The most exciting team in Wyoming this season enters the final week of the season at .500, struggling for a playoff spot.
One thing is for sure: When the Normative Services Wolves take the field, points will be scored.
Through six games (bye in Week 1), NSI has scored 389 points (average of 64.8 per game) and given up 362 (average 60.3). Both marks are on pace to be among the top 10 all-time in state history.
Yes — the Wolves have a historically high-scoring offense AND a historically leaky defense.
The top of the state’s season scoring leaders list is littered with state champions; the top of the list showing the most points allowed in a season is similarly littered with winless or near-winless teams. Historically, there hasn’t been much room on either list for .500 teams.
Until this season. Until the Wolves. Until the six-man team from Sheridan played in games this season with final scores of 69-19, 67-61, 65-45, 82-66, 90-38 and 90-59. The Wolves have one more game left in the regular season; they need to beat Midwest on Friday to secure a playoff berth from the 1A six-man East Conference. (Expect some scoring. Midwest is giving up about 51.4 points per game so far this year. When these two teams played each other last year, Midwest won 78-64.)
No team in state history has ever both scored and allowed 60 points per game in any single season. Heck, no team has done that with 50 points per game. And only a couple teams have both scored and allowed at least 40 points per game in a season.
What the Wolves are doing this season is unprecedented.
And, if you like seeing touchdowns, it’s pretty exciting, too.
NSI isn’t the only team scoring points at a record pace. Meeteetse has scored 518 points, or an average of 74 per game, through its seven games. If the Longhorns can keep up this pace, they’ll obliterate the records for most points in a season (803, set by Meeteetse in 2013) and most average points per game (68.22 ppg, set by Guernsey-Sunrise in 2009).
Dubois, meanwhile, scored 102 points in its 102-6o victory against Ten Sleep last week. The 162 combined points were the most in any single game in state history, and the 102 points represented the first time any Wyoming high school team had cracked the century mark in a game since 1930. See the other single-game scoring records here.
On to Week 8, the last week of the regular season. In all, 23 games this week will have an impact one way or another on playoff seeding. Five teams (Cheyenne Central, Newcastle, Thermopolis, NSI and Midwest) are in true win-and-you’re-in, lose-and-you’re-out situations. For them, the playoffs may as well start this week. Newcastle plays Thermopolis and Midwest plays NSI for the final playoff spot from their respective conferences, while Central plays Evanston in what was probably the hardest game of the week for me to pick.
Home-field advantage is also up for grabs in three specific games: Star Valley and Jackson face off for the top seed from the 3A West; Lovell and Greybull meet for the 2A West title; and the Shoshoni-Riverside winner wins the No. 1 seed from the 1A 11-man West. Additionally, Wheatland faces Big Horn for the conference title in the 2A East — Wheatland wins it outright with a victory, while Big Horn can cause a three-way tie for first by beating the Bulldogs.
The 1A 11-man East and the 1A six-man East top seeds won’t be as easy to figure out. Here’s a guide.
And here’s your guide to projected winners for the week, who I’ve noted with boldness:
Gillette JV vs. Rocky Mountain
Cheyenne Central at Evanston
Cheyenne South at Sheridan
Gillette at Cheyenne East
Kelly Walsh at Laramie
Rock Springs at Natrona
Douglas at Buffalo
Green River at Worland
Jackson at Star Valley
Lander at Riverton
Powell at Cody
Torrington at Rawlins
Big Horn at Wheatland
Burns at Wright
Kemmerer at Glenrock
Lovell at Greybull
Lyman at Mountain View
Pinedale at Big Piney
Thermopolis at Newcastle
Class 1A 11-man
Moorcroft at Lingle
Shoshoni at Riverside
Southeast at Upton-Sundance
Tongue River at Pine Bluffs
Wind River at Cokeville
Wyoming Indian at Saratoga
Class 1A six-man
Hanna at Kaycee
Meeteetse at Guernsey-Sunrise
Midwest at NSI
Snake River at Farson
Ten Sleep at St. Stephens
Class 1A six-man
Rock River at Hulett
Dubois at Natrona sophs
Rocky Mountain already picked up a forfeit victory against Burlington this week.
For a full schedule including start times, click here.
The resident curmudgeons Tad and Homer have their picks this week, too. They’re not discouraged by their recent rough showings; picks they miss are simply more data for them to mull over.
Tad: Cheyenne Central over Evanston; Gillette over Cheyenne East; Thermopolis over Newcastle; Southeast over Upton-Sundance; Tongue River over Pine Bluffs.
Homer: Evanston over Cheyenne Central; Cheyenne East over Gillette; Newcastle over Thermopolis; Upton-Sundance over Southeast; Pine Bluffs over Tongue River.
Both: Sheridan over Cheyenne South; Laramie over Kelly Walsh; Natrona over Rock Springs; Buffalo over Douglas; Green River over Worland; Star Valley over Jackson; Riverton over Lander; Cody over Powell; Torrington over Rawlins; Big Horn over Wheatland; Wright over Burns; Glenrock over Kemmerer; Lovell over Greybull; Mountain View over Lyman; Big Piney over Pinedale; Moorcroft over Lingle; Riverside over Shoshoni; Cokeville over Wind River; Saratoga over Wyoming Indian; Kaycee over Hanna; Meeteetse over Guernsey-Sunrise; Normative Services over Midwest; Hulett over Rock River; Snake River over Farson; St. Stephens over Ten Sleep; Rocky Mountain over Gillette JV; Dubois over Natrona sophs.
Cheyenne Central at Evanston (Central 9-5 overall, tie 4-4 at this location)
Cheyenne South at Sheridan (Sheridan 4-0 overall, Sheridan 2-0 at this location)
Gillette at Cheyenne East (Gillette 25-17 overall, East 11-9 at this location)
Kelly Walsh at Laramie (Laramie 22-17 overall, Laramie 15-6 at this location)
Rock Springs at Natrona (Natrona 48-19-3 overall, Natrona 32-7-1 at this location)
Douglas at Buffalo (Buffalo 34-30-1 overall, Buffalo 21-10-1 at this location)
Green River at Worland (Green River 8-5 overall, Green River 5-3 at this location)
Jackson at Star Valley (Star Valley 63-15 overall, Star Valley 32-8 at this location)
Lander at Riverton (Riverton 60-51-7 overall, Riverton 32-24-2 at this location)
Powell at Cody (Cody 60-51-4 overall, Cody 30-22-1 at this location)
Torrington at Rawlins (Torrington 25-5-1 overall, Torrington 10-5 at this location)
Big Horn at Wheatland (Big Horn 5-0 overall, Big Horn 2-0 at this location)
Burns at Wright (tie 11-11 overall, Wright 6-3 at this location)
Kemmerer at Glenrock (tie 6-6 overall, Glenrock 4-2 at this location)
Lovell at Greybull (Lovell 55-28-4 overall, Lovell 28-11-2 at this location)
Lyman at Mountain View (Mountain View 44-31 overall, Mountain View 21-16 at this location)
Pinedale at Big Piney (Big Piney 55-45 overall, Big Piney 29-18 at this location)
Thermopolis at Newcastle (Thermopolis 17-8 overall, tie 5-5 at this location)
Class 1A 11-man
Moorcroft at Lingle (Moorcroft 4-3 overall, Moorcroft 2-1 at this location)
Rocky Mountain at Burlington (Rocky Mountain 14-5 overall, Rocky Mountain 6-3 at this location) (Rocky already picked up the W via forfeit for this game)
Shoshoni at Riverside (Riverside 13-7 overall, Riverside 5-4 at this location)
Southeast at Upton-Sundance (Southeast 2-1 overall, first at this location)
Tongue River at Pine Bluffs (Tongue River 1-0 overall, first at this location)
Wind River at Cokeville (Cokeville 18-5 overall, Cokeville 9-3 at this location)
Wyoming Indian at Saratoga (Saratoga 10-2 overall, Saratoga 5-1 at this location)
Class 1A six-man
Hanna at Kaycee (Kaycee 6-1 overall, Kaycee 3-0 at this location)
Meeteetse at Guernsey-Sunrise (Meeteetse 4-2 overall, Meeteetse 1-0 at this location)
Midwest at NSI (NSI 7-2 overall, NSI 3-1 at this location)
Rock River at Hulett (Hulett 1-0 overall, first at this location)
Snake River at Farson (Snake River 8-2 overall, Snake River 3-1 at this location)
Ten Sleep at St. Stephens (St. Stephens 3-2 overall, St. Stephens 1-0 at this location)
Weekly reminder: Tad picks the series leader; Homer picks the location leader; when a series is tied, both Tad and Homer pick the home team. And they always pick a varsity team over a sub-varsity team.
Last week’s records: Patrick, 26-5 (84 percent); Tad, 15-16 (48 percent); Homer, 20-11 (65 percent).
Season records: Patrick, 183-46 (80 percent); Tad, 141-88 (62 percent); Homer, 124-105 (54 percent).
And that’s the end of the regular season, folks. How do YOU see it all coming together? Leave a comment here and let’s discuss the last week of the regular season!