie won 18-14 on its home field to claim the Class AA championship, but Cheyenne filed a protest claiming “timing irregularities” gave Laramie an unfair advantage. Two Cheyenne players also punched and tackled an official after he ejected a Cheyenne player. Although the protest was eventually tossed, the timekeeper that day, Edwin Hitchcock, died just days after the game due to a heart attack.
* Polio. The disease wiped out a ton of games in the early 1950s and even took the lives of a few players.
* The 1947 and 1948 Turkey Bowls.
* The “dead era” of champions from 1939-ish to 1947.
* Wyoming’s two games that lasted more than one day. The first came in 1951, when Greybull and Powell played to a 0-0 tie on Oct. 19, then met on Oct. 30 to play the overtime period. The OT had to be played to decide the conference champion, and Greybull officially won 2-0 by gaining more yards on five plays than Powell did on its five plays…. The other came in 1967, when Basin played Byron on Oct. 27, and Basin won 40-34 by scoring in the final minute. But Byron protested the game’s final 2 minutes, 24 seconds, the WHSAA upheld the protest, and the two teams met three days later to play the final 2:24. The game finished as a 34-34 tie, officially.
* Cody’s 41-40 triple overtime victory over Laramie for the Class AA title in 1976. A crazy, tense game that ranks up there with Wyoming’s best ever, made all the more relevant by the fact that it was coaching legend John E. Deti’s last game on the sidelines.
* Wyoming’s last tie game, the 45-45 shootout draw staged between Big Horn and Riverside in the 1987 season opener. The game went three overtimes, and was then called a draw by the officials. This was also Riverside’s first game in its incarnation as Riverside.
* Speaking of Big Horn-Riverside games, how about the 2007 2A championship game when Riverside drove 99 yards for the final touchdown, then went for two (and converted) to pull out the victory?
* Some 21st-century domination in Class 4A: Worland’s three-peat from 2001-03 and Buffalo’s 27-game winning streak from 2004-06.
* The big changes in 2009 — the reintroduction of six-man football and the shift to Laramie for the state championship games.
Of course, the book will touch on some of the state’s great coaches: Deti and his son John R., Carl Selmer, Todd Dayton, Joel Eskelen, Art Hill, Jerry Fullmer and numerous others immediately jump to mind. And, of course, I am stringing together something about the state’s best players, including a list of those who later played in the NFL (sometime soon I’ll get around to posting that list to have y’all double-check it and see if I forgot anyone).
Are there any unique or interesting stories that stick out in your mind? Post a comment below and let’s start this discussion; I’d love to hear what some of your favorite Wyoming high school football memories are.