With the new year approaching, I got to thinking about the past decade of Wyoming high school football games and all of the great ones we’ve been privileged to watch, hear about, or (in my case) write about. With 2,948 games played since 2001, there are plenty of great games from which to choose. I started a mental checklist and kept coming up with games I had forgotten; there were probably 60 games on my original list. From that, I pared my list down to about 40, then to the top 20 games of the past 10 years.

The list is probably a little heavy on later-decade games, as I didn’t start my work at the Star-Tribune until 2005, and is also heavy on playoff games, but that makes sense considering that playoff games have more riding on them, better teams playing, and can end seasons — all heightening the drama and the memorable aspects involved.

I tried to pick the best games, where both teams were at full strength, where the stakes were high, where the outcome was in doubt until late. You won’t see any games decided by more than seven points on this list.

Obviously, this list is the work of one person. If you came up with your own list, you would probably include some games that I did not. And that’s encouraged. Take a look at this list, then let me know which games you think I forgot.

These games are in chronological order. It was hard enough for me to pick 20; rank-ordering those 20 would take me until the start of next season. (But check out the bottom of this post for my “game of the decade.”)

Without further ado, the top 20 games of Wyoming high school football in the past 10 years:

Big Piney 34, Glenrock 33, OT, 2001 Class 3A semifinals — Herders rally from 27-0 deficit, but miss extra point in overtime

Southeast 14, Lusk 7, 2001 Class 2A championship — Two two-time defending champs stage a classic

Worland 17, Star Valley 14, OT, 2002 Class 4A championship — 18-yard field goal by Casey Lass in OT wins it for Warriors

Cokeville 14, Southeast 13, 2003 Class 1A championship — Cyclones go for two, come up short with 2:14 to go

Green River 24, Riverton 21, 2004 Class 5A semifinals — Wolves nearly upset by Wolverines on their way to a perfect season

Guernsey-Sunrise 20, Cokeville 18, 2004 Class 1A championship — Nigel Bristow scores winning TD with 2 minutes to go

Cheyenne Central 23, Natrona 20, OT, 2005 Class 5A semifinals — Central drives late in fourth quarter for TD to tie it, wins in OT

Guernsey-Sunrise 26, Burlington 23, 2005 Class 1A semifinals — Vikings win with TD on final play

Big Piney 12, Newcastle 6, 2006 Class 3A quarterfinals — Punchers make the long trip, win with Seth Linn’s TD catch in final three seconds

Cheyenne East 5, Natrona 3, 2006 Class 4A semifinals — East scores five points in final three minutes, then holds off NC’s last drive

Guernsey-Sunrise 14, Cokeville 12, 2006 Class 1A championship — Panthers miss short field goal on season’s final play

Cheyenne East 35, Gillette 34, 2 OT, 2007 Class 5A semifinals — Blocked extra point in second OT helps to give T-Birds the victory

Jackson 10, Buffalo 6, 2007 Class 4A championship — Jackson produces epic goal-line stand in final 2 minutes

Riverside 21, Big Horn 20, 2007 Class 2A championship — Rebels go 99 yards on game-winning drive, convert 2-point try for championship

Glenrock 16, Buffalo 14, 2008 regular season — Herders’ biggest test during unbeaten season comes down to conversion try in final moments

Douglas 28, Powell 27, 2 OT, 2008 Class 4A semifinals — Cody Bohlander’s three-TD day is capped with winning conversion run

Kelly Walsh 28, Natrona 27, 2 OT, 2009 regular season — Trojans rally from 21-0 deficit, stop Mustangs on 2-point conversion in second OT

Kaycee 58, Midwest 56, 2009 Class 1A-six man semifinals — Buckaroos’ Shawn Straub scores long TD in final 15 seconds

Buffalo 24, Cody 21, OT, 2010 Class 3A semifinals — Bison rally from 14-0 deficit, come up with big defensive stand in overtime

Thermopolis 13, Big Horn 9, 2010 Class 2A championship — Bobcats repeat as champion with late TD by Mitch Syverson

Also on my short list: Lovell 18, Rocky Mountain 15, 2002 Class 3A quarterfinals; Gillette 40, Kelly Walsh 37, OT, 2005 regular season; Powell 33, Lander 31, 2005 Class 4A quarterfinals; Wright 13, Big Horn 7, 2005 Class 2A semifinals; Upton 7, Cokeville 3, 2005 Class 1A semifinals; Buffalo 17, Star Valley 14, 2005 Class 4A championship; Douglas 30, Jackson 26, 2006 Class 4A quarterfinals; Evanston 36, Kelly Walsh 31, 2007 Class 5A quarterfinals; Jackson 16, Douglas 14, 2007 Class 4A semifinals; Lander 6, Jackson 0, 2008 regular season; Douglas 21, Buffalo 14, OT, 2008 regular season; Pine Bluffs 22, Hulett 20, 2009 regular season; Sheridan 9, Kelly Walsh 7, 2009 Class 4A semifinals; Gillette 27, Sheridan 24, OT, 2010 regular season; Southeast 15, Rocky Mountain 14, 2010 Class 1A 11-man quarterfinals.

Of these games, though, one stands out as my choice for “game of the decade”…. and I’m going with the 2007 2A title game, Riverside over Big Horn. This game was etched into memory by Riverside’s game-winning 99-yard drive — and by the Rebels’ successful 2-point conversion late in the game. But this game was more than that. Riverside was avenging a home loss to Big Horn earlier in the season that had ended in similar fashion, with the Rebels having missed a two-point conversion in overtime; Riverside was coming off a two-point loss to Southeast in the 2006 title game; the Rebels had won their other two playoff games by a combined three points, while Big Horn had won its playoff games by eight and five points in one of the most even playoff brackets in recent memory; Big Horn was playing in its fourth state championship game in six years, having won in 2003 and 2004, while Riverside was playing for the town of Basin’s first state football championship…. all that drama, all that intrigue, all that background, and all you need to know is “Rebels convert.”

So what do you think? What games did I forget about? Which game would be your choice for top game of the decade? Post a comment below. Then let’s get set for another decade of high school football!

Happy New Year!

–patrick

12 Thoughts on “Top 20 games of the past 10 years

  1. CoachMac on December 31, 2010 at 4:19 pm said:

    Can’t argue with that choice Patrick!

  2. Patrick,

    The 2004 1A semifinal between Guernsey and Burlington was a great game. Having played in both that one and the next week’s state championship between Guernsey and Cokeville (which is on the list), I think I’d rather go back and watch the tape of the semifinal game. It was a classic (at least in my humble opinion) won on a rare field goal in overtime. But great, great list!

  3. One other thing Patrick. Sorry to nitpick, but the 2005 semifinal between Guernsey and Burlington was in Guernsey, not Burlington.

  4. I have to agree with Patrick. I was there and it was a great game from start to finish. Those boys played with all they had and came out on top!

  5. Sisco Molina on December 31, 2010 at 7:19 pm said:

    Another game to look at was Worland v. Riverton last year in the 3A Quarterfinals. Worland rallied from being down 20-3 late in the third quarter to winning the game in double-ot, 38-37.

  6. Patrick on December 31, 2010 at 9:18 pm said:

    Karl’s right about the 2005 game. Must have started early on that New Year’s champagne. 🙂 And I debated long about the semifinal or the championship, but went with the championship because, well, it was the championship. But, like I said, one man’s list… 🙂

    Sisco, good call on Worland-Riverton. I didn’t realize the deficit was that big for Worland to force OT. That may deserve a place on my list if I were to redo it.

    Thanks, everyone, for making my New Year’s Eve a bit brighter!

    –patrick

  7. I remember that East 5 Natrona 3 game, although I wouldn’t say East held off NC’s last drive. There was a ton of controversy on the last play of the game, regarding NC’s “missed field goal.”

  8. The BP/Rock game in 2001 was a good one. I was part of that game, was the best game I have ever been associated with even though I was on the losing side. Was also cool to talk about it with Kyle Gerik while we were both at Black Hills playing together. Too bad I dropped a pick late in the 4th quarter 🙂

  9. Steve Core on January 3, 2011 at 2:47 pm said:

    Patrick, could not agree more with the Green River win over Riverton. In my 25 years, its the best game I have called. However, it was 24-21 Green River. The wolves were down 21-10 at halftime and scored twice, including two point conversation in the second half and shut-out Riverton. The next week Green River capped a perfect 11-0 season with 20-0 win over Natrona in Casper.

  10. Sisco Molina on January 3, 2011 at 7:54 pm said:

    Yes, it was a great game to be apart of for my teammates and I! Overtime was forced when Brad Hunter took a kickoff back 96 yards, followed by a 2 point conversion in the final minutes of the game. Both teams traded touchdown’s in each of the overtime periods, but Worland won it on a 2 point conversion.

  11. Patrick on January 3, 2011 at 9:43 pm said:

    Thanks for the catch, Steve. Right on the site, wrong on the blog. That’s what I get for writing at 2 a.m. 🙂

    People tend to forget how solid Riverton was that year. Green River had its hands full that semifinal, but they really came through in the second half of that game, and we all know how it ended up a week later.

    Thanks again for the catch!

    –patrick

  12. 2004 3a state championship between big piney and mountain view. The punchers drove 65 yards with 2:20 on the clock. Seth Linn caught a 17 yard touchdown pass from Levi Greenwood with nine seconds left to put the punchers ahead 14-7.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post Navigation