The final weekend of the high school football season was highlighted by a pair of blowouts (Snake River over Dubois and Sheridan over Cheyenne East), a pair of hard-fought victories (Lovell over Lyman and Cokeville over Southeast) and what may have been the best high school football game I have ever seen (Powell over Douglas).
First, the blowouts. Dubois and Cheyenne East were both decided underdogs going into their games, and although both teams tried to keep their games close early, their chances slipped away late — East’s under a steady stream of Jordan Roberts’ running, Dubois thanks to Snake River’s slow-down second half.
Second, the hard-fought victories. Lovell built a 21-0 lead and then survived as Lyman came back; the Eagles may have won if high school quarters were 15 minutes long instead of 12. Cokeville produced a solid defensive effort to hold down Southeast and win its second consecutive 1A 11-man championship, beating an undefeated team from the East Conference in Laramie for the second consecutive year.
Finally, the game of the weekend. With a score like 15-14, you would think the excitement of this game was reserved for just a few key moments. Nope. This game was full of exciting, dramatic plays at every step of the way. Douglas out-gained Powell 420-332 and the Bearcats’ Tanner Miller ran for 280 yards, but most of the yards went for naught. Powell stopped Douglas at the 4-yard line on the Bearcats’ first drive, establishing the theme of the game: Douglas also came away without points on drives that ended at Powell’s 22-yard line, Powell’s 31-yard line and Powell’s 1-yard line. In the crunch, Powell always had the upper hand on Douglas. Of course, never was that clearer than with 15 seconds to go, when Douglas, down 15-14 after a touchdown catch by Braidy Parks on fourth down, elected to go for the two-point conversion and the victory. However, Powell’s Olie Olson stepped in front of a Luke Andrews pass on the conversion try to seal the Panthers’ victory in one of the most dramatic finishes to a state championship game.
The weekend was capped by — what else? — snow. I made the mistake of trying to drive home Saturday night; not long after I left Laramie for Casper via Cheyenne, Interstate 80 closed on me. I only went in the ditch once (drove off the road because I couldn’t see the road, literally) and it only took me an hour and 40 minutes to get from Laramie to Cheyenne (and then another almost four hours from Cheyenne to Casper while fighting the wind), but I arrived home safe. Frazzled, but safe. Quite an end to the season….
And, maybe, quite an end to what I do here. I recently accepted a position teaching journalism at North Dakota State University in Fargo, and my wife and I will move up to that area in December. What I will do with the blog and the rest of the site remains uncertain. What is certain is that my book on Wyoming high school football — now officially titled “A Century of Fridays: Wyoming High School Football, 1894-2011” — will be available for purchase here as soon as it is completed. Hopefully that’s soon.
Thanks to everyone who has embraced what I have done the past seven years. An even bigger thanks to those who have shared what I’ve been doing with others. And a big rochambeau kick to those who have used the information I have provided on this site without crediting me (I know who you are).
This week: 5-0 (100 percent). This season: 254-50 (84 percent — my new best one-season mark!). Seven-year total: 1,596-448 (78 percent)