For the first time since 2012, all five championship games were rematches of regular-season encounters.

And if you wanted to know how the title games went, you didn’t have to look any further than those earlier games.

All five teams that won these matchups in the regular season also won them on Friday and Saturday in Laramie, as Sheridan, Cody, Lyman, Shoshoni and Snake River made it clear their victories earlier this season were no flukes — they were trends.

Sheridan won its second Class 4A championship in three years and its fifth in seven years with an overwhelming offensive performance, beating Rock Springs 45-27. Rock Springs fell behind on the opening kickoff, which Sheridan ran back for a touchdown, and never recovered. The Broncs led 24-7 at halftime and the Tigers never got closer than 16 points in the second half. Compared to Sheridan’s 27-24 victory against Rock Springs in the regular season, this one wasn’t nearly as nerve-wracking, but since the W came in Laramie, it generated significantly more excitement.

The Class 3A classic many expected — expectations based on Cody’s last-minute 21-15 victory against Jackson in Week 8 — didn’t develop. But Cody doesn’t mind that at all. Three long pick-sixes from Cody on three consecutive possessions in the second half broke open what had been a close game. The Broncs rode that momentum to a 41-24 victory and a second consecutive state championship and its fourth since 2014. At 11-0, Cody finished with its first undefeated, untied season since 1932.

In Class 2A, points came at a premium. Lyman’s second-quarter score and two-point conversion was enough for an 8-6 victory against 2A West foe Lovell. The game was nothing like the regular-season matchup the two teams had in September, when the Eagles scored points in bunches in a 34-15 victory. Lyman, though, will take that victory any way it can, marking a school-record 19th consecutive time the Eagles have finished with more points than their opponents. It’s the longest active winning streak in Wyoming, and it will continue into 2022.

Shoshoni’s championship in Class 1A nine-man built slowly. The Wranglers scored once each in the first, second and third quarters and had a 19-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter; they held on to beat Rocky Mountain 19-6. For the two West Conference rivals, their meeting in Week 11 was quite similar to their Week 2 game that Shoshoni won 27-10. Shoshoni will take it; the title is the program’s first since 1985. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies finished 9-2, with both losses to Shoshoni.

The Class 1A six-man championship game between Snake River and Encampment, at least in terms of the final score, was nearly identical to the regular-season matchup. Snake River won the championship game and capped an undefeated season with a 65-24 victory; the Rattlers won the regular-season matchup 66-24. The championship game itself was close at halftime, but an inspired Snake River effort on defense in the second half helped the Rattlers win their fourth state championship since 2010 and their second in the past three years.

And that’s how the 2021 season came to a close — familiarly.

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Here are the results of my picks from last week, this season and all-time:

Last week: 4-1 (80 percent). This season: 261-50 (84 percent). 17-year overall mark: 4,085-999 (80 percent).

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Several pages have already been updated, including the 2021 scores and standings pages, the playoff brackets, the state champions listings, the state championship games and a few others. Individual team pages, scoring records, streaks, all-time standings and everything else I can update with the 2021 games will be updated throughout the day on Sunday.

If you like what you see here, consider a page sponsorship. Sponsorships are $20 per year, and they help keep the site running. If you’re interested in sponsoring a page, email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com. A big thank you to all my page sponsors for this year!

–patrick

Post updated at 9:33 a.m. Nov. 14 to correct an error in reporting on Class 4A.

From Sheridan trying to extend its state record of championships to 28 to Encampment trying to win its first in just its third year back, the 2021 Wyoming high school football title games won’t be short on intrigue.

Each of the five championships, back at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie after the 2020 games were at host sites due to COVID-19, has interesting historical perspective.

The Class 3A game between Cody and Jackson is the only rematch from 2020, but Lyman in 2A is also going for a repeat championship. Meanwhile, the two teams in the 1A nine-man title game have never played in Laramie before this weekend, and new champs are guaranteed in 4A, 1A nine-man and 1A six-man.

Here is a quick look at all five championship games:

Class 4A, 4 p.m. Saturday
Rock Springs (2, 10-1) vs. Sheridan (1, 10-1)
Series record: Sheridan leads 27-4-2.
Last meeting: Sheridan beat Rock Springs 27-24 on Sept. 17 in Sheridan.
Last playoff meeting: Sheridan beat Rock Springs 35-6 on Oct. 30, 2020, in a Class 4A quarterfinal game in Sheridan.
State championships: Rock Springs seven, most recently in 2002. … Sheridan 27, most recently in 2019.
Previous title game record: Rock Springs, 5-7. … Sheridan, 17-7.
The path to the title game: Rock Springs took care of Kelly Walsh 42-21 in the quarterfinals and thumped Cheyenne East 55-34 in the semifinals. … Sheridan wiped out Cheyenne Central 48-14 in the first round and beat Natrona 38-24 in the semifinals.
The case for the Tigers: The best argument for Rock Springs is a simple one — the best offense and the best defense in Class 4A belong to the same team, and it’s the Tigers. That combination rarely fails. Rock Springs has a diverse offense that gets lots of people involved, and QB Brock Bider takes care of the ball well. And the defense plays consistently, with eight of nine regular-season opponents being held to 18 points or less.
The case for the Broncs: No team is better at creating opportunities for itself than Sheridan. With a turnover ratio of plus-24, the Broncs have consistently put themselves in positions to have success. Colson Coon is a 1,000-yard back and leads Class 4A in touchdowns, and a menagerie of players contribute to an efficient defense. Oh, and something about 27 state championships.
The pick: For some reason, a three-point margin was the margin of choice for several 4A games this year, including five games in the span of three weeks. One of those was Sheridan’s 27-24 victory against Rock Springs. The Broncs had a few things going for them in that game, though, including the big one — the game was in Sheridan. Is a neutral site enough to swing a game those extra points? … Rock Springs 24, Sheridan 21.

Class 3A, 3 p.m. Friday
Jackson (2W, 9-2) vs. Cody (1W, 10-0)
Series record: Cody leads 23-8.
Last meeting: Cody beat Jackson 21-15 on Oct. 22 in Cody.
Last playoff meeting: Cody beat Jackson 34-31 on Nov. 14, 2020, in the Class 3A championship game in Cody.
State championships: Jackson three, most recently in 2007. … Cody six, most recently in 2020.
Previous title game record: Jackson, 3-2. … Cody, 6-5.
The path to the title game: Jackson scored a ton in the quarterfinals to beat Buffalo 75-27 and held on to beat Douglas 28-20 in the semifinals. … Cody eased past Worland 40-7 and nudged out Star Valley 24-17 in the semifinals.
The case for the orange-and-black Broncs: Any conversation about Jackson inevitably starts with the Broncs’ high-octane offense and multiple weapons, as 3A’s top rusher (Brody Hasenack) and passer (Sadler Smith) and three of the top five receivers (Nate Keipert, Colter Dawson, Sam Scott) are in Jackson. But the defense has been more than up to the task, with Dawson’s monster efforts accentuated by players in good schemes around him.
The case for the blue-and-gold Broncs: The defending state champions have won 15 consecutive games going back to last year, seemingly not missing a beat from 2020 to 2021. Class 3A’s second-best offense (behind Jackson) and second-best defense (behind Douglas) has been an unbeatable combination, and the Broncs have done so behind the spread-the-love team approach that has been coach Matt McFadden’s calling card his entire time in Cody.
The pick: The Week 8 classic these two teams staged in Cody isn’t far from either team’s mind, as a Cody touchdown in the waning moments provided the difference in a 21-15 victory. Both teams have had similar playoff experiences — opportunities set up by easy first-round victories were nearly squandered by second-half slowdowns in the semifinals. Regardless, this is the championship matchup, the rematch, we’ve been waiting a whole year to see. It won’t disappoint. … Cody 31, Jackson 28, in overtime.

Class 2A, 10 a.m. Saturday
Lovell (2W, 9-1) vs. Lyman (1W, 11-0)
Series record: Lyman leads 11-10.
Last meeting: Lyman beat Lovell 34-15 on Sept. 17 in Lovell.
Last playoff meeting: Lyman beat Lovell 22-20 on Nov. 10, 2012, in the Class 2A championship game in Laramie.
State championships: Lovell two, most recently in 2011. … Lyman five, most recently in 2020.
Previous title game record: Lovell, 2-5. … Lyman, 5-1.
The path to the title game: Lovell beat Upton-Sundance 21-8 in the quarterfinals and had little trouble with Torrington, winning 35-7 in the semifinals. … Lyman topped Big Horn 42-20 in the first round and knocked out Wheatland 38-28 in the semifinals.
The case for the Bulldogs: Lovell’s offense is one big game of whack-a-mole; when a defense focuses on one, the others can make them look silly. The defense is opportunistic and plays big when it needs to, resulting in the best scoring defense in 2A. And Lovell has won seven in a row since that early loss to Lyman and is looking like an entirely new team.
The case for the Eagles: Put simply: Lyman has won 18 in a row and 22 of 23 the past two seasons. The defending 2A champs are built for efficiency, with QB Ashton Houskeeper leading the team in passing and rushing, Rho Mecham leading the defense in TFLs, sacks and bruised dreams and McKoy Smith being indispensable on both sides. It’s a group that knows how to win, and they keep proving that fact over, and over, and over.
The pick: To find success in 2A, you have to be able to run the ball, and you have to be able to stop the run. So it’s no surprise the top two rushing offenses and the top two rushing defenses are meeting in the title game. Although it would be easy to look at that Week 3 game and decide this is Lyman’s game to lose, Lovell learned a lot from that loss and has been playing lights-out ever since. It’ll be close, and tough, and a struggle, and one mistake could make the difference. … Lyman 26, Lovell 21.

Class 1A nine-man, 1 p.m. Saturday
Rocky Mountain (2W, 9-1) vs. Shoshoni (1W, 9-1)
Series record: Rocky Mountain leads 14-13.
Last meeting: Shoshoni beat Rocky Mountain 27-10 on Sept. 10 in Cowley.
Last playoff meeting: Rocky Mountain beat Shoshoni 59-6 on Oct. 23, 1998, in a Class 1A-Division I quarterfinal game in Byron.
State championships: Rocky Mountain four, most recently in 1998. … Shoshoni two, most recently in 1985.
Previous title game record: Rocky Mountain, 4-1. … Shoshoni, 2-0.
The path to the title game: Rocky Mountain dispatched defending champ Southeast 37-22 in the first round and came back to beat Pine Bluffs 30-24 in the semifinals. … Shoshoni shut out Wright 55-0 in the quarterfinals and did the same to Wind River 27-0 in the semifinals.
The case for the Grizzlies: Rocky’s offense keys through QB Carsyn Weber, who leads the Grizzlies in both rushing and passing. The defense is consistent and has multiple players who can make a big play. And after winning eight in a row, including the defending champs (Southeast) and the odds-on, undefeated favorites (Pine Bluffs) in the playoffs, they’re justifiably confident.
The case for the Wranglers: A mid-season, nonconference loss to Pine Bluffs aside, the Wranglers have been in control of every single game they’ve played so far. They haven’t given up a point in the playoffs and boast the classification’s toughest defense and its most opportunistic. Pehton Truempler is a 1,000-yard back, Alex Mills a 1,000-yard passer, and four players are 120-point defensive men. What more do you need?
The pick: Either way, one program will win its first state title this century. The question will be which team — neither of which has ever played in a title game at The War — handles the new surroundings the best. Neither team lacks focus or discipline, and in that kind of matchup, things like depth, execution and momentum are amplified. Closer than Week 2, but a totally different game. … Shoshoni 30, Rocky Mountain 26.

Class 1A six-man, noon Friday
Encampment (2W, 8-1) vs. Snake River (1W, 9-0)

Series record: Encampment leads 2-1.
Last meeting: Snake River beat Encampment 66-24 on Sept. 10 in Baggs.
Last playoff meeting: First playoff meeting.
State championships: Encampment zero. …. Snake River three, most recently in 2019.
Previous title game record: Encampment, 0-0. … Snake River, 3-1.
The path to the title game: Encampment whaled on Guernsey 68-0 in the quarterfinals and outlasted Dubois 56-36 in the semifinals. … Snake River overwhelmed Kaycee 62-8 in the first round and barely advanced past Meeteetse 47-46 in the semifinals.
The case for the Tigers: Who doesn’t love the underdog story? From not even existing to state title game in less than four years, Encampment has proven right every hope the community had when it brought the program to life in 2019. They’re deep but also top-heavy; they’re diverse but also specialized. In short, they’re everything a six-man team should be — and they’re in the title game for a reason, not for a fluke.
The case for the Rattlers: Six-man’s most efficient offense (9.6 yards per play) and stingiest defense (3.8 yards per play) on the same team? Makes sense that Snake is unbeaten. The only team to come close to the Rattlers was Meeteetse (twice) and non-playoff Farson; every other victory, including the one against Encampment, hovered past the 40 margin. Health is the big question.
The pick: In a version of the game often defined by offense, the state’s top two defenses will decide the title. To be clear, there will be plenty of offense. Usually at some point in a six-man game, though, one team will make a series of defensive stops to take control of the game’s pace. The problem is when both teams do that at the same time — and both of these Carbon County rivals are capable of that. … Snake River 47, Encampment 37.

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Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 8-2 (80 percent). This season: 257-49 (84 percent).

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This is it — your last chance to say something about the 2021 season before it’s over. Take advantage. Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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–patrick

If you look up “dynasty” in the dictionary, it does not say: “See also: Sheridan.”

But give it time.

The way things are going, Webster is going to have to make room for the Broncs.

For the 14th consecutive year, Sheridan is in the Class 4A football semifinals.

Only one other program in state history has had the same level of consistency in the playoffs. Cokeville reached 22 consecutive semifinal rounds from 1993-2014 — the only team to exceed Sheridan’s current streak of success.

But Cokeville isn’t Sheridan.

The Broncs compete at Wyoming’s big-school level, constantly facing the best teams the state has to offer. For almost a generation, the Broncs have shown they are up to the challenge.

Eight times in those 14 years, the Broncs have advanced to the state championship game. Six of those times, the Broncs have won it all.

So fortune should favor top-seeded Sheridan when it plays against Natrona in the 4A semifinals on Friday. After all, the Broncs are — get this — 41-2 at home in playoff games all-time, including last week’s 48-14 victory against Cheyenne Central in the first round of this year’s playoffs.

Read that record again. Forty-one. And. Two. Five away from a Tool song.

The “two,” though, might give Natrona some hope. The Broncs’ only two home playoff losses, ever?

  • 2008: Green River. Semifinals.
  • 2013: Cheyenne East. Semifinals.

The only two home playoff losses the Broncs have ever had have come in the 14-year streak, and they’ve come in the semifinals.

Natrona: I’m telling you, there’s a chance.

Against a dynasty at their place, sometimes that’s all you can ask for.

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Sheridan’s semifinal streak isn’t the only one continuing this year — for the fifth consecutive year, streaks to the championship doorstep for Cheyenne East and Cody also continue. Meanwhile, feel-good Wind River broke an 11-year streak of semifinal-less years by beating Lusk last week, and the Cougars’ semifinal road trip, just down the back road to Shoshoni, is significantly shorter than its quarterfinal trip to Niobrara County.

Meanwhile, where’s Upton-Sundance? The Patriots are out after seven straight years of semifinal berths, the longest such streak broken this year.

Six of the 10 games are rematches from the regular season, including both 4A and 1A six-man games. Meanwhile, Lovell and Torrington are facing each other for the first time ever. Rocky Mountain and Pine Bluffs are playing each other for the fourth time, but for the first time the game is in Laramie County (although Byron High did come to Pine for the 1948 six-man championship).

All that said, the semifinals shape up well this year — lots of contenders, a grand total of zero pretenders (legit, in all five classifications) and quite a bit of uncertainty.

This time of year, that’s how it should be.

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Here are the semifinal picks. If you don’t know what bold means by now, then I suggest you come here more often, get acquainted, grab a drink, settle in. We have fun here, and you should be a part of it.

Friday
Class 4A
(4) Natrona at (1) Sheridan: Natrona is tough and confident and will give the Broncs a tussle, but I think they might be a year away. Sheridan’s time is now, and it will show at Homer Scott Field.
(3) Cheyenne East at (2) Rock Springs: I love this matchup so much, and I think the Thunderbirds absolutely have the potential to knock off the Tigers on the road. But Rock Springs is rolling right now, and a 31-15 victory against the T-Birds just two weeks ago in the capital city has to give them confidence.
Class 3A
(2W) Jackson at (1E) Douglas: Douglas looked strong in its quarterfinal victory against Powell. The problem is that so did Jackson in wiping the floor with Buffalo. Any other year, 3A is Douglas’ to claim. But this isn’t any other year in 3A.
(3W) Star Valley at (1W) Cody: The Braves are the wild-card pick in 3A’s semifinal round; after starting 3-5, they’ve won three in a row and are playing as well as anyone. Cody, though, has been at that level all season.
Class 2A
(2E) Wheatland at (1W) Lyman: The annoying thing about Lyman is that the Eagles don’t do anything that stands out. Decent offense, decent defense, decent special teams. But darn if their TEAM isn’t the strongest all-around thing we’ve seen in 2A this year, and darn if they don’t know how to win.
(2W) Lovell at (1E) Torrington: Lovell’s six-game winning streak meets Torrington’s eight-game streak in the “something’s got to give” game. And after the way Cokeville put the fear of the ghosteses into the Trailblazers last week, Lovell could come down to Goshen County and win this one. Torrington’s still the fave, though.
Class 1A nine-man
(3W) Wind River at (1W) Shoshoni: I’ll admit it now: Wind River’s turnaround has been my absolute favorite story of 2021, regardless of classification. They’ve been so much fun. The Wranglers, meanwhile, don’t have time for those shenanigans.
(2W) Rocky Mountain at (1E) Pine Bluffs: If the undefeated Hornets are going to find a bugaboo, it might just be the we’ve-won-seven-in-a-row-but-somehow-we’re-still-under-the-radar Grizzlies who present it to them. In Cowley, it might be a different story, but in the air where you can smell the Nebraska corn, I like Pine.
Class 1A six-man
(4W) Dubois at (2W) Encampment: Dubois will be back — next year, and the following year — to this level. Encampment may be, too. For now, though, Encampment’s first semifinal home game in program history is theirs to take.
(3W) Meeteetse at (1W) Snake River: This scenario is exactly what the Rattlers wanted to avoid. Meeteetse was the only six-man team to actually hang with Snake River this season, eventually falling 29-23. I’ll take unbeaten Snake, but don’t overlook a Longhorn team that knows it can play, and beat, the best six-man has to offer.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Semifinals on the top of the page for this week’s schedule. Click here for a playoff bracket.

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Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 17-3 (85 percent). This season: 249-47 (84 percent).

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Did you make it this far? Prove it. Leave an angry emoji on this week’s Facebook post. As always, you can leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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

–patrick

Now that the regular season has come to an end and the 40 teams are set in their brackets, let’s take a quick look back at the regular season and highlight some teams that surprised, frustrated and grew this season:

Three biggest surprises: Wind River, Wright, Midwest. Zero expectations followed these teams into the 2021 season. Together, they combined for four victories in 2020, and entering 2021 didn’t give much of an indication of how much better each would be. Wind River jumped from 2-5 to 6-2; Wright went from 2-6 to 4-4; Midwest went from 0-8 to 4-4 and hosting a playoff game for the first time since 2013, the longest such streak broken in the first round this year. It’s not so much the leaps forward as how unexpected they were — Wind River had good numbers but a small senior class and a decade of losing seasons, Wright lost every all-conference player from a tough season in 2020, and Midwest was set to rely on a bunch of freshmen. Yet here they are, not only in the playoffs but solid contenders.

Three biggest frustrations: Cheyenne Central, Mountain View, Kaycee. Cheyenne Central and Kaycee, despite being worlds apart, have similar 2021 stories — high expectations after a solid season in 2020 that ended with a frustrating playoff loss, a slow start to the 2021 season, a Week 8 fight just to make it to the playoffs. Neither one expected to be in that kind of situation in August. Mountain View, meanwhile, is out of the playoffs for the first time in a decade after an injury-plagued 1-7 season that just snowballed. Hopefully for each program, 2022 brings brighter days.

Biggest building seasons: Evanston, Newcastle, Kemmerer. These three teams did not make the playoffs, but each made big steps forward as programs from where they were in 2020. Evanston was the feel-good story of the first half of the 3A season before stumbling down the stretch in West Conference play, but the Red Devils still finished 5-4. Newcastle was scrappy and tough and darn near earned a playoff berth before losing by two to Wheatland in Week 8. And Kemmerer, long dormant, got a couple solid victories and played tough otherwise, big steps for a program that exorcised the weight of two consecutive winless seasons during 2021.

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Now, the third season begins.

The 2021 playoff brackets have some familiar faces: Natrona is in the playoffs for the 30th consecutive season, Cokeville the 29th, Big Horn the 23rd, Douglas the 20th. But Dubois is in for the first time in five years, the longest playoff drought broken by any team in any of the five brackets this year.

Some usual suspects aren’t around, though: In addition to Mountain View missing out for the first time in 10 years, Farson is out for the first time in eight years.

Probably the best feel-good story of the first round is in Encampment, where the Tigers are hosting a playoff game for the first time in program history. Encampment has won five in a row and is 6-1 entering the postseason. For a team that’s only three years old, you can’t ask for much more than that — except for maybe the program’s first postseason home victory?

Speaking of which: 20 teams will win this weekend, while 20 other teams will see their seasons come to a close. Which ones will it be? Well, here are some thoughts, with teams I think will win in bold:

Class 4A
(8) Cheyenne Central at (1) Sheridan: The Indians stayed close to the Broncs in the regular season and could make this one interesting, but it’s tough to go against the Broncs at home in a playoff game.
(5) Thunder Basin at (4) Natrona: Natrona did the thing two weeks ago. I don’t know if the ‘Bolts will allow such dominance this time around, but NC’s was an impressive victory, one I can’t ignore.
(7) Kelly Walsh at (2) Rock Springs: The only 4A playoff rematch that wasn’t a close game in the regular season wasn’t close for a reason. The Tigers definitely have the upper hand here.
(6) Campbell County at (3) Cheyenne East: The Camels are a program on the rise, and East knows they will be problematic (see their regular-season matchup for proof). But I still like the defending champs here.
Class 3A
(4W) Powell at (1E) Douglas: It’s too easy to forget just how completely Powell handled Douglas in Week 3 when the Panthers won 17-0. This one might be closer, but Powell should be really confident here.
(3E) Buffalo at (2W) Jackson: Buffalo has had a nice season and will be competitive. But Jackson is thinking bigger than a date with the Bison.
(4E) Worland at (1W) Cody: When these two teams played in the regular season, Worland hung around and lost 35-21. But it wasn’t really that close, and Cody will show that.
(3W) Star Valley at (2E) Lander: The Tigers closed the season strong and won three in a row to earn hosting duties. And a home playoff game will be a nice consolation prize for the third year in a row.
Class 2A
(4E) Big Horn at (1W) Lyman: I’ll be honest: I did not see a repeat of 2020’s success coming for the Eagles in 2021. To the credit of the defending champs, they haven’t repeated 2020 — they’ve been even better.
(3W) Big Piney at (2E) Wheatland: Will the real Wheatland please stand up? If the Bulldogs do, they’ll be fine. If they don’t, the Punchers absolutely have the capability of winning on the road.
(4W) Cokeville at (1E) Torrington: No one likes to see themselves opposite Cokeville in their playoff bracket, especially as the Panthers try to send coach Todd Dayton off right in his final season. Watch for an inspired Panther group to make this a heck of a game.
(3E) Upton-Sundance at (2W) Lovell: Both these teams have been tough, darn tough, all season long. I think neither will go down without a fight. And I still like the Bulldogs at home.
Class 1A nine-man
(4E) Wright at (1W) Shoshoni: The Panthers come into the playoffs having lost three of their last four. A 7-1 Shoshoni team will be ready for whatever Wright tries to throw at them.
(3W) Wind River at (2E) Lusk: Wind River was the team I least expected to see at 6-2, yet here they are. And they may very well pull off this upset. The Tigers are the favorites, though… but only if they bring their “A” game.
(4W) Riverside at (1E) Pine Bluffs: Sorry, but this undefeated train ain’t stopping for the Rebels.
(3E) Southeast at (2W) Rocky Mountain: Game of the week? Quite possibly, as the defending champion Cyclones won’t fall easy and the Grizzlies know it.
Class 1A six-man
(4W) Dubois at (1E) Hulett: Playing the same team in Week 8 as you do in the postseason is always an awkward situation, especially when you know prior to Week 8 that you’re going to play a week later. Who learned what? Rams could be a spoiler…
(3E) Guernsey at (2W) Encampment: This week’s game against Guernsey is the first time the Tigers and Vikings have faced each other, the only such game in any bracket. As noted already, the Tigers have put together an impressive run so far. Encampment should keep rolling.
(4E) Kaycee at (1W) Snake River: The undefeated Rattlers figured out the winning formula early, and they’ve kept with it all season. No reason to think it will stop now.
(3W) Meeteetse at (2E) Midwest: I did not figure the Oilers as playoff hosts this year, and this will be a great boost to their program and their young guns. But Meeteetse is the better team this year.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 8” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule. Click here for a playoff bracket.

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Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 28-4 (88 percent). This season: 232-44 (84 percent).

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Who’s ready to pull a big first-round upset, and who’s read to leave a goose egg on the opponents’ scoreboard as they cruise on to the semifinals? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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

–patrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 8” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

+++

Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 27-5 (84 percent). This season: 194-40 (83 percent).

+++

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

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

–patrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+++

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+++

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

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

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

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

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 7” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

+++

Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 27-3 (90 percent). This season: 167-35 (83 percent).

+++

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

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

–patrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+++

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

+++

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

Thursday
Class 1A nine-man

Wind River at St. Stephens
Friday
Class 4A

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

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

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 6” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

+++

Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 24-6 (80 percent). This season: 140-32 (81 percent).

+++

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

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

–patrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evanston has been here before.

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

+++

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

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

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

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

+++

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

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

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

St. Stephens and Greybull canceled their game this week.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 5” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

+++

Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 28-3 (90 percent). This season: 116-26 (82 percent).

+++

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

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

–patrick

It’s not a stretch to call this week’s game between Wind River and Shoshoni the most important game in the 53-year history of their rivalry.

The series itself has been one of the most even in the state between two consistent rivals. They’ve met every year since 1969, when Wind River became a school after the consolidation of Pavillion and Morton. Wind River leads the series 29-26, and the average score has been 20-19.

Even, but not always important.

Despite being neighbors, separated by 35 miles of farm and range in Fremont County, and despite being relatively the same size and often in the same conference, Wind River and Shoshoni have never finished first and second, side by side, when paired in the same conference. That has rendered most regular-season games between the programs important in terms of rivalry but not in terms of conference championships or home-field advantage.

Also, their only playoff meeting came in the first round of the 2000 Class 1A Division I playoffs, a game undefeated Shoshoni unsurprisingly won against a .500 Cougar team.

Of the 55 games the Wranglers and Cougars have played, none has been bigger than that one.

This week’s game, scheduled for Thursday night in Shoshoni, could surpass it.

Already in 2021, every other team in the Class 1A nine-man West has at least one conference loss. Shoshoni and Wind River are the exceptions. They’re atop the conference standings at 2-0 and 1-0, respectively, with everyone else is chasing them.

Moreover, both are undefeated at 3-0, and both have a victory over the defending state champions in 1A nine-man, Southeast.

This game is more than just critical for the season. It’s historic for a rivalry that has been great on the field but has rarely has implications beyond bragging rights.

+++

Week 4 is chock full of critical games — lots of opportunities for teams to prove they belong in championship chases. And several games are just downright interesting:

Is Class 4A more than a two-team race? Even with four teams at 3-1, all chasing 4-0 Sheridan, it’s easy to think so. However, two 3-1 teams can jump immediately back into the War Memorial conversation this week. Both Natrona (playing at Rock Springs) and Cheyenne East (hosting Sheridan) have tremendous opportunities to turn the 4A conversation into something new. …

The Coal Bowl between Thunder Basin Campbell County is a heck of a lot more interesting this year considering the Camels’ two victories have been by more than 40 points each, while the ‘Bolts’ Ws have been a bit more modest. …

The 3A West never disappoints, and every week of the season is filled with huge games. This week’s a little more special, though, as the rivalry games between Jackson and Star Valley (in Afton) and between Powell and Cody (in Cody) will set the pace for the rest of the season. Moreover, both Cody and Powell are undefeated so far this year, creating some extra motivation that goes beyond just a county rivalry. (And, oh yeah, Evanston is 4-0 and playing at Green River. Like I said, never disappoints.)…

The 1A six-man West is also loads of fun, and Saturday’s game between Dubois and Snake River will be right at the top of the list of ones I’d love to see in person. The Rattlers are rolling, but the Rams are dangerous. …

Hanna took the last two weeks off, canceling games against East’s and Natrona’s sophomores. The Miners are (hopefully) entering this week’s game with Guernsey refreshed and healthy. But it’s weird to be at the end of September and seeing a team playing just its second game this year, and its first home game to boot.

+++

Each week, I surmise who I think will win and lose each game. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong, but I always note the teams I think will win in bold so you and I can look back after games are done and see just how much I’ve screwed it up that week:

Thursday
Class 2A

Big Piney at Lyman
Class 1A nine-man
Riverside
at Wyoming Indian
Wind River at Shoshoni
Friday
Class 4A

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

Saratoga at St. Stephens
Class 1A six-man
Dubois at Snake River
Guernsey-Sunrise at Hanna
Kaycee at Hulett
Interclass
Kelly Walsh sophs at Midwest
Natrona sophs at Encampment
Open: Farson.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 4” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

+++

Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 25-7 (78 percent). This season: 88-23 (79 percent).

+++

Which Week 4 game has you ready to make a trip across the state to see it, even if you don’t know any of the players? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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

–patrick

Unintentionally, the schedule-makers for Wyoming high school football made Week 3 an episode of “Survivor.”

Wyoming has 19 high school football teams that are still undefeated.

That number will take a huge dip this week, as six games pair off 12 of those undefeated teams.

The last two undefeated teams in 4A (Rock Springs and Sheridan), four of the five remaining teams in 3A (Douglas/Powell and Buffalo/Cody), four of the five remaining teams in 2A (Upton-Sundance/Wheatland and Lyman/Lovell) and the last two undefeated teams in the 1A nine-man East (Pine Bluffs and Saratoga) all play one another this week.

And each game has its own special place in a week full of opportunity.

The “real” game of the week, or at least the one that will draw the most attention, is in 4A, where Rock Springs travels to Sheridan for the last battle of unbeatens we’ll see in the big-school ranks this season. The Tigers and Broncs have truly been mirrors of each other, and that’s most obvious in their point totals each team has accumulated in their respective 3-0 starts. Rock Springs has a scoring differential of 141-25; Sheridan, 144-20.

But the other games are just as critical, and deserve just as much love.

In 3A, both Douglas-Powell and Buffalo-Cody match up 3A teams that are undefeated. These games won’t affect playoff seeding, but by the time the brackets settle, they could definitely end up influencing playoff strategy.

Upton-Sundance (2-0) hasn’t lost. Neither has Wheatland (3-0). Something’s got to give. Meanwhile, uh… stop me if you’ve heard this before. Lyman (3-0) hasn’t lost. Neither has Lovell (2-0). Something’s got to give. And both games could end up deciding top seeds before the season finishes.

Finally, Pine Bluffs and Saratoga are the only ones to emerge unscathed so far in the 1A nine-man East. Oddly enough, Saratoga’s first game (62-8 over Wyoming Indian) equals Pine Bluffs through two games (30-0 over Riverside plus 32-8 over Lusk equals 62-8).

The only undefeated teams to avoid the “Survivor” tribal council are Evanston, Tongue River, Shoshoni, Wind River and the four zero-loss six-man teams (Hulett, Snake River, Dubois, Farson). They will all have to survive their own games this week to stay in the Goose Egg Club, though, including road games for all four six-man teams.

+++

Unbeaten matchups are fun, but a handful of other games also have an outsized amount of my attention this week:

The Oil Bowl between Kelly Walsh and Natrona is the first 4A rivalry game to hit the calendar this year, and after both Casper teams started 2-1, I’m optimistic this one will be close. And that’s all you can ask for in a rivalry game. …

Evanston is 3-0, which I didn’t see coming, and that makes every game the Red Devils play intriguing to me. This week, the Red Devils have Lander, a tough challenge but a setup for a heck of a game nonetheless. …

Thermopolis was put into quite a bind the last two weeks, unable to practice or to play — or even attend in-person classes — due to COVID-19. The Bobcats play their first game of the season at home against Kemmerer, already two games behind but with no lost opportunities to finish the season strong. Kemmerer, meanwhile, is coming off its first victory in 18 games, so the Rangers have to feel good about what’s possible in a weird set of circumstances this week. …

Glenrock-Burns is the most intriguing 2A game this week. Fight me. …

Wind River won by 50 last week. Are the Cougars for real? Well, how about a date agains the defending state champs, Southeast, in Goshen County? That’ll do. …

+++

Now, the picks, where I put the teams I think will win in bold and leave the rest to your imagination:

Friday
Class 4A

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

Dubois at Meeteetse
Farson at Encampment
Interclass
Natrona sophs
at Midwest
Open: Kaycee. Also, Hanna canceled its game this week with the Natrona sophs.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 3” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

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Here are the results of my picks from last week and this season:

Last week: 28-4 (88 percent). This season: 63-16 (80 percent).

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Which Week 3 game looks like your can’t miss? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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–patrick

Updated at 9:21 p.m. Sept. 16 to fix reference to Wheatland in blog post.

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