Antoine Proctor will be the new head coach at NSI for 2018.

Proctor takes over for Anthony Simmons, who has been the Wolves’ head coach the past four years. NSI went 8-23 under Simmons, reaching the six-man playoffs for the first and only time as a program under him in 2015.

In a text to, Simmons said he has “a lot (of) other duties and obligations” and couldn’t fulfill the responsibilities of head coach.

Proctor played basketball at Sheridan College, Sacramento State and Montana State-Billings. He later played professionally in Slovakia and Iceland before moving back to Sheridan.

Proctor did not reply to a Facebook post or to text messages left Tuesday or to emails sent late last week to his posted address. This post will be updated when possible.


One of my favorite purchases every summer is my copy of Phil Steele’s College Football Preview. I discovered the Phil Steele preview about 15 years ago and refer to it often throughout the season, and it’s the only college football preview I buy.

I love it because it flips a lot of conventional wisdom on its head to make its preseason predictions, looking not only at the win-loss record and who’s back but other factors like two-deep returners, turnover ratio, close games and, one of my favorite stats, yards per point.

Entering the 2018 season, I decided to break down the yards-per-point stat for Wyoming high school football teams, both on offense and on defense. The formula is simple: number of yards gained (or allowed) divided by the number of points scored (or allowed).

On offense, you want a LOWER YPP — that means you’re scoring a lot of points in comparison to the number of yards you’re gaining. A higher YPP means usually means one of two things: you’re gaining yards but not scoring points, or you’re not gaining yards and scoring basically zilch.

On defense, you want a HIGHER YPP — teams may get their yards, but they won’t get their points. High YPPs on defense show either a team that bends but doesn’t break or a team that is on lockdown and doesn’t allow many yards OR many points.

In Phil Steele’s preview, he mentions that YPP is fluid. YPP measures efficiency, not strength. It’s a ratio, not a cumulation. Because of the fluidity of the stat, it’s also often a predictor of how well a team will do the following season. Teams that have really high (or low) YPPs usually have a tough time maintaining that (in)efficiency from year to year; exceptional outliers tend to indicate a particularly lucky (or unlucky) team that either succeeded or struggled because of bad breaks and inefficiency, which are more easily rectified than, say, a lack of talent.

When I dug into Wyoming’s high school football statistics from last season, I found six teams ripe for turnarounds, because they were in the bottom 10 statewide of both YPP offense and YPP defense: Shoshoni, Cheyenne South, Gillette, Burns, Wright and Jackson.

Conversely, seven teams were in the top 10 of both categories, and may have a tough time maintaining that efficiency (and success) in 2018: Pine Bluffs, Sheridan, Natrona, Cokeville, Star Valley, Torrington and Mountain View.

I also found a few weird outliers worth discussing.

One weird outlier — and potentially a team ready to benefit from better luck — is Powell. The Panthers finished dead last statewide in Offensive YPP, at 23.93. However, Powell’s defense checked in with a YPP of 12.4, dead smack in the middle of the statewide ranks. So Powell’s defense was solid, but its offense was horrendously inefficient at scoring points; looking at it that way, it’s no surprise they finished 1-7 despite having a good defense. A few more breaks go the Panthers’ way, and maybe they’re in the hunt in the 3A West. (Other programs with efficient defenses but inefficient offenses in 2017: Lusk, Lander and Kemmerer.)

Another weird outlier is Wind River, which finished 3-6 last year. The Cougars were seventh in the state in offensive YPP last season (10.31). But they were sixth-to-last statewide in defensive YPP (9.62). So the Cougars had one of the state’s most efficient offenses and one of its least efficient defenses, all in the same season. Will the real Wind River please stand up? (Other programs with efficient offenses but inefficient defenses in 2017: Saratoga, Tongue River, Thunder Basin and Rock Springs.)

Here’s a quick glance at the leaders statewide….

Top and bottom 10 in YPP Offense:

Top 10: Pine Bluffs (8.85), Sheridan (8.91), Natrona (9.32), Cokeville (9.44), Star Valley (9.66), Torrigton (9.73), Wind River (10.31), Big Piney (10.49), Mountain View (10.89), Glenrock (10.99).

Bottom 10: Powell (23.93), Shoshoni (23.53), Cheyenne South (23.1), Kemmerer (21.34), Lander (20.81), Lusk (19.83), Gillette (19.31), Burns (17.65), Wright (15.55), Jackson (15.13).

Top and bottom 10 in YPP Defense:

Top 10: Cokeville (32.85), Star Valley (26.86), Sheridan (23.04), Mountain View (22.13), Pine Bluffs (20.93), Cody (19.14), Buffalo (18.3), Natrona (18.11), Rocky Mountain (17.87), Torrington (17.24).

Bottom 10: Jackson (6.29), Cheyenne South (6.94), Gillette (7.06), Saratoga (8.12), Shoshoni (8.6), Wind River (9.62), Wright (9.73), Burns (9.95), Tongue River (10), Thunder Basin (10.61).

(These numbers include 11-man teams only. Six-man stats were too inconsistent to apply these methods.)

And here’s an unsponsored link to go buy Phil Steele’s college football preview.


Four-peats don’t happen often in Class 4A.

The last big-school team to four-peat was Sheridan from 1990-93. Prior to that, it was Worland from 1924-27.

That’s it. For now.

In 2018, Sheridan could complete the third four-peat at the big-school level in Wyoming history. The Broncs have plenty of challenges facing them this year — among them the loss of a big senior class and an entire state’s worth of teams targeting them as the team to beat — but that doesn’t change the fact that Sheridan’s poised to make some history.

Four questions to answer

Will Sheridan win a fourth consecutive championship? The odds are good. If I had to guess, I’d say Sheridan’s odds were about 50/50 — it’s a 50 percent chance that Sheridan will win 4A, and a 50 percent chance the other nine programs combined have. The Broncs have a ton of new personnel and a new coach in Jeff Mowry, but they also have tradition, high expectations and momentum.

Who’s got the best shot to challenge Sheridan? No one knows. Honestly: No. One. Knows. In my interviews with 4A head coaches this summer, the definitive response to this question was seemingly “Uhhhh….” Now, coaches did say some teams are in the running. Kelly Walsh has a chance, maybe Natrona, maybe East, maybe Thunder Basin… but not a single coach could give a specific reason, outside of tradition, why any team other than Sheridan should be considered a legit contender for the 4A crown. And if you’re in Sheridan, that’s a good thing.

So who actually has the best shot? Kelly Walsh. If you cut through all the presuppositions, the team that’s unanimously on the rise is KW. Opposing coaches came away impressed with the Trojans’ performance last year, their ability to finally get a playoff victory (first since 2009) and the personnel that returns. If last year was a breakthrough, this year could be the start of a pattern.

Will new coaches at Sheridan and Cheyenne Central change 4A much? Not this year. Jeff Mowry in Sheridan learned from Don Julian for several years and likely will not mess with what’s working. And Mike Apodaca inherits a rebuilding project at Cheyenne Central that will take longer than a year to turn around completely. In five years, we may look back on this and see the start of something new, but for now, don’t expect too much boat-rocking.

Four players to watch

Parker Christensen, Sheridan. In July, Christensen verbally committed to the University of Wyoming. He earned that opportunity after running for 1,049 yards on just 98 carries (do the math and that’s 10.7 yards per carry). As one of the top running backs in the state, playing for the three-time defending champs, Christensen will have a huge responsibility ahead.

Brock Spiegelberg, Kelly Walsh. As KW shifted to a balanced running game, Spiegelberg piled up the stats. He ran for 1,399 yards and 17 touchdowns last year, and he’s Class 4A’s leading returning rusher. As the centerpiece of the Trojans’ offense, he could put up even bigger numbers this fall — and more importantly, lead KW deeper in the playoffs.

Zach Alexander, Cheyenne East. Alexander is preparing to enter his third year as East’s starting middle linebacker — an honor few 4A players could ever claim. As the centerpiece of the defense, he’s been a steady performer, and he’ll lead East’s defense in a wide-open 4A race.

Chase Brachtenbach, Natrona. Not too many players lead Natrona in defensive points as a junior, but that’s exactly what Brachtenbach did last season. The Mustangs’ leader in tackles for loss and sacks, Brachtenbach will be a key piece of a rebuilding Mustang defense.

Four key games

Thunder Basin at Cheyenne Central, Aug. 24. There’s probably not a 4A game on the schedule that has more questions than this one. How will Thunder Basin come back after losing a large chunk of seniors? How will Central play under new coach Mike Apodaca? Will either one be a surprise challenger? This game should help answer a lot of those queries.

Kelly Walsh at Cheyenne East, Aug. 31. If the Trojans want to be taken as a serious 4A title contender, they have to beat the Thunderbirds. East has beaten KW nine consecutive times, and KW hasn’t won at East since 2006. If the Trojans can get this one, they’ll be right in the thick of things.

Sheridan at Natrona, Sept. 7. Sheridan got the best of Natrona in both of their matchups, including the big one in the state title game. Both teams look to be contenders again this fall, so this early season matchup should set the pace for 4A for the rest of the season.

Natrona at Kelly Walsh, Oct. 5. This Oil Bowl could have higher stakes than any Oil Bowl in the past decade. Both the Mustangs and Trojans want to be in the title chase, and what better way to prove yourself than against your cross-town rival?

Predicted order of finish

Sheridan; Kelly Walsh; Natrona; Cheyenne East; Thunder Basin; Rock Springs; Cheyenne Central; Laramie; Cheyenne South; Gillette.

Way-too-early title game score prediction

Sheridan 34, Kelly Walsh 26. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the 4A ranks this year. What is clear, though, is that no one team has specifically risen up to give Sheridan a challenge for 4A supremacy. An undefeated state champion is unlikely, but Sheridan will remain the favorite until someone — anyone — proves they can knock the Broncs out of the king’s throne.

What do you think? I’ve got Sheridan down to win it all in November. Do you? Who’s the Broncs’ biggest challenger? Leave a comment, because I’ve got some thoughts and I want to work through them with you all.


The Coaches and Media Poll for the preseason was released today. Here was my ballot (and my preseason top fives) for each classification:

Class 4A: 1. Sheridan; 2. Kelly Walsh; 3. Natrona; 4. Cheyenne East; 5. Thunder Basin.
Class 3A: 1. Torrington; 2. Cody; 3. Star Valley; 4. Green River; 5. Douglas.
Class 2A: 1. Buffalo; 2. Mountain View; 3. Glenrock; 4. Wheatland; 5. Greybull.
Class 1A 11-man: 1. Big Horn; 2. Upton-Sundance; 3. Pine Bluffs; 4. Cokeville; 5. Wind River.
Class 1A six-man: 1. Farson; 2. Burlington; 3. Kaycee; 4. Meeteetse; 5. Snake River.


Eleven Wyoming high school football coaches share something in common — they’re the winningest coaches at their schools.

That list could grow to 16 names by the time the 2018 season is complete.

Coaches at Newcastle, Rock River, Lyman, NSI and Kelly Walsh could move up to No. 1 on their school’s all-time coaching victories list if they get enough victories this season.

The coach closest to this milestone is Newcastle’s Matt Conzelman. He needs one victory to tie the Dogies’ current victories record-holder Erv Wentling, and two victories to break Wentling’s record of 48 victories with the program. Other coaches who could become their school’s leader in victories this season include:

Doug Spriggs, Rock River (2 to tie, 3 to break Terrance Reese’s record of 2)
Dale Anderson, Lyman (6 to tie, 7 to break Loren Huntsman’s record of 39)
Anthony Simmons, NSI (6 to tie, 7 to break Mike Gorzalka’s record of 14)
Jon Vance, Kelly Walsh (8 to tie, 9 to break Tom Staffileno’s record of 37)

The 11 coaches who are already their school’s winningest coach are Todd Dayton, Cokeville (315 wins); Steve Harshman, Natrona (190); Mark Bullington, Southeast (138); Ray Kumpula, Glenrock (127); David Trembly, Dubois (83); Larry Yeradi, Wright (80); Chad Goff, Cheyenne East (77); Andy Garland, Upton-Sundance (42 with co-op, 76 total at Upton/Upton-Sundance); Trip Applequist, Farson (35); Trent Pikula, Thunder Basin (5); and Dan Gallas, Cheyenne South (4).


The Wind River football team will play its home games in 2018 in Ethete at Wyoming Indian High School.

County 10 reported that the Wind River football field was reseeded in the spring, and the reseeding process, as well as an incident where a fire truck drove over the newly seeded field, rendered the Cougars’ field in Pavillion unplayable for this fall.

For the full 2018 statewide schedule, including kickoff times, click here.


Cody’s run to the 2017 Class 3A championship was pretty special.

With one inspired run, the Broncs won their fifth state title, ended Star Valley’s attempt at a three-peat and established themselves as one of the favorites to win 3A in 2018.

However, a lot of uncertainty surrounds 3A this year.

Of the seven returning all-state selections, three play for Cody and three for Torrington; most teams are trying to rebuild this year. New coaches at Rawlins, Lander, Green River and Powell make the classification unstable. Worland has switched conferences.

When the stream gets stirred up like this, the lack of clarity makes it difficult to navigate — but exciting to try to wade through.

Four questions to answer

Was Cody’s state championship a fluke? No way. The Broncs proved they were the best team at the right time last year, and the playoff victories they earned against Buffalo, Star Valley and Torrington — all as the lower seed — were all definitive. That means the Broncs didn’t just win a title last year. They set a new standard for the program.

Does that mean that Cody’s the favorite to win the 3A title again this year? Sort of. Cody returns three all-state players, more than any other 3A school except Torrington. And there’s the rub. Torrington, last year’s 3A runner-up, is loaded for another deep playoff run. We may see a repeat in the 3A title game this year, and this time the Trailblazers could be the ones hoisting the champions’ trophy.

Isn’t Star Valley still in the mix? Yeah… but this year is a true test for the program. The Braves lost more seniors than a nursing home at Sunday brunch. Until we know if those new players have the ability to bear the brunt of the old expectations, it’s best to wait and see with the Braves this year.

What big offseason change will affect 3A the most long-term? John Scott’s hiring at Lander. Scott has a history of taking under-performing programs and turning them around. He’s done it at Kemmerer, Gillette and Tongue River. And now he’s at Lander, taking over a program that’s gone 2-31 combined the past four seasons. The turnaround won’t be immediate, but knowing Scott’s history, it will happen.

Four players to watch

Bryan Lemmon, Torrington. Lemmon might be 3A’s best running back — for the second year in a row. He ran for 1,261 yards and 18 touchdowns last year in leading the Trailblazers to the title game. He also had 25 catches for 475 yards… and he was also Torrington’s leading tackler last year, giving opposing offenses fits from his linebacker spot.

Jared Grenz, Cody. One number makes Grenz stand out on the stat sheet: 31.8. That’s how many yards per catch Grenz averaged last year, needing only 16 catches to rack up 509 yards. He also ran 48 times for 341 yards (a not-too-shabby 7.1 yards per carry). His big-play ability will be key for Cody’s repeat run.

Anthony Mitchell, Green River. The Wolves’ lone returning all-state player did most of his damage last year on defense, where he was second for Green River in defensive points. Graduation may open up more opportunities on offense, though, as Mitchell is in prime position to become the Wolves’ main aerial threat.

Treyton Paxton, Riverton. Even in a down year last year, the Wolverines’ passing game was still on point. Paxton led that effort by throwing for 1,520 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has to break in basically an entirely new group of receivers (Riverton’s top four receivers from last year are all gone), but Paxton’s abilities throwing the ball could make his receivers’ jobs, and transitions, easier.

Four key games

Green River at Torrington, Sept. 14. One of the most intriguing nonconference games of the season puts Green River on the road against Torrington — the same matchup that ended the Wolves’ season last year. Although it won’t count for any playoff seeding, this game will be huge for both teams to gauge their abilities against teams from the other side of the state.

Rawlins at Douglas, Sept. 21. A heartbreaking 17-14 loss to Douglas nearly marked the end of a long string of losses the Outlaws had suffered to the Bearcats; Rawlins last beat Douglas in 2001. Both teams will need this victory to stay in the race for a home playoff game.

Riverton at Worland, Sept. 21. The Warriors’ East Conference opener… wait, what? Yep, it’s true — after years in the West, Worland jumps to the East Conference this year to balance the conferences after Buffalo’s drop to Class 2A. And this conference opener against the Wolverines will likely have huge playoff seeding implications.

Cody at Star Valley, Oct. 12. The Braves have to be hungry for the opportunity to play the Broncs again. Remember, on its way to the 3A title last year, Cody had to knock off undefeated Star Valley in Afton. They did. This game won’t have the same stakes, but it will be a chance for both teams to make a late push in the West Conference.

Predicted order of finish

East Conference: Torrington; Douglas; Rawlins; Worland; Riverton; Lander.

West Conference: Cody; Star Valley; Green River; Evanston; Powell; Jackson.

Way-too-early title game score prediction

Torrington 20, Cody 13. On paper, the Trailblazers and Broncs are the clear favorites in their respective conferences. But 3A is quirky, especially in the playoffs, so there may be a surprise or two after Week 8 that could derail this potential dandy of a title game.

What do you think? Is a rematch of last year’s title game inevitable, or will we see another surprise team come up and win the title the way Cody did last season? Comment with your thoughts and let’s discuss how 3A might turn out this fall.

Next Thursday: Class 4A.


Class 2A football was going to be exciting in 2018, regardless.

Then along came Buffalo.

The Bison’s move from Class 3A to Class 2A this season adds another solid program to what was already a classification full of intrigue. With both returning champion Mountain View, runner-up Glenrock and a host of others looking at 2018 as “their” year, Buffalo’s entry into the equation makes this season one to watch.

Oh, and there’s five new coaches in the classification, making the classification that much more uncertain.

Four questions to answer

Will Mountain View repeat as 2A champion? Definitely maybe. The Buffalos definitely return enough talent (five all-state selections) to win another title. The problem is that Glenrock — last year’s runner-up — is also returning boatloads of talent, and Buffalo is moving from Class 3A to Class 2A right in the middle of a resurgence. Mountain View is still one of the favorites, but it’s gonna be tough.

What’s that about boatloads of talent in Glenrock? Two running backs, 3,495 combined yards — that’s what the Herders have back in seniors Ian Arnold and Tucker Bopp. There hasn’t been a more dangerous pair since Butch and Sundance. The Herders’ line is still young, but their backfield is stacked for another deep playoff run.

And what was that about Buffalo? The Bison are ready for a breakthrough. And they would have been ready for a breakthrough even without a move from 3A to 2A. With seven starters back on both offense and defense, including three returning all-state picks, the Bison will be competitive immediately at the 2A level.

How much have coaching changes affected 2A? In a word, bigly. Five Class 2A schools — Burns, Greybull, Lovell, Moorcroft and Wheatland — have new coaches. That’s more than any other classification in the state. And while all five new coaches have interesting backstories and challenging roads ahead, the most intriguing offseason hire was Jeny Gardner, the state’s first female head coach, at Lovell.

Four (OK, six) players to watch

Ian Arnold and Tucker Bopp, Glenrock. There’s not a more dynamic pair of running backs in Class 2A — heck, maybe in the state — than the Herders’ pair of Arnold and Bopp. The speedster Bopp ran for 1,949 yards and 20 touchdowns last year, while the powerful Arnold ran for 1,546 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Kimball Madsen and Braeden Walk, Mountain View. The juniors split time at quarterback and wide receiver last season, combining for 1,874 passing yards and 409 receiving yards. The Buffalos’ plan is to do more of the same this year, with each player getting his chances to run, catch and throw, a twist that may be enough to keep opposing defenses off-balance.

Colton Caves, Wheatland. Don’t overlook Wheatland this season, and don’t overlook Caves. He ran for 1,305 yards and 13 touchdowns last year and also led the Bulldogs in solo tackles last season. He may shift to quarterback this season — the Bulldogs were still figuring that out late this summer — but regardless of where he is, he’ll be the focus for opposing teams.

Colby Rees, Mountain View. If the foundation of all great teams begins with the line, then the Buffalos are in good shape with Rees leading the way. He was the Class 2A lineman of the year last year as a junior, leading the Buffalos in assisted tackles while finishing second for Mountain View in defensive points, and he should be even better this year.

Four key games

Wheatland at Newcastle, Aug. 31. Even though the bulk of the 2A focus has been elsewhere this offseason, both the Bulldogs and Dogies have talented and deep squads returning this season. They’ll need to be on their games early — they meet in Week 1 of the 2018 season, and the losing team will have to play catch-up for the remainder of 2018.

Buffalo at Glenrock, Sept. 21. Glenrock has won or shared the East Conference championship four years running, but Buffalo presents a league challenge the Herders haven’t had to face in years. The Bison’s move from 3A gives the East Conference an entirely new dynamic, and this Week 4 matchup could be huge.

Mountain View at Pinedale, Sept. 28. On paper, this showdown between the Buffalos and Wranglers could have important implications for the West Conference championship and playoff seeding. Both squads return lots of players from last year’s squads, and Pinedale gets the home-field advantage this time around.

Mountain View at Greybull, Oct. 19. In the aftermath of Mountain View’s state title, it’s easy to forget how efficiently Greybull beat Mountain View in Week 8 last season, smoking the eventual champs 41-15 in the regular season finale. It will be interesting to see if this year’s game is more competitive — and who ends up winning what could be an important game in the conference title race.

Predicted order of finish

East Conference: Buffalo; Glenrock; Wheatland; Newcastle; Thermopolis; Burns; Moorcroft.

West Conference: Mountain View; Greybull; Pinedale; Lovell; Big Piney; Kemmerer; Lyman.

Way-too-early title game score prediction

Buffalo 20, Mountain View 19. The top three spots in 2A are clear, with Buffalo, Mountain View and Glenrock. Buffalo would have been a contender in 3A; in 2A, the Bison just might be the favorites.

What do you think? Is Buffalo the team to beat? Mountain View? Glenrock? Someone else who’s overlooked but ready for a breakthrough? Put your thoughts in a comment and let’s talk 2A.


After 77 seasons without a state championship, Pine Bluffs won its first in 2016.

The Hornets liked winning state titles so much, they did it again in 2017.

Now poised on the edge of a three-peat, Pine Bluffs may face its toughest challenge yet — and it won’t have to leave its conference to do so.

Both Big Horn and Upton-Sundance are trying to challenge Pine Bluffs for the Class 1A 11-man title in what might be the toughest conference in the state to win this fall. And, as always, Cokeville lurks out west.

Four questions to answer

Where’s the strength of Class 1A 11-man? The East Conference. With Big Horn, Upton-Sundance and Pine Bluffs, the three best teams (on paper) in the classification are all in the East Conference. After that, the talent level drops off pretty significantly, so it will be a pretty big surprise if one of these three teams doesn’t come away from 2018 with the first-place trophy in their possession.

Of those three, which one is most likely to win it all? Big Horn. By far. The Rams return all six of their all-state selections and almost the entirety of the rest of their squad. That will make the transition to new head coach Kirk McLaughlin — previously an assistant with the Rams — smoother than usual. While Upton-Sundance and Pine Bluffs return enough players to be favorites in pretty much any other year, this year everyone’s starting the season chasing the Rams.

No love for the West Conference this year? Nope. Cokeville graduated 10 seniors. Wind River is resurgent but may still be a year away from state title contention. Rocky Mountain lost a bunch of key players and has a long history of quarterfinal playoff exits. Don’t be surprised if the East sweeps the West in the first round of the playoffs.

Wait, what? A sweep??? The West Conference may field only four teams this fall, as Saratoga has forfeited its varsity season and Wyoming Indian has question marks about whether it can gather enough players (and many conference foes are playing the Chiefs with their JVs anyway). If that’s the case, the remaining four teams in the West are guaranteed playoff spots… and the seven teams in the East are left fighting for the remaining four. Competition will breed success.

Four players to watch

Kade Eisele, Big Horn. Eisele was a huge part of Big Horn’s success last year, running for 1,768 yards and 25 touchdowns. The workhorse of the Rams’ offense could put up even bigger numbers this year thanks to an experienced offensive line and another year of physical development.

Seth Mullinax, Big Horn. One of the guys blocking for Eisele is Mullinax — and he’s hard to miss. At 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, Mullinax is a nimble and powerful offensive guard. He’s also got the potential to be a terror on defense, but most of the time opposing defensive lines double-team him. Sometimes that doesn’t even work.

Hunter Jeffres, Pine Bluffs. As a junior, Jeffres led Pine Bluffs in defensive points. He was the Hornets’ leader in both solo and assisted tackles. He might draw more attention from opposing offenses this year, which may affect his stats, but he’ll still be a key piece of the Hornets’ three-peat run.

Clayton Louderback, Upton-Sundance. On a senior-laden Patriot team, Louderback the quarterback has the job of keeping the offense chugging. He’s a dual threat, running for 586 yards and throwing for 1,114 more while combining for 24 touchdowns last year. With a veteran line in front of him, he could be even more dangerous this fall.

Four key games

Upton-Sundance at Big Horn, Sept. 21. Big Horn smacked Upton-Sundance 53-13 last year, so you know the Patriots have been looking forward to proving that one was an anomaly. They get their chance early in the season, and if they can somehow upset the Rams in Sheridan County, the Patriots could prove to be the team to beat in the East.

Big Horn at Pine Bluffs, Sept. 28. Obviously, this is a rematch of last year’s Class 1A 11-man title game. But more than that, this game is likely to be a key piece of the East Conference championship race this fall. This game is just as much present as it is past.

Wind River at Rocky Mountain, Oct. 12. If either the Cougars or Grizzlies want to challenge Cokeville for West Conference supremacy, they’ve got to get past each other first. For Wind River, this could be huge, with the Cougars’ game with Cokeville looming in Week 8 — if they can get past this one first.

Pine Bluffs at Upton-Sundance, Oct. 12. When the preseason top three are all in the same conference, it makes sense that each one of their meetings will be huge. This Week 7 contest is likely to play a huge part in determining the East Conference champion, playoff hosting duties and more.

Predicted order of finish

East Conference: Big Horn; Upton-Sundance; Pine Bluffs; Wright; Tongue River; Lusk; Southeast.

West Conference: Cokeville; Wind River; Rocky Mountain; Shoshoni; Wyoming Indian. (Saratoga will not field a varsity-level team this season.)

Way-too-early title game score prediction

Big Horn 34, Upton-Sundance 26. The Rams start the season head and shoulders above the rest of the 1A 11-man field. Whether U-S, or Pine Bluffs, or Cokeville, does enough to catch the Rams this season will be the huge question of the season.

What do you think? Whose turn is it to finish atop the 1A 11-man mountain? Leave a comment with your thoughts on the 1A 11-man scene this fall and let’s figure it out together.

Next Thursday: Class 2A.


Some small but notable updates to the site:

Updated a score from the St. Mary’s-Saratoga game on Oct. 18, 1980; Saratoga won 33-0. I mistakenly had St. Mary’s winning by that score.

Noted that the Oct. 18, 1980, game between Bow-Basin and the Laramie JV was canceled.

Removed a notation on Greybull’s 51-0 loss to Billings, Montana, on Oct. 6, 1923, about the uncertainty of the score; the score was indeed 51-0 as originally posted.

Added that Superior’s coach in 1930 was Louis Telk.

Updated Rawlins’ playoff record; the Outlaws are 3-11 all time in the playoffs, not 4-11.

All the updates have been made on all the relevant pages.