Rock Springs head football coach David Hastings has resigned after five years leading the Tigers.

News reports from Sweetwater Now, Wyo4News and the Rock Springs Rocket-Miner said Hastings resigned and “looks forward to the new transition in his life and career.”

Rock Springs AD Tom Jassman said via email Wednesday morning that a replacement had not yet been named. He said a hire would be sought for “the time that is needed to establish an effective hire for the program.”

Hastings did not immediately reply to an email sent by wyoming-football.com on Tuesday seeking more details.

Hastings went 21-29 in his five seasons with the Tigers. The team’s best season came in 2016, when Rock Springs went 8-3 and reached the Class 4A semifinals, securing the program’s first winning season since 2003 in the process. Rock Springs was 3-7 last season.

Hastings was previously the head coach for programs at Lehi, Utah, and Sugar-Salem, Idaho.

Other Class 4A programs seeking new coaches for 2019 include Gillette and Kelly Walsh. Additionally, programs at GlenrockLovell and Wyoming Indian either are searching or have found a new coach for the 2019 season. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Updated 9:38 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, with comment from Jassman.

Nine-man football may return to Wyoming by 2020, pending approval from the Wyoming High School Activities Association.

In all, 13 schools have indicated tentative interest in joining a new Class 1A nine-man classification that would replace the current Class 1A 11-man, WHSAA Associate Commissioner Trevor Wilson said in an interview with wyoming-football.com on Friday.

“It’s been overwhelmingly supported by our schools,” Wilson said.

If granted final approval, nine-man football would begin in 2020. Current 1A programs that want to continue to play 11-man would have to opt up to 2A, and current six-man programs would have the option to play nine-man instead.

Wilson said the biggest supporters of a change to nine-man have been from a variety of areas, but “especially the (programs) that have struggled already to field 11-man teams.”

Results from a WHSAA survey distributed in mid-November to current Class 2A and 1A programs showed that 17 schools were interested in playing 11-man football at the Class 2A level, 13 were interested in nine-man and 13 in six-man.

The proposal for nine-man football will see its first reading before the WHSAA Board of Directors on Feb. 5. The proposal was discussed at district meetings last week. If approved on first reading, the proposal will go back to districts before a second, final reading before the board on April 23.

The one negative Wilson said schools brought up at district meetings was about smaller 1A schools who wish to continue playing 11-man football, such as Cokeville and Pine Bluffs. Questions about the ability of teams with less depth to hold up against a 2A schedule week in and week out is “the only negative we see right now,” Wilson said.

For now, four current Class 1A programs (Big Horn, Cokeville, Pine Bluffs and Upton-Sundance) have indicated interest in moving to Class 2A to continue playing 11-man. Similarly, six-man schools Lingle, Riverside and St. Stephens have noted their interest in moving to nine-man. Riverside currently opts down to play six-man. Moorcroft is the only 2A school that has indicated its interest in moving from 11-man to nine-man.

Wilson said the classification and conference alignment is far from official and is dependent on where schools are classified in the upcoming reclassification cycle. Classifications for the 2020 and 2021 seasons will be set by enrollment numbers sent in to the state’s department of education in June and received by the WHSAA in late summer. Programs would continue to have the option to play up or down in classification, per WHSAA board approval; schools that opt down are ineligible for postseason play, though.

Wilson also said Rock River, which had played six-man football, will suspend varsity football for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. He also said Encampment will add six-man football at the sub-varsity level in 2019 and attempt to play a varsity schedule starting in 2020.

Wyoming hasn’t had organized nine-man football since 1994. That season, only six teams played in the nine-man classification. The WHSAA eliminated it after six years prior to the 1995 season.

The November WHSAA survey results showed the schools’ tentative choices for 2020. Schools can change their decisions prior to finalization of classifications and conferences during reclassification discussions this fall, and Wilson said the classification and conference assignments are far from final:

Class 2A: Big Horn, Big Piney, Buffalo, Burns, Cokeville, Glenrock, Greybull, Kemmerer, Lovell, Lyman, Mountain View, Newcastle, Pine Bluffs, Pinedale, Thermopolis, Upton-Sundance, Wheatland.

Class 1A nine-man: Lingle, Lusk, Moorcroft, Riverside, Rocky Mountain, St. Stephens, Saratoga, Shoshoni, Southeast, Tongue River, Wind River, Wright, Wyoming Indian.

Class 1A six-man: Burlington, Dubois, Encampment, Farson, Guernsey-Sunrise, Hanna, Hulett, Kaycee, Meeteetse, Midwest, NSI, Snake River, Ten Sleep.

–patrick

After two seasons, Gillette head coach Micah Christensen has resigned as the leader of the Camels.

As first reported by the Gillette News Record, Christensen resigned this week but will stay on at Gillette teaching and coaching other sports.

Christensen took on one of the most difficult periods in Campbell County’s football history. He was hired shortly before the Camels’ program was left decimated by the opening of Thunder Basin, Gillette’s second comprehensive high school. When Thunder Basin opened, most of the city’s seniors and juniors opted to play for new Thunder Basin, leaving traditional power Gillette without enough upperclassmen to sustain success at the Class 4A level.

Christensen also was a late hire prior to the 2017 season, joining the team as head coach after longtime Camels coach Vic Wilkerson resigned about a month before the first practice of 2017.

Prior to leading the Camels, Christensen had spent 12 years as Gillette’s linebackers coach; he also coached football for eight years in Brush, Colorado.

The Camels have gone 0-18 the past two seasons.

A replacement has not yet been named.

Gillette joins Kelly Walsh as Class 4A programs seeking new head coaches for 2019. Other programs either searching for or with new head coaches for 2019 include GlenrockLovell and Wyoming Indian. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Ever since Natrona’s old gym was brought down, I’ve wondered what the oldest gym in the state is now. I’m also curious to officially pin down the largest (and smallest) gym in the state.

So I restarted a project: finding the ages and capacities of each gym in the state. Here’s what I have so far. If you know any missing info, leave a comment here or email pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

The Casper Star-Tribune has reported that Jon Vance is no longer the head football coach at Kelly Walsh.

The Star-Tribune reported the Natrona County School District No. 1 confirmed Vance was no longer KW’s head coach, and that the district was seeking applicants for the position. As of Tuesday morning, the position was listed on the Natrona County School District website.

Vance had been KW’s head coach since 2011. He had gone 32-48 in that time, reaching the playoffs seven times in eight years and advancing to the Class 4A semifinals once, in 2017. His 32 victories was second all-time in program history behind Tom Staffileno, who had 37 victories while head coach from 1982-88.

Vance declined comment Tuesday when contacted by wyoming-football.com.

Other programs either searching for or with new head coaches for 2019 include GlenrockLovell and Wyoming Indian. If you know of other head coaching changes statewide, please email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Updated 3:49 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, to add contact with Vance.

Inspired by a previous post outlining the highest-scoring and lowest-scoring playoff teams, this post will look at the opposite — Wyoming high school football teams that won titles with historic defensive efforts or lackluster playoff defense.

Here are the teams that have allowed the fewest points in a three-game title run since the eight-team bracket came into play in 1990, with the number of points allowed per game (quarters, semis, championship) in parentheses:

0 points: Kemmerer (0, 0, 0), 3A 2007 … Wind River (0, 0, 0), 1A DII 1997
2 points: Southeast (0, 2, 0), 1A 2008
6 points: Lusk (6, 0, 0), 2A 2002 … Sundance (0, 6, 0), 2A 2005
7 points: Gillette (0, 0, 7), 4A 2000
8 points: Cokeville (0, 8, 0), 1A 2002 … Glenrock (8, 0, 0), 3A 2008
9 points: Upton (0, 3, 6), 1A 2005
10 points: Natrona (0, 7, 3), 5A 2003
12 points: Glenrock (0, 6, 6), 3A 2003 … Glenrock (0, 12, 0), 3A 2002 … Torrington (6, 0, 6), 3A 1990
13 points: Cokeville (0, 7, 6), 1A 11-man 2014 … Cokeville (0, 7, 6), 1A 11-man 2010 … Cokeville (0, 13, 0), 1A DII 1995 … Lusk (6, 0, 7), 1A DI 2000 … Natrona (0, 13, 0), 4A 1996 … Powell (0, 3, 10), 3A 2012 … Southeast (0, 6, 7), 2A 2001 … Thermopolis (0, 0, 13), 2A 1992 … Worland (0, 0, 13), 4A 2003 … Worland (7, 6, 0), 4A 2001 … Mountain View (14, 0, 0), 2A 1995 … Natrona (7, 0, 7), 4A 2012 … Wheatland (6, 0, 8), 2A 2015

A handful of teams have also won state titles without giving up a single point in a two-game/four-team playoff bracket. Those teams are:

Star Valley, 3A 1996
Midwest, 1A nine-man 1991
Cheyenne Central, 4A 1989
Cokeville, 1A 1988
Lusk, B 1981
Star Valley, A 1961
Sheridan, all-class 1938
Sheridan, all-class 1936

+++

Conversely, the most points given up in a championship playoff run was set by a squad that had little competition for the top spot. Star Valley’s 2016 3A championship team allowed 79 points during its title run, giving up 27 points to Riverton in a 35-27 quarterfinal win, 42 points to Douglas in a 61-42 semifinal shootout and 10 points to Powell in a 27-10 championship-game victory.

Star Valley’s 79 points allowed was 21 points more than any other 11-man championship squad. The 11-man teams that allowed more than 50 points in their championship runs included 10 squads:

79 points: Star Valley (27, 42, 10), 3A 2016
58 points: Cheyenne East (10, 34, 14), 5A 2007
55 points: Star Valley (13, 27, 15), 3A 2015 … Big Horn (14, 19, 22), 2A 2013 … Sheridan (12, 29, 14), 4A 2011 … Big Piney (8, 33, 14), 3A 2001 … Big Piney (7, 20, 28), 2A 2000
54 points: Cheyenne Central (20, 20, 14), 5A 2005 … Rocky Mountain (12, 22, 20), 1A DI 1997
51 points: Sheridan (17, 6, 28), 4A 2016

The most points given up in a two-game bracket is 41 (14, 27), allowed by Riverton in 1994 on its way to the 3A title.

–patrick

It’s way too early for this. That’s never stopped us before. Let’s take a look at 2019’s top five teams in each class, way too early before it’s practical to do so:

Class 4A
1. Thunder Basin: The state’s most dynamic offensive duo will likely be on Gillette’s south side in 2019, with quarterback Mason Hamilton (4A’s top passer last year) and wideout Blaine Allen (4A’s top receiver last year) ready to lead the ‘Bolts to unprecedented heights in 2019. The lines lost several key players, though.
2. Natrona: Running back Dante Wallace highlights a senior class that’s done a lot of winning, including last year’s state title. The Mustangs will be tough to stop with a balanced group of players coming back.
3. Cheyenne East: Class 4A’s most diverse offense in 2019 may belong to the Thunderbirds. Between seniors Christian Anderton and Chance Aumiller and junior Graedyn Buell, East will present troubles for any opposing defense.
4. Sheridan: The Broncs only return one all-state player, senior Garrett Coon, but few programs rebuild as efficiently as Sheridan does. Count on Sheridan being in the championship chase again.
5. Cheyenne Central: New coach Mike Apodaca took some lumps in his first year at Central, but the Indians showed great potential at times. With three returning all-conference players, the Indians return a solid chunk of contributors that could make Central a threat.
Dark horse: Laramie. The Plainsmen were a solid five seed in 4A last year but need to replace a good group of seniors. If that happens as efficiently as coach Clint Reed hopes, Laramie could be a challenger again.

Class 3A
1. Star Valley: By accident or by design, the Braves’ juniors got a ton of experience last year. Five all-state players will be back this fall, including Super 25 pick Chase Merrell and three starting linemen. That will put Star Valley in perfect position to repeat.
2. Cody: The Broncs get back four all-state selections, second only to Star Valley, as well as six total all-conference picks. RB Charlie Beaudrie will be tough to stop, and lineman Keith Conner was a Super 25 pick.
3. Jackson: Jeydon Cox — who broke the 2,000-yard barrier last season — will probably be the most exciting running back in the state next year. But he can’t do it alone. The Broncs lose a big chunk of contributors but should have enough back to prove last year was no fluke.
4. Douglas: I like what the Bearcats have coming back next fall, and it starts with an experienced all-state quarterback in A.J. Yeaman. There are some other holes to fill, but the Bearcats should be competitive.
5. Torrington: The Trailblazers lost a huge senior class, so staying in the title hunt will be challenging. However, they do return a pair of all-conference linemen in seniors Corbin Harris and Tyler Schaub, and that’s a good place to start.
Dark horse: Lander. In a sentence: Don’t discount coach John Scott’s ability to quickly build a competitive program.

Class 2A
1. Mountain View: Almost all of the Buffalos’ key contributors are back in 2019. This includes four two-time all-state choices (Briggin Bluemel, Hunter Gross, Kimball Madsen and Braeden Walk). No team in 2A can match that.
2. Buffalo: The defending 2A champs aren’t going anywhere. The Bison have five returning all-state choices, tied with Mountain View for the most in the class — and those returners aren’t concentrated in any one specific area.
3. Thermopolis: After a couple years of building, the Bobcats may be ready for a breakthrough in 2019. Junior Logan Cole has proven to be a dependable running back, and he’s got a good number of key contributors surrounding him.
4. Greybull: At a glance, the 2A West seems like it doesn’t have the depth it did in 2018. However, the Buffaloes should remain competitive, with all-conference picks Ben Kraft and Felipe Gaytan leading the way.
5. Burns: The Broncs have been leading up to a breakthrough in 2019. Boe Clayson is a dynamic running back, and an experienced group of seniors will help Burns into the playoff chase.
Dark horse: Glenrock. Yeah, it seems weird to see the Herders outside the top five. But with a new head coach and a new set of leaders needing to emerge on both offense and defense, Glenrock is on the outside for now. If the program can preserve its momentum under a new coach, Glenrock should continue to be a winner.

Class 1A 11-man
1. Big Horn: Yes, the Rams lose one of the best senior classes to ever play at this level. At the same time, they return six all-state choices, more than any other program in 1A, and they’ve got momentum and confidence. A repeat will be tough, but this group has that ability.
2. Cokeville: The Panthers do lose eight all-state choices, but they also return five all-conference picks. They absolutely obliterated every other team in the West last year. And no one — no one — reloads like Cokeville reloads.
3. Upton-Sundance: All-stater Jayden Caylor and all-conference pick Kye Taylor have to lead the task of carrying on the Patriots’ tradition. There’s work to do, but U-S has depth and has shown throughout the history of its co-op that it can get players to step up when needed.
4. Pine Bluffs: Brian Steger, an all-state pick, and Donte Jacobsen, an all-conference selection, will be the leaders on a less-experienced but still dangerous Hornet team. They’ll need to build some depth, but if that can happen quickly, they’ll be in the hunt come November.
5. Lusk: The Tigers return four all-conference choices, second to Big Horn in the East, and junior Drake Lamp and senior Damien Molzahn will create a backfield duo most 1A teams would envy.
Dark horse: Rocky Mountain. The Grizzlies had seven all-conference choices in 2018: one senior, five sophomores and a freshman. If Rocky’s youth can prove itself against tougher competition, it could be the team to challenge Cokeville in the West.

Class 1A six-man
1. Hanna: Twins Connor and Shane McGraw are just the starting point for the Miners, who return five all-conference choices and are poised to build on last year’s unbeaten regular season with some postseason victories this time.
2. Snake River: The Rattlers were really competitive last season despite having a senior class small enough to fit on a motorcycle. Riggen Myers provides dynamism, and a host of others from what will be a deep senior class will make Snake River a title threat.
3. Meeteetse: This year’s deep senior class will be gone, but the Longhorns still return enough depth to stay competitive. That charge will be led by a pair of all-conference picks, Asa Eldredge and Kaden Redding.
4. Farson: Ready to play a game of “Who’s that”? The Pronghorns’ senior class will be pretty thin in 2019, but its upcoming junior class is deep and ready to fill the spots vacated by this year’s graduating class.
5. Burlington: Senior Jarom Davidson will be the lone all-conference holdover from last year’s runner-up squad, so the Huskies have some clear rebuilding to do. But the 2018 season should give the program momentum.
Dark horse: Guernsey. The Vikings return three all-conference choices (seniors Alex Delgado, Jeremy Hartt and Justin Malcolm), and all three were key contributors on defense. If the defense can hold up early, the offense could come around late and help the Vikings win in the postseason.

What do you think? Who’s ready for a breakout season in 2019? Which teams are too low? Leave a comment and let’s discuss what might be on the way by the time the 2019 season starts.

–patrick

If you’re not sure who to root for in Wyoming high school football next season, or if you just want to confirm that you’re rooting for the right team given your temperament and preferences, then we’ve got you covered.

In development for literally hours, the Rooting Interest Generator — or RIG — takes answers to questions provided and helps you figure out which Wyoming high school football team you should be rooting for.

Test it out and see who you should be rooting for, and how that compares to who you actually root for.

Play the game here. And let us know who you’ll be cheering on this fall.

–patrick

Sister site wyoming-basketball.com has added a new area to its site: season recaps. Some of the season recaps that were previously posted on this blog have been moved to this area of that site. See the info below for all the details.

–patrick

The final touches on the 2019 Wyoming high school football schedule are done.

The portion of the schedule set by the Wyoming High School Activities Association was released to schools during the statewide scheduling meeting in mid-November in Casper. Since then, schools have finalized dates and times and, in some cases, added games to their schedules where open weeks were available.

As expected, most of the 2019 schedule is a flip-flop of the 2018 schedule, with home and road locations switching places from 2018 to 2019 for most schools. However, a handful of games will be different for 2019, especially in nonconference games.

Class 3A, Class 2A, Class 1A 11-man and Class 1A six-man schools also have the option of scheduling Zero Week contests. Those will be updated as they are received from the schools. For now, only a small handful of schools have opted not to play in some kind of Zero Week game or scrimmage.

Saratoga will continue to play six-man and will take over the 1A six-man East Conference schedule originally held by Rock River. Rock River will not field a team in 2019; Saratoga will be ineligible for the six-man playoffs.

Encampment, which is tentatively scheduled to add a sub-varsity six-man team in 2019, is not on the schedule; the Tigers have yet to set up any games while waiting to see if the program will obtain final approval.

The 2019 schedule is available here. It will be updated with changes when received. Also, the 2019 schedules will start appearing on team pages on this site in the next couple weeks.

–patrick