Every Wednesday for the next five weeks, we will preview each classification of Wyoming high school football. We will start the series today by taking a look at Class 1A six-man.
Four questions to answer
Can anybody stop Snake River? Probably not. Even with significant losses to graduation, the Rattlers are still the odds-on favorite to win the six-man championship again this fall. With a 21-game winning streak in tow, and with an expected nine seniors on this year’s roster, the Rattlers will once again set the pace for the rest of the six-man schools to match.
Can anybody stop Snake River? Maybe Dubois. Last year’s state runners-up return a significant number of players, including all-state picks Cody Flynn and Jesse Hawk. And don’t forget that in last year’s championship game, the Rams played the Rattlers even, 33-33, in the final three quarters after Snake built a 21-0 first-quarter lead.
Can anybody stop Snake River? A host of other teams on the Rattlers’ schedule have the potential to pull a regular-season upset and stop the streak — but the best chance of that happening is away from Baggs. Snake River has a tough road trip to Ten Sleep in the opening week of the season and also has to travel to play an always-tough Kaycee squad in Week 6.
Can anybody stop Snake River? The gap between the top and the bottom of six-man appears to be shrinking a bit — and that will make it tougher for Snake River to run the table for a third consecutive year. Most of the teams at the bottom of the six-man standings last year appear to be better this year — Farson, Guernsey, Hanna, Hulett and Meeteetse should all be improved over last year, which will make every week a challenge, not just for the Rattlers but for everyone.
Four players to watch
James Caro, Kaycee. Football came to Kaycee at the perfect time for Caro, who has been the Buckaroos’ quarterback since their first snap in 2009. Potentially a four-time all-state selection, Caro threw for 1,108 yards and ran for 481 more and also intercepted eight passes on defense last season. Caro’s role with Kaycee has always been important, but it’ll be magnified in his senior season.
Cole Gourlay, Snake River. Last year’s co-defensive player of the year in six-man, Gourlay is one of the big reasons why Snake River is expected to win it all again this year. Gourlay led Snake River with 113 tackles last fall and will have to be just as active this year as the Rattlers go for three in a row.
Friscoe Erdahl, Ten Sleep. Erdahl has been one of Ten Sleep’s biggest threats the past two years. The returning all-state player is the type that never comes off the field. His job as Ten Sleep’s offensive playmaker will be showcased that much more on a team that will have little depth.
Jesse Hawk, Dubois. If the Rams want to make it back to Laramie, it will most likely be on the ability of Hawk’s legs. Hawk was the Rams’ best rushing threat last fall, as he piled up 1,135 yards and 15 scores; he’ll need to put up similar numbers for the Rams to stay in the thick of it in the North Conference.
Four key games
Dubois at Snake River, Sept. 7: Rematch of last year’s title game. Snake River’s biggest early test. Dubois’ reality check. This game has everything going for it.
Hanna at Midwest, Sept. 14: The South Conference opener for both the Oilers and the Miners will help dictate both teams’ directions for 2012. A victory could mean a home playoff game; a loss means a lot of fighting to simply stay assured of a playoff berth.
Midwest at Snake River, Oct. 12: Midwest gave Snake River its biggest regular-season scare last fall. And don’t think the Rattlers aren’t aware of that.
Ten Sleep at Kaycee, Oct. 13: These two teams always play well against each other. The scores of the four Kaycee-Ten Sleep games the past three years? 71-67, 48-43, 63-62, 54-52. In short, it’s gonna be fun.
Predicted order of finish
North: Dubois, Kaycee, Ten Sleep, Hulett, Meeteetse.
South: Snake River, Hanna, Midwest, Guernsey, Farson.
Completely outlandish, way-too-early title game score prediction
Snake River 64, Dubois 50
In the past three years, when two varsity six-man football teams from Wyoming have played each other, they have combined to match or break the 100-point barrier in 23 games, including 11 times last year. However, not all six-man games are shootouts. Some are defensive struggles. The question: In the past three years, when two varsity six-man football teams from Wyoming have played each other, how many times have they combined to score fewer than 50 points? And the bonus question to that: What common thread ties these games together? (That should give it away that there is more than one game….)
So what do YOU think about six-man this year? Will Snake River just run away with everything again and threaten the state record for longest winning streak? Or will someone else sneak into the mix and become the new favorite? Post your thoughts below and let’s start the conversation.