Most weeks, Class 4A football stinks.
And I can prove it.
In the 364 Class 4A games played between 2011 and 2017, 85 finished with a margin of victory of eight points or fewer; 103 finished with a margin of victory of 35 points or more. The average margin of victory in those 364 games was 24.7 points; the median 22.5.
So far in 2018, the 10 4A games have been decided by 7, 7, 13, 15, 44, 47, 52, 59, 59 and 62 points — average MOV of 36.5 points.
Moreover, it’s the same teams that do the winning — and the losing.
Since 2011, Sheridan, Natrona, Cheyenne East and Gillette have combined for 25 winning seasons, one .500 season and two losing seasons (and one of those losing seasons was the Camels’ 0-9 year last year when it played with a bunch of underclassmen due to some unique circumstances). Kelly Walsh, Rock Springs, Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne South, Evanston (now in 3A), Laramie and Thunder Basin have combined for two winning seasons, seven .500 seasons and 33 losing seasons at the 4A level in that same span.
In 2018? Basically, it’s more of the same, with Thunder Basin unsurprisingly taking Gillette’s place in the upper echelon.
Class 4A’s four 0-2 teams (Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne South, Gillette and Rock Springs) have been outscored by a total of 377-32 — and Rock Springs has 20 of those 32. Meanwhile, the four 2-0 teams (Cheyenne East, Natrona, Sheridan and Thunder Basin) have outscored their opponents 384-39.
The idea that the 2-0 teams are all going to face each other this week is a pretty exciting prospect. East journeys north to Thunder Basin while Sheridan heads south to play Natrona.
All kinds of interesting subplots are in play here: Sheridan has won 20 games in a row, now the state’s longest active streak regardless of classification; Thunder Basin hasn’t allowed a point yet this season; Natrona’s 117 points are the most of any 4A school; Cheyenne East is the only one of the four to beat a team with a victory this season.
And then there’s three other 4A games to figure out who’s going to be first-round playoff cannon fodder.
I hope for a time when parity in Class 4A is a thing — when any team can beat any other on any given weekend. This Friday’s 4A games kind of have that feeling, and it’s nice. Don’t we wish every 4A Friday could feel like this?
Some other Week 2 games are more intriguing than usual:
Burns and Moorcroft are both 1-0, facing off for early control of the 2A East in Week 2. It’s good to see Brad Morrison in Burns and Travis Santistevan in Moorcroft having some early success in their first seasons at their respective posts. …
Big Horn faces a key early test of its attempt to win the 1A 11-man crown when it journeys to face 2A contender Greybull. If the Rams can pull this one off, they could be in position to run the table this season. Just don’t tell them. …
Jackson ended its 16-game losing streak last week with an impressive 41-13 victory against Bear Lake, Idaho. The Broncs could make it two in a row if they can knock off Pinedale at home. …
The most interesting game on the schedule just might be the one between 1A 11-man Upton-Sundance and 2A Wheatland. The Patriots and Bulldogs both have aspirations of postseason success this year, and this interclass matchup could be telling for both teams. …
Snake River and Burlington will meet up in the best six-man game of the week. Burlington bopped three-time defending champ Kaycee by 62 points last week, while Snake River is 2-0 to start the season. This one will help set the pace in the West Conference for the entire season. …
Now, the picks. Bolded teams should win, but un-bolded teams have a chance, too (even in 4A):
Class 1A six-man
St. Stephens at Meeteetse
Cheyenne East at Thunder Basin
Cheyenne South at Kelly Walsh
Gillette at Laramie
Rock Springs at Cheyenne Central
Sheridan at Natrona
Evanston at Riverton
Lander at Powell
Rawlins at Green River
Worland at Cody
Big Piney at Mountain View
Buffalo at Thermopolis
Glenrock at Newcastle
Lyman at Kemmerer
Moorcroft at Burns
Class 1A 11-man
Cokeville vs. Southeast (at Rawlins)
Lusk at Tongue River
Rocky Mountain at Wind River (nonconference, at Ethete)
Wright at Pine Bluffs
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at Riverside
NSI at Lingle
Snake River at Burlington
Big Horn at Greybull
Lovell at Shoshoni
Pinedale at Jackson
Saratoga at Farson
Upton-Sundance at Wheatland
Douglas at Hot Springs, S.D.
Gering, Neb., at Torrington
Star Valley at Sugar-Salem, Idaho
Class 1A six-man
Guernsey-Sunrise at Hulett
Hanna at Midwest
Rock River at Kaycee
Natrona JV at Wyoming Indian
For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, click here. Click on “Week 2” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.
Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:
Last week: 24-10 (71 percent). This season: 37-12 (76 percent).
As we enter Week 2, what are the things you’re seeing that are interesting and worthy of attention? Post a comment and let’s make conversation great again.