The 2017 playoffs were so exciting that we’re going to try to have them again.
At least that seems to be the feeling this week.
Of this week’s 10 games, half are rematches from either the semifinals or championship games of last year’s playoffs.
The two rematch games that are coming a week earlier than last year come in Class 2A and Class 1A 11-man, where we get a pair of rematches of last year’s title games. In 2A, defending champion Mountain View hosts last year’s runner-up Glenrock, while in 1A 11-man, defending champ Pine Bluffs heads north to face 2017 second-place finisher Big Horn.
Arguably, the better game will be Glenrock-Mountain View. That’s because Big Horn shook off last year’s title-game loss and has hasn’t lost since. The Rams have been tearing through everyone in 2018, including Pine Bluffs 42-7 in Week 5. Meanwhile, Glenrock’s only losses are to Torrington and Buffalo (both still alive), while Mountain View’s lone loss came to Cokeville (also still alive).
Three other games are rematches from the 2017 semifinals. The most prominent is in 3A, where Cody and Star Valley renew acquaintances for the fourth time in two seasons. Of course, the Broncs upset the Braves 31-21 in last year’s semifinals to propel themselves to the 3A title a week later.
Meanwhile, Natrona and Cheyenne East face off again in 4A after a 44-0 Natrona victory in last year’s playoffs (a loss avenged by East 22-21 earlier this season). Also, Farson hosts Snake River in a rematch of a 1A six-man semifinal game the Pronghorns won last year.
Despite being on opposite ends of the enrollment spectrum, Natrona and Farson have some interesting parallels. In addition to facing the same team in the semifinals this year as last year, both Natrona and Farson lost their games in War Memorial last year, and both come in as the overall No. 1 seeds in their respective classifications this year.
Thunder Basin is hosting its first semifinal game in program history, one week after hosting its first quarterfinal game to notch the program’s first postseason victory. The ‘Bolts’ firsts just keep piling up. …
While six of the 10 home teams hosted semifinal games last year, the wait has been a bit longer for Buffalo than for anyone else. The Bison are hosting their first semifinal game since 2007. Also, they’re in the semifinals for the first time in six years. Both are the longest such droughts broken this week. …
Burlington and Meeteetse have played each other at least 60 times in the past seven decades, but they’ve never faced each other in the postseason. That changes Friday when the Huskies make the short trip over to Park County to meet the Longhorns in the Class 1A six-man semifinals for their first playoff matchup. …
I pick teams to win and lose games every week. You judge me for those choices. It’s a fun game I like to play.
(4) Cheyenne East at (1) Natrona: It’s looking more and more like the biggest upset in 4A this year was East beating Natrona 22-21 back in Week 4. A banged-up East will have trouble repeating that feat against the Mustangs in Natrona. (Rematch of a 2017 semifinal.)
(3) Sheridan at (2) Thunder Basin: The ‘Bolts won the first game 23-13 in Sheridan, but Sheridan is improved since that first meeting — and the three-time defending champs won’t go down without a fight. This might be the best game of the week, regardless of classification, and I think Thunder Basin will find a way. (First playoff matchup.)
(3W) Cody at (1W) Star Valley: Oh snap. Cody at Star Valley in the 3A semifinals. And here I am, picking Star Valley to win again. I’m going with the Braves, but last year taught us that we shouldn’t be surprised to see Cody go in and do what it needs to do to keep its season rolling. (Rematch of a 2017 semifinal.)
(2W) Jackson at (1E) Torrington: I think Jackson’s turnaround has been inspiring this season. The Broncs definitely have the ability to hang with the Trailblazers. But a loaded, and inspired, senior class in Torrington will be hard for Jackson to beat. (First meeting since 2014 quarterfinals.)
(3E) Wheatland at (1E) Buffalo: Don’t overlook Wheatland. The Bulldogs gave the Bison all they wanted in Week 6 despite losing 24-14. The Bison know that, and they’ll be ready. (First playoff meeting since 2002 4A quarterfinals.)
(2E) Glenrock at (1W) Mountain View: I cannot wait for this game. There’s so many interesting side plots here. I could spend all day thinking about it. In short, both teams have what it takes to win this week — and next week. Herders in a squeaker. (Rematch of 2017 2A title game.)
Class 1A 11-man
(3E) Pine Bluffs at (1E) Big Horn: Week 5: Big Horn 42, Pine Bluffs 7. That wasn’t a fluke. The Hornets’ three-peat attempt is in serious jeopardy as the Rams continue to work on an undefeated season. (Rematch of 2017 1A 11-man title game.)
(2E) Upton-Sundance at (1W) Cokeville: The Patriots can absolutely hang with the Panthers. Play this in Upton, or Sundance, and I think the Patriots could win it. But in Cokeville, I like the Panthers to win it. Barely. (First meeting since 2013 quarterfinals.)
Class 1A six-man
(3W) Snake River at (1W) Farson: It’s not that Farson’s undefeated. It’s that Farson has been absolutely crushing teams. Aside from a six-point win against Burlington, Farson has won every game by at least 42 points, and that includes a 64-19 victory against Snake River a month ago. (Rematch of a 2017 semifinal.)
(4W) Burlington at (2W) Meeteetse: After last week’s comeback victory against unbeaten Hanna, the Huskies’ confidence should be soaring. That might just be enough to pull off another road playoff victory, even though Meeteetse won the first matchup 38-28 in Week 4. (First playoff meeting.)
For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, click here. Click on “Semifinals” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.
Something pretty special happened here last week: I picked every game correctly. I did that in last year’s quarterfinals, too… the only times it’s ever happened here for any week prior to the semis or title games. Hurray! Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:
Last week: 20-0 (100 percent). This season: 232-56 (81 percent).