Fall is football time — and what better way to enjoy the season by attending as many games as possible?

That’s what this blog post intends to do: map out the most efficient possible way to see as many, and some of the best, Wyoming high school football games in the 2021 season.

When I’ve done this the past couple years (see 2020 and 2019‘s dream trips), I’ve always struggled to decide which Friday night game should get top billing. Sometimes I choose a game that I know I wouldn’t want to miss. Sometimes I choose a game because it’s near an afternoon game and I can catch two games instead of one. Sometimes I throw a dart at a map and see what fate wants for me.

With significant help from the 2021 schedule, here’s my dream trip, existing only in a world where I had every Friday and Saturday off and plenty of money for gas, grub and hotels:

Week 0
Friday, Aug. 27
: Natrona sophs at Glenrock, noon; Thunder Basin at Cheyenne East, 6 p.m.

A host of scrimmages and other Zero Week shenanigans dot the schedule, so I decided a short trip down I-25 would work best. The chance to see the rematch of last year’s 4A title game is too much to pass up.

Week 1
Thursday, Sept. 2
: Pine Bluffs at Riverside, 2 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 3: Hulett at Burlington, 2 p.m.; Worland at Powell, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 4: Hanna at Snake River, 2 p.m.

The Northwest corner has some really intriguing games, and I could catch three of them by hitting Basin, Burlington and Powell. It’s a long morning drive to Baggs to catch the Carbon County rivals go at it, but worth it.

Week 2
Friday, Sept. 10
: Cokeville at Lyman, 11 a.m.; Lovell at Mountain View, 4 p.m.; Kelly Walsh at Rock Springs, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 11: Burlington at Farson, 1 p.m.

The schedule allows for a rare triple-header attempt in the Southwest, with two 2A West games in the Bridger Valley the essential viewing on this trip (and maybe the second half of Trojans-Tigers?). A six-man game on Saturday is a great capper to a week that will set the pace in a competitive 2A West for the rest of the season.

Week 3
Friday, Sept. 17
: Lander at Evanston, 3 p.m.; Worland at Green River, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 18: Dubois at Meeteetse, noon.

Week 3’s schedule has great games all over it, but the Evanston-Green River 3A double-dip offered the most bang for the buck. From there, it’s a long but doable drive to catch the Rams and Longhorns in an intriguing six-man matchup.

Week 4
Thursday, Sept. 23
: Riverside at Wyoming Indian, 5 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 24: Burns at Big Horn, 2 p.m.; Rawlins at Buffalo, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 25: Kaycee at Hulett, 1 p.m.

I was destined to head northeast this week, as Burns-Big Horn is the only non-six-man afternoon game. But, hey — three games, plus a bonus trip to Ethete, is all good.

Week 5
Friday, Oct. 1
: Shoshoni at Pine Bluffs, 2 p.m.; Wheatland at Burns, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 2: Pinedale at Mountain View, 1 p.m.

Laramie County gets some love this week as the best two-for-one option is down in the southeast corner. A little bonus 2A ball on Saturday (and a long drive) makes for a good weekend.

Week 6
Thursday, Oct. 7
: Wind River at St. Stephens, 4 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 8: Guernsey at Kaycee, 2 p.m.; Campbell County at Natrona, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 9: Encampment at Hanna, 2 p.m.

It’s a hodgepodge of games for Week 6, mostly based on convenient times and geography. But all four games are intriguing in their own ways, and that’ll make it fun.

Week 7
Friday, Oct. 15
: Southeast at Lusk, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 16: Burlington at Guernsey, 1 p.m.

After last year, you’d have to be out of your mind to think I’d miss a game between Southeast and Lusk. I could have watched more games with a different schedule, but this was worth it — plus some six-man bonus ball on Saturday.

Week 8
Thursday, Oct. 21
: St. Stephens at Rocky Mountain, 5:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 22: Pinedale at Thermopolis, 3 p.m.; Jackson at Cody, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 23: Dubois vs. Hulett, at Ten Sleep, TBD.

Again: If you think I’d miss Jackson-Cody, you’ve got another think coming… I might have to leave Thermopolis a bit early to catch it all, though. Add in a couple six-man games and a nine-man, and it makes for a full week.

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I’d catch 44 of Wyoming’s 63 teams on this trip — six of the 10 4A teams, nine of 12 in 3A, 10 of 16 in 2A, nine of 14 in 1A nine-man and 10 of 11 in 1A six-man. I’d see Worland, Burns, Mountain View, Pine Bluffs, Riverside, St. Stephens, Dubois, Guernsey, Hanna and Kaycee twice; I’d see Burlington and Hulett three times. And I’d be broke, tired and totally happy.

–patrick

After several months of preparation and research, I’m proud to announce the newest website to highlight Wyoming’s high school sports history.

Say hi to champlists.com.

The site is exactly what it says — lists of champions for Wyoming’s sanctioned high school sports. But it’s much more than that.

Each sport has its own special area: alpine skiing, cross country, golf, gymnastics, indoor track, Nordic skiing, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball and wrestling. While each sport has individual and team champions, several sports have more than that. For example, soccer and volleyball have all-state team listings and state championship history broken down by school; volleyball has listings for championship coaches; and other sports have listings unique to them.

In short, I’m bringing the wyoming-football.com and wyoming-basketball.com treatment to other high school sports in the Equality State. Although the research for other sports is not as deep or intricate as the research for football and basketball, champlists.com does help fill a gap in Wyoming’s high school sports history.

While the Wyoming High School Activities Association’s website with its sports archive has been incredibly useful, it has also been limited by a reduced range. The WHSAA website does not list champions or results prior to 1973, the year the WHSAA moved from Riverton to Casper, for any sports except football or basketball. WHSAA listings have long been incomplete for sports like cross country, golf, swimming, tennis, wrestling and track. Champlists.com tries to close that gap while at the same time make it easier for people to find specific names, records and details for each sport.

Despite all of my best efforts to this point, many sports have incomplete listings of their champions. Your help is invaluable to completing these lists. Please use this form to send me any missing information you have, as well as any documentation you have to support it, such as a newspaper clipping, yearbook listing or something similar.

In that same vein, champlists.com is a work in progress. If there is something else you’d like to see there, let me know; I’ll see if I can research it, or maybe if we can research it together. I’m going to look for ways to constantly expand the listings that are available to satiate your curiosity about Wyoming’s high school sports history. Broadly, I am planning on updating champlists.com once a year, likely in the summer.

Similarly, I will likely expand the scope of this blog to include occasional posts about other sports, as I have done the past few years with the occasional basketball or track and field post. I have several fun and interesting posts in the works already.

If you’ve made it this far, you care about this kind of stuff. So give champlists.com a look, and let me know what you’d like to see from it moving forward.

–patrick

A uniform number is something special.

It’s the source of pride, whether it’s in face paint, T-shirts or tattoos. It’s the one way, outside of their play itself, that players can be identified. It’s how coaches usually refer to opposing players.

With 99 options to choose from, a number can follow a player forever. The choice isn’t always easy.

The list below represents the top 99 (minus a few) players in Wyoming high school football, as listed by uniform number. Altogether, the list represents all classifications, all positions, all geographic areas — a solid cross-section of the Wyoming football scene.

But forming this list is always one of the most challenging tasks of my summer. Choosing one player per number when numerous players are deserving becomes a fool’s errand. Conversely, sometimes FINDING one returning player who wore a given number at any school in the state is tough.

Even if your favorite player isn’t connected with the number on the list, trust me — I considered them all. You’re welcome to disagree, and I welcome comments on this post to let me know which number, and name, you’ve got your eye on this fall.

My annual disclaimer: I can’t guarantee that the numbers players wore last year will be worn again by them this year. I can’t even guarantee that they’ll go out, or that they haven’t moved since the end of last year. I used last year’s stat listings and rosters posted online to determine what jersey number players wore; if your team didn’t compile stats or didn’t post a roster, I didn’t (moreover, couldn’t) include those players. Also, at least one of these players wore more than one number last year; they’re noted with asterisks.

This is the third year I have done this list — you can see a couple repeaters from the 2020 and 2019 lists on this year’s list.

NumberNameSchool
1Andrew SkorczRock Springs
2Brody HasenackJackson
3Jacob SchieveGreen River
4Geoffrey JohnsonSaratoga
5Connor MicheliMountain View
6Reed ThompsonPine Bluffs
7Nathanial TalichCheyenne Central
8Sadler SmithJackson
9Cam BurkettKelly Walsh
10Taylor PierceWorland
11Brock DouzenisWorland
12Ryan BakerThunder Basin
13Cooper GarberBig Horn
14Samuel RamsbottomKaycee
15Gavin GoffCheyenne East
16Dom LopezCheyenne East
17Hadley MyersSnake River
18Sam ScottJackson
19Peyton CorniaEvanston
20Zach RatcliffPowell
21Cade ButlerBig Horn
22Ryan ClapperSoutheast
23Kaeden WilcoxNatrona
24Cadon ShakleeRock Springs
25Jayden ArchuletaDouglas
26Isaac SchoenfeldRock Springs
27Jonathan Vazquez VargasJackson
28Keltan EwingDouglas
29Rylan WehrDouglas
30Holden McConkeyNewcastle
31Lane OeschStar Valley
32McCoy SmithLyman
33Cord HerringSoutheast
34Aaron CarverWorland
35Hyannie FaustoWheatland
36Tanner CollinsMountain View
37Matisse WeaverLander
38Preston NicholsLovell
39Texas TannerSheridan
40Toran GrahamPowell
41Slayd DaleySaratoga
42Tim VerburgCampbell County
43Cayden DymondCampbell County
44Colter DawsonJackson
45Jake SchlattmannGreybull
46Samuel HulickBuffalo
47Charlie NicholsCheyenne Central
48Cooper HarrimanGuernsey
49Conor ManloveBurns
50Kris TopaumRiverton
51Dylan MolzahnLusk
52Dawson CurtisDouglas
53Thomas HowardBig Piney
54Riley BlackburnLusk
55William PewJackson
56Daniel GormanCody
57Frank ArmajoLander
58Diego PaniaguaPine Bluffs
59Chris LarsonSheridan
60Lucas ChappellStar Valley*
61Jaxson McGeeGreen River
62Sheldon ShoopmanPowell
63Wade BarkerEvanston
64Kelton BournazianRock Springs
65Mason WellsLusk
66Lane SchramekPowell
67Will BakerSoutheast
68Kirk KaySoutheast
69Eddie TokarczykHulett
70Dayne LampLusk
71Cale HawsBurns
72Taylor FossCampbell County
73Chase OsterGreybull
74Ivor McPhieLander
75Matt McMillanKemmerer
76Kyle LogarDouglas
77Dylen ClendenenRocky Mountain
78Jacob KnoblochTongue River
79Josh ThompsonBig Horn
80Jake HicksWheatland
81Vaun PiersonKaycee
82Heston FisherSaratoga
83Rodee BrowWheatland
84Jackson KirkbrideBurns
85Jake KampmanKemmerer
86Hogan TystadNewcastle
87Robert KoivupaloLander
88Chase MillerTorrington
89Lucas EngleRiverton
90No returners identified
91Tyson ChristiansenRocky Mountain
92No returners identified
93No returners identified
94No returners identified
95No returners identified
96No returners identified
97No returners identified
98No returners identified
99Jaxson StanleyShoshoni

Chappell also wore No. 88 last fall.

–patrick

After looking at every score of every game for every year of Wyoming high school football — more than 25,000 games, by the way — I have a breakdown to share:

Scorigami is something I’ve looked at before on this site. In fact, I broke down the beginnings of the 2020 scorigami before Week 5, and I’ve had other posts talk about common and uncommon, and missing, final scores.

The video above, though, goes a step beyond all that, as it shows every unique final score we’ve seen across Wyoming high school football since 1894.

And I think that’s pretty cool.

For the video’s sake, I had to cut out the numbers that actually show the scores. If you’re interested in that, the completed version of the Wyoming high school football scorigami file is here.

If you dig this, let me know. Leave a comment here, or share the link via the Wyoming-football.com Twitter or Facebook pages. Or just let it wash over you like a waterfall of red and gray boxes.

–patrick

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

+++

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.

+++

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.

+++

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

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