The Class 2A West Conference conversation has been dominated by two programs the past three years: Lovell and Lyman.
Mountain View has a chance to end that this week.
The Buffalos host Lovell on Friday in a game that, if the Buffalos have their way, will help usher in a new era for the 2A West hierarchy — or, if the Bulldogs have their way, a game that will help Lovell maintain the status quo it has helped establish.
Lovell is the known commodity. The Bulldogs won the 2A title in 2011, finished second to Lyman and 2012 and also tied for the conference crown in 2010 before falling to eventual state champ Thermopolis in the semifinals that year. Last week, the Bulldogs won their biggest game of the season — so far — by beating Lyman 32-26 in Lovell.
In the past couple years, that victory, even in Week 3, would have all but cemented a conference championship and home-field advantage in the playoffs.
But 2013 is different in the 2A West this year, thanks in large part to Mountain View.
The Buffs are the rising contenders. Last year, Mountain View notched its first winning season since 2006. With the bulk of their players returning, the Buffalos were the Class 2A preseason No. 1 — even with Lyman and Lovell lurking, two schools anchored by the support of three years of dominance.
This week, Lovell and Mountain View both come in on three-game winning streaks; together, they represent two-thirds of the undefeated teams in 2A West Conference play (surprising Thermopolis is also 2-0 in the conference standings).
One way or another, this game will either preserve or destroy the 2A West as we’ve come to know it the past three years.
The (unfortunate) record watch: If Tongue River loses today to Moorcroft, the Eagles will tie the state record for the longest home losing streak. Tongue River hasn’t won at home since beating Lusk 13-12 in the regular-season finale in 2007. Since then, the Eagles have lost 17 straight in Dayton, including two so far this season. TR has won three games in that span, but they’ve all been road victories. The existing state record of 18 consecutive home losses is held by two teams — Lander (1967-71) and Newcastle (1999-2004). Meanwhile, Saratoga holds the state home winless streak at 19, going 0-18-1 from 1965-70. More information about home and road winning and losing streaks is available here.
Other stuff I’m watching: In the 2A East, Burns-Newcastle pits another up-and-coming team against an established contender. It will be interesting to see if the Broncs can keep rolling. … Two of the best six-man teams in the state so far this year meet Friday when Meeteetse faces Dubois. Can the defending champ Rams stop the Longhorns’ high-powered offense? … Jackson has been one of the most intriguing teams in the state so far this year. We’ll see how legit the Broncs are after they face the Powell steamroller up in Park County, though. … Something amazing I discovered this week: Buffalo hasn’t started a season 0-4 since 1948. The Bison have to beat Douglas this week to avoid starting the 2013 season 0-4.
Here are my picks for the week, with the teams I think will win in bold:
Billings Senior, Mont., JV at Rocky Mountain
Cheyenne East at Kelly Walsh
Cheyenne South at Gillette
Laramie at Cheyenne Central
Natrona at Evanston
Rock Springs at Sheridan
Douglas at Buffalo
Green River at Cody
Jackson at Powell
Riverton at Rawlins
Star Valley at Worland
Torrington at Lander
Big Piney at Lyman
Burns at Newcastle
Glenrock at Wheatland
Kemmerer at Thermopolis
Lovell at Mountain View
Moorcroft at Tongue River
Pinedale at Greybull
Wright at Big Horn
Class 1A 11-man
Burlington at Upton-Sundance (at Sundance)
Lusk at Riverside
Pine Bluffs at Shoshoni
Wind River at Southeast
Class 1A six-man
Guernsey-Sunrise at Farson
Meeteetse at Dubois
Midwest at Hanna
St. Stephens at Snake River
Saratoga at Normative Services
Ten Sleep at Wyoming Indian
Class 1A 11-man
Cokeville at Lingle
Class 1A six-man
Hulett at Kaycee
For a full schedule including kick times, check out the 2013 schedule and results page.
Last week: 26-5 (84 percent). This season: 88-21 (81 percent).
The Week 4 slate has what appear to be a lot of straightforward games. But we all know it’s not that easy (especially in 2A). Who’s ready to pull an upset this week? Who am I overlooking? Post your thoughts below and let’s talk.