Rock River will not play its first two games of the 2017 season.

A lack of players has the Longhorns delaying the start of their six-man season.

Rock River was scheduled to play at Meeteetse in a nonconference game in Week 1 and was scheduled to host Hulett in a 1A six-man East Conference game in Week 2.

Via email, Rock River activities director Ty Vallier confirmed the first two games will not be played, but the remaining six games are scheduled.

When interviewed for the Wyoming Sports Preview Guide in July, Rock River coach Doug Spriggs said he anticipated five players to return — two seniors, one junior and two sophomores — and an incoming freshman class consisting of four to five players to help give the team depth.

Meeteetse has scheduled a game against the Riverton sophomores for this week. Hulett’s Week 2 plans have not been announced.

–patrick

Heading into last season’s Class 2A semifinals, the Glenrock-Greybull rivalry was no rivalry at all.

The teams shared little history and no parity. In four previous meetings — two in the regular season, two in the postseason — Glenrock had never lost to Greybull.

Then 2016 came along.

Greybull picked apart Glenrock in the 2A semifinals, winning 26-0 and ending Glenrock’s undefeated season in the process.

For Glenrock, the loss was unexpected. The only other time a Herder squad entered the playoffs unbeaten and failed to reach the state championship game was all the way back in 1949.

Greybull, meanwhile, advanced to its first state championship game in 33 years, losing to Big Horn in the 2A title game.

Eleven days after Glenrock’s loss, schools from across the state met in Casper for the statewide scheduling meeting. With schools now allowed to schedule their own nonconference games, Greybull and Glenrock found their way to each other to schedule a Week 1 rematch of last year’s semifinal showdown.

The game quickly became one of the most highly anticipated nonconference games of the season — and maybe the biggest nonconference game in 2A this year. Greybull and Glenrock both figure to be at the top of 2A again this year, and Friday’s game in Greybull will show us a lot about how both teams figure to fit into the championship race.

In the process, the two schools are developing a nice, new little rivalry, one based on mutual success rather than geographical proximity.

If they meet again in Laramie, don’t be surprised to see them show up on each others’ nonconference schedules again in 2018.

That’s what rivals do.

+++

Here’s the other games that have piqued my curiosity in Week 1:

Cheyenne East-Kelly Walsh is the only 4A game that matches up two teams who won in Zero Week. East piled up a school-record number of points in knocking off Gillette, but KW probably worked harder to beat Laramie. Seeing how that success manifests itself this week will be fun. …

The one week of nonconference play in six-man gives us some interesting matchups, but none more interesting than Guernsey-Sunrise traveling to Farson. In my preseason rankings, I had Farson at No. 2 and Guernsey at No. 3, so expect a good one. …

Staying in six-man, Midwest at Burlington and Snake River at Lingle are potential first-round playoff matchups. It’s nice to see those games on the schedule for Week 1. …

Cokeville playing at Mountain View could be a great game. The Buffalos are one of 2A’s best, and 1A dynamo Cokeville has proven year in and year out it has the ability to play with 2A’s best. …

Kemmerer’s best chance this season to break its losing streak may come at home this week against 1A Saratoga. On paper, the two teams match up similarly in depth and size. What they hey… I think the Rangers get this one. …

On to this week’s picks, where the teams I project to win the scheduled game are indicated with thicker lettering:

Thursday
Interclass
Upton-Sundance at Moorcroft
Friday
Class 4A
Cheyenne East at Kelly Walsh
Cheyenne South at Thunder Basin
Gillette at Natrona
Laramie at Rock Springs
Sheridan at Cheyenne Central
Class 3A
Cody at Buffalo
Green River at Lander
Worland at Powell
Class 2A
Glenrock at Greybull
Lyman at Pinedale
Newcastle at Lovell
Class 1A 11-man
Rocky Mountain at Big Horn
Wright at Tongue River
Class 1A six-man
Kaycee at Dubois
Midwest at Burlington
NSI at Riverside
Rock River at Meeteetse
St. Stephens at Hanna
Snake River at Lingle
Interclass
Cokeville at Mountain View
Evanston at Rawlins
Lusk at Burns
Saratoga at Kemmerer
Shoshoni at Thermopolis
Wheatland at Torrington
Wind River at Big Piney
Interstate
Bayard, Neb., at Southeast
Jackson at Sugar-Salem, Idaho
Pine Bluffs at Mitchell, Neb.
Star Valley at Preston, Idaho
Saturday
Class 1A six-man
Guernsey-Sunrise at Farson
Ten Sleep at Hulett
Tuesday
Interclass
Lander JV at Wyoming Indian
Open: Douglas, Riverton.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, check out the 2017 schedule and results page.

As usual, I’m tallying my success on my picks, mostly so you can make fun of me when I get stuff wrong. Here’s how I did last week, minus a game that ended up being a triangular jamboree:

Last week: 13-3 (81 percent). This season: 13-3 (81 percent).

Most teams in the state donned pads against a different team last week. But most of what happened in Zero Week was for practice’s sake than for the final records’ sake. That changes this week. So who’s ready to pull a season-opening upset? Post a comment and let’s chat about the uncertainty of the start of a new season.

–patrick

The 2017 edition of the Wyoming high school football guide magazine is out!

Hard copies are available for free at the locations of the sponsors in the magazine. A digital version of the magazine is available here. Be sure to take the time to thank the sponsors, both with your words and with your money, for making the magazine possible again this year!

The magazine contains full previews on every team in the state — all 65 — as well as classification previews on all five classes.

I wrote every article in this year’s magazine, and I was fortunate to talk to all 65 head coaches in the state for this year’s preview. Here’s a huge public thanks to every coach who took the time to answer my questions; I couldn’t do it without your help!

Read it here and prepare yourself for the 2017 Wyoming high school football season.

–patrick

Thunder Basin may be on the verge of the best first season for a Wyoming football program in more than half a century.

Then again, it’s not like the competition from other first-year programs has been stiff.

Of the 16 programs who have started or re-started their football programs since 1960, only two finished those first seasons with winning records — NSI in 2000 and Kaycee in 2009. And only five of those 16 finished their seasons with more than one victory. Combined, those 16 programs went 26-90-1 (.226) in their first seasons. From best to worst, those seasons are:

NSI 2000: 6-2
Kaycee 2009: 6-4
Wright 1984: 3-4
Snake River 2009: 3-4
Cheyenne East 1960: 2-6-1
Dubois 1968: 1-4
LaGrange 1961: 1-5
Encampment 1988: 1-5
Rock River 2014: 1-6
Bow-Basin’s first full season, 1973: 1-7
Farson 2009: 1-7
Goshen Hole 1966: 0-5
Wyoming Indian 1972: 0-6
Kelly Walsh 1965: 0-8
St. Stephens 2013: 0-8
Cheyenne South 2011: 0-9

Thunder Basin could top them all.

It might be unfair to heap this much expectation on a startup program. But Thunder Basin shouldn’t be considered a startup. Most of the players on the roster — and most of the coaches, too — were part of Gillette’s 9-2 season last year.

The only thing new about the program is the name. And the stadium. And the uniforms. And the idea that Gillette has to (eventually) split its talent pool in half.

The true startup this year is Gillette. The Camels have had just one losing season since 1997, and even that was 4-5. This year, though, with a new coach hired in mid-July and almost no players with varsity experience, the traditional powerhouse Camels are likely to struggle this fall. Both seasons start Friday, with Gillette traveling to Cheyenne East and Thunder Basin hosting Cheyenne Central.

However, the Camels’ success — not the ‘Bolts’ — will either validate or indict Gillette’s enrollment experiment. The decision to allow incoming seniors and juniors to choose their school may give Thunder Basin unprecedented success in its first season, but that may come at the expense of the Camels’ tradition.

Of course, the 2019 season — when both schools will have a full senior class of students who couldn’t choose their schools — will be the programs’ ultimate validation. Or their ultimate indictment.

Until then, the city of Gillette will have a startup that looks like a traditional power and a traditional power that looks like a startup.

+++

Some other things I’m keeping an eye on this week:

In Star Valley, the defending 3A champs host Spring Creek, Nevada, which finished as the Silver State’s runner-up in its equivalent of 3A last year. On paper, it looks like a great game between two programs who saw a lot of success last season. It also has historic significance: it’s the first game in Wyoming history against a Nevada program. Back in 2012, I calculated Wyoming’s records against out-of-state opponents. Nevada was nowhere on the list. It will be after Friday. …

Rock Springs-Sheridan is an intriguing 4A game. I’m curious to see how the Tigers stack up against last year’s champs. With one of the most experienced lines in 4A, I think a lot of folks are underestimating what Rock Springs could do this fall. …

It’ll be interesting to see how Evanston plays against Riverton in the Red Devils’ 3A debut. Could be a good game in Fremont County. …

When I was talking to coaches for the Wyoming high school football preview magazine (out soon!), the first-year coach who impressed me most was David Joyce, who takes over at Jackson after stints as head coach at several schools in Colorado and Arkansas. He has a history of turning around struggling programs, and he has already done so in a western ski resort town (Vail, Colorado). He’s a great fit for Jackson and if the Broncs buy into what he can teach them, I think they can be contenders again soon. The Joyce era starts Friday against Teton, Idaho, which beat Jackson 40-0 last year. …

The season actually starts today (Aug. 24) with Upton-Sundance going to Lead-Deadwood, S.D. The Aug. 24 date is tied for the earliest start to a season in state history; Wyoming also had Aug. 24 games in 1979, 2001 and 2012. …

+++

On to the picks, which I make by bolding the team I think will win the game:

Thursday
Interstate
Upton-Sundance at Lead-Deadwood, S.D.
Friday
Class 4A
Cheyenne Central at Thunder Basin
Cheyenne South at Natrona
Gillette at Cheyenne East
Kelly Walsh at Laramie
Rock Springs at Sheridan
Class 3A
Douglas at Powell
Evanston at Riverton
Interclass
Shoshoni at Greybull
Interstate
Altamont, Utah, at Lyman
Custer, S.D., at Newcastle
Rawlins at Moffat County, Colo.
Spring Creek, Nevada, at Star Valley
Teton, Idaho, at Jackson
Saturday
Class 1A six-man
Meeteetse at Hulett
Interclass
Kemmerer at Cokeville
Saratoga at Laramie JV

The remainder of the Zero Week schedule, including scrimmages and jamborees, includes:
Friday: Glenrock at Pine Bluffs; Mountain View at Green River; Tongue River at Buffalo JV.
Saturday: Big Horn, Moorcroft at Wright; Big Piney, Pinedale at Lander; Buffalo at Lovell; Burns, Lusk, Torrington, Wheatland at Southeast; Farson at Evanston JV; Guernsey-Sunrise, Lingle at Midwest; Riverside, Ten Sleep at Kaycee; Rocky Mountain at Powell; Thermopolis, Wind River, Worland at Cody.

Teams without a game/scrimmage/jamboree this week: Burlington, Dubois, Hanna, Moorcroft, NSI, Rock River, St. Stephens, Snake River, Wyoming Indian.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, check out the 2017 schedule and results page.

For any folks new to this blog, a reminder: I make picks for fun. When I’m wrong, I own it and enjoy it; upsets are usually more fun than predictability anyway! So if I didn’t pick your favorite team to win, don’t take it personally. High school football is a game, and games are fun.

+++

As usual during Zero Week, here is a reminder of the rules I use to determine whether a Zero Week contest is a game or is something else:

  • 1. Was the game played with four 12-minute quarters with normal timing rules?
  • 2. Were officials used? And were normal rules of play instituted for the game?
  • 3. Was score kept?

If these three criteria are met, I call it a game and record it as such on this site.

+++

Finally, the 2017 season is here! What are you most looking forward to for this season? Leave a comment and let’s talk about the upcoming season, Zero Week or any other fun stuff you want to talk about.

–patrick

Sheridan could get used to this.

Class 4A champions the past two seasons, the Broncs will enter 2017 trying to accomplish a rare feat in big-school football — a third consecutive championship.

That hasn’t happened at the 4A level since Sheridan won four straight from 1990-93. Prior to that, the last big school to pull off a triple-title run was Laramie in 1960-62.

Sheridan’s biggest challenge will likely come from last year’s runner-up, Natrona. But a host of other schools, including brand-new Thunder Basin in Gillette, could potentially cause problems in the Broncs’ attempt at completing the rare three-peat.

Four questions to answer

Can Sheridan pull off a three-peat? Definitely. The Broncs have the talent and the coaching to pull off Class 4A’s first three-peat since Sheridan won four titles in a row from 1990-93. Even so, the graduation losses were heavy, so Sheridan will still need younger players to fill varsity spots quickly to make it back to War Memorial Stadium.

Who can stop Sheridan from that three-peat? Natrona. The Mustangs have four returning all-state players; Sheridan has three; no other 4A team has more than one. The returning talent alone puts Natrona and Sheridan on pace for a rematch of last year’s 4A title game. And what a game that could be.

What sets the favorites apart this year? Returning talent at the running back position. Sheridan returns Kyle Custis, who ran for 1,118 yards last season, while Natrona gets back Brett Brenton, who notched 1,588. And we haven’t even gotten to Austin Clemetson, who led 4A with 1,847 yards at Gillette last year and will help first-year program Thunder Basin stay in the title-game hunt on his legs alone.

What will the effect of a new high school in Gillette be? In Gillette? Massive. Everywhere else? Pretty small. The presence of the Thunder Basin ‘Bolts will halve the talent pool for the Gillette Camels, traditionally one of 4A’s top teams. How that manifests — if both Gillette and Thunder Basin become contenders or if both struggle (or, alternately, one rises while the other falls) — will be interesting to watch happen in Gillette over the next few years. But trading out Evanston for Thunder Basin doesn’t change 4A’s overall makeup all that much.

Four players to watch

Austin Clemetson, Thunder Basin. Playing for Gillette last year, Clemetson topped 4A last year with 1,847 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. He was the only junior to make the Casper Star-Tribune’s Super 25 first team. And he’s part of a brand-new team that will gladly use his talents.

Blayne Baker, Sheridan. The senior lineman got some significant attention from colleges; however, he’s already committed to Wyoming. At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, he’ll be one of the most athletic linemen for his size not just in the state, but in the region.

Brett Brenton, Natrona. Brenton was a huge threat out of Natrona’s backfield, amassing 1,588 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns while also notching 323 receiving yards. His versatility will help anchor a Natrona team that returns a ton of talented players from last year’s state runner-up squad.

Garrett Worden, Laramie. Worden has the potential to be a huge havoc-causer on defense and a huge path-clearer on offense for the Plainsmen. Laramie’s only returning all-state selection, Worden is Laramie’s leading returning tackler and led the Plainsmen with 21 tackles for loss and six sacks.

Four key games

Rock Springs at Sheridan, Aug. 25. The Tigers are eager to prove that last year was no fluke and that they’re here to stay. What better way to do that than on the field of the defending state champions in the season opener? The opportunity is perfect for Rock Springs to prove that point precisely.

Kelly Walsh at Laramie, Aug. 25. Year after year, this game has proven to be key for playoff seeding. With the schedule reshuffle, it’s been moved to Zero Week. That seems weird, but come Week 8, chances are good we’ll be looking at this game as crucial to the 4A playoff picture.

Natrona at Sheridan, Sept. 8. The rematch of last year’s 4A title game — and the game between 4A’s two clear-cut favorites to return to the title game this year — comes in Week 2. Both squads want to win this one to set the course for the rest of the season.

Thunder Basin at Gillette, Sept. 22. The first steps for Wyoming’s newest intra-city rivalry will take place at Camel Stadium. It will be interesting to see how former teammates play against each other, and which squad takes the first leg up in the race to dominate the new Razor City rivalry.

Predicted order of finish

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

Way-too-early title game score prediction

Sheridan 31, Natrona 24. The best chance for a rematch of last year’s title game comes in 4A. Sheridan and Natrona clearly return more individual talent than other squads in the state; what remains to be seen is how that talent will coalesce into a single functioning unit. If the Broncs and Mustangs can do that as they usually do, the state title game could be one for the ages.

What do you think? Is a Sheridan-Natrona title-game rematch predestined, or will Thunder Basin, Rock Springs or another squad have what it takes to stop destiny? Leave a comment and let’s talk big-school football.

–patrick

This season, the Douglas football program will compete in its 100th season of games.

That’s an impressive total. But where does it stack up statewide?

As it turns out, Douglas is the sixth Wyoming program to reach 100 seasons. Cheyenne Central (114 seasons), Laramie (111), Sheridan (106), Natrona (102) and Buffalo (100) have also reached 100 seasons of play.

But a ton of programs are on pace to have their 100th season soon. In fact, 19 more programs will have their 100th seasons in the next nine years.

The total number of seasons for each program is listed below but will also be updated annually on the all-time standings page.

114 seasons: Cheyenne Central
111: Laramie
106: Sheridan
102: Natrona
100: Buffalo
99: Douglas (100th season in 2017)
97: Lander, Wheatland (100th season in 2019)
96: Cody, Gillette, Greybull, Thermopolis, Torrington (100th season in 2020)
95: Lovell, Powell, Riverton, Rock Springs, Worland (100th season in 2021)
94: Green River, Newcastle (100th season in 2022)
93: Lusk, Rawlins (100th season in 2023)
92: Kemmerer (100th season in 2024)
91: Evanston, Midwest (100th season in 2025)
89: Lingle, Star Valley (100th season in 2027)
88: Hanna, Sundance
83: Glenrock, Jackson
81: Shoshoni
79: Big Piney, Pinedale
78: Burlington, Meeteetse, Pine Bluffs
77: Upton
76: Cokeville
74: Lyman
73: Big Horn
66: Saratoga, Ten Sleep
65: Basin, Moorcroft
62: Hulett, Mountain View
60: Tongue River
57: Cheyenne East
56: Burns
54: Guernsey-Sunrise
52: Kelly Walsh, St. Mary’s
51: Cowley
48: Dubois, Wind River
45: Wyoming Indian
44: Byron
40: Southeast
39: Superior
38: Sunrise
35: Guernsey
34: Deaver-Frannie, Rocky Mountain
33: Wright
30: Farson, Riverside
28: Glendo
27: Manderson
22: Manville
20: Reliance
19: Arvada-Clearmont, Huntley
17: Morton, NSI
16: Snake River, University Prep
14: Albin
13: Dayton, Ranchester, St. Stephens
12: Worland Institute
11: Goshen Hole, Pavillion
10: Bow-Basin
9: Fort Washakie
8: Gebo, Kaycee, Valley
6: Cheyenne South, North Big Horn
5: Encampment, Upton-Sundance
4: Arvada, Chugwater
3: Rock River
2: Carpenter, Fort Laramie, Hawk Springs, Heart Mountain
1: Grass Creek, LaGrange, Monarch, Rozet
0: Thunder Basin

+++

Also, certain communities are getting ready to celebrate 100 years of football soon, even though they’ve gone through multiple programs to reach that milestone. Entering 2017, here are some chains of seasons in particular communities with programs that merged into each other:

95 seasons: Basin/Riverside
93: Sundance/Upton-Sundance
92: Sunrise/Guernsey-Sunrise (the Guernsey/Guernsey-Sunrise chain is 89 years)
91: Cowley/North Big Horn/Rocky Mountain (the Byron/Rocky Mountain chain is 78 years; the Deaver-Frannie/North Big Horn/Rocky Mountain chain is 74 years)
82: Upton/Upton-Sundance
73: Dayton and Ranchester/Tongue River
65: Morton/Wind River (the Pavillion/Wind River chain is 59 years)
59: Huntley/Southeast (the Goshen Hole/Southeast chain is 51 years)

Lest we forget, the Bearcats’ 100th season is something to celebrate. Many more schools, though, will have similar celebrations in the next decade.

–patrick

Class 3A is no stranger to three-peat champions.

Powell won three straight titles in 2011-13; Douglas did it in 2008-10; Worland in 2001-03; Riverton in 1997-99.

And Star Valley is no stranger to championships.

The Braves have won 10 football championships in school history, more than any other 3A program in Wyoming except for Worland.

However, the two worlds of Star Valley football and three-peats have never collided.

That may change in 2017. The Braves have an opportunity to win their third consecutive state football championship, something that would be unprecedented for the school but would continue a tradition of 3A dynasties in recent years.

The Braves won’t have it easy, though.

Four questions to answer

Is Star Valley the favorite to win the 3A title again? Yes, but with an asterisk. Star Valley may have lost the most talented senior class in 3A last fall, and the Braves may need time to learn how to adapt without those seniors around. But the Braves have depth and also return three all-state choices, so the talent is there for a third consecutive state championship.

Who will be the Braves’ biggest challengers? Oh, wow, take your pick. Torrington is the biggest challenger from the East — the Trailblazers have six returning all-staters, more than any other team in 3A — while Powell, Green River and a host of others all have the ability to beat the Braves, too. Don’t forget, the 3A semifinals have gained a reputation as a place where upsets happen….

What about Douglas? The perennial East Conference champions (47-5 in conference games since 2006) might be entering a down year. The Bearcats lost seven all-state and 10 all-conference selections to graduation. To retain their claim to the top spot in the East, Douglas will need to grow up in a hurry — and they’ll have to do so in the unfamiliar role of underdog.

How will Evanston affect 3A? Probably not too much. The Red Devils are moving down from Class 4A this year and join the West Conference. However, Evanston’s 0-9 mark last season shows that now is probably the right time for a change. Qualifying for the playoffs out of the West just got a bit tougher, with seven teams instead of six vying for four spots. Evanston will be in the thick of that chase, but its 4A experience doesn’t make it any kind of prohibitive favorite in 2017.

Four players to watch

Josh Dawson, Star Valley. A two-time all-state selection (as a sophomore at Jackson and a junior at Star Valley), Dawson leads the Braves on both sides of the ball. He had 582 rushing yards and is Star Valley’s top returning rusher, but he also led the Braves with 20 defensive points per game and led the team in all tackling categories a year ago.

Bryan Lemmon, Torrington. Lemmon, a junior, has multiple responsibilities: Last year, he ran for 1,034 yards; he had a team-high 28 catches; he was second on the team in defensive points; he had 27 solo tackles, a team high. Lots of eyes are on the Trailblazers this fall, and Lemmon’s play is a big reason why.

Brooks Asher, Powell. Asher led Class 3A in several key defensive categories. No 3A player in the state averaged more defensive points per game (20.5), had as many solo tackles (45) or had as many tackles for loss (16) as Asher. His presence on the Powell defense will be a huge boon for a team hit hard by graduation.

Chance Hofer, Green River. Hofer is 3A’s leading returning passer and could lead the Wolves to something they haven’t experienced since 2011: a home playoff game. He threw for 1,671 yards and 15 touchdowns a year ago while completing more than 50 percent of his passes, and his top three receivers return this fall.

Four key games

Torrington at Star Valley, Sept. 8. The favorites to win the titles in the West and East conferences will play in a nonconference game in Week 2. The Trailblazers, though, will be at a distinct disadvantage: The trip from Torrington to Afton is nearly 500 miles, one way.

Torrington at Douglas, Oct. 6. Ten of the Bearcats’ all-conference players from a year ago won’t be on the field for this one — they graduated last spring. With significant losses like that, Douglas may be stuck in a rebuilding phase. Except Douglas doesn’t rebuild, it reloads. And they’ll have a chance to prove that against the East’s preseason favorites at home.

Powell at Cody, Oct. 20. The traditional rivalry game between the Panthers and Broncs could be interesting, especially if Powell leaves behind any emotional baggage after playing Star Valley in Afton the week before. Cody, meanwhile, will come off a bye, with two weeks’ time to prep for the Panthers.

Star Valley at Green River, Oct. 20. One of Star Valley’s biggest challenges in its title runs the past couple years has been the Wolves. This game, scheduled for the final week of the regular season, could decide the West Conference title — and the Wolves will have home-field advantage.

Predicted order of finish

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

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

Way-too-early title game score prediction

Star Valley 24, Torrington 21. Right now, the Braves and the Trailblazers return more talented players than any other teams in the state. The problem with that is that no team a bare cupboard, and teams like Powell, Cody, Green River, Riverton, Buffalo, Douglas and others all have the potential to walk away from 2017 as 3A champions.

What do you think? Is Star Valley destined for a repeat? Or will an upstart knock off the Braves on the way to starting a dynasty of their own? Post a comment below and let’s talk about dynasties, upsets and all the other things that make 3A football great.

Next week: Class 4A.

–patrick

I’ve made the following updates to the site:

Added Cokeville’s 44-0 victory against Kemmerer on Aug. 26, 2016. Officials at both schools verified that this was a full-on game played with normal timing and gameplay rules, contrary to my previous understanding. This extends Kemmerer’s losing streak entering this season to 37 games and its home losing streak to 18 games.

I have also added a few updates to the 2017 schedule, mostly to note some schedule changes to Zero Week.

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

–patrick

Kaycee coach Lee Kremers has resigned after leading the Buckaroos to back-to-back Class 1A six-man championships and the state’s longest active winning streak.

Tony Rouse, who has been Kaycee’s assistant coach for the past two seasons seasons, will take over as head coach.

Kremers’ resignation was first reported by K2 TV’s Meg Salle on Twitter.

Rouse verified Kremers’ resignation and his promotion to head coach via text message to wyoming-football.com on Friday.

The Buckaroos went 21-1 under Kremers, finishing 10-1 in 2015 and 11-0 in 2016. The Buckaroos have won 20 games in a row, the longest active streak in the state regardless of classification.

Updated 8:24 p.m. Aug. 15: Kaycee AD Jason Humble said Kremers resigned to spend more time focused on his job as Kaycee’s chief of police. Humble said Kremers resigned July 18.

–patrick

One of the hallmarks of Class 2A football for more than a decade has been its parity. And with last year’s defending champion Big Horn gone to 1A 11-man, and lots of turnover from graduation, who wins the 2A title could be as much of a toss-up as ever.

Make no mistake, though. There exists a clear dividing line between the haves and the have-nots in 2A this year. The favorites are clear, the challengers are clear and the also-rans are clear. On paper.

Four questions to answer

What’s different about 2A this year? Is “everything” too strong of a word? The defending 2A champions, Big Horn, are gone, moved to 1A 11-man. Most of last year’s best players are gone, too: The entire classification only has seven returning all-state players, the fewest of any classification in the state. There’s going to be a lot of change, and a lot of unpredictability, in 2A this fall.

With all the change, who’s the favorites? Three teams — Glenrock, Greybull and Mountain View — have been getting the most attention this offseason. Greybull was last year’s runner-up, Glenrock lost to Greybull in a bit of a surprise in the semifinals, and Mountain View — last year’s No. 1 seed from the West — is back after falling in a shocking upset loss in the first round to Newcastle. They’ve all got a chip on their shoulder, and that could make it interesting come November.

Is any one of those three a clear-cut favorite? No. All three suffered big losses to graduation, leaving the door wide open for any one of the three — or any other program, honestly — to fill that gap.

How about Kemmerer? I think everyone in the state wants Kemmerer to break its state-record 36-game losing streak. But no one wants to be the team Kemmerer breaks the streak against. The Rangers softened the schedule a bit with dates against 1A foes Saratoga and Lusk, but the conference slate remains treacherous. The season opener against Saratoga, in Kemmerer, might be the Rangers’ best bet to break the streak.

Four players to watch

Jason Stoddard, Mountain View. The only two-time all-state selection in 2A this year, Stoddard is a key piece of what the Buffalos do on both offense and defense. He had 28 receptions for 449 yards on offense and had a team-high 46 solo tackles on defense.

Riley Hill, Greybull. Hill is the only returning all-state selection for last year’s runners-up; the other five graduated. But he can help prop up the inexperienced Buffs with his play under center. He threw for 847 yards last year and had 1,357 passing yards as a sophomore. He’s also one of Greybull’s top defenders and had a team-high five sacks a year ago.

Cameron Quigley, Newcastle. Few players in 2A will be as tough to stop as the Dogies’ quarterback. He ran for 744 yards and threw for 628 last year, and combined he notched 16 touchdowns either running or throwing. Oh by the way, he was also Newcastle’s leading defensive player a year ago and had team highs in interceptions, fumble recoveries and pass break-ups.

Kia Sexson, Glenrock. In a year where 2A’s losses to graduation will be apparent, the Herders return five of their top 10 tacklers, setting them up well for early success. Sexson, the Herders’ only returning all-state player, was in the middle of that last season, finishing fourth on the team in defensive points and topping the squad with 46 assisted tackles.

Four key games

Glenrock at Greybull, Sept. 1. The most intriguing nonconference game on the schedule this season has the two early favorites for the East and West conference crowns facing each other. The Herders will be eager for revenge after losing in last year’s semis to the Buffs; the Buffs will be eager to prove that victory was no fluke.

Newcastle at Glenrock, Sept. 22. The most significant challenge Glenrock might face in the East Conference could come from Newcastle. And the Dogies aren’t afraid to make the trip to Converse County: The last two times they’ve played in Glenrock, Newcastle has won.

Lyman at Mountain View, Oct. 6. The Eagles are an interesting team; they graduated the bulk of their offensive stars but return the bulk of their defensive stars. Against Mountain View in the annual Bridger Valley rivalry game, anything could happen, and Lyman may have what it takes to push for its own claim to the top spot in the West.

Mountain View at Greybull, Oct. 20. The last game of the regular season for both teams may also be for the West Conference title. The two teams split first place last season, and neither one wants to do that again.

Predicted order of finish

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

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

Way-too-early title game score prediction

Glenrock 20, Greybull 17. On paper, the Herders have more experience and more ability than pretty much any other 2A team. The difference in 2A this year may come from improvement throughout the season, so don’t be surprised to see a team seeded third or lower make a run at a title come playoff time.

What do you think? In a class full of parity, what do you make of a season where no clear favorite has stepped forward? Who’s ready to step up and seize the open spot atop 2A? Post your thoughts below and let’s chat!

Next week: Class 3A.

–patrick