The NFL Network recently aired a half-hour documentary on the Heart Mountain Eagles football team, including an interview with the last surviving member of the team and the author of the book “The Eagles of Heart Mountain.” Here is a link to the full documentary on YouTube. (I would have embedded it here, but the NFL doesn’t allow embedding of its YouTube videos.)

Also, here’s my review of the book “The Eagles of Heart Mountain.” Check it out if you haven’t yet.


FATE-ball selects opponents via the spinning wheel; the team that won the matchup between those last two teams is out, while the winner gets matched up with another team on the wheel. Last team standing wins!

If you’re having fun with this, let me know and I’ll do a round 2.


I firmly believe that even bad football is good football.

And that even after more than 100 years and after close to 26,000 Wyoming high school football games, there hasn’t been a single bad game.

With that in mind, and inspired by Secret Base/SB Nation’s YouTube series “The Worst,” I set out to find the worst Wyoming high school football game ever played and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that, honestly, even bad football is good football.

Finding the worst among the nearly 26,000 games played, though, is as much as a struggle as finding the best (as I tried to do the past two decades, the 2000s and the 2010s).

I decided to hone in on a specific kind of game — the kind where two teams that were otherwise winless during the season played each other. Once I identified those kind of games, I looked to see how those teams did in the remainder of their respective seasons. Specifically, I was looking for two teams that, outside the one game they played against each other, lost all their other games that season by at least 30 points.

Only one 11-man game in state history met that condition.

In 2004, Midwest defeated Wyoming Indian 26-12 in the season opener for both teams. With the conditions outlined above, I’m willing to call this game the worst Wyoming high school football game ever played.

Now, the “worst” is a loaded term here. It may not be the worst single game — as I’ll explain — but it very well might be the game between the two worst teams. Think of it this way: If you could rank every single season of every single team, and put them all on one line, the rankings of 2004 Midwest and 2004 Wyoming Indian might combine to be the lowest combined ranking of two teams playing each other in any one game.

So why is this game worth your attention, 18 years after it was played? Isn’t this the kind of game we’d want to forget — not highlight?

Nah. Even bad football is good football.

Just look at the team stats box score, which I cobbled together from the video of the game on YouTube. (Yes, this game is on YouTube. I’ll take the blame, or the thanks.) It honestly looks pretty normal, or at least typical of a 1A season opener.

Midwest 26, Wyoming Indian 12

Mid      0          20        0          6 – 26

WI       0          6          0          6 – 12

Team stats               Mid                     WI

First downs              13                       8

Rushes-yards           46-196                28-81

Passing C-A-I-Y        6-11-0-98           3-7-1-50

Total plays-yds         57-294                35-131

Fumbles-lost            7-1                      2-1

Penalties-yds           6-71                    3-25

When this game was played on Aug. 27, 2004, it was clear this was far from a state championship preview. The Oilers went 1-6 in 2003 and had only scored 14 points the entire season; Wyoming Indian had gone 1-7 and lost its last six, the beginning of what eventually became a 26-game losing streak.

The 2004 film showed the Chiefs only had two players available on the bench, the Oilers only three. Do the math; combined, these two teams had 27 players available for this game. But these kinds of games happen often, or at least often enough for this game not to be a huge exception to the rule in 1A football.

Not every play was beautiful:

And it seemed like the lines on both teams never learned about leverage, at least according to the way they stand straight up on plays like this one.

But the game DID have a couple nice hits…

… and good enthusiasm, like my man doing the “conversion dance.”

Now, on to my four favorite plays of the game:

(4) Watch the Chiefs’ right tackle against the Oilers’ defensive lineman on this play. My Midwest man got so turned around that he tried to tackle a tackle. The WIHS O-lineman was just like “What is HAPPENING right now?” before gently tossing the dude to the ground.

(3) Imagine being Midwest’s middle linebacker and taking on a QUADRUPLE TEAM from the Chiefs’ offensive line. Intimidation bonus +10; yardage bonus though only +1.

(2) Not a play, but Midwest’s pre-snap movement here had the Chiefs’ defense completely discombobulated. Just like they planned it?

(1) My favorite play BY FAR is this Midwest touchdown, which came on the last play of the first half and gave Midwest a 20-6 lead heading into halftime. The play is fine. But don’t watch the play so much as the celebration. It’s either some of the best sportsmanship I’ve ever seen, or it’s the most SAVAGE thing I’ve ever seen a wide receiver do to a defensive back.

(If you follow on Twitter, you got a sneak peek at this play.)

On this Friday in 2004, the game was little more than another Week 1 tally. Only after the season did its true historic nature take hold.

For the rest of the 2004 season, neither the winning Oilers or the losing Chiefs had a single close game. Midwest’s closest game in 2004 aside from the Chiefs game was a 38-point loss (46-8) to 2-7 Hanna; Wyoming Indian’s closest loss aside from Midwest was a 32-point loss (38-6) to 2-6 Riverside. As noted… this game is the only 11-man game in state history where two otherwise winless teams lost every other game in their seasons by at least 30 points.

Two such six-man games have come in recent years (Ten Sleep defeating St. Stephens in 2017 and Midwest defeating Dubois in 2018), and it’s happened once in nine-man (St. Stephens defeating Wyoming Indian in 2021), but obviously scoring comes differently in those versions of the game.

Watching the 2004 Midwest-Wyoming Indian game in retrospect, in no way, shape or form was it well played. But it was fun to watch, even 18 years later, and for the players I’m sure it was fun to play. I think it proves even bad football is good football.


A trove of Rocky Mountain football game tapes — including the Grizzlies’ three championships in the 1990s — have been uploaded to YouTube on the RMHS TV channel.

Here are the Grizzlies’ title-game videos:

The 1995 Class 1A 11-man championship vs. Lusk:

The 1997 Class 1A 11-man championship, also vs. Lusk:

AND the 1998 Class 1A 11-man championship vs. Pinedale:

Other football games offered by the channel include:

1994: vs. Pinedale, vs. Shoshoni, vs. Wyoming Indian, at Greybull.

1995: vs. Saratoga.

1997: vs. Riverside, vs. Sundance, at Cody JV, vs. Greybull, vs. Burlington, at Pinedale.

1998: this is weird, as two games are labeled as vs. Cody JV... and vs. Cody JV. Also, at Tongue River, vs. Shoshoni, at Sundance. And a highlight tape.

2000: at Lovell.

2001: vs. Lovell, then at Lovell.

2003: vs. Tongue River, vs. Wright and Lovell.

2007: vs. Greybull.

2008: vs. Wind River, at Big Piney, vs. Burlington.

2009: vs. Saratoga, vs. Shoshoni, at Wind River.

2010: at Cokeville, at Saratoga, vs. Riverside, at Southeast, vs. Burlington.

2011: at NSI.

2012: vs. Wind River, vs. NSI. And a highlight tape.

2016: vs. Saratoga, vs. Kemmerer.

2017: vs. Saratoga.

2018: vs. Greybull, vs. Wind River.

The channel doesn’t have only football, though. It has basketball, prom, musical performances, graduations and more. Check out the full offerings here.

And specifically for non-football interesting things, check out the 2A boys basketball championships from 1999 (Riverside winning its first), 1997 (won with a shot at the buzzer by a freshman) and 1995 (featuring a young Brett Keisel).


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 Twitter or Facebook pages. Or just let it wash over you like a waterfall of red and gray boxes.


Thanks to former Midwest Oiler Phil LeMaitre, I’ve added some more Midwest football game tapes to my playlist on YouTube:

1979 vs. Southeast (Class B semifinals)

1979 vs. Big Piney (Class B championship, but the last half of the fourth quarter is missing)

1984 vs. Guernsey

1984 vs. Sundance (first quarter and first part of the second quarter only)

1984 vs. Upton

The full playlist of Midwest game tapes, totaling 119 games from 1979 to 2007, is here. Thanks to Phil for sharing these videos with me!

If anyone else, or if anyone at any other schools, has a game tape library they’d like archived, let me know:


Class 2A championships aren’t supposed to be won as easily as the way Buffalo won its title in 2018.

After opting up to play in Class 3A in 2016 and 2017, the Bison entered 2A last year as one of the favorites to win the title. They had several things going for them — their size (biggest school in 2A), their talent, their recent experience against bigger 3A programs.

Bolstered by all of that, the Bison lost just once in 2018 (7-0 to 3A Douglas in the season opener) and won their final 10 games to claim the 2A title, the program’s first championship since the dominant 2005 squad won it all in 3A.

Only one team stayed within single digits of the Bison, and even the championship game turned into a rout as Buffalo bumped off Mountain View 43-18.

Whether the Bison’s title was the start of a dynasty or a coalescing of multiple right factors at the right time will be seen in 2019. For now, though, everyone’s chasing the little-guys-turned-big-guys, who are now defending a title instead of chasing one.

Four questions to answer

Was Buffalo’s championship the start of a new 2A dynasty? Possibly. The Bison get back five all-state players from last year’s title team, setting them up well for a repeat in 2019. If that momentum can keep building, the Bison could be the team to beat in 2020, too.

Who’s Buffalo’s biggest threat? Mountain View, again. Just like Buffalo, Mountain View returns five all-state players. And like Buffalo, Mountain View has seen a ton of success in the postseason recently. Mountain View will start as the favorite in the 2A West and, if everything falls together by November, the Buffalos could notch their first undefeated season since 1997.

Will anyone else challenge for a championship? Probably not. Mountain View and Buffalo return five all-state players apiece; the rest of 2A, combined, has four (Burns’ Boe Clayson, Kemmerer’s A.Q. Martinez, Moorcroft’s Rowdy Pfeil and Thermopolis’ Logan Cole). The talent gap between Buffalo and Mountain View and the rest of 2A is pretty wide this season, so any dark horses will need a bunch of talent to develop quickly to put up a legitimate challenge to the top squads.

Will the West Conference have as much parity in the middle as it did last year? Almost certainly. No one represented the West’s parity like Pinedale, which won conference games by scores of 28-22, 21-14 and 14-6 and lost them by scores of 14-7, 21-14, 12-6 — a net score of plus-one in six games decided by eight points or less. With basically every team (outside of Mountain View) returning similar talent at similar levels, the rest of the West appears to be a crapshoot, one that will be decided in tight games week after week.

Four players (OK, three players and a unit) to watch

Hunter Gross, Mountain View. When coaches get together to award player of the year honors, they almost always go to a senior. Not last year, and not for Gross, who won the 2A lineman of the year award as a junior. He was second for the Buffalos in defensive points and racked up a team-high eight sacks — and he could be even more dominant this year.

Rowen Ruby, Buffalo. Ruby was one of 2A’s most consistent running backs last season, finishing with 1,072 yards (7.5 per carry) and 14 touchdowns. The Bison’s featured running back could have an even better season in 2019; Buffalo graduated its quarterback, its top receiver and its No. 2 running back, putting Ruby in a much brighter spotlight.

Dawson Hatch, Buffalo. Hatch was all over the field for the Bison last year, finishing first for the team in defensive points. He somehow finished with 10 tackles for loss and six interceptions, helping prove his versatility. And he was Buffalo’s No. 2 receiver and even carried the ball a few times.

Everyone from Mountain View’s backs and receivers. How do you stop Mountain View’s offense? You don’t — not with all the returning talent the Buffalos have, and not with their ability to place basically anyone in any spot at any time. Briggin Bluemel ran for 1,106 yards and Kimball Madsen added 985; Madsen threw for 866 yards and Braeden Walk chipped in 381; Walk led the team with 468 receiving yards, Ashton Schofield had 300, Bluemel had 163 and Madsen 140. The versatility the Buffalos have — particularly with those four players — makes them a challenge for any opposing defense.

Four key games

Pinedale at Kemmerer, Sept. 20. With the parity on display in the West Conference last year, this Week 3 game — after both teams have already played Lyman to open their conference schedules in Week 1 and Week 2, respectively — will tell us a lot about the makeup of a tumultuous West Conference.

Buffalo at Burns, Sept. 20. The Bison’s first road conference game of 2019 will be in eastern Laramie County against an up-and-coming Burns squad. A Buffalo victory here will be key in a repeat attempt… but a Broncs upset could completely change the outlook for the rest of the season for every team in the East.

Greybull at Mountain View, Oct 25. These two teams have been in the West Conference’s top three finishers every season since 2014, and last year they finished as the top two teams in the conference. A Week 8 showdown could determine the conference champion again this year.

Thermopolis at Burns, Oct. 25. Both teams are ready to make leaps up the East Conference standings this season. If they both capitalize on that potential through the season, this Week 8 meeting could be absolutely huge.

Predicted order of finish

East Conference: Buffalo, Thermopolis, Burns, Glenrock, Wheatland, Moorcroft, Newcastle.

West Conference: Mountain View, Greybull, Kemmerer, Big Piney, Lovell, Lyman, Pinedale.

Way-too-early title game score prediction

Mountain View 28, Buffalo 26. The Buffaloes have been scary consistent, with four trips to Laramie in the past six years. With a deep and motivated senior class, this just might be Mountain View’s year to return to the top of 2A. But Buffalo is the defending champs, and the Bison won’t make anything easy.

Stadium tour and season preview video

What do you think? Is another Mountain View-Buffalo championship game inevitable? Or is there someone outside of last year’s two title-game teams who could challenge for the 2A championship? Is 2A is any deeper than the two teams that are on top on paper? Leave a comment, or drop a line on Twitter or Facebook.

Next week: Class 3A preview.


Well, Big Horn, how do you come up with an encore for that?

The Rams were more than just dominant in 2018 on their way to the Class 1A 11-man title. The numbers speak for themselves — 11-0 record, a state 11-man record 577 points scored, a title-game victory margin of 53 points, a state record for most points scored in a three-game playoff series… and on and on.

Now, the Rams have to find a way to remain competitive despite graduating seven all-state picks. Somehow, they have six other all-state picks coming back, and Big Horn remains the favorite to win 1A 11-man even with all the changes.

Part of the reason the Rams are drawing so much respect is because the talent well is just that deep in Big Horn. And part of it is that the Rams proved they could handle change last season when they shifted head coaches, giving Kirk McLaughlin a perfect start to his head coaching career with that dominant season.

If anyone can handle high expectations AND transition at the same time, it’s Big Horn. However, a repeat of last year’s record-setting season would be a surprise — and challengers like Upton-Sundance, Pine Bluffs and Cokeville will make an undefeated season in and of itself a challenge.

Four questions to answer

What makes Big Horn the favorite again? Returning firepower. In short, no other team returns what Big Horn returns this fall. The six returning all-state players is the highest number in the state regardless of classification, and with so many key players back from an undefeated team, the Rams start the year as the favorites.

Who’s most likely to challenge Big Horn for the top spot? Is “pick ’em” an option? Several squads return key chunks of players, including Upton-Sundance, Pine Bluffs and Lusk from the East and Cokeville, Rocky Mountain and Shoshoni from the West. Any one of those teams is capable of pulling off a first-round playoff victory given the right circumstances, although Upton-Sundance appears on paper to be the most capable of challenging Big Horn for both conference and state title honors.

What was that about Lusk? Oh yeah, Lusk is a thing again. The Tigers return four of their five all-conference choices from last year, including a pair of all-staters in senior Damien Molzahn and junior Drake Lamp. After missing the playoffs last year thanks to a little bad luck in a coin flip, Lusk should be a contender again this year.

What about the West Conference? In short — what about it? Aside from Cokeville, the conference was disappointing in the postseason last year, with the No. 2, 3 and 4 seeds losing first-round games by scores of 67-8, 54-0 and 56-0. With Saratoga playing six-man and Wyoming Indian playing a patchwork schedule, four teams are eligible for the four playoff spots out of the West — not exactly conditions conducive to creating playoff-ready, tested squads.

Four players to watch

Quinn McCafferty, Big Horn. Any discussion of the Rams’ hopes this year starts with the man under center. McCafferty led Class 1A 11-man with 1,731 passing yards (157.4 per game). His completion percentage of 63.4 (92 of 145) was by far the best among 1A, and he had a 27-to-3 touchdown to interception ratio. His presence will keep the Rams stable in a new season.

Will Pelissier, Big Horn. Pelissier is a rare player that can show up in the top 10 of the classification in both the rushing and receiving categories. He was ninth in 1A in rushing last year, carrying 82 times for 653 yards and 10 touchdowns, but he was just as dangerous through the air, finishing with 20 catches for 429 yards. As a senior, both yardage totals could go up as Pelissier gets even more opportunities.

Dax Yeradi, Wright. The Panthers broke a long streak last year by qualifying for the playoffs, and Yeradi was a big reason why. As the Class 1A 11-man leader in defensive points each of the past two years, Yeradi has consistently proven his ability to provide huge plays (class-high seven interceptions last year) and keep Wright in games.

Jayden Caylor, Upton-Sundance. As a junior, Caylor was instrumental in the Patriots’ run in the playoffs. He led U-S in several key statistics, including rushing (779 yards), receiving (331 yards), scoring (110 points), tackles (91), and defensive points (147). As the Patriots’ only returning all-state player, Caylor might see his responsibilities increase in 2019 — as if that’s possible.

Four key games

Big Horn at Upton-Sundance, Sept. 27. This showdown between the Patriots and the Rams is always key — and the Rams have always had the upper hand. Big Horn is 2-0 against the U-S co-op, winning 55-14 last year and 53-13 the year before that.

Cokeville at Rocky Mountain, Oct. 11. The Panthers appear to be ready to cruise to yet another West Conference title, and no one appears to be in a position to put up much of a fight against that. However, the up-and-coming Grizzlies, at home in Week 6, are in the best position to catch the Panthers in a potential trap game.

Upton-Sundance at Pine Bluffs, Oct. 18. This game between the Patriots and Hornets has had playoff implications for the past several years. Expect similar stakes this year, where a victory could mean the difference between having a home playoff game and not.

Pine Bluffs at Lusk, Oct. 25. A lot of people are looking at Lusk as a potential breakout team in 2019. If the Tigers uphold their end of the expectations, this Week 8 meeting at home against perennially tough Pine Bluffs could have higher stakes than pride on the line.

Predicted order of finish

East Conference: Big Horn, Upton-Sundance, Pine Bluffs, Lusk, Tongue River, Wright, Southeast.

West Conference: Cokeville, Shoshoni, Rocky Mountain, Wind River, Wyoming Indian.

Way-too-early title game score prediction

Big Horn 34, Upton-Sundance 24. By acclimation, the Rams are the favorites in 1A this year. A surprise might be waiting somewhere along the line, but as of August, the Rams are in the best position to be the last team standing come November.

Stadium tour and season preview video

What do you think? Can Big Horn keep up the pace it set for itself last year? Could Upton-Sundance, Pine Bluffs or someone else end the Rams’ run in the East? Is Cokeville, of all programs, being overlooked? Leave a comment, or drop a line on Twitter or Facebook.

Next week: Class 2A preview.


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