Wyoming high school football, 1895 to 1919: It’s what you call a “hodgepodge”

Posted on May 7th, 2011 in Everything,Ramblings by Patrick

The time prior to World War I is a confusing one for Wyoming high school football. Few schools played the sport with any consistency. Schools occasionally fielded teams for a year or two, then disappeared. Even schools that fielded teams had trouble developing consistent schedules.

In the end, what we see is a hodgepodge of starts and stops. In all, at least 10 schools fielded teams prior to World War I, but only two schools had teams with any consistency.

Here is a quick look at the schools that fielded teams prior to 1918:

Five schools I didn’t think had teams prior to World War I: Fort Washakie, Lander, Douglas, Wheatland, University Prep.

Douglas: The Bearcats started in 1908 and also played in 1909, then went away for a few years. Douglas also fielded teams again in 1913 and 1914, and then gave it up again. The Bearcats came back for good after the war.
Lander: Like Douglas, Lander started in 1908. The Tigers also played in 1910. And that’s all I’ve found for Lander prior to the Tigers’ restart in 1922.
Fort Washakie: I found games between Lander and Fort Washakie in 1910; it’s all I’ve found (so far) for the school prior to 1926.
Wheatland: Wheatland’s “official” start was 1912. The Bulldogs also fielded teams in 1913 and 1914, but put away the pigskin after that season and waited until after the war to come back.
University Prep: Prep played games in 1908 and 1909, then gave it up before restarting its program in 1920.

Two schools I knew had history prior to World War I, but I knew it was murky: Buffalo and Natrona.

Buffalo: Buffalo started fielding teams in 1916, but often played only one or two games a season due to difficulties in scheduling.
Natrona: NC’s play has been spotty at best; I have the Mustangs with teams in 1908, 1909 and 1912 prior to “starting” in 1919.

Three schools I knew had deep histories that extended prior to World War I: Sheridan, Cheyenne Central, Laramie.

Sheridan: The Broncs started in 1909, but didn’t play any interscholastic games that year. Sheridan’s first official year came in 1910 and the Broncs have had a program ever since.
Laramie: Laramie fielded teams in 1901 and 1903, then gave it up (near as I can tell) until 1908. The Plainsmen also gave up football in 1913 and 1914 and also didn’t play in 1918 due to the worldwide flu epidemic. Their start? I think it’s 1895. At least that’s the earliest Laramie game I’ve found so far.
Cheyenne Central: The only thing that has stopped Cheyenne is the flu, which wiped out the 1918 season. Otherwise, the cherry and black have played at least one game every year since 1904. However, I have yet to find games for Cheyenne prior to 1902.

Here is a year-by-year look at which teams played in which seasons prior to 1920, to the best of my knowledge (so far):

1919: Buffalo, Cheyenne Central, Laramie, Natrona, Sheridan.
1918: No games, influenza epidemic (I have seen Sheridan records claiming a 10-0 loss to Billings in 1918, but for the life of me I cannot find it)
1917: Buffalo, Cheyenne Central, Laramie, Sheridan.
1916: Buffalo, Cheyenne Central, Laramie, Sheridan.
1915: Cheyenne Central, Laramie, Sheridan.
1914: Cheyenne Central, Douglas, Sheridan, Wheatland.
1913: Cheyenne Central, Douglas, Sheridan, Wheatland.
1912: Cheyenne Central, Laramie, Natrona, Sheridan, Wheatland.
1911: Cheyenne Central, Laramie, Sheridan.
1910: Cheyenne Central, Fort Washakie, Lander, Laramie, Sheridan.
1909: Cheyenne Central, Douglas, Laramie, Natrona, University Prep.
1908: Cheyenne Central, Douglas, Lander, Laramie, Natrona, University Prep.
1907: Cheyenne Central.
1906: Cheyenne Central.
1905: Cheyenne Central.
1904: Cheyenne Central.
1903: Laramie.
1902: Cheyenne Central.
1901: Laramie.
1900: No indications of any teams.
1899: No indications of any teams.
1898: No indications of any teams.
1897: Laramie.
1896: Laramie.
1895: Laramie.

I have not found any games for teams prior to 1895. Yet.

As for the results of the games themselves: I will be uploading 1895 through 1919 sometime after I move. I am in the process of moving back to Casper and won’t have the computer for a few days….

–patrick

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