Calling Natrona’s 2013 season gut-wrenching is like calling the pope Catholic.

You’re right, but you’re still a long ways away from the truth.

The pope is the ultimate Catholic. And it turns out Natrona’s 2013 season was the ultimate gut-wrenching season in state history.

In 2013, Natrona went 8-4, and all four losses were by one point. No other team in state history has had as many one-point losses in a season. And it’s not even close.

Three Natrona losses — 42-41 to Cheyenne East, 24-23 to Gillette and 21-20 to Kelly Walsh — came in the regular season, while the fourth, 14-13 to East again, came in the 4A state title game.

That season-long run has only been challenged by schools in two other seasons.

In 1987, Kemmerer lost three games by a single point, falling 9-8 to Pinedale, 8-7 to Saratoga and 14-13 to Cokeville, en route to a 2-6 season. In fact, the Rangers’ first three games of the season were one-point games, as they beat Big Piney 7-6 before losing to Pinedale in the second week and Saratoga the following week.

And in 1991, Cheyenne East lost three times by one point, also finishing 2-6. East’s narrow losses came to Green River (15-14), Cheyenne Central (22-21) and Laramie (21-20), losses made more difficult because they came in three consecutive weeks. In the game before the three one-point losses, East fell to Rock Springs 17-14; the Thunderbirds’ four consecutive losses in this stretch were by a combined six points.

No other teams in state history have had more than two one-point losses in a season.

Alternatively, six teams have won three games by a single point in a season. The most recent? Cheyenne East in 2013 — the same team that beat the historically hard-luck Natrona team. That season, East had its two one-point victories against Natrona and a 28-27 victory against Sheridan in the 4A semifinals on its way to the 4A title and a 10-2 season.

The other teams that had three one-point victories in a season were:

Lander in 1945. The Tigers also lost a game by a single point, too.
Worland in 1951. The Warriors also won a game by two points and finished as Class A runners-up.
Newcastle in 1979.
Cheyenne East in 1983.
Cokeville in 1994. Cokeville won the 1A title this year, winning back-to-back 7-6 games in the first two rounds of the playoffs.


The 1994 Cokeville team was part of an amazing streak for the Panthers: From 1985 to 2004, Cokeville won 15 consecutive one-point games.

And the 2013 Natrona and Cheyenne East teams were both part of some interesting ongoing streaks. East has won nine consecutive one-point games dating back to 2004, the longest such active streak in the state. Meanwhile, Natrona has lost nine consecutive one-point games, tied for the longest active such run. East’s last loss in a one-point game came in a 20-19 loss to Sheridan in the 2004 consolation playoffs; Natrona hasn’t won a one-point game since beating Gillette 29-28 on Sept. 28, 2001.

The other program with nine consecutive one-point losses is Midwest. The Oilers have not won a one-point game in 56 years, with their last coming in a 7-6 victory against the Natrona JV on Sept. 23, 1960.

Other long active streaks belong to Riverside, which has won five one-point games in a row, and Glenrock, which has lost eight in a row. Glenrock hasn’t won a one-point game since 1981.

On the flipside, several squads have gone decades since losing a one-point game. Hulett and Lyman have not lost one-point games since 1987; however, Hulett has had only one one-point game since 1987, while Lyman has only had two. Dubois hasn’t lost a one-point game since 1990, Hanna hasn’t lost one since 1991 and Burns hasn’t lost one since 1994.

After the long streaks of Midwest and Glenrock, the longest droughts without one-point game victories belong to Wyoming Indian (1993) and Rawlins (1994).

I don’t know how much we can glean from looking at one-point games. Usually, the winners and losers in these types of games arise from a little good fortune.

Natrona’s 2013 season, though, stands alone as the one season where fortune favored the opponent in close game after close game after close game after close game — more often than any other season in state history.


3 Thoughts on “Natrona, 2013: When one point separates winning from losing

  1. Steve Core on January 29, 2016 at 12:30 pm said:

    Great stuff. Again.

  2. Thanks Patrick, here is some more on the 2013 Mustangs. It was actually a beautiful story of perseverance and overcoming injury and disappointment. The three 1pt losses were all at home and all in overtime. The East loss was in 2OT. In all 3 games we never trailed in regulation. The games were tied up late and we lost on the last play. We had all of our starters available for two games that year, the Qtr and Semi finals in which we turned two of those one point losses around with a 33-0 victory and another with a 14-7 victory on the road. The Championship saw one of the states greatest kickers miss 3 FG’s by 6″ each on college goal posts that are 5′ narrower. That was an adult admin decision that was brutal(thankfully that has been corrected). The young men on that team were a beautiful example in every way. Thanks for researching this and shining light on these boys, they are all on their way and doing well. Truly a Beautiful Story.

  3. Pingback: Quarterfinal playoff picks: Riverton-Evanston matchup breathes life into 3A postseason possibilities – THE HQ — The Wyoming high school football blog

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