Quick: Name the first consensus all-America college football player who grew up in Wyoming.

Even the most seasoned Wyoming sports trivia veteran might struggle to come up with the name that answers this question. The reason makes sense, though: The first all-America pick to come from the Equality State never played football in the state, opting instead to make a name for himself back east before returning to Wyoming.

Richard “Dick” Luman was a consensus all-America choice while playing end at Yale in 1924. The Pinedale native is believed to be the first Wyoming native to be chosen as a consensus all-America football player.

A photo of Richard "Dick" Luman from the Dec. 14, 1924, Chicago Tribune.
Richard “Dick” Luman is highlighted as an all-America football team selection in this article from the Dec. 14, 1924, Chicago Tribune.

Luman was born in 1900 in Sublette County into a prominent ranching family. For secondary school, he attended Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, which eventually led him to Yale. As a Bulldog, he emerged as an equally effective offensive and defensive player at end and a hard-to-stop center for the basketball team.

In 1924, Luman earned consensus all-America status by being named to two of the six all-America teams — the All America Board team and the International News Service team. He was one of four ends to earn consensus all-America status.

He was also named the Yale basketball team’s captain in 1925.

After Yale, Luman lived in a few different places before he returned to work the Luman family ranch near Pinedale. He later embarked on a career of public service. He served in both the Wyoming Senate and House of Representatives before becoming the chairman of Wyoming’s state Board of Equalization and Public Service Commission; he was also Wyoming’s deputy state treasurer. His career ended in 1969.

Luman died on his 73rd birthday — April 26, 1973 — in Houston, Texas, where he had been living with his son, Edgar.

The list of college all-American football players with roots in Wyoming is indeed short; looking only at consensus all-Americans produces a list that’s even shorter. At a glance, I can’t find any other consensus all-America choices with Wyoming roots — something beyond being born in the state’s borders. Does that make Luman the first, and only, of his kind? Trivia buffs can help me out with this one. I’d love to hear from you! Comment below.


If you just look at the cumulative effect of NSI Academy’s scores from the 2007 season, you would not have expected much from the Wolves.

For the year, the Wolves were outscored 281-150.

And with a score differential like that, what kind of record would you expect?

Well, there’s some math we can do to figure that out.

Using something called the Pythagorean expectation, the Wolves — who played 10 games that season — would have been roughly expected to finish with a record of about 2-8. After all, most teams with that kind of score differential across that many games finish with about that kind of record.

But the Wolves finished 6-4. They won 4.2 more games than the Pythagorean model would have expected them to.

And across more than 100 years of Wyoming high school football, the Wolves’ 4.2 wins above expectation is the highest difference for a single team in state history.


Here’s the math part, as simplified as I can make it: In short, the Pythagorean expectation model looks at a team’s scoring differential and then tries to estimate what a team’s win-loss record should be based on that differential alone. For example, a team that goes 4-4 and finished with a scoring differential of zero would have a Pythagorean score of 0.0 — and the logic follows that you’d expect a team that scored as many points as it gave up to have a .500 record.

A positive Pythagorean score means you won more games than the model would predict; a negative Pythagorean score means you lost more. (For a breakdown of the math used in this post, check out Wikipedia’s article on Pythagorean expectation.)

For a more recent example of the Pythagorean model, let’s look at the 2023 season, and two teams that share a both a 2023 victory total and a first letter: Worland and Wright.

Worland, playing in Class 3A, finished 3-6. Wright, a Class 1A nine-man team, finished 3-5. So we would expect their point differential to be about the same, right?

Well… Would you believe that Wright outscored its opponents 201-124, while Worland was outscored 286-69?

The Pythagorean expectations vary greatly because of those totals. Through that math, we would have expected Wright to win 6.1 games out of its eight with that kind of scoring margin. Instead, Wright won three, giving Wright a score of negative 3.1 (3 wins minus 6.1 predicted wins = negative 3.1). Meanwhile, we’d expect Worland to win 0.3 games out of its nine, so the Warriors’ Pythagorean score is a positive 2.7 (3-0.3=2.7).

In short: With their score differentials, Wright should have won about six games; Worland should have won zero. Instead, both teams won three games. Together, they were the biggest outliers of the 2023 season, Wright the team with the lowest number of victories from what would be expected from their season point differential, Worland the highest.

But they are still far from some of the biggest single-season outliers we’ve ever seen.


Across the 5,469 Wyoming high school football seasons where a team played at least five games, the Pythagorean expectations correctly predicted a team’s record within one game in 3,596 cases, or about 66% of the time. (Yes, I ran the math for all 5,469.)

The outliers, though — like NSI’s 2007 season — are the most interesting.

NSI’s 2007 season was by far the biggest outlier on the positive side. On the negative side, well… meet Rawlins, whose 1928 team had a Pythagorean win expectation of 7.3 wins over their eight games. The Outlaws finished the season with a 151-56 point differential. Still, Rawlins only mustered a 3-3-2 record, a Pythagorean win expectation that was -4.3 fewer than expected. It’s the lowest mark in state history.

Oddly enough, just two years later, basically the same thing happened to Rawlins, which tied with Green River’s 1940 team for the second-worst Pythagorean outcome in state history. That year, Rawlins outscored opponents 112-41 and had a Pythagorean win expectation of 8.2 across nine games. The Outlaws went 4-4-1, a -4.2 below expectations.

The Pythagorean expectations can also be extrapolated to predict winning percentage, as well. Below are some of the best and worst outcomes we’ve seen using the Pythagorean expectations model for teams that played a minimum of five games in their season:

Best Pythagorean win differences (overachievers)
1. NSI 2007 (+4.2): Predicted 1.8 victories, actual record 6-4, point differential 150-281
2. Gebo 1932 (+3.6): Predicted 1.4 victories, actual record 5-3, point differential 66-126
3. Cheyenne East 2008 (+3.4): Predicted 3.6 victories, actual record 7-3, point differential 207-263
4t. Glenrock 1995 (+3.3): Predicted 1.7 victories, actual record 5-4, point differential 85-157
4t. Greybull 1991 (+3.3): Predicted 1.7 victories, actual record 5-3, point differential 93-161
4t. Kemmerer 1981 (+3.3): Predicted 1.7 victories, actual record 5-4, point differential 80-146
7t. Cody 1926 (+3.2): Predicted 1.8 victories, actual record 5-2, point differential 72-113
7t. Natrona 1945 (+3.2): Predicted 1.8 victories, actual record 5-4, point differential 75-134
7t. Big Piney 2007 (+3.2): Predicted 2.8 victories, actual record 6-3, point differential 122-169
10t. Evanston 2021 (+3.1): Predicted 1.9 victories, actual record 5-4, point differential 135-238
10t. Torrington 1980 (+3.1): Predicted 0.9 victories, actual record 4-3, point differential 42-94
10t. Lovell 1976 (+3.1): Predicted 0.9 victories, actual record 4-5, point differential 64-161
13t. Midwest 1956 (+3.0): Predicted 1.0 victories, actual record 4-5, point differential 65-160
13t. Cody 1953 (+3.0): Predicted 1.0 victories, actual record 4-4, point differential 113-261
13t. Pine Bluffs 1975 (+3.0): Predicted 1.0 victories, actual record 4-4, point differential 65-147
16t. Rawlins 1931 (+2.9): Predicted 1.1 victories, actual record 4-3-1, point differential 47-103
16t. Wright 2005 (+2.9): Predicted 4.1 victories, actual record 7-4, point differential 123-153
18t. Ten Sleep 1978 (+2.8): Predicted 1.2 victories, actual record 4-4, point differential 66-139
18t. Cody 1978 (+2.8): Predicted 1.2 victories, actual record 4-5, point differential 60-132
18t. Star Valley 1974 (+2.8): Predicted 1.2 victories, actual record 4-4, point differential 79-162
18t. Superior 1955 (+2.8): Predicted 1.2 victories, actual record 4-4, point differential 84-172
18t. Lingle 1925 (+2.8): Predicted 0.2 victories, actual record 3-7, point differential 58-274

Worst Pythagorean win differences (underachievers)
1. Rawlins 1928 (-4.3): Predicted 7.3 victories, actual record 3-3-2, point differential 151-56
2t. Rawlins 1930 (-4.2): Predicted 8.2 victories, actual record 4-4-1, point differential 112-41
2t. Green River 1940 (-4.2): Predicted 7.2 victories, actual record 3-2-3, point differential 94-37
4. Cheyenne Central 1920 (-4.0): Predicted 8.0 victories, actual record 4-3-2, point differential 98-40
5t. Torrington 1925 (-3.9): Predicted 6.9 victories, actual record 3-4-1, point differential 159-72
5t. Green River 1965 (-3.9): Predicted 5.9 victories, actual record 2-3-3, point differential 115-74
5t. Lingle 1936 (-3.9): Predicted 7.9 victories, actual record 4-2-3, point differential 71-31
8. Torrington 1922 (-3.8): Predicted 7.8 victories, actual record 4-5, point differential 222-101
9t. Kemmerer 1956 (-3.7): Predicted 7.7 victories, actual record 4-4-1, point differential 149-70
9t. Green River 1929 (-3.7): Predicted 6.7 victories, actual record 3-2-2, point differential 72-20
11t. Sheridan 1954 (-3.6): Predicted 7.6 victories, actual record 4-3-2, point differential 168-81
11t. Natrona 1936 (-3.6): Predicted 10.6 victories, actual record 7-1-3, point differential 156-40
11t. Kemmerer 1931 (-3.6): Predicted 9.6 victories, actual record 6-2-2, point differential 169-46
11t. Rawlins 1940 (-3.6): Predicted 9.6 victories, actual record 6-3-1, point differential 191-52
Since 2000:
1. Burlington 2005 (-3.5): Predicted 8.5 victories, actual record 5-4, point differential 322-101
2. Mountain View 2000 (-3.3): Predicted 8.3 victories, actual record 5-5, point differential 253-131
3. Wright 2023 (-3.1): Predicted 6.1 victories, actual record 3-5, point differential 201-124
4t. Rock Springs 2019 (-3.0): Predicted 7.0 victories, actual record 4-6, point differential 246-172
4t. Sheridan 2020 (-3.0): Predicted 10.0 victories, actual record 7-4, point differential 390-148
6. Pine Bluffs 2011 (-2.9): Predicted 7.9 victories, actual record 5-4, point differential 196-84

Best Pythagorean win percentage differences (overachievers)
1. Superior 1944: Predicted win percentage 0.083, actual win percentage 0.600, difference +0.517, point differential 21-58
2. Cody 1926: Predicted win percentage 0.256, actual win percentage 0.714, difference +0.459, point differential 72-113
3. Gebo 1932: Predicted win percentage 0.178, actual win percentage 0.625, difference +0.447, point differential 66-126
4. Torrington 1980: Predicted win percentage 0.129, actual win percentage 0.571, difference +0.442, point differential 42-94
5. Rawlins 1931: Predicted win percentage 0.135, actual win percentage 0.563, difference +0.428, point differential 47-103
6. Lovell 1942: Predicted win percentage 0.158, actual win percentage 0.583, difference +0.425, point differential 38-77
7. NSI 2007: Predicted win percentage 0.184, actual win percentage 0.600, difference +0.416, point differential 150-281
8. Greybull 1991: Predicted win percentage 0.214, actual win percentage 0.625, difference +0.411, point differential 93-161
9. Sunrise 1949: Predicted win percentage 0.208, actual win percentage 0.600, difference +0.392, point differential 100-176
10. Guernsey 1937: Predicted win percentage 0.215, actual win percentage 0.600, difference +0.385, point differential 33-57
Since 2000:
1. NSI 2007: Predicted win percentage 0.184, actual win percentage 0.600, difference +0.416, point differential 150-281
2. Big Piney 2007: Predicted win percentage 0.316, actual win percentage 0.667, difference +0.351, point differential 122-169
3. Evanston 2021: Predicted win percentage 0.207, actual win percentage 0.556, difference +0.349, point differential 135-238
4. Cheyenne East 2008: Predicted win percentage 0.362, actual win percentage 0.700, difference +0.338, point differential 207-263
5. Saratoga 2015: Predicted win percentage 0.070, actual win percentage 0.375, difference +0.305, point differential 98-291

Worst Pythagorean win percentage differences (underachievers)
1. Sundance 1933: Predicted win percentage 0.834, actual win percentage 0.333, difference -0.500, point differential 79-40
2. Gebo 1930: Predicted win percentage 0.884, actual win percentage 0.400, difference, -0.484, point differential 59-25
3. Sunrise 1939: Predicted win percentage 0.875, actual win percentage 0.400, difference -0.475, point differential 59-26
4. Wheatland 1981: Predicted win percentage 0.816, actual win percentage 0.375, difference -0.441, point differential 133-71
5. Cowley 1925: Predicted win percentage 0.576, actual win percentage 0.143, difference -0.434, point differential 82-72
6. Lingle 1940: Predicted win percentage 0.931, actual win percentage 0.500, difference -0.431, point differential 132-44
7. Torrington 1925: Predicted win percentage 0.867, actual win percentage 0.438, difference -0.430, point differential 159-72
8. Torrington 1922: Predicted win percentage 0.866, actual win percentage 0.444, difference -0.422, point differential 222-101
9. Rawlins 1942: Predicted win percentage 0.916, actual win percentage 0.500, difference -0.416, point differential 107-39
10. Rawlins 1930: Predicted win percentage 0.915, actual win percentage 0.500, difference -0.415, point differential 112-41
Since 2000:
1t. Burlington 2005: Predicted win percentage 0.940, actual win percentage 0.556, difference -0.384, point differential 322-101
1t. Wright 2023: Predicted win percentage 0.759, actual win percentage 0.375, difference -0.384, point differential 201-124
3t. Mountain View 2000: Predicted win percentage 0.828, actual win percentage 0.500, difference -0.326, point differential 253-131
3t. Pine Bluffs 2011: Predicted win percentage 0.882, actual win percentage 0.556, difference -0.326, point differential 196-84
5. Lusk 2019: Predicted win percentage 0.803, actual win percentage 0.500, difference -0.303, point differential 304-168


As Sheridan enters the 2024 season on a 31-game winning streak, the talk of a state record is inescapable.

Sheridan is just three games away from tying, and four games from breaking, the winning streak of 34 games set by Laramie from 1959-63. The Broncs are also six games from breaking Worland’s unbeaten streak of 36 games (34-0-2), set from 1953-56.

Already, Sheridan’s winning streak is the longest of the past 60 years of Wyoming high school football.

But four games from the winning streak record and six games from the unbeaten streak record, another football winning streak from a Wyoming high school looms like a ghost over them all.

Now-defunct Byron High School, a community in northwestern Wyoming that now provides a big chunk of the students for Rocky Mountain High School, has a streak that could top them all.

The Eagles, in a streak from 1945 to 1950, won 43 consecutive games. Or 42. Or 35. Or 33. Or 28. Or maybe it was a conference winning streak. Not sure.

That uncertainty of the actual length of the streak keeps it from being listed at the claimed length of 43 on this site’s state record streaks.

We do know when the streak ended. Here’s a portion of a report in the Billings Gazette from Oct. 14, 1950:

“The Cowley Jaguars, relying heavily on a good passing attack, defeated the Byron six-man football team, 35 to 6, at Byron Friday to halt a 43-game winning streak by the Eagles who established a national record. The Big Horn Basin conference defeat was the first for Coach W.A. Mower’s team since 1944.”

Yep. A Wyoming team held the national six-man record for consecutive victories.

Well, allegedly.

Of the 43 games claimed as a part of this streak, only 28 can be verified — one to end the season in 1945, four in 1946, five in 1947, seven in 1948, eight in 1949 and three to start the season in 1950.

Trying to count Byron’s 43 victories feels like chasing ghosts, a pursuit of phantom games that exist only in a tally but not independently, separate from it.

The problems in the count are immediately evident from the report above. We know Byron lost at least one game in 1945, that a 34-12 loss to Bridger, Mont., on Oct. 26. Already, we have a direct contradiction to the idea in the article that the streak started in 1944. That said, the loss to Bridger was a nonconference game, and Byron’s last conference loss did come in 1944, that a 54-6 loss to Basin.

So maybe the streak was just conference games? If the Bridger loss in 1945 isn’t counted, the streak grows to 33. Byron’s final game of the 1944 season was a 46-0 loss to the Heart Mountain JV team. If you don’t count that nonconference game, then the streak grows to 35, with that 48-point loss to Basin interrupting the win streak — except, one thing. We don’t know what date the Basin game was played on.

With all that in mind, we have a much harder time figuring out when the streak started in the midst of all of that rigmarole.

Finding the starting point isn’t the only problem. Games also might be missing from the middle of the streak.

A Nov. 6, 1946, Billings Gazette report says Byron had “six conference wins” during the 1946 season by a total margin of 241-66 for the Eagles’ “second undefeated season.” (Again, are we not counting that Bridger loss in 1945?) But only four games in that season are accounted for. Chasing ghosts.

A year later, a Nov. 15, 1947, Billings Gazette report says the 1947 Eagles finished 6-0 in conference play with a scoring margin of 271-66. But only five games are listed in the article — not coincidentally, the five games listed on this site. The game had to come before Oct. 17, though… as an Oct. 20, 1947, report in the Gazette noted Byron’s victory against Cowley was the team’s fourth consecutive victory that season. On this site, it’s Byron’s third game. Another phantom.

Finally, as the Eagles polished off another championship in 1949 by beating Reliance in the title game, another Billings Gazette report said the title-game victory was Byron’s 40th in a row over a five-year period; another Gazette report earlier in the month said Byron hadn’t lost since losing to Bridger in 1944. Two problems: Byron and Bridger didn’t play in 1944; they played in 1945. And a five-year period only goes back to 1945.

To get to 43 victories between the Bridger loss on Oct. 26, 1945, and the Cowley loss on Oct. 13, 1950, the Eagles would have played more than eight games per season. It’s possible… but knowing the Eagles only played six games in 1947, right in the middle of the streak, puts a big question mark on the veracity of that mark of 43. Right now, no full season in Byron’s streak has more than eight verified games.

In short, right now, the only way Byron’s streak gets to 43 consecutive victories is if you don’t count losses. And, well, that’s antithetical to the idea of a winning streak. Even then, we’re still eight games short.

Let’s make this a little more confusing. A note in the May 3, 1951, Casper Star-Tribune said the “Six-man Football” magazine listed Byron’s national record at 42 games, not 43. The Billings Gazette echoed the 42-game mark in an article in December of that same year. The reason for all this attention to Byron’s record at the end of 1951? Well, the record, whatever it was, did not last a year. Claremont, South Dakota, overtook Byron for the national six-man record and had won 44 straight by the end of the 1951 season on its way to a 61-game winning streak.

I have always been hesitant to list Byron’s alleged 43-game winning streak as Wyoming’s best. The math just never added up. The ghosts are just too elusive.

Yet, as Sheridan engages in a chase for state records this fall, I felt it was important to at least acknowledge the possibility that the Eagles did, indeed, win 43 straight. It’s possible the Eagles have had the record all along. It’s possible that Sheridan could go 12-0 again in 2024 and still only have enough victories to tie Byron for the record.

But I don’t believe in ghosts. I believe in what I can see. For now, I see 28 games. And for me, that’s what Byron’s win streak has to be.


“Sometimes the distance from point A to point B is not always a straight line. Sometimes it takes funny curves along the way.” –Jackson football coach Jim Rooks, speaking to the Jackson Hole Guide, Nov. 11, 1986

In the history of Wyoming high school football, no championship chase has seen more curves than the Class 3A championship race from 1986.

In that season, six different teams were ranked No. 1, and neither of the two teams ranked No. 1 in the final two weeks of the regular season played in the state championship game. Every team in the classification finished with at least three losses. Neither the East nor the West Conference had an undefeated champion. And every single top-ranked team eventually fell victim to “the curse.”

Ultimately, the Class 3A title race of 1986 was one where several teams had a chance, but seemingly none of them wanted to win.


(Optional but recommended: To establish the correct atmosphere for reading this post, I recommend that you click on the following YouTube video and let it play in the background as you read.)

The preseason buzz in Class 3A heading into 1986 was where it belonged: squarely on the shoulders of the defending champions. In 1985, Evanston overcame a pair of early losses and swept through the 3A West part of its schedule. The Red Devils, in doing so, earned the right to host the championship game, and once there Evanston blew out Torrington by 39 points to win its first championship since 1951.

But Evanston had a problem. All six of its all-state choices had been seniors, and none of the seniors entering 1986 were returning starters, leaving the defending champs inexperienced all over the field — and, as it turns out, overrated.

A bunch of suitors were ready to take the Red Devils’ place. As a Class 3A preseason story in the Casper Star-Tribune on Sept. 5 of that year noted in its lead: “At least eight teams could win the 1986 3-A state title…”

There was Torrington, runner-up the year before and talented. There was Glenrock, 6-2 the year before and experienced on the backfield. There was Douglas, 5-4 in 1985 but with a dozen returning starters. There was Star Valley, traditionally tough and rebuilding. There was Wheatland, steadily improving and just a year removed from the title it had earned in ’84. There was Jackson, which brought back eight senior starters. There was Powell, which boasted 21 returning lettermen in the senior class alone. And then there were Buffalo, Worland, Newcastle and Thermopolis, all eager to prove they, too, belonged in the discussion.

Then came Week 1, the first curve in the road.



Of those 12 Class 3A teams, only three earned victories to open the season — Glenrock’s 14-8 nail-biter against Thermopolis; Jackson’s 27-0 shutout of Livingston, Montana; and Star Valley’s 15-14 squeaker against Rock Springs.

Preseason No. 1 Evanston lost, 15-12 to Green River. So had No. 2 Torrington, losing 12-7 to Kimball, Neb. So had No. 3 Wheatland, losing 12-6 in overtime to Cheyenne East. So had No. 5 Douglas, taking a 19-6 beating from Rawlins.

Jackson’s Broncs, the only ranked team to win, shot to the top of the polls.

Rankings after Week 1: 1. Jackson, 2. Evanston, 3t. Torrington, Star Valley, 5. Wheatland.



If Week 2 was supposed to bring stability to the Class 3A race, it didn’t.

Jackson’s good fortune ran out in a 12-10 loss to South Fremont, Idaho. Defending champion and No. 2 Evanston lost again, this time 28-0 to Rawlins. And Torrington lost again, this time 24-6 to Cody.

Just like that, the three teams ranked 1-2-3 all lost.

Star Valley emerged as the shining beacon of hope in the second week, taking out Bear Lake, Idaho, 13-3 to join Wheatland (35-8 over Thermopolis) as the only ranked teams to win. Meanwhile, Powell — idle in Week 1 — made a statement by beating Buffalo on the road, 13-6, and Glenrock improved to 2-0 by beating Morrill, Neb., 34-18.

And in a game few people paid attention to at the time, Worland knocked off Douglas 14-6. By the time the season would finish, both teams would be key players in the championship race; right now, it was a nonconference game between two unranked opponents.

Rankings after Week 2: 1. Star Valley, 2. Wheatland, 3. Glenrock, 4. Jackson, 5. Powell.



In three weeks of rankings and two weeks of play, three different West teams had enjoyed the top spot in the rankings. Star Valley, lightly regarded but still a threat after a 2-6 season in 1985, became the first to enjoy it, taking a bye in Week 3 and keeping the threats to the No. 1 spot at bay.

Meanwhile, Wheatland caved to the pressure. As did Jackson. As did Powell. All three ranked teams lost: No. 2 Wheatland 43-17 to Rock Springs, No. 4 Jackson 7-6 in overtime to Green River and No. 5 Powell 7-0 to Cody. Once again, it was Glenrock — unranked to start the season — that came out on the other end victorious, a 15-8 W against Rawlins to its credit.

But defending champ Evanston lost, again, as did Worland; Buffalo beat a JV team; Torrington barely survived against a smaller Mitchell, Neb., team. Who wants to win this thing?

Rankings after Week 3: 1. Star Valley, 2. Glenrock, 3. Jackson, 4. Powell, 5. Wheatland.



Star Valley’s first chance to defend its No. 1 ranking went just as well as it had for the other teams who had been in the same position so far this year.

Not well.

The Braves couldn’t put a single point up against Green River, falling 6-0 and losing their grip on the top spot in the rankings in the process. And they lost that No. 1 spot to… Glenrock, which couldn’t screw up its fast start while taking a bye week.

But Jackson lost, as did Wheatland — Jackson 23-13 to Lander, Wheatland 36-6 to Rawlins — as the majority of ranked teams again lost. Powell was the only ranked survivor, and even that wasn’t all that impressive, a 20-14 overtime victory against a struggling Riverton program. Evanston and Worland also lost nonconference games, but the East started to take shape as Douglas beat Buffalo 14-0 to move to 2-0 in league play.

At this point, 3A teams were a combined 17-28.

Rankings after Week 4: 1. Glenrock, 2. Star Valley, 3. Powell, 4. Torrington, 5. Jackson.



By virtue of its non-loss against “bye” in Week 4, Glenrock jumped into the top spot of the 3A rankings heading into Week 5.

Guess what? The Herders promptly lost, continuing a streak of losses by 3A No. 1 teams — who were now 0-4 while playing with that ranking to start the 1986 season.

A 17-0 thumping at the hands of unranked Wheatland ended the Herders’ perfect start and sent them freefalling down the East Conference standings, where Douglas and Wheatland shared the top spot at 2-0 despite mirroring overall records of 2-3. While Wheatland was beating Glenrock, Douglas was losing, again, this time to Scottsbluff, Neb., in a game that didn’t affect the conference race.

In the 2-vs.-3 matchup between Star Valley and Powell, the higher-ranked team lost. Because of course they did, as was now tradition in 1986 3A play. Powell survived the trip to Afton and left victors, 24-22, and were the highest-ranked team to win that week.

Torrington did survive despite being in the rankings, blanking downtrodden Newcastle 21-0, and Jackson, too, came away victorious, 22-6 against Worland in a game that few realized the importance of at the time.

Rankings after Week 5: 1. Powell, 2. Torrington, 3. Glenrock, 4. Star Valley, 5. Jackson.



The Powell Panthers had earned their spot atop the 3A rankings, coming in with a 3-1 record and a focus on ending the curse that had plagued No. 1 teams all year.

Did it work?

Do you even need to ask?

Final score: Worland 3, Powell 0.

Just like every other 3A No. 1 team before them, Powell failed at its opportunity to retain its prestige.

Two East teams, however, proved up to the pressure. Both Torrington and Glenrock won — the Trailblazers beating rival Wheatland 27-12 and Glenrock edging past Buffalo 21-7 — to justify their spots. And Star Valley won big, 41-6 over Thermopolis.

As for Jackson? Well, winless Evanston (Remember Evanston? This is a story about Evanston.) picked up its first victory of the year, and how, in a 27-7 shellacking of the Broncs in Uinta County. With the victory, Evanston was now the lone remaining undefeated team in West Conference play at — get this — 1-0.

Rankings after Week 6: 1. Torrington, 2. Glenrock, 3. Star Valley, 4. Powell, 5. Douglas.



Just seven weeks into the season, Torrington became already the sixth different Class 3A program to be voted to the top of the rankings.

For their sins, Torrington was scheduled to face Glenrock, who just happened to be ranked second and was the only one-loss team remaining in 3A at 4-1. (Remember how Wheatland beat Glenrock 17-0? Yeah, Wheatland, now 2-4 and unranked… yeah.)

But curses don’t last forever, and the Trailblazers did everything they could to end this stupid trend. And they did just that, embarrassing the Herders on their own field in doing so in a 35-0 Trailblazer road romp.

No. 1 had finally proven worthy of the ranking.

No. 3 wasn’t, though. Star Valley’s resurgence ended with a 22-21 loss to Worland that sent the Braves to the West Conference cellar at 0-2 in league play. Evanston couldn’t keep its West record spotless any longer either, though, and Powell’s 32-0 beatdown of the Red Devils turned some heads.

Torrington looked set. With Wheatland beating Douglas 20-13 to KO the No. 5 team, the Trailblazers were alone as the only undefeated team in East play. And they were still No. 1.

Rankings after Week 7: 1. Torrington, 2. Powell, 3. Glenrock, 4. Star Valley, 5. Worland.



At home, No. 1, in control of their postseason destiny and facing an unranked team with a losing record, Torrington had every reason to be confident heading into Week 8 against Douglas.

But the curse? The one they had buried deep in the end zone in Glenrock? Well, it crawled out of the dirt, attached itself to the team bus before it left town, hung around Goshen County for a few days and showed up at Wiseman Field right around kickoff to take a big ol’ dump on Torrington’s plans. At the end of it all, Torrington had lost control of everything — ranking, championship hopes, all of it — in a 12-6 loss to Douglas.

No. 1, losers again.

The East race was just as exciting in the middle, as Buffalo upset Wheatland 22-7. Heading into the final week of the regular season, five of the six playoff-eligible East teams — Douglas, Torrington, Wheatland, Glenrock and Buffalo — were still alive for the conference championship. ADs actually set plans for what would happen in case of a five-way tie for the East title, which was a mathematical possibility.

Powell smelled its opportunity to jump back to No. 1 all the way from Goshen County, and the Panthers made good by shellacking Thermopolis by 40. But Star Valley couldn’t make good on its ranking, losing to Jackson for the first time since 1981, 17-6, to all but fall out of title contention. And Worland barely survived against one-win Evanston, 15-8.

Rankings after Week 8: 1. Powell, 2. Torrington, 3. Glenrock, 4. Worland, 5. Douglas.



Powell was in the absolute dumbest of situations as the No. 1-ranked team heading into the final week of the regular season.

Powell and its Week 9 opponent, unranked Jackson, were both 2-1 in the West. They were both chasing Worland, which was 3-1 and off playing winless Thermopolis in a nonconference game to end the regular season.

If Powell lost, Jackson and Worland would tie, and Jackson would win the tiebreaker. If Powell won, Powell and Worland would tie, and Worland would win the tiebreaker.

So despite being top-ranked, tied with Glenrock for the best 3A record (5-2) and potential conference co-champion, Powell’s season would end against Jackson, no matter what.

You could call it a curse. But this was simply a case of one team having something to play for and the other one not. Jackson took that spot, beating Powell 12-0 in the shadows of the Tetons to tie for the conference title, win a tiebreaker and earn its spot in the 3A championship game.

Yes, that Jackson. The one that’s not anywhere to be found in this week’s rankings, that entered the final week at .500, victim of the curse in Week 2, losers to one-win Evanston. Those guys. Title game.

And No. 1 had lost again.

Meanwhile, in the East, it was Douglas — ranked behind conference rivals Torrington and Glenrock — that has the biggest say in its postseason fate. With the potential five-way tie looming, the Bearcats did their part to avoid it, beating Converse County rival Glenrock 25-22 to win the East’s bid to the title game. Never mind what Torrington did. Incidentally, the Trailblazers beat Buffalo 8-0. Didn’t matter. With both teams at 4-1 in league play, Douglas had won the tiebreaker with its victory against Torrington (the curse game last week).

Ranked No. 5 to start the week, Douglas was in. And hosting.

Rankings after Week 9: 1. Torrington, 2. Douglas, 3. Jackson, 4. Powell, 5. Wheatland.

Standings after Week 9
Douglas 5-1 5-4
Torrington 4-1 6-3
Wheatland 4-2 4-5
Glenrock 3-3 5-3
Buffalo 3-3 4-5
Newcastle 1-5 2-7
Thermopolis 0-5 0-9
Jackson 3-1 5-4
Worland 3-1 5-4
Powell 2-2 5-3
Star Valley 1-3 4-4
Evanston 1-3 1-7



Entering the final week of the regular season, Jackson was unranked, Douglas was No. 5. Now, with identical nonthreatening 5-4 records, and with neither team sporting the No. 1 ranking (no threat of a curse, at least…), they faced off for the 3A championship.

Again, the question arose: Does anyone actually want to win this thing?

Douglas took a 16-0 lead in the third quarter, but the fact that the Bearcats only had 16 points after four Jackson turnovers, including several in Douglas territory, kept the momentum from totally swinging Douglas’ way. Once Jackson did get on the board to cut it to 16-8, Douglas lost the momentum war and fumbled deep in its own territory. However, when Jackson scored again to make it 16-14, the Broncs couldn’t convert on the potential game-tying 2-point conversion.

Late in the fourth quarter, Douglas fumbled, again, near midfield, and Jackson got a big pass play to get inside the Bearcat 5-yard line. But three rushes produced less than three yards, meaning the foot of Bill Wiley — later head coach of the Broncs, but just a sophomore lineman/kicker at the time — would be the one to decide it all.

For once, someone decided that No. 1 wasn’t such a bad thing.

Wiley’s field-goal kick from 19 yards was true. Douglas’ last drive ended with an interception, and Jackson ran out the clock to win the title 17-16 in the weirdest, wackiest, most curse-ridden season across a single classification in state history.



As defending champion, Jackson started the 1987 3A season ranked No. 1. The Broncs lost to Lander 29-7 in their season opener.


On eBay right now, you can buy this custom license plate supporting the Powell Panthers.

If you happen to live in eastern Park County, it would be a pretty cool move to have one of these hanging in your office or den.

It’s just that your dollars would be going to Tennessee, not Wyoming.

And that is because Wyoming’s orange-and-black Powell High School Panthers are not the only orange-and-black Powell High School Panthers in America.

In fact, Wyoming’s cats share a name, a mascot and a set of colors with Powell High School in Tennessee.

Powell is one of two Wyoming high schools to share a name, a mascot and a color scheme with another American high school. Campbell County’s Camels have doppelgangers in Alexandria, Kentucky. I mean, come on — none of these shirts would look out of place in Gillette. But your dollars would support the Bluegrass State.

Using MascotDB.com’s search capabilities, I found that Campbell County and Powell are the only two Wyoming high schools to have their name and colors replicated by another high school program somewhere else in America. That said, three others have had their name and mascot repeated — just not their colors.

The United States is a big country. Those kinds of repeats are understandable.

But I still think it would be fun to settle it, once and for all, on the field.

I’d like to see the two Powell teams and the two Campbell County teams on each other’s schedules next year. And, heck, let’s make the stakes high: Winner gets to keep their mascot and colors. Loser has to change at least one of them.

Logistics aside — distance, cost, 4A round-robin schedule, the fact that no one at any of these four schools would actually want to risk giving up their identity on the result of one game — it’s a fun thought. If the visual identity of your entire school or community was on the line, how hard would you play? How hard would you cheer? How many shirts or novelty license plates would you buy? And, wait a minute… isn’t having a twin actually kind of fun?

Regardless, if you ever find yourself in Alexandria, Kentucky, or Powell, Tennessee, keep your eyes peeled. You just might see a little slice of Wyoming.


From the perspective of a fan who has no rooting interest, a close game always makes for a more interesting experience than a blowout.

And from that perspective, Wyoming’s six-man classification in 2022 may have given us some of the most boring football we’ve ever seen.

Last year in Class 1A six-man, the chances were significantly better that the game would end with a running clock than in a down-to-the-wire finish — and it wasn’t even close.

More than 61% of six-man games in 2022 (36 of 59) ended with the winning team winning by at least 45 points, the cutoff point for the mercy-rule running clock. This included all seven playoff games. Only two of those 59 six-man games (3.4%) were decided by a margin of a single possession or less. Overall, only 10 of those 59 games last season were decided by less than 20 points.

The average margin of victory was 44.3 points.

Not all that exciting.

The hope is that the blowout trend in 2022 was just an anomaly. After all, the 61% blowout rate was the highest at the six-man level since its return to Wyoming in 2009. And the 3.4% single-possession game rate was the lowest.

Blowouts have always been more plentiful than single-possession games, but the differences in 2022 were stark:

YearTotal gamesMargin 45 or moreMargin 8 or lessPercent finishing with mercy rulePercent single-possesison

Some hope that 2023 might return to some kind of normalcy is the fact that the 2021 season was maybe six-man’s most exciting. In that season, 20% of six-man games finished as one-possession games, the highest rate since six-man’s return in 2009.


The two things we all could use more of are time and money.

And if I had both of those things in an unlimited supply, I would use it to venture around the state, catching football game after football game.

Work through the scheduling and travel logistics, and I could make it to 31 games over the nine regular-season weeks of the year. And, after consulting the 2023 schedule, here’s what I’d hit up, when I’d hit it up and why I’d hit it up to enjoy the season without time or money worries:

Week 0
Thursday, Aug. 24
: Kemmerer at Cokeville scrimmage, 4 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 25: Malad, Idaho, at Lyman, 3 p.m.; Kelly Walsh at Rock Springs, 6 p.m.
The only Zero Week Thursday action is in Lincoln County, so a Southwest swing makes the most sense. Picking up the Eagles in some interstate action, plus a 4A game to cap the weekend, is a good way to start a busy season.

Week 1
Tuesday, Aug. 29
: Casper Christian at Meeteetse, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 31: Shoshoni at Pine Bluffs, 4 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 1: Riverside at Southeast, 2 p.m.; St. Stephens at Lingle, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 2: Burlington JV at Casper Christian, 1 p.m.
The only Tuesday game of the year is one of the Week 1 highlights. The Thursday game between Shoshoni and Pine Bluffs, a rematch of last year’s 1A nine-man title game, is the can’t miss game of the week, but seeing the two Goshen County nine-man teams is also an opportunity that’s not worth missing. The only in-state game on Saturday is Casper Christian, again, so we’ll see the Mountaineers, Wyoming’s newest football program, twice in a week.

Week 2
Friday, Sept. 8
: Lovell at Cokeville, 1 p.m.; Sugar-Salem, Idaho, at Star Valley, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 9: Dubois at Snake River, 2 p.m.
Lincoln County gives us two of what might be the best games of Week 2, so it made sense to hit up both of them. It’s a long drive from Afton to Baggs on Saturday morning, but worth it to see what might be the most important six-man game of the year.

Week 3
Thursday, Sept. 14
: Rocky Mountain at Wyoming Indian, 5 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 15: Ten Sleep at Kaycee, 2 p.m.; Kelly Walsh at Natrona, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 16: Farson at Casper Christian, noon; Burlington at Midwest, 5 p.m.
We’re a little all over the place, but that’s OK — in the middle of everything is the Oil Bowl, and that should make it all worth it. Saturday’s schedule allows us to pick up two more six-man games in Natrona County, so why not?

Week 4
Thursday, Sept. 21
: Big Piney at Wind River, 5 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 22: Meeteetse at Burlington, 2 p.m.; Douglas at Worland, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 23: Shoshoni at Rocky Mountain, 2 p.m.
The 1A nine-man West Conference should be crazy this year, and no two games personify that better than the Thursday and Saturday games in Week 4. In between are two more Bighorn Basin games that should be worth the admission price.

Week 5
Friday, Sept. 29
: Sheridan at Cheyenne East, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 30: Midwest at Hanna, noon.
Other options could have gotten me more games, but there’s absolutely no way I’m missing the Sheridan-East game, a rematch of last year’s 4A championship game. So with that game the priority, others had to fall by the wayside — except Hanna.

Week 6
Thursday, Oct. 5
: Ten Sleep at Meeteetse, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 6: Star Valley at Cody, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 7: Wyoming Indian at St. Stephens, noon.
Again, other ways could have landed more games, but Star Valley-Cody was must-see football last season and could be again this season. I’m not taking the risk of missing it.

Week 7
Thursday, Oct. 12
: Rocky Mountain at St. Stephens, noon.
Friday, Oct. 13: Big Horn at Tongue River, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 14: Kaycee at Hulett, 11 a.m.
For the third straight week, I’m taking quality over quantity and finally making my way up to the far Northeast corner. The Thunder Bowl between Big Horn and Tongue River will be huge this year, at least on paper, and I wouldn’t want to miss it.

Week 8
Thursday, Oct. 19
: Cokeville at Lyman, 4 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 20: Douglas at Lander, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 21: Burlington at Dubois, 1:30 p.m.
The Week 8 schedule is heavy on Friday night games, and with a Thursday schedule that’s heavily skewed toward teams on the west side of the state, this schedule will do quite nicely.

What’s your can’t-miss game of the 2023 season, at least before the season starts? Leave a comment below.


The Wyoming high school football preview magazine — which I write every summer — mentions several hundred Wyoming high school football players before each season.

Every once in a while, though, somebody who should be a part of their team’s story that year isn’t there.

Sometimes, the reasons are explainable, and some reasons more common than others. Moved away. Ineligible. Transferred. Decided to focus on another sport. Had a falling out with a coach. Incarcerated.

In a dozen years of preview magazines, and almost 20 years of covering high school football in the Equality State, I’ve heard all of these.

But sometimes, when I ask the question “What about ____?”, I can hear an audible sigh from the coach, followed by silence on the other end of the line.

I know what’s coming.

That teenager is dead.

Usually, the coach fills me in on the details. I’ve talked to coaches that have had players who have died in car crashes, drowned on rafting trips, been accidentally shot, and more.

But the hardest reason to hear, by far: He killed himself.

I can’t help but feel my heart break harder for those deaths than the others. And I know why — it’s because that could have been me.


During my freshman and sophomore years in high school, depression manifested in me in the kinds of changes that few people could notice. Even I struggled to see it in the moment. In retrospect — through both individual introspection and therapy — I see it much more clearly, though. Specifically for me, my depression came out in small bits of anger and frustration that grew increasingly more frequent as I got older. By the time I turned 16, right at the start of my sophomore year, I had mastered the “non-response.” If someone said something that brought out my ever-more-frequent feelings of anger or frustration, I stared daggers, but my face didn’t change and my voice stayed silent.

What people didn’t see was how often I turned those daggers inward, beating myself up for my perceived shortcomings. As those moments became more and more frequent, they slowly became tied to thoughts of suicidal ideation.

From an outside perspective, my depression could have simply looked like basic teenager stuff. What teenager doesn’t occasionally come off like a jerk? That’s part of growing up; not every jerk is depressed, and not every depressed person is a jerk. In fact, on a traditional depression checklist, I didn’t hit many of the key indicators that would normally indicate clinical depression.

No matter what, though, the idea of not being there was hard for me to escape.

I didn’t realize that I was struggling as hard as I was until I had an epiphany during my sophomore year. In an instant, I realized something wasn’t right. I asked my parents for help, and fortunately they listened and acted. I started taking antidepressants and going to therapy.

The brain chemistry started changing, slowly at first, although a higher dose of Prozac accelerated the good changes. Therapy gave me more tools to handle my daggers and keep them from stabbing me.

Recovery was proof: I wasn’t broken. I was sick.

Today, more than 20 years later, the sickness still lingers. But now I know how to keep that sickness from killing me.

Unfortunately, not everyone receives that help.


The coaches I talk to always struggle to find the words. Their words represent the same words uttered by family, friends, mentors, community members. We’re never ready for it. Why him? Why now?

I think the surprise is misplaced. In Wyoming, we should be ready for it. And that sucks.

Wyoming ranked first — or last, depending on how you want to look at it — in per capita suicides in 2021, with a rate of 32.3 suicide deaths per 100,000 people, in the last full year that CDC data is available. Wyoming also led the country in per capita suicides in 2020. And 2019. And 2018.

Suicide is the No. 2 cause of death in Wyoming for people from ages 10-44. Men die more often than women, and in Wyoming, 75% of suicide deaths involve a firearm.

Some good news? Wyoming’s rates fell in 2022.

But that’s in the aggregate. The individual suicides remain — holes in families, communities, schools and teams that will remain unfilled.

That’s why we have to talk about it.

I believe the only reason I’m alive is that I felt comfortable talking about my emotional darkness with someone I trusted. Maybe most importantly, I had engaged in difficult, emotional, vulnerable conversations already with people that I trusted, and they had shown me they were ready to handle them. Friendship and rapport are a start; love, trust and vulnerability are even better.

Conversation isn’t the sole solution. Even the most trusting and open relationship may not be enough to save someone. But it’s a start.

From the Wyoming Department of Health: If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of harming themselves, please call 911. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or text “WYO” to 741-741 for the Crisis Text Line. 


Since the institution of overtime in 1975, Wyoming high school football has had 283 games go into overtime. Some of those games came in the most high-stakes situations — games that decided conference titles, playoff appearances, playoff games or even state championships.

From that group of 283, here are the top 10 overtime games in state history, followed by the “next 10” and then 26 others I found fascinating in their own right.

The top 10

N7/2014 Campbell County 34 Cheyenne East 31 4A SF-2OT: The only OT game of 2014 season gave the Camels a spot in the 4A championship game. Talon Nelson’s 20-yard TD catch in the second overtime boosted the Camels past the Thunderbirds after East could only notch a field goal in that session. Gillette rallied from a 21-7 fourth-quarter deficit with two touchdowns to force overtime. 

N15/2013 Powell 19 Douglas 13 3A Championship-at Laramie-OT: In a battle of undefeated teams, Powell survived thanks to Hayden Cragoe’s 1-yard run in overtime and won its third consecutive state championship. Powell’s defense had two interceptions, a blocked extra point and a stuff of Douglas’ fourth-and-1 run in OT, all in advance of Cragoe’s score.

S18/2009 Kelly Walsh 28 Natrona 27 2OT: The Trojans rallied from a 21-0 third-quarter deficit thanks to three touchdowns and an interception on defense from Lucas Nolan. Then, after a scoreless first overtime, the Trojans got a score from Riley Moore to take the lead. A Clay Brownell touchdown pulled Natrona within one, but Cormick Eaton stopped Brownell on the 2-point conversion attempt to give KW the Oil Bowl victory.

N4/2005 Cheyenne Central 23 Natrona 20 5A SF-OT: The Indians rallied from a 17-3 third-quarter deficit to force overtime and upset the Mustangs. The game-tying touchdown from Corey Wheeler in the final minute pushed the game to extra time. Bryan Hill’s 1-yard run sealed the game after Natrona had to settle for a field goal on its OT possession. The Indians beat East in the 5A championship the next week.

O26/2001 Glenrock 33 Big Piney 34 3A SF-OT: Big Piney survived this semifinal thriller only after squandering a 27-0 first-quarter lead. Glenrock rallied to score 27 points of its own in the second and third quarters, setting up overtime. Glenrock’s missed extra point in OT was the difference. Big Piney won the 3A championship the next week.

N3/1990 Rawlins 0 Torrington 6 3A SF-OT: Rawlins, which entered the game at 3-5, nearly pulled off the upset of the century against the undefeated Trailblazers. The only points of the game came on the final play, when Jory Kaufman caught a 7-yard pass from Lance Petsch. Torrington won the 3A title the next week.

O17/1986 Midwest 14 Big Horn 21 OT: Top-ranked Big Horn beat second-ranked Midwest in a game that decided a playoff spot, as the 7-1 Oilers stayed home for the postseason. Peter Pelissier scored the game-winning touchdown and also recovered a Midwest fumble in overtime. But getting to OT was tough for Big Horn, which rallied from a 14-0 deficit with 14 fourth-quarter points. Cecil Garland’s 84-yard touchdown catch with 40 seconds remaining, and Rich Garber’s conversion run, tied the game at 14 and sent it to overtime – that is, after a Midwest touchdown pass with 8 seconds remaining was called back by a penalty.

N5/1983 Buffalo 13 Evanston 12 3A Championship-OT: Evanston missed two chances to win the Class 3A championship – one a field goal on the final play of regulation, the other a 2-point conversion attempt that ended with Buffalo tackling David Petersen just short of the end zone. Steve Pabst scored the game-winner for Buffalo, and Eric Thompson provided the extra point; Brent Sanders brought Evanston within one before opportunity slipped by, again.

O23/1982 Saratoga 28 Moorcroft 20 B SF-OT: Despite trailing 20-0 early in the third quarter, Saratoga rallied and scored the game’s final 28 points, including three touchdowns by David Jones (who ran for 214 yards) and the OT winner from Rob Pigg. The victory sent Saratoga to the Class B championship.

N13/1976 Laramie 40 Cody 41 AA Championship-3OT: One of the most famous championship games in state history, the Broncs beat the Plainsmen in triple overtime to win the Class AA title in Laramie coach John Deti Sr.’s final game. Cody rallied from a 20-8 halftime deficit, and Rob Russell’s extra point in overtime was the difference after the Broncs blocked Laramie’s kick in that frame. Both teams had scored 2-point conversions in the first overtime and missed conversions – Laramie a run, Cody a kick – in the second OT.

The next 10 best

S30 and O3/2022 Lander 29 Riverton 28 OT: This game was delayed in first quarter due to lightning and eventually postponed to the following Monday, but the drama more than made up for the delay. Gabe Harris’ catch on a 2-point conversion cemented the victory for the Tigers in the Fremont County rivalry game that was odder than most.

O2/2020 Sheridan 31 Natrona 38 4OT: Believe it or not, this one was 10-10 in regulation. Natrona scored TDs on all four of its overtime possessions, including three by QB Tyler Hill, and then recovered a fumble by Sheridan on the final play of the game.

N2/2007 Campbell County 34 Cheyenne East 35 5A SF-2OT: The Camels almost produced the most epic goal-line stand in state history, but Alex Stratton scored on a 1-yard plunge on fourth down, and Jeremy Kurz kicked the critical extra point, to boost East into the 5A championship. East blocked the Camels’ extra point attempt in the second OT to set up the opportunity for the final margin. East won the 5A championship a week later.

N9/2002 Star Valley 14 Worland 17 4A Championship – OT: Casey Lass’ 18-yard field goal, shorter than an extra point, was the final play of a defensively focused games where points were in short supply. Marc Bradshaw scored both of Worland’s touchdowns, as the Warriors avenged an 18-16 loss from earlier in the season and won despite being outgained by nearly 100 yards.

O30/1993 Cokeville 22 Southeast 21 1A SF-OT: The Panthers went for the win and reaped the benefits, as Rick Himmerich’s 2-point conversion gave Cokeville the victory. The Panthers led 14-0 early but Tim Williams scored three touchdowns for Southeast to keep the Cyclones in it. Cokeville won the 1A 11-man championship one week later.

N10/1990 Lovell 20 Thermopolis 21 2A Championship-OT: Richie Mitchell’s extra point in overtime gave the Bobcats the 2A title and an undefeated season. Rick McKinney scored twice for Thermopolis and Kovi Christiansen scored twice for Lovell, although the OT touchdowns went to Steve Montanez (Lovell) and Corey Wahler (Thermopolis).

O9/1987 Lovell 22 Greybull 14 OT: Three touchdowns by Steve Sessions, including the go-ahead score in overtime, was the deciding factor that got Lovell into the playoffs, and kept Greybull out, as the Bulldogs marched toward their eventual Class 2A championship. Sessions’ 4-yard score in OT held up as Greybull failed to score on its possession.

O21/1983 Laramie 3 Cheyenne Central 6 2OT: One of Wyoming’s more controversial overtime finishes, the Indians were given new life after the first overtime when their potential game-winning field goal was blocked. Laramie’s John Cowper picked up the blocked kick and ran, but officials blew the play dead. Then, in the second overtime, Laramie scored a field goal but Andre Rudolph’s touchdown ended it all. Laramie protested to the WHSAA, but to no avail. If Laramie would have won, it would have created four-way tie for first in the old EWAC; as it was, Central won outright and beat Rock Springs easily in the 4A championship game.

O3/1980 Evanston 13 Star Valley 14 OT: Star Valley’s Class A championship season never happens without this victory against the Red Devils, who were ranked No. 1 at the time and would have eventually won the conference title (and booted the Braves from the playoffs entirely) if they had gotten this victory. However, the Braves held out the Red Devils on a two-point conversion attempt, as Jamie Lowe’s 2-yard run, and Tod Spencer’s PAT kick, just moments earlier held up.

S9/1977 Newell (SD) 34 Upton 26 5OT: The Wyoming Bobcats and the South Dakota Irrigators combined for a state record for the number of overtimes. After a 14-14 regulation, neither team scored in either of the first two overtimes and then matched each other with 12 combined points in third and fourth overtimes. Brian Pope had the winning touchdown and conversion run in the fifth overtime for Newell, scores that Upton couldn’t match.

The boxscore from the Rapid City Journal for the game between Upton and Newell, S.D., from 1977.

The boxscore from the Rapid City Journal for the game between Upton and Newell, S.D., from 1977.

26 others worth your time

S16/2022 Lovell 12 Lyman 6 OT: Jared Mangus’ 6-yard touchdown run on the final play dictated the champion of the 2A West and ended Lyman’s 20-game winning streak.

S13/2019 Laramie 41 Campbell County 48 OT: The victory that broke the Camels’ 21-game losing streak was a wild shootout where 35 points came in the fourth quarter alone. Kaden Race’s 12-yard run and a subsequent defensive stand gave the Camels the victory.

O28/2016 Pinedale 14 Big Horn 20 2A QF-OT: Big Horn’s march to the 2A title almost ended in the first round. The Rams were down 14-0 at half and, even after two scores from Colton Williams, still needed two interceptions in the red zone in the fourth quarter to push it to OT.

S6/2013 Cheyenne East 42 Natrona 41 3OT: The loss, punctuated by a bobbled snap on the final play of the game on an extra-point try, was a portend of things to come for snakebit NC, which lost three OT games that year and four games by one point.

O28/2011 Evanston 27 Cheyenne East 28 4A QF-OT: Jeremy Woods had three touchdowns, including East’s overtime touchdown, to send the Thunderbirds into the 4A semifinals. Extra points were the difference, as East made its kick in OT after Evanston missed its try. East rallied from a 14-0 halftime deficit.

S24/2010 Campbell County 27 Sheridan 24 OT: The Camels needed 17 points in the fourth quarter just to get to overtime (an offensive explosion in a game that was 3-0 at halftime), and Jordan Rueschhoff’s two field goals – one with 28 seconds remaining, the second on the final play of the game – gave the Camels the Energy Bowl victory.

N5/2010 Buffalo 24 Cody 21 3A SF-OT: Cody went for the win, but Aaron Tyser made sure the Broncs didn’t get it. Tyser’s tackle on Brady Gulde on fourth-and-2 in overtime – when Cody could have kicked a field goal which, if good, would have prompted a second overtime – sent the Bison to the 3A championship game. Wyatt Witty’s field goal in overtime provided the winning points, which cemented Buffalo’s rally from a 14-0 deficit.

O17/2008 Buffalo 14 Douglas 21 OT CST: In a preview of the 4A championship game that came less than a month later, the Bearcats won the East Conference and secured home-field advantage for the playoffs. Douglas overcame a 14-0 first-quarter deficit to win, with Cody Bohlander’s 10-yard run and a subsequent defensive stand did the trick.

N8/2008 Powell 27 Douglas 28 4A SF-2OT: Cody Bohlander was a busy guy. His 2-point conversion run after a Powell penalty gave the Bearcats just enough to win. Bohlander also scored a 3-yard TD with less than a minute remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime and also scored on another 3-yard run in the second overtime to set up the winning score. Douglas won the 4A title the next week.

S14/2007 Big Horn 13 Riverside 12 OT: In a preview of thriller of a title game a few weeks later, the Rams came out on top thanks to Colby Wollenman’s extra point, sealing the victory after Riverside’s 2-point conversion had failed on their preceding overtime possession. The Rebels got their revenge, though…

O29/2004 Guernsey-Sunrise 24 Burlington 21 1A SF-OT: Shawn King’s field goal in overtime was the difference for the Vikings, who won their first state title in school history the next week.

O28/2000 Cheyenne Central 21 Laramie 27 4A SF-OT: Laramie rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter and scored the game-tying points on David Milam’s 14-yard touchdown catch from Jackson Hoopes with 20 seconds remaining. James Grimes’ 10-yard run sealed the Plainsmen’s berth in the 4A championship game.

O1/1993 Cheyenne Central 20 Natrona 21 2OT: Natrona scored 14 points in the final 57 seconds of regulation on a pair of Josh Kalinowski touchdown passes to send the game to overtime. After a scoreless first overtime, Chase Anfinson’s 10-yard touchdown gave Natrona its lead. Central scored but missed its conversion.

O11/1991 Cheyenne East 21 Cheyenne Central 22 OT: In a season where neither Cheyenne team did much, Central’s victory, assured by Ty Alexander’s touchdown and subsequent 2-point conversion, was the season highlight in the Capital City.

O26/1991 Pine Bluffs 22 Moorcroft 14 1A QF-OT: Pine Bluffs had to score a touchdown and a 2-point conversion with no time remaining in the fourth quarter just to get the game to overtime – and did just that. The Hornets drove more than two-thirds of the field in the final 33 seconds; once in overtime, Duane Gilbert’s 1-yard run gave the Hornets the points they needed.

N2/1991 Star Valley 20 Torrington 13 3A SF-2 OT: In a game the Casper Star-Tribune said was played in minus-28 wind chills, the Braves’ Kade Kennington scored the only touchdown of the second OT period with a 2-yard touchdown run to send the defending state champs packing on their home field. Kennington scored twice in the game, including an 87-yard run in the first quarter.

O20/1989 Douglas 31 Glenrock 37 4OT: Mick Lehner’s final game as the head coach of the Herders was a memorable one, as the Converse County rivals went blow for blow four overtimes deep. Bruce Johnston’s 2-yard TD run sealed the game; Jake Hagar’s fumble recovery of a Bearcat bobble in the first half of the fourth OT gave the Herders the opportunity. It was the second of three consecutive overtime games over three seasons between the Herders and Bearcats.

O25/1988 Green River 0 Evanston 7 1/2 playoff-at Rock Springs OT: This victory in a half-playoff game launched Evanston into the playoffs. Then the Red Devils knocked off Laramie in Laramie in the semifinals to reach the 4A title game. Shortly after beating Riverton 6-3 in the first half of the triangular playoff, the Red Devils and Wolves played a scoreless half of football. Garth Wagstaff sealed the victory with an interception on Green River’s first play of overtime; Jason Mitchell had scored Evanston’s only touchdown of the playoff moments before.

S4/1987 Big Horn 45 Riverside 45 3OT-tie: Can’t get much weirder than this. The game should have gone into a fourth overtime, but the officials mistakenly called the game after three extra frames, resulting in a tie. Becket Hinckley scored six touchdowns for Riverside, while six different players scored touchdowns for Big Horn.

O9/1981 Moorcroft 12 Sundance 13 OT: Greg Taylor’s 10-yard touchdown catch from Corey Vail, followed by Brian McInerney’s extra point, gave the Bulldogs their first playoff berth in school history. Moorcroft’s Rock Mirich scored on Moocroft’s possession, but when the Wolves went for two, Neil Warden bobbled a potential game-winning catch. However, the Wolves needed Warden’s 84-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter just to get into overtime.

S8/1978 Lingle 12 Pine Bluffs 6 OT; S29/1978 Southeast 0 Lingle 6 OT: Lingle had to win two overtime games in September to secure the Texas Trail championship and a spot in the Class B playoffs in October, where the Doggers eventually finished as runners-up. Bruce Mowry’s 7-yard run supplied the victory against Southeast.

O7/1977 Meeteetse 32 Ten Sleep 26 2OT: Meeteetse’s TD in the second overtime gave the Longhorns the Big Horn Basin’s northern section crown and eventually a spot in the Class B playoffs. The teams matched each other score for score in a 20-20 regulation. Clair Bennion and Guy Watts each scored twice for Meeteetse.

O21/1977 Star Valley 26 Kemmerer 32 2OT: Russell Lee of Star Valley had a dynamite game, scoring on runs of 92 and 75 yards as well as a 97-yard kickoff return, but the Braves couldn’t convert on fourth-and-goal from the 1 in the second overtime, opening the door for Kemmerer. Matt Fagnant scored the winner for Kemmerer, and Jim Joslin added three touchdowns of his own for the Rangers.

S11/1976 Big Piney 12 Lyman 18 4OT: In a parity-filled Southwest Conference, Lyman’s eventual Class B state championship run was almost thrown off by last-place Big Piney in early September. Clyde Gillespie’s touchdown pass to Russ Eyre in the fourth overtime was the difference.

N1/1975 Pinedale 6 Basin 0 B SF-OT: The first overtime playoff game in modern times went to the Wranglers, who won a defensive struggle behind Neil Reed’s 9-yard touchdown in the extra frame. Basin actually out-gained Pinedale 175-132 but couldn’t punch in a score. Pinedale won the Class B title the next week.

S5/1975 Basin 30 Tongue River 24 2OT: Wyoming’s first overtime game went double, as Basin ended Tongue River’s 18-game winning streak and gave the Eagles their first loss to a Wyoming team in four years. Mike Dellos scored three times for Basin, including both Basin touchdowns in overtime.

Don’t see an overtime game on these lists that you think should be on here? Let me know in the comments below! I was limited in what I could share here by what I could find online. If the game you think deserved more attention isn’t on this list, you’re probably right! I wasn’t able to find details on every single overtime game, unfortunately, and I KNOW there were other OT games that had big stakes and fascinating endings that I just couldn’t find anything about. Also, I didn’t want to touch on EVERY overtime game, which by their nature are thrilling. All 283 games could have made this list. Which one was YOUR most memorable?


The NCAA basketball tournament — “March Madness” — is the best sporting event in America. This is simply a fact, not a debate.

That experience is only one small step from being replicated at the high school level in Wyoming.

With only 67 boys teams and 66 girls teams playing high school basketball in Wyoming in 2023, the conditions are almost perfect for what could be the state’s greatest sporting event: a one-classification, single-elimination, all-teams-invited state basketball tournament.

The scheduling for such an event isn’t as crazy as it seems. Over one week, Wyoming’s own version of March Madness could take place across four basketball courts, likely in Casper; between boys and girls, it would be 126 games, plus five “pigtail” games, something that could be accomplished in six days. I broke it down, and the logistics are possible.

And let’s face it: The tournament would be awesome.

Seeding the teams

Each team in the state would be seeded either 1-67 (boys) or 1-66 based on a ranking system, to be determined. For now, we’ll use last season’s Maxpreps ratings for boys and girls, which have their own problems but will suffice as an example of what’s possible.

Scheduling logistics

The first-round games would be Monday and Tuesday, with boys games one day and girls games the other, rotating every other year. With 32 games to be played, eight games apiece could be played at the Ford Wyoming Center, Casper College, Natrona County and Kelly Walsh using a schedule similar to the first-day schedule already in use by the WHSAA — 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (The last four games are an hour earlier than the current schedule, just to keep things rolling.)

Pigtail games, or “first four” games, could be played on Monday/Tuesday morning in nearby gyms, such as Glenrock or Midwest, or at one of the middle-school gyms in Casper such as Centennial, Dean Morgan or CY, which are all capable of hosting a small high-school game. The schedule would be set so that pigtail winners would play in the late time slots on Monday/Tuesday night.

The second-round games would come on Wednesday, with another 32 games (16 boys, 16 girls) to be played at the four main sites, with sites rotating every year between boys and girls.

Thursday brings third-round games, or the Sweet 16 round. With only 16 games to be played, eight games apiece could be staged at the Ford Wyoming Center and Casper College, with boys and girls rotating sites annually.

Friday is the fourth round, the Elite Eight, with four games apiece between boys and girls to be played that afternoon and evening at the FWC and CC.

Saturday brings us the Final Four and championship rounds, all at the FWC, with semifinal games at 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. … and championships at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Just like the NCAA Tournament, there would be no consolation rounds. When you lose, you’re done.

Here’s what the 2023 brackets would look like for boys and girls using the Maxpreps rankings at the end of the season, boys first:

Then girls:


With a one-class, single-elimination tournament, the need for regional tournaments is eliminated. Without a need to qualify for state, the qualifying tournament can go away.

The “time out of school” argument also loses a bit of sway here, too. With regional tournaments, every team in the state — more or less — is already missing two days of class, and those who qualify for state are missing two more. In the proposed all-comers state tournament, since more than half the teams leave after the first round/pigtails, most teams would only need one day out of class to participate. Additionally, teams that play in the Monday round could potentially return to school and have class on Tuesday, and then return to the tournament for continued play on Wednesday. Three-quarters of teams would be back in class by Thursday morning.

Also, with classifications eliminated for state, regular-season scheduling could take on a whole new dynamic. Teams would no longer be required to schedule certain conference teams and could instead focus on a regionalized schedule that reduces travel or a more challenging schedule with more challenging teams to prepare for the rigors of the state tournament — or to boost that power ranking for a better seed.

And upsets! The potential for upsets and Cinderella runs is heightened in a single-elimination, all-class affair.

Are you serious?

I’m only half-joking when I suggest this. Wyoming’s setup now is absolutely fine and in line with what other states do to crown state basketball champions.

But there’s something inside me that thinks it’d be a lot of fun to watch every team battle it out across a week in Casper.

Forget the NCAAs. This would easily replace it as the must-watch sporting event of the year.


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