The past 10 years have provided us with 3,095 Wyoming high school football games.
Some were great. Some weren’t. This post is about the former — specifically, the best 20 games of the past 10 years.
Of course, “best” is subjective. These are the games I remember best over the past 10 years, for whatever reason. I definitely gave preference to high-stakes games, which is why you’ll see a lot of playoff games on this list. I also prefer close games, which is why you’ll see no game decided by more than one possession on this list. I also prefer games where exciting things happen late, which is why you’ll see a lot of games decided by fourth-quarter or OT scores here, too.
You’re welcome to disagree; the comments area on this post is ready for your thoughts, too!
From my list of 20, I chose one to be the “game of the decade.” See the end of the post for that choice. Meanwhile, here are my top 20 Wyoming high school football games for 2011-20, presented chronologically:
Cheyenne East 28, Evanston 27, OT, 2011 4A quarterfinals — Jeremy Woods has three TDs, including the game winner on fourth-and-1, as East rallies from down 14 at half.
Powell 23, Green River 21, 2011 3A semifinals — The Panthers score 20 points in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning 45-yard TD with 12 seconds left.
Powell 15, Douglas 14, 2011 3A championship — Powell’s Olie Olson intercepts Douglas’ 2-point conversion attempt with 15 seconds remaining to end Bearcats’ bid at a four-peat.
Green River 32, Douglas 25, 2012 3A quarterfinals — Blaine Christensen’s TD catch with 1:09 to go puts a cap on a thrilling playoff game.
Southeast 16, Cokeville 8, 2012 1A 11-man semifinals — The Cyclones’ hopes for a title are saved by a big tackle on final play.
Lyman 22, Lovell 20, 2012 2A championship — Revenge for Eagles is sweet as they beat the Bulldogs in a title-game rematch from the previous year.
Midwest 64, Dubois 62, 2013 1A-6 semifinal — The Oilers score 20 points in the final 2:08, and two TDs in the final 39 seconds, to rally past the defending state champions.
Powell 19, Douglas 13, OT, 2013 3A championship — In this 3A title game, it came down to the QBs near the goal line; one sneak didn’t work, the other did.
Cokeville 13, Lusk 12, 2013 1A-11 championship — Cokeville’s defense comes up big twice late in the fourth quarter, ending two separate Tiger drives on fourth down.
Cheyenne East 14, Natrona 13, 2013 4A championship — Natrona’s fourth one-point loss of 2013 is determined by the uprights; a missed field goal for NC would’ve been good on high school posts.
Sheridan 38, Gillette 31, 2015 4A championship — A high-scoring 4A shootout ends Gillette’s bid for an undefeated season.
Newcastle 31, Mountain View 28, 2OT, 2016 2A quarterfinal — Despite a big rally from the Buffalos, the Dogies pull off a huge first-round upset.
Pine Bluffs 19, Upton-Sundance 13, 2016 1A-11 semifinal — The Hornets upset the Patriots, a team that beat them 39-0 in the regular season, on the road, ending U-S’s perfect season while en route to their first state title.
Mountain View 35, Glenrock 28, 2017 2A championship — In a huge rally, Mountain View comes back from down 28-14 and scores the winning TD with 7 seconds left.
Pine Bluffs 20, Big Horn 16, 2017 1A-11 championship — In two words: the flip. Pine’s late TD clinches the Hornets’ second consecutive title.
Cody 29, Douglas 26, 2018 3A quarterfinals — Cody scores 21 unanswered in the fourth quarter to win a road playoff game in the opening round.
Torrington 22, Jackson 21, 2018 3A semifinals — Don’t let the controversial final minute distract you from the first 47 minutes, a thriller all the way.
Thunder Basin 19, Natrona 14, 2020 4A quarterfinal — The Bolts’ rally from down 14-0 at halftime was pretty epic; Natrona fans might still be upset about one missed call.
Mountain View 34, Wheatland 30, 2020 2A quarterfinal — Ashton Schofield’s 60-yard fourth-quarter TD helps Buffs survive a back-and-forth affair.
Farson 42, Encampment 41, 2020 1A-6 semifinal — The Pronghorns’ undefeated season almost came to an abrupt stop against the Tigers; Farson didn’t lead until the fourth quarter.
Honorable mentions: Lovell 23, Newcastle 20, 2011 2A semifinals; Meeteetse 50, Guernsey-Sunrise 48, 2012 1A-6 quarterfinals; Lovell 29, Big Horn 28, 2012 2A semifinals; Thermopolis 20, Burns 12, 2013 2A quarterfinals; Cheyenne East 28, Sheridan 27, 2013 4A semifinal; Riverton 41, Rawlins 37, 2014 regular season; Gillette 34, Cheyenne East 31, 2OT, 2014 4A semifinal; Star Valley 16, Green River 15, 2015 regular season; Greybull 27, Big Horn 25, 2015 2A quarterfinal; Tongue River 28, Cokeville 21, 2015 1A-11 quarterfinal; Glenrock 13, Lovell 10, OT, 2015 2A semifinal; Big Horn 20, Pinedale 14, OT, 2016 2A quarterfinal; Natrona 30, Gillette 28, 2016 4A semifinal; Pine Bluffs 10, Tongue River 7, 2016 1A-11 championship; Glenrock 30, Big Piney 27, 2017 2A semifinal; Kaycee 47, Burlington 38, 2017 1A-6 semifinal; Star Valley 20, Cody 16, 2018 regular season; Natrona 21, Cheyenne East 14, 2018 4A semifinals; Cheyenne South 36, Laramie 35, 2019 regular season; Thunder Basin 24, Gillette 20, 2019 4A quarterfinals; Cokeville 20, Wright 16, 2019 1A-11 QF; Powell 20, Cody 13, 2019 3A semifinal; Cheyenne Central 20, Sheridan 17, 2020 regular season; Natrona 38, Sheridan 31, 4OT, 2020 regular season; Douglas 16, Star Valley 14, 2020 3A quarterfinal; Rocky Mountain 44, Saratoga 40, 2020 1A-9 quarterfinal.
After looking over this list, I made a personal, subjective call for game of the decade. It’s the game that had me the most excited, most engaged, most curious, most frustrated I couldn’t be there in person to watch it all.
If you follow my work closely, you might already know what’s coming. I chose Midwest’s 64-62 come-from-WAY-behind victory against Dubois in 2013 as my Wyoming high school football game of the decade.
Yes, I’m an alumnus of Midwest. Yes, that probably influenced my choice. But objectively, this game had it all. A playoff game, a big comeback, an improbable set of circumstances, a long championship-game drought broken — they all coalesced into one of the most thrilling comebacks of this, or any, decade of Wyoming high school football.
I remember listening to the live audio stream of the game. I was stunned. I was exhilarated. I was surprised. And when Midwest took the lead for the final time, and then held on to win, I was proud, proud of my hometown team for reaching the championship game, something it hadn’t done in more than two decades (and hasn’t done since).
If you’re feeling nostalgic, I did the same thing on this blog 10 years ago for the years 2001-2010. Here’s the same list, but for the 2000s.
So what’s your game of the decade? Leave a comment. I’d love to know what game from the last 10 years stands out in your memory bank as the one to top them all.