Colors: blue and yellow
Stadium: Bulldog Stadium
State championship: 1984
Times worth remembering: The Bulldogs under Bill Pentland saw more success in the mid-1980s than ever before. In Pentland’s first season, 1982, the ‘Dogs hosted the state title game; they won the 3A title in ’84 and came up four points short in the ’87 title game. From 1982-89, Wheatland was a combined 48-24, and the three title game appearances the Bulldogs had in that era are the only three Wheatland has had in program history.
Times worth forgetting: The success of the 1980s was sweeter for the Wheatland faithful because of all of the problems the Bulldogs had in the 1970s. From 1974-79, the Bulldogs went a combined 4-45-2. All four of the Bulldogs’ victories in that span came over lowly Lusk, which was playing its final years in Class A before dropping to Class B. Wheatland also struggled with continuity at the top, as four different coaches led the team in those six seasons.
Best team: With a new coach leading a team coming off a losing season, the 1966 Bulldogs didn’t look like the type of team that’d be capable of chasing a state championship. But Wheatland put together close victory after close victory (its first four victories were by a combined 26 points, with no margin larger than eight) and emerged with an 8-1 record. The Bulldogs’ only loss was a 37-32 heartbreaker to Torrington; even so, Wheatland finished seventh in the final statewide poll and were second to unbeaten Star Valley among Class A teams in the final statewide tally.
Biggest win: The 1984 championship game, a 35-21 victory over Evanston, is the one folks still talk about over coffee in Platte County. The similarities between Wheatland and Evanston were odd — both teams were 8-1 and both teams came into the championship game thanks to one-point victories in their respective regular-season finales. But in front of the home fans, the Bulldogs gained a 15-point lead, lost it, then pulled away late in the fourth quarter on touchdowns by Larry Herman and Duncan Irvine.
Heartbreaker: Despite being heavily favored to beat Powell in the 1987 3A championship, the Bulldogs’ potent running game was frustratingly slowed down by the Panthers’ defense in a 7-3 loss. Powell’s Jason Sleep, though, ran crazy, notching 212 yards – 131 more than all the Bulldogs combined – and scored the game’s only touchdown set up by a successful fake punt in the third quarter.