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 championshipRevenge 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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

–patrick

Ten Sleep's Bob Wood in 1967
Ten Sleep’s Bob Wood in 1967, from his senior yearbook.

Bob Wood’s initial passion was basketball.

He only went out for track because his coach at Ten Sleep, Joe Daniel, asked him.

He only ran the mile because Daniel made freshmen run the mile; no one else on the team would.

However, by the end of Wood’s high school career in 1967, he was a four-time state champion in the mile; he is believed to be Wyoming’s first four-time event champion in track and field.

Wood’s success at Ten Sleep was just the start of the intertwining of his fate and his future, leading to his career as one of the most influential people in American distance running.

Auspicious start

Before Wood left Wyoming, made international running connections and established himself in high places, he dodged cow patties on a makeshift practice track in Ten Sleep.

In Wood’s first timed mile – a practice run on a marked-off cow pasture near the school – Wood ran the distance in 5 minutes, 15 seconds, “not knowing what I was doing,” he said.

Ten Sleep’s mile record at the time was 5:26.

Later that week, in his first high school meet on an actual track in Morton, Wood ran a 5:06, bettering the school record by 20 seconds.

By the state meet, Wood had continued to improve and was one of the favorites to win the mile in Class C, the 1960s equivalent of Class 1A. But he wasn’t THE favorite, so Wood and Daniel figured a fifth-place finish would be good.

At the midpoint of the race, Wood was in fifth, ready to meet expectations. Then the first-place runner dropped out of the race, puking.

All of a sudden, Wood was in fourth, and the favorite was out.

Expectations flipped, and Wood flipped the field. He started picking off runners one by one and took the lead for good on the last half of the final lap.

Down the final stretch, “I could hear my coach over everyone, saying, ‘You better win it now,'” Wood said. ” … I was just overwhelmed that I had won the thing.”

He wasn’t done winning.

As a sophomore, Wood fought off both a kidney infection and a bad midseason cold and, despite only running the mile once during the regular season, repeated as state champion.

Wood won both the Class B cross country championship and the Class C mile title as a junior, but by then, he started looking for more competition – and found it in Lander’s Nelson Moss. Even though the two ran in different classifications, they were Wyoming’s best distance runners, competing against each other.

Wood’s senior year, 1967, brought both a crowning achievement and a short-lived record.

With no Class C competition to push him, Wood set his own pace in the mile, hoping for a time that would hold up against Moss’s time. Wood finished in 4:29.9, a time that did more than just push his rival. It set an all-class state meet record.

The record lasted about 20 minutes, until the end of the Class AA race, when Moss notched a 4:26.6 to reset the all-class record Wood had just broken.

The newspaper reports the following day were filled with reports of the Wood-Moss mile record trade. No report mentioned that, most likely, Wood had just become Wyoming’s first four-time event champion, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since the state meets started in 1922, and repeated since by only five other male high school athletes in Wyoming.

After Ten Sleep

Wood’s college career at the University of Utah never blossomed the way he hoped it would. He raced behind an all-American as a freshman, limiting his opportunities to be a frontrunner as he had in high school, and then took a two-year Mormon mission to Scotland.

After he returned, he fought injuries, and his motivation waned.

“I came back, but I never really had the fire,” Wood said.

Nevertheless, once his collegiate career was over, he found ways to stay involved in track and field. He was an assistant coach at Utah and also coached at the high school level in Utah. But when he was passed over to be Utah’s head track coach, Wood left coaching.

His next career move, though, kept him in track and field circles for years to come.

It all started with a conversation with distance runner Paul Cummings. Cummings was the NCAA champion in the mile while at BYU and was entering the world of professional running.

He needed an agent.

He told Wood: “You’re the only guy I trust.”

Wood hesitated but finally relented. He became Cummings’ agent. From there, Wood’s reputation, and his influence, in distance running grew. And grew. And grew.

Over his career, Wood represented hundreds of runners, including 54 Olympians from 22 different countries, although he eventually specialized in working with American runners. He used that influence to become an active part of USA Track and Field, serving as the head of long distance running and on the national executive committee from 1992 to 1997.

Wood remains proud that he ran his agency as a solo operation for four decades – no assistants, no partners – and represented some of the world’s best runners.

“They hire me because they want me, and that’s why I did what I did the way I did it,” Wood said.

Today, Wood is mostly retired but still represents a handful of runners with whom he has built close relationships.

More than his career, though, he’s proud of his family. He and his wife Kay have been married for more than 40 years, building their lives in the Salt Lake City area. He has three sons. Samuel, Seth and Isaac have molded their own careers, Samuel and Isaac around track and field, Seth with linguistics.

Wood had eased into a steady retirement rhythm until March 17, less than a month ago.

That’s when Wood had the first colonoscopy of his life.

The procedure led doctors to find a growth the size of a tangerine.

On March 30, Wood underwent surgery. Wood says the doctors “got it all,” and now he’s back home, with no further complications or necessary treatments in the foreseeable future.

When recalling his life, from his family to his track accomplishments to his career to his health, he often uses the same word: “Blessed.”

“I can’t complain, for a kid from Ten Sleep,” he said.

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Coming Friday: Bob Wood’s place in Wyoming track and field history is set, but others’ accomplishments have been lost to time. You can help fix that.

–patrick

I haven’t done a bar chart race in a while… so here you go. This chart covers total points scored, starting in 1921 (but including totals from prior to that season) up to 2020.

How does your favorite team fare?

Remember, using the bar at the bottom of the chart, you can pause, play or drag the slider to your favorite year. Or click here to see it larger.

If you like these kinds of posts, let me know — I’m open to ideas for what you’d like to see next!

–patrick

In today’s ridiculous government dysfunction that just might be nuts enough to be believable, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said on Feb. 1 he’d welcome Weld County, Colorado, to join Wyoming if the county wanted to secede from its Centennial State neighbors.

Weld County, in case you aren’t aware, is the county most Wyomingites dip to the west to avoid when going to Denver — only to re-enter just north of the city. Think Greeley.

The reasons this will likely never happen are easy to find and difficult to refute.

But let’s dream — the 325,000 residents or so of Weld County say yes; the Colorado and Wyoming legislatures say yes; and the U.S. Congress says yes.

All of a sudden, Wyoming just got quite a bit bigger, in population and in acreage.

Bigger, as well, would be Wyoming’s high school sports.

By my count, Weld County has 20 high schools that either have or recently have fielded athletic programs. By enrollment, they are:

Windsor: 1,588
Greeley West: 1,567
Greeley Central: 1,545
Erie: 1,341
Northridge (Greeley): 1,137
Mead (east Longmont): 1,124
Frederick: 1,076
Roosevelt (Johnstown): 1,055
Fort Lupton: 662
Weld Central (Keenesburg): 641
University (Greeley): 605
Valley (Gilcrest): 573
Eaton: 557
Platte Valley (Kersey): 351
Highland (Ault): 285
Union Colony Prep (Greeley): 209
Dayspring Christian (Greeley): 88
Briggsdale: 60
Prairie (Raymer): 53
Pawnee (Grover): 15

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If we put those 20 schools into the ADMs for Wyoming schools, we see the Weld County influence immediately — three of Wyoming’s six largest schools would be in Weld County.

1. Kelly Walsh, 1,996.72
2. Natrona, 1,943.63
3. Rock Springs, 1,642.46
4. Windsor, 1,588
5. Greeley West, 1,567
6. Greeley Central, 1,545
7. Cheyenne East, 1,513.53
8. Cheyenne South, 1,492.05
9. Cheyenne Central, 1,410.04
10. Erie, 1,341
11. Campbell County, 1,289.55
12. Thunder Basin, 1,238.04
13. Laramie, 1,159.28
14. Northridge (Greeley), 1,137
15. Mead (east Longmont), 1,124

16. Sheridan, 1,093.16
17. Frederick, 1,076
18. Roosevelt (Johnstown), 1,055
19. Jackson, 869.91
20. Evanston, 846.25
21. Star Valley, 816.05
22. Green River, 764.81
23. Riverton, 748.15
24. Fort Lupton, 662
25. Weld Central (Keenesburg), 641
26. Cody, 619.23
27. University (Greeley), 605
28. Powell, 586.88
29. Valley (Gilcrest), 573
30. Lander, 559.10
31. Eaton, 557
32. Douglas, 543.84
33. Rawlins, 473.09
34. Worland, 442.94
35. Buffalo, 356.91
36. Torrington, 352.13
37. Platte Valley (Kersey), 351
38. Pinedale, 341.15
39. Highland (Ault), 285
40. Wheatland, 282.30
41. Mountain View, 275.54
42. Newcastle, 262.35
43. Lyman, 237.37
44. Burns, 229.00
45. Lovell, 226.03
46. Thermopolis, 213.29
47. Union Colony Prep (Greeley), 209*
48. Kemmerer, 188.70
49. Moorcroft, 188.08
50. Glenrock, 182.35
51. Tongue River, 174.00
52. Big Piney, 160.72
53. Greybull, 147.59
54. Wyoming Indian, 146.95
55. Rocky Mountain, 129.86
56. Big Horn, 127.86
57. Wind River, 127.01
58. Wright, 126.78
59. Sundance, 123.11
60. Shoshoni, 122.63
61. Pine Bluffs, 112.46
62. Lusk, 90.67
63. Dayspring Christian (Greeley), 88
64. Riverside, 87.27
65. St. Stephens, 82.74
66. Saratoga, 82.62
67. Lingle, 78.54
68. Cokeville, 77.41
69. Southeast, 76.77
70. Burlington, 76.41
71. Guernsey-Sunrise, 69.39
72. Upton, 66.68
73. Normative Services, 65.00 (closing in March)
74. Hanna, 62.87
75. Midwest, 61.00
76. Briggsdale, 60
77. Farson, 57.90
78. Hulett, 56.57
79. Prairie (Raymer), 53
80. Kaycee, 52.82
81. Snake River, 51.40
82. Fort Washakie, 49.93**
83. Encampment, 43.44
84. Dubois, 42.79
85. Arapaho Charter, 40.01**
86. Meeteetse, 34.50
87. Arvada-Clearmont, 31.06*
88. Ten Sleep, 31.04
89. Rock River, 27.67*
90. Glendo, 16.42**
91. Pawnee (Grover), 15**
92. Chugwater, 7.65**
*-no football; **-no football or basketball

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If we wanted to do some quick rearranging of Wyoming’s five football classifications, with breaks roughly occurring where they do now in terms of enrollment, we’d end up with some pretty interesting looking potential conference alignments:

Class 4A (18)
4A North (5)
: Campbell County, Thunder Basin, Sheridan, Kelly Walsh, Natrona.
4A Central (5): Rock Springs, Laramie, Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne East, Cheyenne South.
4A South (4): Windsor, Greeley West, Greeley Central, Northridge.
4A Metro (4): Erie, Mead, Frederick, Roosevelt.

(Of note: Roosevelt was Colorado’s Class 3A football runner-up last year.)

Class 3A (16)
Class 3A West (8): Jackson, Evanston, Star Valley, Green River, Cody, Powell, Lander, Worland.
Class 3A East (8): Riverton, Fort Lupton, Weld Central, University, Valley, Eaton, Douglas, Rawlins.

(Speaking of success: Eaton was Colorado’s Class 2A champion in 2020.)

Class 2A (19)
2A West (6)
: Pinedale, Mountain View, Lyman, Kemmerer, Big Piney, Cokeville.
2A North (7): Buffalo, Newcastle, Lovell, Thermopolis, Tongue River, Big Horn, Upton-Sundance.
2A South (6): Torrington, Platte Valley, Highland, Wheatland, Glenrock, Burns.

(Like four conferences? Geographic feasibility is a problem. See a “southwest” of Mountain View, Lyman, Kemmerer and Cokeville, a “northwest” of Pinedale, Big Piney, Glenrock, Lovell and Thermopolis, a “northeast” of Buffalo, Newcastle, Tongue River, Big Horn and Upton-Sundance and a “southeast” of Torrington, Platte Valley, Highland, Wheatland and Burns. That “northwest” conference looks awful.)

Class 1A nine-man (14)
1A nine-man West:
Greybull, Wyoming Indian, Rocky Mountain, Wind River, Shoshoni, Riverside, St. Stephens.
1A nine-man East: Wright, Pine Bluffs, Lusk, Dayspring Christian, Saratoga, Lingle, Southeast.

(In Colorado, Dayspring Christian plays eight-man, but I think a move to nine-man would work.)

Class 1A six-man (14)
1A six-man West: Burlington, Farson, Snake River, Encampment, Dubois, Meeteetse, Ten Sleep.
1A six-man East: Guernsey-Sunrise, Hanna, Midwest, Briggsdale, Hulett, Prairie, Kaycee.

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For basketball and other four-class sports, we’ll shoot for classifications of reasonable size with natural enrollment breaks driving splits as much as possible:

Class 4A (23)
Northeast (5)
: Kelly Walsh, Natrona, Campbell County, Thunder Basin, Sheridan.
Southwest (6): Rock Springs, Jackson, Evanston, Star Valley, Green River, Riverton.
South Central (6): Cheyenne East, Cheyenne South, Cheyenne Central, Laramie, Windsor, Roosevelt.
Southeast (6): Greeley West, Greeley Central, Erie, Northridge, Mead, Frederick.

Class 3A (24)
North (7)
: Cody, Powell, Worland, Buffalo, Newcastle, Lovell, Thermopolis.
Southwest (5): Lander, Rawlins, Pinedale, Mountain View, Lyman.
South Central (6): Eaton, Douglas, Torrington, Highland, Wheatland, Burns.
Southeast (6): Fort Lupton, Weld Central, University, Valley, Platte Valley, Union Colony.

Class 2A (19)
Northeast (5)
: Moorcroft, Tongue River, Big Horn, Wright, Sundance.
Northwest (5): Greybull, Rocky Mountain, Shoshoni, Riverside, St. Stephens.
Southeast (5): Glenrock, Pine Bluffs, Lusk, Dayspring Christian, Saratoga.
Southwest (4): Kemmerer, Big Piney, Wyoming Indian, Wind River.

Class 1A (20)
Northeast (5): Upton, Midwest, Hulett, Kaycee, Arvada-Clearmont.
Northwest (4): Burlington, Dubois, Meeteetse, Ten Sleep.
Southeast (6): Lingle, Southeast, Guernsey-Sunrise, Briggsdale, Prairie, Rock River.
Southwest (5): Cokeville, Hanna, Farson, Snake River, Encampment.

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Just like Absaroka, or solar roadways, or good-old-fashioned migration, demographic change and reclassification go hand-in-hand.

A Weld County, Wyoming, would bring rampant change to Wyoming high school sports — likely the smallest of a world of changes such an unlikely, but fascinating, move would bring.

–patrick

“A Century of Fridays,” the definitive book on Wyoming high school football covering from 1894 to 2020, is now available for purchase from the publisher’s website.

Between 1894 and 2020, 103 Wyoming high school football programs have played more than 25,000 football games. The results of those games are all recorded in “A Century of Fridays,” together.

Follow along as we track the evolution of high school football, decade by decade, as it evolved from a confusing novelty to a staple of autumn Fridays in communities statewide.

This book also includes:

  • All-state teams dating back to 1920
  • Single-game and single-season individual records
  • Shrine Bowl history
  • Series records
  • Annual standings
  • Stadiums
  • Postseason records
  • Coaches for every school and season
  • Coaching records
  • And more!

It’s 589 pages, so you’re definitely getting your money’s worth. If you like what you see at wyoming-football.com and want to support what I do, purchasing “A Century of Fridays: Wyoming High School Football, 1894-2020” is a great way to do just that. All profit goes back into the site to make it better, deeper and more thorough.

–patrick

"The Eagles of Heart Mountain" book cover.

As I read “The Eagles of Heart Mountain,” one word kept circling through my brain — resilience.

Bradford Pearson’s book about the football teams from the Heart Mountain internment camp in northwestern Wyoming helps show the resilience of people who had everything stripped away from them except one another.

In Wyoming, we often get half the story about Japanese American internment at Heart Mountain. We hear the “during” of the story — how Japanese Americans from the West Coast came to Wyoming by force, how they persevered throughout their imprisonment, how they found their way in a shameful period of American choices.

“The Eagles of Heart Mountain,” though, shows a more complete picture of the breakdown of societal norms that allowed for more than 100,000 American citizens to be imprisoned by their own government due to their “blood.” It shows the development and richness of Japanese American culture in California prior to World War II; it shows the sacrifices they made to uphold both their American citizenship and their dignity and the lengths they had to go to show their loyalty to a country that deemed their very presence a threat to national security; and it shows the perseverance of those who had every reason to do the opposite. For Wyoming readers, the book will fill in “before” and “after” for many who may have only heard the “during.”

The resilience shows up at a variety of places in the book: a racetrack in suburban Los Angeles, a courtroom in Cheyenne, railroad tracks in eastern Washington, a prison in Kansas. Each could make an amazing book on their own.

However, the driver of the narrative of the book is the resilience shown by a group of Heart Mountain teenagers on a dusty football field in Park County. Football was just one vehicle for the resilience demonstrated time and again by Japanese Americans — and the Eagles had plenty of it.

The book introduces many people throughout its 301 pages. Wyoming residents will appreciate the references to Johnny Winterholler, Carl Dir, Charles Roberts, LeRoy Pearce, Joe Schwartz and others who dotted Wyoming’s athletics pantheon before and during World War II.

But that group is incomplete without the stories of Tamotsu “Babe” Nomura, George “Horse” Yoshinaga, and the rest of the Eagles from Heart Mountain. Their story — their “before” and “after,” not just their “during” — is worth your attention. And the dramatic retelling of the Eagles’ biggest, and final, game against Natrona will remind readers of “Friday Night Lights.” The difference, though, is that in “The Eagles of Heart Mountain,” the stakes go well beyond those of a state championship.

Pearson’s research shines at every step, giving readers both a complete picture of the big-picture hypocrisy that led to the imprisonment of American citizens and the personal choices made by politicians, civic leaders, business owners, coaches, lawyers and, most importantly, the Japanese Americans who had their lives changed forever.

Order “The Eagles of Heart Mountain” here. List price $28.

Note: This review is unsolicited.

–patrick

Seven Wyoming high school football champs had weird spikes of success — going from losing record to state championship back to losing record over the span of three years.

The most recent such team was Guernsey-Sunrise’s 2009 team. The year before its title, the Vikings went 2-6; after moving to six-man in 2009, they went 9-0 and won the state’s first six-man championship in more than 60 years. Then, in 2010, the Vikings went 1-8.

The Vikings’ unexpected title was the third time that happened in three consecutive years. The same thing happened to Burns in 2008 (4-5, to 11-0, to 3-5) and to Jackson in 2007 (4-5, to 11-0, to 2-6).

But it hasn’t happened since 2009, and it rarely happened prior to 2007.

Prior to that, four other teams — Midwest in 1991, Green River in 1976, Natrona in 1957 and Cheyenne Central in 1941 — won state championships in between two losing seasons.

Midwest’s 1991 10-1 season was sandwiched between seasons of 4-5 and 0-8. Green River won the 1976 Class A title in between years of 2-7 and 1-8.

Natrona, meanwhile, won the 1957 championship with a 6-1-1 record in between identical 2-6-1 seasons.

Central’s 1941 team was the first to accomplish the feat, going 7-1-1 to win it all in 1941 despite going 4-5 the year before and 3-4 the year after.

For the 33 Wyoming teams who had losing records in 2020, hope is out there — for both winning a championship and avoiding a place on this short list by making winning a habit, not a flare-up.

–patrick

If you follow wyoming-football.com on its social media accounts — Facebook and Twitter — you’ve noticed me asking for your nominations for who you think would HAVE to be included on a list of Wyoming’s 100 best high school football players of all-time.

The #wyo100 (new unofficial hashtag) will highlight Wyoming’s 100 best high school football players ever, in line with what will roughly be the state’s 100th year of high school football. There’s still time for nominations — just reply here!

My research for this led me to compile a list of four-time, three-time and two-time all-state selections. The raw numbers for first-team picks:

  • Four-time selections: 3
  • Three-time selections: 112
  • Two-time selections: 1,095
  • Total first-team selections: 7,623

The math behind this? More than 99.4% of total all-state selections aren’t going to make the #wyo100. Even those two-time selections have barely a 9% chance of making it.

But I don’t want to just put a whole bunch of three-timers on the list and call it good. I REALLY want y’all’s insight. So leave your thoughts below about which player (or players) HAS to be on this list. And thanks a TON to those of you who have already chimed in with your nominations. Thanks!

–patrick

Pine Bluffs’ 42-point loss to Shoshoni in the first round of the Class 1A nine-man playoffs was not the way the Hornets wanted to end their season.

However, the loss — and specifically, the margin by which Pine Bluffs lost — puts the team in unique company.

For the 2020 season, the Hornets scored 258 points; they also gave up 258.

This statistical anomaly has only happened 28 times in Wyoming high school football history (to teams with a minimum of four games played in a season). It’s an anomaly nobody tries for and nobody plans for, which is what makes it so interesting to me.

It last happened in 2013, to Riverton. And, oddly enough, it’s happened twice to Pine Bluffs, which also had an even tally for the season occur in 2002.

Mathematical instinct tells us an even tally should mean an average record. This season, Pine Bluffs finished 5-4, one of just seven teams to finish with a winning record in this scenario. Green River also did so in 2009 at 6-4, but the Wolves were the first team to put up a winning record with an even season score since Deaver-Frannie went 5-3 in 1967. Of the remaining teams, 15 finished with losing records, while six finished exactly at the .500 mark.

The best team to finish with an even scoring tally was probably Laramie’s 1954 team, which shared a state championship with Cheyenne Central despite allowing and scoring 147 points during a 6-3 season.

Pine Bluffs is one of five programs to have hit the even tally twice, joining Douglas (1930 and 1940), Gillette (1936 and 2007), Powell (1962 and 1977) and Star Valley (1938 and 1956).

Only three times has it happened in the same season to two different teams: in 1938 (Lingle and Star Valley), 1967 (Deaver-Frannie and Evanston) and 2002 (Dubois and Pine Bluffs). Although the season isn’t officially over, it’s probably pretty safe to say the Hornets will be the only team to accomplish this feat in 2020.

Here’s the full list of teams who have scored exactly as many points as they allowed in a season (minimum four games played):

Douglas 1930 (3-3): 65 points
Cowley 1931 (3-4): 78 points
Gillette 1936 (4-2): 85 points
Lingle 1938 (3-3-1): 83 points
Star Valley 1938 (2-2-1): 45 points
Douglas 1940 (5-2): 63 points
Upton 1947 (2-3-1): 40 points
Sheridan 1951 (2-3-1): 98 points
Laramie 1954 (6-3, state champs): 147 points
Star Valley 1956 (3-3-1): 145 points
Natrona 1959 (3-4-2): 116 points
Powell 1962 (5-4): 137 points
Shoshoni 1963 (3-3-1): 64 points
Deaver-Frannie 1967 (5-3): 187 points
Evanston 1967 (4-6): 177 points
Powell 1977 (4-5): 119 points
Lyman 1980 (3-5): 113 points
Burlington 1987 (3-5): 152 points
Pinedale 1989 (3-5): 141 points
Moorcroft 1992 (3-5): 120 points
Big Horn 1993 (3-5): 202 points
Dubois 2002 (4-5): 233 points
Pine Bluffs 2002 (4-5): 176 points
Gillette 2007 (5-6): 233 points
Green River 2009 (6-4): 281 points
Hulett 2012 (3-6): 320 points
Riverton 2013 (5-5): 270 points
Pine Bluffs 2020 (5-4): 258 points

–patrick

With myriad playoff seeding possibilities still waiting to be played out, here’s a quick glance at what’s come together so far, and what’s possible for the teams chasing those postseason spots:

Class 4A
In: Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne East, Thunder Basin, Natrona, Rock Springs, Sheridan.
Neither in nor out: Kelly Walsh, Campbell County, Laramie, Cheyenne South.
Out: None.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Quite simply: nope.
Break it down for me: East, Central and Thunder Basin are at the top at 6-1; Natrona, Rock Springs and Sheridan are tied at 4-3. After that, Kelly Walsh (3-4) is in best position to secure a playoff spot; South will be out if they lose this week.

Class 3A East
In: No one.
Neither in nor out: Everyone.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Yes; if Douglas beats Buffalo and Riverton beats Worland, then Douglas will be the top seed.
Break it down for me: Douglas controls its destiny, and Lander and Worland are right behind and will fight it out for the No. 2 seed. Riverton and Buffalo are scrambling for the fourth seed, while Rawlins needs a victory in the worst way to keep pace.

Class 3A West
In: Jackson.
Neither in nor out: Cody, Powell, Green River, Star Valley, Evanston.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Yes; if Jackson beat Powell and Green River beats Cody, Jackson will be the top seed.
Break it down for me: After Jackson, it’s a fight for the final three seeds, with Cody and Powell (2-1) having the inside track and Green River and Star Valley (1-2) scrapping for a spot, too. The Week 8 game between Green River and Star Valley looms large.

Class 2A East
In: No one, technically.
Neither in nor out: Wheatland, Upton-Sundance, Torrington, Big Horn, Glenrock.
Out: Burns, Tongue River, Newcastle.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Pffft… no.
Break it down for me: Wheatland, Upton-Sundance, Torrington and Big Horn, all 4-1 in conference, are all but guaranteed the East’s four spots; the question now is order. Glenrock needs to win both of its remaining games, including on Friday against Upton-Sundance, and hope for some tiebreaker magic to break up that four-team mishmash at the top.

Class 2A West
In: Mountain View.
Neither in nor out: Lyman, Big Piney, Cokeville, Lovell.
Out: Thermopolis, Pinedale, Kemmerer.
Can the top seed be decided this week? Potentially. A Mountain View victory against Thermopolis paired with a Lyman loss to Pinedale would give Mountain View the top spot.
Break it down for me: Mountain View is in the catbird’s seat, with Lyman next up with just one loss. Big Piney, Cokeville and Lovell all have 3-2 records in conference play. That’s a problem because there’s only four playoff spots…. One of these four will be out of it.

Class 1A nine-man East
In: Lusk, Southeast.
Neither in nor out: Pine Bluffs, Saratoga, Wright, Lingle.
Out: No one.
Ineligible: Moorcroft.
Can the top seed be decided this week? It WILL be, as the winner of Lusk vs. Southeast this week will be the conference’s top seed in the playoffs.
Break it down for me: Lusk and Southeast will be the top two seeds; after that, though, it’s a mess. Pine Bluffs is in the best spot for the postseason. Saratoga, Wright and Lingle are all at one conference victory and two of them (Saratoga and Wright) play this week.

Class 1A nine-man West
In: Rocky Mountain.
Neither in nor out: Shoshoni, Riverside, Wind River, Greybull.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? It was already decided; Rocky Mountain had the top seed wrapped up after Week 5.
Break it down for me: This one got weird quick, as all four teams beneath Rocky Mountain have one conference victory apiece. The kicker is that Shoshoni is the only team in the group to have two conference games remaining; everyone else only has one. Get your tiebreakers ready.

Class 1A six-man East
In: Kaycee.
Neither in nor out: Hulett, Hanna, NSI, Guernsey, Midwest.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? It’s possible; if Kaycee beats Midwest and Hulett beats Hanna, then Kaycee will earn the top seed.
Break it down for me: Kaycee is in the best spot, and Hulett and Hanna (who play each other next week) are also in good shape. The winner between NSI and Guernsey is in line for a spot, too. Midwest has the toughest road to the postseason and needs victories and help.

Class 1A six-man West
In: Meeteetse, Farson.
Neither in nor out: Snake River, Encampment, Dubois, Burlington, Ten Sleep.
Out: No one.
Can the top seed be decided this week? It can’t help but be, as the Farson-Meeteetse winner this week will be the top seed in the playoffs.
Break it down for me: Farson and Meeteetse are 1-2 in some order, and everyone else is fighting for the final two spots. Encampment and Snake River are in the best positions with two conference victories each, while Dubois and Burlington (one conference W each) and Ten Sleep (zero) need victories and help to make it to the postseason.

–patrick

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