Front row: Dylan Frye,(L to R) Monte Wade, James Blackburn, Eli Wagner, Aaron Midkiff, Travis Schaidt, Garett Dixon, Johnathan Daughtry.
2nd Row: Alex Starkey, Chancy Hales Logan Lamar, Jordan Jackson, Taylor Molzahn, Taten Gaukel, Tyler Harris
3rd Row: Jacob Robinson, Derick VandeBossche, Hunter Dockery, Matthew VandeBossche, Denton Shaw, Justin Robinson, Zach Venable, Adam Kraft, Aaron Christianson
NW Conference – graybull – All Conference Payton Gonzalez (sr) leads a talented group that is looking to return to state after missing out last season. Senior Paul Stewart and junior Calder Forcella are also expected to return this season.
Lovell (finally!) graduated all those seniors that led the Bulldogs dominance over the past four years but they still have another year in Class 2A, before moving back up to 3A for basketball. They are still loaded with talent for new coach Craig Lundberg and must be considered a top five team until proven differently.
Thermopolis has to replace five graduated seniors but seniors Kaden Haun and Dylan Shaffer, along with sophomore Tyler Cornwell were All-state football and look to return to Casper this season. Todd Helms moves from being the Big Horn girls assistant coach to the Bobcats, and the cupboard is not completely bare for him.
Rocky Mountain – All Conference Kirby Winland (jr) and classmates Bill DeSpain and Cannon Simmons, and senior Joey Jewell should be improved this year.
Riverside was 1-21 last season and is in rebuilding mode under new coach Derek Query. Senior Royce Mercer, along with juniors Alex Schwede and Tucker McKim should make the transition a little easier.
SW Conference – Wyoming Indian has one of 2As best players in Wilson Clifford and the Chiefs are hungry to erase last seasons first round loss. They also have 64 seniors Trevor Williamson and 63 Joseph Howell back to anchor the paint. Dont ever count the Chiefs out.
Big Piney has returning All Conference players Nolan Jones (sr), Jordan Banks (so) and Michael Howard (sr) back, along with experience gained at state last season. Look for the Punchers to be the most improved team in the West.
Wind River returns All Conference player Caleb CBearing (so), and should be better than last seasons 8-19 record.
Kemmerer has All Conference Tre Deeter (sr) and Kyle Corbridge (sr) coming back but are stuck in the powerful 2A SW conference.
New Shoshoni coach Brady Slack has a major rebuilding project ahead of him but All Conference Lawry Johnson (sr) should help the transition.
Top four headed for state: Wyoming Indian, Big Piney, Lovell, graybull
SE Conference – Niobrara County has one of the best players in the state coming back as Hunter Dockery earned All-State honors last season and led the Tigers to a state championship game appearance. The injury to 64 sophomore Jordan Jackson changes Murrays approach but Lusk is still the team to beat. Fellow senior Matt VandeBossche and juniors Denton Shaw (All Conference) and Derick VandeBossche were key parts last year and are expected to carry bigger roles this season.
Burns returns All Conference players Travis Romsa (2x All State) and Taylor Kirkbride, along with eight other letter winners. The multi-talented senior class is poised to make deep tournament runs after a short stay in Casper last year, yet is coming off a successful football season.
Pine Bluffs lost a talented group to graduation but returning letter winners Marquice Rivers and Preston Thurin will have to pick up a bigger load with All Conference junior Scott Gross likely out for the season. The Hornets should be aided by 67 freshman Hunter Thompson.
Southeast has a familiar face back on the sidelines as Tim Williams returns as head coach. This change, along with ten returning letter winners, means the Cyclones should be improved. Returning All Conference players Garrett Murphy (jr) and Jeff Burroughs (so) will be expected to carry more of a burden for the Cyclones to escape the SEWAC cellar.
Saratoga has Cameron Collamer leading a group of five seniors back that has struggled in their move to the 2A SE Conference. This could be the year they stay out of the pigtail game.
NE Conference – Big Horn is coming off a championship football season and All Conference senior Conner McCafferty, along with returning starters Colter Carzoli and Devin Ibach, lead a solid group of Rams. BH is looking to extend the East Conferences longest streak of state tournament appearances- currently at four.
Tongue River has seniors Matt Yellowtail, Wyatt Main and Lane Dockery returning, and should be improved in head coach Robert Griffins second season.
Sundance lost just three players and should be better by the fact that this senior group has played a lot of varsity the past two seasons. Senior Lane Carter and junior Skyler Wagaman were on the 1A East All Conference football team this past season and should provide leadership for the Bulldogs.
Moorcroft lost five starters to graduation and likely will be in a rebuilding mode led by seniors Joe Clonch and Colton Richter.
Wright also lost five starters to graduation and will depend on the leadership of seniors Taylor Worman and Logan Wilson to escape the pigtail game.
Top four going to state: NCHS, Big Horn, Burns, Sundance
For the complete article see the 12-04-2013 issue.
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