In a closed set of games like Class 4A has every season — no opponents outside the group of the 10 largest schools in the state — score comparison is an inevitability.
The problem with comparing scores is it leaves you susceptible to falling into the trap that teams play the same way each time they take the field.
As any high school football coach will tell you, that’s their goal, but not their reality.
In fact, only twice since entering the round-robin schedule in 2009 — in 2012 and 2017 — has Class 4A gone without an “upset,” with the 10 teams finishing 9-0, 8-1, 7-2, 6-3, 5-4, 4-5, 3-6, 2-7, 1-8 and 0-9 in regular-season play.
Football is a messy sport, and it’s even messier at the high school level. That’s part of the appeal.
So when we look at Friday night’s game between the last two unbeaten teams in 4A, Cheyenne East and Sheridan, it seems inevitable that we would compare scores. After all, they share three opponents through the first five games — Thunder Basin, Laramie and Rock Springs — and each has played this series of foes in the past three weeks.
So when we bring up East has had bigger victories against all three, it seems that East is the obvious choice. The Thunderbirds’ margins of victory against Laramie (63-7 vs. 55-7 for Sheridan), Thunder Basin (52-42 vs. 34-27 for Sheridan) and Rock Springs (54-20 vs. 39-28 for Sheridan) suggest East has the upper hand in the challenge to stay undefeated.
However, as more games are played, the messier score comparisons get, especially in a closed, round-robin schedule.
That’s the thing about 4A. It doesn’t always play out the way the previous scores suggest it should.
To be honest, this week’s schedule statewide is not as interesting as other weeks of the year. But that’s on paper. On the field, I’m sure we’ll see some surprising results. Still, these are the games that look like big ones, at least before the first kickoff:
For the first time, Campbell County enters the Coal Bowl with a better record than crosstown rival Thunder Basin. Will the momentum from the Camels’ four-game winning streak be enough to best the ‘Bolts, who have lost three in a row but played competitively in all three? …
Douglas and Buffalo both won their 3A East openers last week, and the winner this week will be the favorite to continue that success right on into home-field advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs. Call it the “Cow on the Mountain” game, because the stakes are elevated. …
Some of the most competitive football of the year has been in the 2A West, where the top four teams (Lovell, Cokeville, Lyman and Mountain View) are a combined 13-4. Cokeville and Mountain View will play Friday in the Bridger Valley to help sort out some of the confusion at the top of the league, and it might be an opportunity to define a season for one of the two teams. …
It’s a nonconference week in 1A six-man, with the most intriguing out-of-league game pitting 3-1 Encampment up against 4-0 Kaycee up in Johnson County. The Buckaroos’ resurgence has been one of the feel-good stories of the year, but the Tigers will be game and will definitely be Kaycee’s toughest test to date.
This is the week, y’all. This is the week I go 100% on my picks — something I’ve never done before in 17-plus years of doing this stuff. Or not, because the bold teams are my favorites and the non-bold teams always find a way to surprise us. And thank goodness. Otherwise this would get boring, fast.
Kemmerer at Lyman
Upton-Sundance at Newcastle
Class 1A nine-man
Riverside at Shoshoni
Wyoming Indian at Wind River
Campbell County at Thunder Basin
Cheyenne East at Sheridan
Cheyenne South at Cheyenne Central
Kelly Walsh at Laramie
Rock Springs at Natrona
Douglas at Buffalo
Evanston at Jackson
Green River at Cody
Lander at Riverton
Star Valley at Powell
Worland at Rawlins
Burns at Glenrock
Cokeville at Mountain View
Thermopolis at Pinedale
Torrington at Tongue River
Wheatland at Big Horn
Class 1A nine-man
Guernsey at Southeast
Lusk at Pine Bluffs
Moorcroft at Lingle
Rocky Mountain at Greybull
Wright at Saratoga
Class 1A six-man
Encampment at Kaycee
Farson at Burlington
Hanna at Midwest
Lovell at Rich County, Utah
Class 1A nine-man
Big Piney at St. Stephens
Class 1A six-man
Hulett vs. Snake River (at Midwest)
Meeteetse at Dubois
Open: Ten Sleep.
For a full schedule including kickoff times, click here. You can click on “Week 5” at the top of the page to take you directly to 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: 122-27 (82 percent).
Also, one more quick note: The first season of football for Casper Christian School has been, and will be, busy.
Casper Christian School’s 33-12 loss to Kaycee on Sept. 13 has been retroactively added to the site.
Kaycee coach Dave Largent said Kaycee added the mid-week game two weeks ago after getting permission from the Wyoming High School Activities Association, which allowed the game since Kaycee was idle during Zero Week. Largent said his team played a mix of players but still counted statistics and the game for their season record.
CCS coach Ryan Harrison said his team will finish its season with three games against a Natrona freshman/sophomore team and a game against Hulett in the final week of the season. All three NC games will be on consecutive Saturdays, starting this week. Hulett originally scheduled Edgemont, S.D., for the final week, but Edgemont failed to field a team this season, Hulett AD Jen Stevens said.
The Mountaineers are playing a six-man schedule this year. They are 0-3 so far with losses to Kaycee, Midwest and Burlington.
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