Class 4A
(8) Cheyenne Central at (1) Sheridan
(5) Thunder Basin at (4) Natrona
(7) Kelly Walsh at (2) Rock Springs
(6) Campbell County at (3) Cheyenne East
Class 3A
(4W) Powell at (1E) Douglas
(3E) Buffalo at (2W) Jackson
(4E) Worland at (1W) Cody
(3W) Star Valley at (2E) Lander
Class 2A
(4E) Big Horn at (1W) Lyman
(3W) Big Piney at (2E) Wheatland
(4W) Cokeville at (1E) Torrington
(3E) Upton-Sundance at (2W) Lovell
Class 1A nine-man
(4E) Wright at (1W) Shoshoni
(3W) Wind River at (2E) Lusk
(4W) Riverside at (1E) Pine Bluffs
(3E) Southeast at (2W) Rocky Mountain
Class 1A six-man
(4W) Dubois at (1E) Hulett
(3E) Guernsey at (2W) Encampment
(4E) Kaycee at (1W) Snake River
(3W) Meeteetse at (2E) Midwest

Note: Post updated at 2:15 p.m. Saturday to reflect the result of the Hanna/Kaycee game.

–patrick

The final week of the regular season goes by different names.

Around these parts, though, I call it Spreadsheet Week.

I spend more time on spreadsheets in Week 8 than I do in any other. The myriad playoff scenarios are dizzying, and I need the spreadsheets to make sense of it all.

But honestly, with only 46 teams alive for 40 playoff spots, it’s a little simpler than it seems on the surface.

The simplest scenarios exist for Cheyenne Central, Laramie, Powell, Evanston, Kaycee and Hanna: Win and they’re in. Lose and they’re out. It’s like a bonus playoff game, pigtail games for brackets that we know will already be filled with excitement.

However, only 12 teams — Star Valley, Torrington, Lyman, Pine Bluffs, Lusk, Shoshoni, Rocky Mountain, Hulett, Snake River, Encampment, Meeteetse and Dubois — know their seeds. That includes the entire 1A six-man West, the only place where certainty has much of a foothold. The other 28 seeds are all in question entering Week 8, and only one first-round playoff matchup (Dubois at Hulett) is certain. In Class 4A, not a single team’s seed is set for sure entering the final week of the regular season (except Cheyenne South, which has been eliminated).

With 20 games this week affecting seeding, that means there are almost 400 ways the brackets could look by the time Saturday’s three games are finished.

That’s where the spreadsheets come in. Week 8 — the one week we can mix jockdom and nerddom and it’s not only OK, it’s encouraged.

+++

Other games that I’ll be watching a little bit closer than usual:

The biggest game with the lowest stakes is the rematch of last year’s 3A championship between Cody and Jackson, this time in Teton County. I say low stakes because the two top-ranked teams in 3A are both playing some great football right now, and even though the winner gets a conference championship and home-field advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see both of these teams in Laramie, rematching the rematch, in three weeks. A loss here wouldn’t interrupt that. …

Class 4A’s elites meet this week with Rock Springs traveling to Cheyenne East and Sheridan traveling to Thunder Basin. East, Rock Springs and Sheridan are all alive for the No. 1 seed, and Thunder Basin is still dangerous and in the hunt for the No. 2 seed. There’s a lot to sort out at the top, and these two games will do a lot of the shaking. …

For as messy as the 2A East could be (with the potential for an unprecedented four-way tie), the most intriguing game is still Upton-Sundance playing at Big Horn. Both teams have been playing well this season, and no one wants to see them on their side of the bracket in the playoffs. …

Dubois playing Hulett at Ten Sleep was a bonus game added to the schedule when Ten Sleep and NSI gave up the ghost — Ten Sleep for football, NSI for everything. Now, it also serves as a first-round playoff preview, when Dubois will travel to Hulett for the six-man quarterfinals. Safe to say that both teams will probably be holding back on the playbook this week in anticipation for saving the best stuff for next week. But I’m still interested to see who wins this week.

+++

Picks are here. Can you dig it? Bold means I think that team will win. Because I like to live on the edge, thinking that anything teenagers do is predictable.

Tuesday
Class 2A
Thermopolis at Big Piney (picked on Twitter before Tuesday’s game)
Thursday
Class 2A
Mountain View at Lyman
Class 1A nine-man
St. Stephens at Rocky Mountain
Shoshoni at Riverside
Wind River at Wyoming Indian
Friday
Class 4A

Campbell County at Kelly Walsh
Cheyenne South at Natrona
Laramie at Cheyenne Central
Rock Springs at Cheyenne East
Sheridan at Thunder Basin
Class 3A
Douglas at Worland
Evanston at Powell
Jackson at Cody
Lander at Buffalo
Rawlins at Riverton
Star Valley at Green River
Class 2A
Big Piney at Kemmerer
Burns at Torrington
Lovell at Cokeville
Pinedale at Thermopolis
Tongue River at Glenrock
Upton-Sundance at Big Horn
Wheatland at Newcastle
Class 1A nine-man
Greybull at Lingle
Lusk at Saratoga
Moorcroft at Pine Bluffs
Wright at Southeast
Class 1A six-man
Encampment at Burlington
Midwest at Guernsey-Sunrise
Saturday
Class 1A six-man

Dubois vs. Hulett (at Ten Sleep)
Kaycee at Hanna
Snake River at Farson
Open: Meeteetse.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 8” 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: 27-5 (84 percent). This season: 194-40 (83 percent).

+++

Who do you think is ready to rise up in the final season of the week and surprise us all? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship

–patrick

Here’s a quick look at the playoff scenarios for Wyoming high school football teams entering Week 8 of the 2021 season:

Class 4A
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Campbell County at Kelly Walsh; Cheyenne South at Natrona; Laramie at Cheyenne Central; Rock Springs at Cheyenne East; Sheridan at Thunder Basin.
Cheyenne East: In. No. 1 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss.
Rock Springs: In. No. 1 seed with victory and Thunder Basin victory. No. 2 seed with victory and Sheridan victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Sheridan victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential to break) with loss and Thunder Basin victory.
Sheridan: In. No. 1 seed with victory and Rock Springs victory. No. 2 seed with victory and East victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential to break) with loss and East victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Rock Springs victory.
Thunder Basin: In. No. 2 seed with victory and Rock Springs victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential to break) with victory and East victory. No. 4 seed with loss and South victory. No. 5 seed with loss and Natrona victory.
Natrona: In. No. 4 seed with victory and Sheridan victory. No. 5 seed with victory and Thunder Basin victory. No. 5 seed with loss.
Campbell County, Kelly Walsh: In. No. 6 seed with victory. No. 7 seed with loss.
Cheyenne Central, Laramie: Neither in nor out. No. 8 seed with victory. Out with loss.
Cheyenne South: Out.

Here’s a breakdown of how the seeding would go for the top five seeds with the three games in play:

If Natrona beats South
TeamsEastRock SpringsSheridanThunder BasinNatrona
Rock Springs, Sheridan win32154
Rock Springs, Thunder Basin win31425
East, Sheridan win13254
East, Thunder Basin win14325
If South beats Natrona
TeamsEastRock SpringsSheridanThunder BasinNatrona
Rock Springs, Sheridan win32145
Rock Springs, Thunder Basin win31425
East, Sheridan win13245
East, Thunder Basin win14325

Score differential tiebreaker (updated 10-21): If Thunder Basin, Sheridan and Rock Springs tied for the 2-3-4 seeds… Thunder Basin would have the victory against the highest-ranking non-tied team (East), so would be the No. 2 seed. Sheridan then is the No. 3 seed due to head-to-head victory over Rock Springs, which would be seeded fourth. Thanks to Nash in the comments for correcting the error I had previously listed in this scenario.

Class 3A East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Douglas at Worland; Lander at Buffalo.
Douglas: In. No. 1 seed with victory. No. 2 seed with loss and Lander victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (score differential/coin flip to break) with loss and Buffalo victory.
Buffalo: In. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (score differential/coin flip to break) with victory and Worland victory. No. 2 seed with victory and Douglas victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential/coin flip to break) with loss and Douglas victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Worland victory.
Worland: In. No. 1 seed with victory and Lander victory. Tie for 1-2-3 seeds (score differential/coin flip to break) with victory and Buffalo victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential/coin flip to break) with loss and Lander victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Buffalo victory.
Lander: In. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential/coin flip to break) with victory and Douglas victory. No. 3 seed with victory and Worland victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Rawlins, Riverton: Out.
Score differential tiebreakers:
Scenario 1: If Buffalo, Worland and Lander tied for the 2-3-4 seeds… Lander would have to defeat Buffalo by 10 or more points to win the No. 2 seed (Lander +3, Buffalo +2, Worland -5). Buffalo would be the No. 3 seed by virtue of its head-to-head victory over Worland, which would be the fourth seed. … If Lander won by nine or fewer points, Buffalo would be the No. 2 seed. Worland would be the No. 3 seed with a head-to-head victory over Lander, which would be the No. 4 seed.
Scenario 2: If Douglas, Buffalo and Worland tied for the 1-2-3 seeds… Worland would have to beat Douglas by at least 12 points to force a coin flip for the 1-2-3 seeds. A Worland victory by 11 or fewer points would give Douglas the point differential tiebreaker and the No. 1 seed. Buffalo would then be the No. 2 seed due to its victory against Worland.

Class 3A West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Evanston at Powell; Jackson at Cody.
Cody, Jackson: In. No. 1 seed with victory. No. 2 seed with loss.
Star Valley: In. No. 3 seed.
Evanston, Powell: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with victory. Out with loss.
Green River: Out.

Class 2A East
Week 8 games potentially affecting playoff seeding: Burns at Torrington; Tongue River at Glenrock; Upton-Sundance at Big Horn; Wheatland at Newcastle.
Torrington: In. No. 1 seed.
Wheatland: Neither in nor out. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Upton-Sundance victory. Get in a messy tie with loss and Big Horn victory (see below).
Upton-Sundance: Neither in nor out. No. 2 seed with victory and Newcastle victory. No. 3 seed with victory and Wheatland victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Wheatland victory. Get in a messy tie with loss and Newcastle victory (see below).
Big Horn: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with victory and Wheatland victory. Get in a messy tie with victory and Newcastle victory (see below). Get in a messy tie with loss and Wheatland victory (see below). Either out or in a messy tie (see below) with loss and Wheatland victory.
Newcastle: Neither in nor out. No. 3 seed with victory and Upton-Sundance victory. Get in a messy tie with victory and Big Horn victory (see below). Get in a messy tie or out with loss and Upton-Sundance victory (see below). Out with loss and Big Horn victory.
Burns: Neither in nor out. Need a victory, a Tongue River victory, an Upton-Sundance victory and a Wheatland victory to get in a messy tie (see below). Out in all other scenarios.
Tongue River: Neither in nor out. Need a victory, a Burns victory, an Upton-Sundance victory and a Wheatland victory to get in a messy tie (see below). Out in all other scenarios.
Glenrock: Out.
Here are the 2A East scenarios for Week 8. They involve the potential for two four-way tiebreakers, which would be broken with a method TBD, as well as a three-way tiebreaker to be broken by either point differential or coin flip:

If Tongue River beats Glenrock…WheatlandUpton-SundanceBig HornNewcastleBurnsTongue River
Burns, U-S, Wheatland win23tie 4-out-out-outtie 4-out-out-outout (even in tie)tie 4-out-out-outScenario 1
Burns, U-S, Newcastle win42out3outout
Burns, Big Horn, Wheatland win243outoutout
Burns, Big Horn, Newcastle win243outoutoutScenario 2
Torrington, U-S, Wheatland win234outoutoutScenario 3
Torrington, U-S, Newcastle win42out3outout
Torrington, Big Horn, Wheatland win243outoutout
Torrington, Big Horn, Newcastle win243outoutoutScenario 2
If Glenrock beats Tongue River…WheatlandUpton-SundanceBig HornNewcastleBurnsTongue River
Burns, U-S, Wheatland win234outoutoutScenario 4
Burns, U-S, Newcastle win42out3outout
Burns, Big Horn, Wheatland win243outoutout
Burns, Big Horn, Newcastle win243outoutoutScenario 2
Torrington, U-S, Wheatland win234outoutout
Torrington, U-S, Newcastle win42out3outout
Torrington, Big Horn, Wheatland win243outoutout
Torrington, Big Horn, Newcastle win243outoutoutScenario 2

Tiebreaker scenarios:
Scenario 1: Where Big Horn, Burns, Newcastle and Tongue River tie for the fourth and final spot, Burns would be 0-3 against the other three teams and would be eliminated from the tiebreaker. The remaining three teams would have their tie broken by a coin flip, with the odd team out and the head-to-head winner of the remaining teams taking the spot in the playoffs. (Four-way ties do not revert to three-way ties in cases like this.) Thanks to WHSAA Associate Commissioner Trevor Wilson for clarification on this tiebreaker.

Scenario 2 (updated 10-21): Where Wheatland, Upton-Sundance, Big Horn and Newcastle tie for the 2-3-4 spots and one team finishing out, the four-way tiebreaking instructions would be used. In a case where two teams are 2-1 and the other two are 1-2 against each other, the two 2-1 teams would take the top two seeds, with the head-to-head result determining the higher seed. In this situation, Wheatland and Big Horn would be seeded 2 and 3, as both are 2-1 and Wheatland will have defeated Big Horn. Then Upton-Sundance and Newcastle, the two 1-2 teams, would have Upton-Sundance seeded fourth and Newcastle out due to the head-to-head victory. Thanks to WHSAA Associate Commissioner Trevor Wilson for further clarification on this tiebreaker.
Scenario 3: Where Big Horn, Newcastle and Tongue River tie for the fourth and final spot, Big Horn would win a score differential tiebreaker (Big Horn +11, Tongue River -2, Newcastle -9).
Scenario 4: Where Big Horn, Newcastle and Burns tie for the fourth and final spot, Big Horn gains the No. 4 seed with head-to-head victories over both.

Class 2A West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Big Piney at Kemmerer; Lovell at Cokeville.
Lyman: In. No. 1 seed.
Lovell: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Kemmerer victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential to break) with loss and Big Piney victory.
Cokeville: In. No. 2 seed with victory and Kemmerer victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential to break) with victory and Big Piney victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Big Piney: In. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential to break) with victory and Cokeville victory. No. 3 seed with Lovell victory, regardless of win or loss. No. 4 seed with loss and Cokeville victory.
Thermopolis, Kemmerer, Mountain View, Pinedale: Out.
Score differential tiebreaker: If Lovell, Cokeville and Big Piney all tie for the 2-3-4 seeds… Cokeville would have to defeat Lovell by 10 or more points to secure the No. 2 seed. If that happens, Cokeville will be 2, and Lovell will be No. 3 by virtue of the head-to-head victory against Big Piney, which will be fourth. … If Cokeville wins by nine or fewer, Lovell will win the score differential tiebreaker, with Big Piney getting the No. 3 seed with the head-to-head victory over Cokeville, which would be the fourth seed. A coin flip wouldn’t be used, since it’s mathematically impossible to finish with a tied score differential given the two existing final scores.

Class 1A nine-man East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Wright at Southeast.
Pine Bluffs: In. No. 1 seed.
Lusk: In. No. 2 seed.
Southeast, Wright: In. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Lingle, Saratoga: Out.
Moorcroft: Ineligible.

Class 1A nine-man West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Shoshoni at Riverside; Wind River at Wyoming Indian (both Thursday).
Shoshoni: In. No. 1 seed.
Rocky Mountain: In. No. 2 seed.
Wind River: In. No. 3 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Shoshoni victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Riverside victory.
Riverside: In. No. 3 seed with victory and Wyoming Indian victory. No. 4 seed with victory and Wind River victory. No. 4 seed with loss.
Greybull, St. Stephens, Wyoming Indian: Out.

Class 1A six-man East
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: Midwest at Guernsey; Kaycee at Hanna (Saturday).
Hulett: In. No. 1 seed.
Guernsey: In. No. 2 seed with victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Hanna victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential/coin flip to break) with loss and Kaycee victory.
Midwest: Neither in nor out. No. 2 seed with victory and Hanna victory. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential/coin flip to break) with victory and Kaycee victory. No. 3 seed with loss and Hanna victory. No. 4 seed with loss and Kaycee victory.
Kaycee: Neither in nor out. Tie for 2-3-4 seeds (score differential/coin flip to break) with victory and Midwest victory. No. 3 seed with victory and Guernsey victory. Out with loss.
Hanna: Neither in nor out. No. 4 seed with victory. Out with loss.
Score differential tiebreakers:
Scenario 1: If Midwest, Kaycee and Guernsey tied for the 2-3-4 seeds… Midwest would have to defeat Guernsey by six or more points to win the No. 2 seed (Midwest 1, Guernsey 1, Kaycee -2, with Midwest winning the head-to-head tie for the second seed; Midwest wins the differential outright by winning by seven or more). Guernsey would be the No. 3 seed by virtue of its head-to-head victory over Kaycee, which would be fourth. … If Midwest won by five or fewer points, Guernsey would win the score differential and be the No. 2 seed. Kaycee would be No. 3 with its head-to-head victory over Midwest, and Midwest would be seeded No. 4.
Scenario 2: If Midwest, Hanna and Kaycee tied for the final two seeds… Midwest would win the score differential tiebreaker in all scenarios. Hanna can’t catch Midwest (current score differential Midwest +7, Kaycee +5, Hanna -12). Midwest would win the score differential tiebreaker, and Hanna would be the No. 4 seed by virtue of the head-to-head victory over Kaycee, no matter the margin.

Class 1A six-man West
Week 8 games affecting playoff seeding: none.
Snake River: In. No. 1 seed.
Encampment: In. No. 2 seed.
Meeteetse: In. No. 3 seed.
Dubois: In. No. 4 seed.
Burlington, Farson: Out.
Even with two conference games this weekend, seeds are set. Snake River, even with a loss, wins all tiebreakers with Encampment; Encampment, even with a loss, wins all tiebreakers with Meeteetse; Farson, even with a victory, loses all tiebreakers with Dubois. There are no potential three-way ties that could happen in the conference standings.

–patrick

Note: Post updated 3:27 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, to update 1A six-man East scenarios. Post updated 4:32 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, to update 1A six-man West scenarios. Post updated 9:44 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, to update 2A East scenarios. Post updated 3:06 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, with updated 2A East four-way tiebreaker scenarios. Post updated 4:51 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, with updated 2A West tiebreakers after result of Thermopolis/Big Piney game. Post updated 2:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, to reflect correction to error in 4A tiebreaker and additional guidance from the WHSAA office regarding the 2A East four-way tiebreaker possibilities.

Of all the games Wheatland could have lost, the Bulldogs sure picked a good one.

Thanks to the schedule, Wheatland’s surprising 18-14 loss to Burns two weeks ago doesn’t stop the ‘Dogs from controlling their own destiny.

That destiny, though, includes this week’s rivalry game with Torrington, a game that will likely decide the top seed from the Class 2A East Conference.

While the loss to Burns ended Wheatland’s unbeaten season, it didn’t end their chances at a conference or state title. Recent history both inside and outside Wheatland’s 2021 experience demonstrates that.

Last year’s 2A champions, Lyman, suffered a similarly surprising midseason loss. The Eagles’ loss came at the hands of Big Piney, which ended up missing the playoffs entirely. But Lyman still earned the West’s top seed and toppled Torrington in the championship game.

Moreover, the last time Wheatland won a state championship — in 2015 — the Bulldogs stumbled to its first loss in Week 8, 28-14 to Big Horn.

Three weeks later, Wheatland was hoisting a state championship trophy, while Big Horn’s season ended in the quarterfinals.

This week’s game against Torrington, which has rebounded from an 0-2 start to win five consecutive games, will go a long way in saying just how much of an aberration the Burns loss was for Wheatland.

The Bulldogs rebounded last week with a closer-than-it-should-have-been 20-14 nail-biter against Tongue River, a team that’s 1-4 in 2A East play. The Trailblazers, meanwhile, have had their share of nervous moments too, beating Upton-Sundance by 10, Newcastle by 13 and Big Horn in double overtime (the same week Wheatland was losing to Burns).

Torrington has dominated this regional rivalry for the better part of a century, and the Trailblazers will be the favorites. They will also have the added incentive of knowing that if they win, they’ll be the top seed from the East, a benefit Wheatland doesn’t automatically get with a victory this week.

What the Bulldogs do have, though, is the same opportunity Torrington has: the chance to have a say in how their season ends.

Fortunately for Wheatland, one loss didn’t stop that.

+++

Other games that have found a way into my consciousness this week:

Sheridan and Campbell County bring up their old Energy Bowl rivalry this week, which is always fun. But Natrona playing at Thunder Basin promises to be the 4A game of the week. …

Buffalo and Douglas are both 3-0 in the 3A East, and Friday’s winner is likely to be the conference champ (and that’s definitely the case if Buffalo wins). Douglas was the one expected to be here; Buffalo, though, has played the part of a contender well all season long. …

Powell will be a dangerous team in the playoffs. Well, if they can survive long enough to make it there. The Panthers head to Jackson in yet another 3A gamut game, and I’m curious to see how they handle the road trip to the Tetons. …

Both Newcastle and Burns have made tremendous strides this season. But the path to a potential playoff berth goes through the other. The loser of this week’s game between the two programs on the rise will likely signal the end of the postseason dreams for one of them — and that’s too bad. …

Saratoga’s last, best chance to force some chaos into the 1A nine-man East comes in a long road trip to Wright, where the two Panther teams have to go through each other to stay in the race. It’s honestly the hardest game of the week to pick a winner. …

Two other 1A nine-man games will likely decide who gets home playoff games. Southeast/Lusk doesn’t have the luster it had in August (thanks a lot, Pine Bluffs!), but it will still have a lot of intensity. And Wind River/Rocky Mountain is the surprise big game of the year thanks to the Cougars’ shocking 5-1 start — something that looks less flukey by the week. …

It wouldn’t be a Patrick picks post without a mention of the biggest and best rivalry in Wyoming, Kaycee/Midwest, where the Oilers actually have a chance to win in the rivalry for the first time since 2013. Both teams are likely playoff bound, and a home playoff game is still up for grabs in the 1A six-man East. The chase between these two and Guernsey will be fun, if last week’s Guernsey/Kaycee game was any indication. …

This is a make-or-break week in the 1A six-man West, with Encampment hosting Dubois and Meeteetse hosting Farson. One of those four teams won’t be in the postseason, which is hard to believe, because they’ve all proven they can hang with anyone. …

Twelve teams are still winless entering Week 7, and two games (Laramie at Cheyenne South, and Wyoming Indian at St. Stephens) match up winless teams. The 4A matchup is the only one with a possible postseason ramification, but regardless, it gives me a weird sense of satisfaction to know at least two of those 12 teams are getting their first victory this week.

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I pick games every week. This week is no different. Bold means I think they’ll win, but I love a good upset as much as anyone:

Thursday
Class 3A
Evanston at Star Valley
Class 2A
Pinedale at Lyman
Class 1A nine-man
Wyoming Indian at St. Stephens
Friday
Class 4A

Cheyenne Central at Rock Springs
Cheyenne East at Kelly Walsh
Laramie at Cheyenne South
Natrona at Thunder Basin
Sheridan at Campbell County
Class 3A
Buffalo at Douglas
Cody at Green River
Lander at Rawlins
Powell at Jackson
Worland at Riverton
Class 2A
Big Horn at Tongue River
Cokeville at Big Piney
Kemmerer at Lovell
Newcastle at Burns
Thermopolis at Mountain View
Torrington at Wheatland
Upton-Sundance at Glenrock
Class 1A nine-man
Lingle at Pine Bluffs
Saratoga at Wright
Shoshoni at Greybull
Southeast at Lusk
Rocky Mountain at Wind River
Class 1A six-man
Kaycee
at Midwest
Saturday
Class 1A nine-man
Riverside
at Moorcroft
Class 1A six-man

Burlington at Guernsey-Sunrise
Dubois at Encampment
Farson at Meeteetse
Hanna vs. Hulett (at Midwest)
Interclass
Snake River
at Natrona sophs

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 7” 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: 27-3 (90 percent). This season: 167-35 (83 percent).

+++

We’re getting down to the nitty-gritty of the 2021 season. Which teams have been your big surprises this fall, either direction? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship

–patrick

With the 2021 postseason coming into sharper focus with two weeks remaining in the regular season, here’s a breakdown of what’s possible in each Wyoming high school football conference:

Class 4A
In: Cheyenne East, Rock Springs, Sheridan, Thunder Basin, Natrona, Campbell County, Kelly Walsh.
Neither in nor out: Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne South, Laramie.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Not even close. With four teams at 6-1, the top four seeds, much less the top seed, are all up for grabs.
Break it down for me: After the mess at the top between East, Rock Springs, Sheridan and Thunder Basin, it gets a little easier. Central has the best odds for the last spot, with South and Laramie both needing a win in Week 7 — against each other, conveniently — to stay in realistic contention.

Class 3A East
In: Douglas, Buffalo.
Neither in nor out: Worland, Lander, Rawlins, Riverton.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Kind of. Buffalo and Douglas, both 3-0, play each other, but only Buffalo secures the top seed with a victory in Week 7; Douglas would get it, though, with a victory and a Riverton upset of Worland.
Break it down for me: Rawlins and Riverton are desperately trying to stay in the hunt, and both need Ws this week before meeting each other in Week 8. Otherwise, Lander and Worland are in.

Class 3A West
In: Cody, Jackson.
Neither in nor out: Evanston, Powell, Star Valley, Green River.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Nope; the big Cody-Jackson showdown is in Week 8.
Break it down for me: Evanston, Powell and Star Valley are all 1-2, fighting for the final two playoff spots. Green River is in desperation mode.

Class 2A East
In: Torrington.
Neither in nor out: Wheatland, Upton-Sundance, Big Horn, Burns, Newcastle, Tongue River.
Out: Glenrock.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Yes; if Torrington beats Wheatland, Torrington will be the No. 1 seed.
Break it down for me: Of the available spots, Wheatland has the easiest road to the playoffs, Tongue River the toughest. The real fight is for spots 3-4, with U-S, Big Horn, Burns and Newcastle all in real contention.

Class 2A West
In: Lyman.
Neither in nor out: Cokeville, Lovell, Big Piney, Kemmerer, Thermopolis, Mountain View.
Out: Pinedale.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Yes; if Lyman wins this week against Pinedale, the Eagles will be the West’s top seed.
Break it down for me: This one is a bit trickier as Big Piney and Thermopolis play on Tuesday of Week 8 in a COVID makeup. But it would take a LOT to go crazy for Cokeville or Lovell to not make it. That leaves a huge chase for the fourth spot, with Big Piney having a slight edge over the three teams with losing records in conference play.

Class 1A nine-man East
In: Pine Bluffs.
Neither in nor out: Lusk, Southeast, Wright, Lingle, Saratoga.
Out: No one.
Ineligible: Moorcroft.
Can the top seed be decided this week? It’s already decided; Pine Bluffs will be the No. 1 seed out of the East. Even with a loss next week in the conference finale against Lingle, the Hornets have tiebreakers against anyone they would tie.
Break it down for me: Lusk and Southeast are all but in and will meet next week in a game that will likely decide the No. 2 seed. The Saratoga-Wright game next week will be huge for deciding the conference’s fourth seed. And Lingle’s just in the middle of it all, a good a chance as anyone.

Class 1A nine-man West
In: Shoshoni.
Neither in nor out: Wind River, Rocky Mountain, Riverside, Greybull.
Out: St. Stephens, Wyoming Indian.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Yes; a Shoshoni victory against Greybull will give the Wranglers the top seed no matter what happens in Week 8.
Break it down for me: This week’s top game is between Wind River and Rocky Mountain, which will likely decide first-round hosting duties. Greybull’s loss to Riverside likely left them on the outside looking in; an upset over Shoshoni this week, and then some tiebreaker magic, is the only thing that can save the Buffs’ season.

Class 1A six-man East
In: Hulett.
Neither in nor out: Guernsey, Midwest, Hanna, Kaycee.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? It’s already decided; Hulett sewed up the No. 1 seed in Week 6.
Break it down for me: Guernsey is in great shape, Midwest good shape. Hanna and Kaycee are both 0-2 in league play, though. They’ll play each other in Week 8, as will Guernsey and Midwest in a conference that will leave a lot to the last day.

Class 1A six-man West
In: Snake River.
Neither in nor out: Encampment, Meeteetse, Farson, Dubois.
Out: Burlington.
Can the top seed be decided this week? It’s already decided; Snake River secured the West’s top seed last week.
Break it down for me: Encampment, Dubois, Meeteetse and Farson are in a scrap for the final three seeds. Encampment and Farson both have two games left; Dubois and Meeteetse each only have one game. Of the four remaining West games, three are between these four teams, including Meeteetse vs. Farson and Dubois vs. Encampment next week.

–patrick

This post was updated at 3:24 p.m. Saturday to reflect new scenarios in the 1A six-man East.

This post was updated at 4:33 p.m. Saturday to reflect new scenarios in the 1A six-man West.

Rawlins has forfeited its homecoming game, scheduled Friday against Douglas, due to a shortage of available players from a COVID-19 quarantine.

The school announced its decision to cancel numerous homecoming-related activities in a Facebook post on Thursday.

Douglas activities director Doug Hughes via email on Friday clarified that the football game between the two programs won’t be made up and will go down as a forfeit victory for the Bearcats.

Rawlins AD Kasey Garnhart said in an email Friday that Rawlins’ football players in quarantine would not return to school and practice until Wednesday at the earliest, making a make-up too difficult to fit in the short amount of time remaining in the season.

Both teams play in the Class 3A East Conference.

Rawlins is the sixth football program in Wyoming this season to forfeit at least one game due to COVID-19, joining a list that includes Guernsey, Torrington, Lingle, Burns and Thermopolis. Douglas also beat Torrington by forfeit earlier in the season.

–patrick

The last time Hulett started 5-0, the Red Devils were playing nine-man football.

Way back in 1994, Hulett strung together eight consecutive victories to start the season before losing the Class 1A nine-man championship game to Burlington — incidentally, the last nine-man game in Wyoming until 2020.

This year’s Red Devils, now in Class 1A six-man, have finally ended that drought, putting together victories in their first five games for the first time in almost 30 years.

Oddly enough, in 1994 after their 5-0 start, the Red Devils’ sixth game came against Midwest. The same thing will happen in 2021, as the 3-2 Oilers, on a three-game winning streak for the first time since 2017, make the visit to Crook County on Saturday for game No. 6 on Hulett’s schedule.

No matter what else happens the rest of the season, a victory against Midwest will give Hulett the top seed from the six-man East Conference. Hulett’s only remaining conference game after Saturday is against Hanna in Week 7, and even a loss to the undermanned Miners would not stop the Red Devils from holding tiebreaker victories against every other team that could tie them for the top spot.

Don’t sweat that outcome too much, though. Hulett has scored a six-man best 349 points, averaging 69.8 points per game. The defense has shored up the past two weeks, as they’ve only given up 38 points combined in their two conference games against Kaycee and Guernsey.

Victories against Midwest and Hanna — victories that must be earned, sure, but games in which Hulett will be the favorite — would give Hulett its first outright conference championship since 1999.

Then comes Week 8, when Dubois will meet Hulett halfway in Ten Sleep for the game that will be the biggest threat to Hulett’s regular-season winning streak.

If the Red Devils want to keep their 1994 comparisons going, they’ll have to beat the Rams in a year where six-man’s West Conference teams have all but dominated their East Conference foes. Hulett’s 64-58 Week 1 victory against winless Burlington marks the only time East has topped West this season. Only three such interconference six-man games remain, with Hanna hosting Encampment this week and Guernsey hosting Burlington in Week 7.

Hulett’s first priority, though, is Midwest — and 6-0.

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Some other games to watch in Week 6, at least on paper… because they’re all technically games to watch in the real world:

If Campbell County’s near-miss against Cheyenne East didn’t get your attention, the Camels’ victory against Cheyenne Central last week sure should have. The Camels and their opponents this week, Natrona, are both 3-3. Somehow, having the Camels back in the fold makes 4A fun again. …

The “old” Capital Bowl with Central and East is always interesting. I’m curious to see how the Indians rebound, because if they do, they’ll be 2021 capital city champs. …

Speaking of rivalries, the Fremont County showdown between Riverton and Lander has the makings of, well, a mystery. Riverton’s 0-6, Lander’s 1-4 and lost four in a row, but neither team is a pushover. …

This is your obligatory 3A West mention for the week, with Star Valley’s trip to Cody taking center stage in a conference that deserves all the attention it will get in 2021. …

Despite an upset loss to Burns last week, Wheatland still controls its own destiny in the 2A East. A solid Tongue River team, which is coming to Platte County, will test the Bulldogs’ resiliency. …

In a 1A nine-man East that’s suddenly quite competitive below the top rung, Saratoga’s trip to Yoder to play Southeast is maybe the most interesting game on the Week 6 schedule. Lusk’s trip to Cowley to play Rocky Mountain is, too, but doesn’t mean nearly as much to the postseason chase…

At least one really good team is going to be left out of the 1A six-man playoffs, because only four teams from the West can go. This week’s games — Farson at Dubois, Meeteetse at Snake River — will go a long way in deciding who stays home after Week 8. …

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At this point in the proceedings, I’d like to take some time out for predictions. I’ll bold the teams I think will win this week. The normal-type teams, though, will do well to know that I’m not always right. And I love unpredictability.

Thursday
Class 1A nine-man

Wind River at St. Stephens
Friday
Class 4A

Campbell County at Natrona
Cheyenne Central at Cheyenne East
Cheyenne South at Rock Springs
Kelly Walsh at Sheridan
Thunder Basin at Laramie
Class 3A
Douglas at Rawlins
Green River at Powell
Jackson at Evanston
Riverton at Lander
Star Valley at Cody
Worland at Buffalo
Class 2A
Burns at Upton-Sundance
Glenrock at Big Horn
Kemmerer at Cokeville
Lovell at Pinedale
Lyman at Thermopolis
Mountain View at Big Piney
Newcastle at Torrington
Tongue River at Wheatland
Class 1A nine-man
Greybull at Riverside
Lusk at Rocky Mountain
Moorcroft at Lingle
Pine Bluffs at Wright
Saratoga at Southeast
Wyoming Indian at Shoshoni
Class 1A six-man
Guernsey-Sunrise at Kaycee
Saturday
Class 1A six-man

Encampment at Hanna
Farson at Dubois
Meeteetse at Snake River
Midwest at Hulett
Open: Burlington.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 6” 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: 24-6 (80 percent). This season: 140-32 (81 percent).

+++

Cody, Lyman, Pine Bluffs, Hulett, Snake River. Five undefeated teams left. Which one(s) do you think have what it takes to finish that way? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship

–patrick

Cokeville’s record-setting head football coach, Todd Dayton, will retire at the end of the 2021 season.

No Wyoming high school football coach has won more games, been the head coach for more seasons or won more state championships in the Equality State than Dayton.

Dayton’s retirement was first reported by SVI Media on Facebook.

Dayton was honored during Cokeville’s homecoming game Friday afternoon against Thermopolis. Among the dignitaries were Gov. Mark Gordon, WHSAA Commissioner Ron Laird, state representatives, school board members and Cokeville administrators.

Keith Nate, an assistant coach and fellow Cokeville graduate who joined Dayton for almost his entire coaching career at Cokeville, was also honored. Nate has had multiple sclerosis for many years but has continued coaching and being part of the football program.

The Cokeville football field was renamed Nate-Dayton Field in honor of both coaches.

In remarks to the crowd before the game, Gordon told the crowd the naming of the field was fitting when “you really think about the amount of effort Mr. Nate and Mr. Dayton put in.” Gordon also called Friday “the greatest day for the greatest field in Wyoming.”

A 1970 graduate of Cokeville High School, Dayton taught and coached in Kemmerer for six years as an assistant before taking over the head coaching position at his alma mater in 1980.

Dayton is Wyoming’s all-time leader among high school football coaches in victories, games coached, seasons coached and state championships, among other records. He has led the Panthers since 1980, the 2021 season representing Dayton’s 42nd as the Panthers’ leader.

He helped Cokeville win 20 state championships in his time as head coach, including a state-record six consecutive titles between 1986 and 1991. The Panthers also won four straight titles from 1993-96, three consecutive titles from 2001-03, back-to-back titles in 1983-84, 2010-11 and 2013-14, and a championship in 1998. Ten of his teams went undefeated. The Panthers also won a program-best 26 games in a row from 1987-90, a streak that’s in the top 10 of Wyoming winning streaks.

Entering Week 5 of the 2021 season, Dayton had a career record of 343-69, a winning percentage of .833. His winning percentage is the highest among all Wyoming football coaches with at least 50 victories.

Dayton also coached Cokeville’s boys basketball team for 30 years, with the 2022 season set to be his 31st. He coached the team from 1981-2007 and again from 2019 to 2021, winning titles in 1981, 1990 and 1997.

The coach who’s No. 2 on Wyoming’s all-time football victory list, Natrona’s Steve Harshman, entered Week 5 with 215 victories in Wyoming, 128 fewer than Dayton.

–patrick

Have “Alex Trebek” read this week’s post. Made possible by Uberduck.

For the seniors on Evanston’s football team this year, a 5-0 start should feel familiar.

As freshmen, the Red Devils started their season the exact same way.

To start the 2018 season, Evanston defeated Altamont, Utah; Rawlins; Riverton; Lander and Powell.

Then Evanston played Cody, and it all started crashing down.

The 46-26 loss that the Broncs, then 3-1, handed the Red Devils started a slide from which Evanston could not recover. After that loss to Cody, Evanston went 2-19 over the next two-plus seasons.

The Red Devils lost three of their final four games and exited the 3A playoffs quietly in the quarterfinals. Then came 2019 (0-8) and 2020 (1-8), two seasons that made this year’s success that much sweeter.

“Dizzy” is about the only way to describe the type of turnaround Evanston has had in 2021.

Evanston’s season so far has been a showcase of both good fortune and good play under pressure. The Red Devils’ first four victories came by a combined 14 points; last week’s 27-7 victory against Green River was the Red Devils’ first wire-to-wire dominant victory.

Now, once again, Evanston finds itself where it was three years ago: 5-0, ready to play Cody in an effort to keep the undefeated momentum going.

The only slight difference this time as compared to 2018 is that this year, Cody is also undefeated, bringing a 4-0 record into Friday’s showdown in Uinta County. They are the last two undefeated teams in Class 3A.

Evanston has been here before.

The Red Devils’ challenge is to have the previous sentence be impossible to say at the end of October.

+++

Cody-Evanston is not the only game where two undefeated teams are meeting. The last two undefeated teams in Class 1A nine-man, and the top two ranked, meet in eastern Laramie County when Pine Bluffs hosts Shoshoni. This might be the closest thing we have to a state championship game preview this week. Both have already proven themselves in their respective conference games; this nonconference matchup won’t affect seeding but will definitely affect strategy, mentality and approaches to a potential postseason rematch. …

Four teams in Class 4A are 4-1. Of those four, Sheridan appears to have the toughest task on their hands to move to 5-1 as the Broncs host Natrona. Of course, last year’s four-overtime epic between these teams isn’t far from anyone’s minds, and neither is the fact that the Broncs are coming off a loss for the first time this season. How will they respond? …

Wheatland and Torrington are the last two undefeated teams in the 2A East conference standings, but the Trailblazers in particular pick up a tough challenge this week against Big Horn, winners of two straight and eager spoilers in the East race. …

We knew the 1A six-man West was going to be wild, and so far it has not disappointed. The most intriguing game on the schedule this week is Encampment-Meeteetse. The Longhorns have given up 68 points in each of their last two games and yet still won them both. Can the track meets continue?

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Picks. Bold = teams I think are going to win. Sometimes life really is that simple.

Thursday
Interclass
Rock Springs JV at Snake River
Friday
Class 4A

Campbell County at Cheyenne Central
Cheyenne East at Cheyenne South
Kelly Walsh at Thunder Basin
Natrona at Sheridan
Rock Springs at Laramie
Class 3A
Buffalo at Riverton
Cody at Evanston
Douglas at Lander
Green River at Jackson
Powell at Star Valley
Rawlins at Worland
Class 2A
Big Horn at Torrington
Big Piney at Lovell
Glenrock at Newcastle
Lyman at Kemmerer
Thermopolis at Cokeville
Wheatland at Burns
Class 1A nine-man
Lingle at Saratoga
Riverside at Wind River
Shoshoni at Pine Bluffs
Southeast at Moorcroft
Wright at Lusk
Class 1A six-man
Burlington at Dubois
Encampment at Meeteetse
Hanna at Midwest
Hulett at Guernsey-Sunrise
Kaycee at Farson
Saturday
Class 2A
Pinedale at Mountain View
Upton-Sundance at Tongue River
Class 1A nine-man
Rocky Mountain at Wyoming Indian

St. Stephens and Greybull canceled their game this week.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 5” 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: 28-3 (90 percent). This season: 116-26 (82 percent).

+++

Did you make it this far? I know I did. If you did, too, I know you’re a dedicated fan of this stuff, and I’d love to hear from you and what you think about concession stand popcorn, press box wannabe DJs, and, oh yeah, players and teams that have caught your eye through the first half of the regular season. Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship

–patrick

Three performances have made their way onto the single-game top 10 performances lists on wyoming-football.com, including a new top performance for receiving yards.

The most recent entry comes from earlier in September, when Jackson’s Sadler Smith threw for 429 yards against Pocatello, Idaho. The 429-yard passing game is good enough for third all-time in state history.

Brady Mangus of Glenrock had a five-catch, 281-yard performance against Rawlins in 1998, recent research uncovered, giving him the top spot for receiving yards in a game.

A 236-yard receiving game from Wheatland’s J.C. Trautwein, also from 1998, puts him eighth on the all-time single-game list.

If you know of other games or season totals that should be in their respective top 10, email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com and include in your email any and all possible documentation to verify the record claim.

–patrick

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