It’s title weekend for Wyoming high school football and (yawn) it’s the same old, same old on the high plains.
Not to say the state championships are anything close to boring this season. It’s just that football fans in the Cowboy State are witnessing a pair of impressive dynasties.
All state title games are being played Friday and Saturday at a neutral site — War Memorial Stadium in Laramie where the Wyoming Cowboys play. The 3A Conference championship was played Friday afternoon. The 4A Conference showdown is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday.
3A All About Star Valley And Cody
The 3A matchup is déjà vu all over again. It featured the same two teams that went at each other last year and ended with the same result — a Star Valley win.
And talk about dominance.
In the past decade, either Star Valley or Cody has hoisted the trophy at the end of the year. Three times the teams have met head-to-head in the championship game with Star Valley winning two of those now.
On Friday, it was the defending champion Star Valley Braves that took care of business against the Cody Broncs with a 27-0 victory at the War.
The Broncs were hoping for a reversal of what happened during the regular season meeting between the two teams on Oct. 6, played in Cody. The Braves blasted the Broncs 41-14 in that game en route to a 12-1 season that culminated in a 10-game winning streak.
Cody’s only blemish on its 10-2 overall record for 2023 was Star Valley, both times.
Star Valley again bested Cody with defense. The No. 1 team against the run was able to hold Cody (the No. 1 rushing team on offense) to just 75 yards on the ground and no touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Braves rushing attack gained 250 yards and imposed its will against Cody’s defense.
The two programs have seen plenty of one another in postseason play over the years.
Star Valley has played in a state title game 24 times in its history. It’s are now 13-11 in championship games, claiming titles most recently in 2023, 2022, 2019, 2018, 2016, 2015 and 2014.
Cody has been to a state championship 14 times, winning seven of those, most recently in 2021, 2020 and 2017.
It’s a testament to the success of the programs built by their respective head coaches — McKay Young in his eighth year with Star Valley, Matt McFadden has 11 years at the helm in Cody.
Star Valley now holds a 28-13 series lead in head-to-head matchups with Cody.
Sheridan Dominates 4A
In 4A, it’s another rematch of teams that were on the same field a year ago playing for the championship.
The Sheridan Broncs look to defend their 2022 state title against the Cheyenne East Thunderbirds at War Memorial Stadium.
When it comes to dominance in 4A, the Broncs have no equal. Sheridan has won 29 state championships in school history, looking for a three-peat in 2023. The last team to win three in a row? Who else? Sheridan, in 2015-17.
The Broncs are just clutch in November. The first title came in 1921 and they’ve been winning ever since, 29-7 all-time in championship games.
They haven’t been too shabby during the regular season, either. That last time Sheridan endured a losing season was 2006. During that time to now, the Broncs are 161-28.
Another title this season could put the Broncs into an elite category, mentioned in the same breath with Ben Franklin’s life’s certainties: Death, taxes and a Sheridan championship.
East won't be a pushover. The T-birds made a game of it in last season’s title game in a 34-23 loss to Sheridan. East also pushed the Broncs to the brink this year in a 44-37 shootout loss during the regular season — the most points Sheridan surrendered to any team all year.
The rivalry between the teams stretches back to 1960. Sheridan holds the all-time series edge, going 34-14 in their 48 meetings. This will be the eighth time they’ve met in the postseason. Sheridan has won five of those so far.
Six-year Sheridan coach Jeff Mowry will rely on his top-ranked rushing attack led by running back Terran Grooms and efficient quarterback Dominick Berrettini.
East, under longtime head coach Chad Goff, has an explosive offense of its own, more inclined to throw the ball with outstanding QB Cam Hayes.
Both teams play exceptional defense, but if their two previous meetings are any indication, bet the over.