One takeaway that Week 0 gave us in 2020?

August football and November football are two different things.

Cheyenne East, the Class 4A champion in 2020, suffered its only loss of the season in its August season opener against Thunder Basin, 34-28.

The two teams met again 11 weeks later, in November, in the 4A championship, with East winning 29-15.

East and Thunder Basin will play in Week 0 again this year, starting the 2021 season the same way the 2020 season ended.

In Class 4A, we know from the experience East and Thunder Basin had last year that who wins this week in August doesn’t necessarily have an advantage come November.

Moreover, a regular-season loss doesn’t mean a title-game loss to the same team is inevitable.

East in 2020 made it back-to-back seasons in 4A where a regular-season loss was followed by a championship victory against the same team. East repeated Sheridan’s 2019 path. The Broncs lost their 2019 regular-season game to Thunder Basin but won the championship.

That phenomenon has happened two other times since 4A began its round-robin regular-season scheduling in 2009. Sheridan also did the same, to Campbell County, in 2015, and Natrona got revenge on a regular-season loss to Sheridan in 2010.

Those instances are a reminder not to read too deeply into the first week of results, especially in Class 4A. A team’s August heat doesn’t always last through November’s winds.

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A couple other things caught my eye for opening weekend:

Week 0 has numerous interesting contests on the schedule, but if I really wanted to see a lot of action, I’d set up camp near Hell’s Half Acre and go to both Casper and Shoshoni. A bunch of nine-man teams will scrimmage Friday in Casper and Saturday in Shoshoni, a great opportunity to see how teams stack up against another team without worrying about their record. …

The only new Class 4A coach in Wyoming, Paul Ronga, makes his debut with the Laramie Plainsmen at home against Sheridan, while the only new 2A coach, Glenrock’s Paul Downing, debuts against the Natrona sophs at home. The other four new head coaches in the state are in 1A nine-man; two of those four coaches will be in Shoshoni on Saturday. …

Interstate matchups in Zero Week are always fun to watch. Every single one of the nine on the schedule this week look like they’ll be close, solid matchups. I’m particularly curious to see how Torrington, Lyman, Jackson and Meeteetse — teams that played in their respective title games last year — do agains their interstate foes.

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On to this week’s picks. Projected winners are in bold, but I love a good upset.

Friday
Class 4A

Campbell County at Rock Springs
Kelly Walsh at Cheyenne South
Natrona at Cheyenne Central
Sheridan at Laramie
Thunder Basin at Cheyenne East
Class 3A
Powell at Riverton
Interclass
Natrona sophs at Glenrock
Wheatland at Rawlins
Interstate
Big Piney at Bear Lake, Idaho
Burns at Yuma, Colo.
Evanston at Ben Lomond, Utah
Gering, Neb., at Torrington
Hot Springs, S.D., at Newcastle
Malad, Idaho, at Lyman
Meeteetse at Bridger, Mont.
Star Valley at Summit Academy, Utah
Teton, Idaho, at Jackson

The rest of the schedule…

Jamborees and Scrimmages
Friday

Buffalo at Big Horn
Cokeville, Green River JV at Kemmerer
Douglas at Cody
Dubois, Guernsey-Sunrise, Midwest at Encampment Jamboree
Lingle at Pine Bluffs
Lusk, Shoshoni, Wind River, Wright at Casper Jamboree (Natrona)
Mountain View at Green River
Pinedale at Lander
Saturday
Greybull, Riverside, Rocky Mountain, Saratoga at Shoshoni Jamboree
Lovell at Tongue River
Moorcroft vs. Southeast, at Lusk
Worland at Thermopolis
Open: Burlington, Farson, Hanna, Hulett, Kaycee, St. Stephens, Snake River, Upton-Sundance, Wyoming Indian.

For a full schedule including kickoff times, as well as results from past weeks, go here. Click on “Week 0” on the top of the page for this week’s schedule.

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As usual during Zero Week, here is a reminder of the rules I use to determine whether a Zero Week contest is a game or is something else:

  • 1. Was the game played with four 12-minute quarters with normal timing rules?
  • 2. Were officials used? And were normal rules of play instituted for the game?
  • 3. Was score kept?

If these three criteria are met, I call it a game and record it as such on this site.

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Where are you keeping your eyes for Zero Week? Leave a comment here, or hit me up on the Facebook page or on Twitter.

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–patrick

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