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3A State Football Championships

Star Valley's David Castillo scores a touchdown against Torrington in last year's Wyoming State High School Class 3A Football Championship game at War Memorial Stadium.

East Conference

Douglas Bearcats

LAST YEAR: 6-3; lost to Cody 29-26 in quarterfinals.

HEAD COACH: Jay Rhoades (14th year, 101-32)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 5/2010

KEY RETURNERS: QB/DB AJ Yeaman (6-0, 175, sr); OL/DL Edel Diaz-Jamie (5-8, 250, sr); OL/DL Cody Pinkerton (5-11, 210, sr); OL/DL Dawson Stinson (5-11, 200, sr); OL/DL Alo Lelei (6-0, 215, sr); RB/LB Gabe Borman (6-0, 195, jr); OL/DL Kody Micke (6-3, 220, jr); OL/LB Aaron Oria (5-8, 200, jr).

OUTLOOK: The Bearcats are stacked on both sides of the line of scrimmage and bring back an all-state QB in AJ Yeaman, but will need unproven players to step up in the other skill positions.

Lander Tigers

LAST YEAR: 4-5; lost to Jackson 32-17 in quarterfinals.

HEAD COACH: John Scott (2nd year, 4-5)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 1/1948

KEY RETURNERS: RB Jack Sweeney (sr); RB/CB Eli Mazurie (sr); QB/FS Ty Massey (sr); WR John Fawson (sr).

OUTLOOK: Scott has a history of turning around downtrodden programs and the Tigers, who were 2-31 in the four years prior to his arrival, are his latest reclamation project.

Rawlins Outlaws

LAST YEAR: 2-6; did not qualify for playoffs.

HEAD COACH: Clayton McSpadden (2nd year, 2-6)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 2/2000

KEY RETURNERS: RB/LB Kadin Forney (6-0, 190, sr); OL/DL Kie Foster (6-1, 270, sr); WR/DB Connor Mendez (5-10, 170, sr); OL/DL Victor Fonseca (6-1, 225, sr); WR/LB Cody Newbrough (5-11, 175, sr).

OUTLOOK: With eight starters returning on offense and seven on defense, the Outlaws expect to battle for a playoff spot if they can stay healthy.

Riverton Wolverines

LAST YEAR: 0-9; did not qualify for playoffs.

HEAD COACH: Pat Patterson (7th year, 23-33)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 4/1999

KEY RETURNERS: WR/DB Treyson Draper (5-8, 136, jr); QB/FS Damon Devries (5-11, 170, jr); QB/CB Dillon Lange (5-8, 140, sr); RB/MLB Caden Werbelow (6-0, 171, sr); RB/MLB Blake Rumery-Rico (5-8, 160, sr); OG/DE Zane Taylor (6-5, 260, sr).

OUTLOOK: The Wolverines will be more balanced offensively than in past seasons, but they’ll need some young players to step up and provide needed depth.

Torrington Trailblazers

LAST YEAR: 10-1; defeated Evanston 34-7 in quarterfinals, defeated Jackson 22-21 in semifinals, lost to Star Valley 35-14 in championship.

HEAD COACH: Russell Steinmetz (1st year)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 3/1990

KEY RETURNERS: Corbin Harris (5-10, 205, sr); Sam Firminhac (6-4, 180, sr); Jackson Jones (5-9, 185, sr); Rhiley Grubbs (6-0, 205, jr); Gabe Mitchell (6-0, 195, jr).

OUTLOOK: The Trailblazers have to replace nine starters on both sides of the ball, so first-year head coach Russell Steinmetz has his work cut out for him in developing some younger players.

Worland Warriors

LAST YEAR: 3-6; lost to Star Valley 48-0 in quarterfinals.

HEAD COACH: Ryan Utterback (3rd year, 7-11)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 14/2003

KEY RETURNERS: DB/WR Devon Mercado (5-9, 150, sr); DB/WR Luke Mortimer (6-0, 175, sr); LB/FB Luke Goncalves (5-9, 175, jr); RB/LB Jaime Luna (5-8, 160, sr); QB/DB Rudy Sanford (6-0, 175, jr); OL/DL Trey Wright (6-1, 235, jr); OL/DL Keith Borrelli (5-9, 190, jr).

OUTLOOK: With returning starters in place in the backfield and on the line of scrimmage, the Warriors expect to be in contention for a playoff berth.

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West Conference

Cody Broncs

LAST YEAR: 7-3; defeated Douglas 29-26 in quarterfinals, lost to Star Valley 33-0 in semifinals.

HEAD COACH: Matt McFadden (7th year, 37-23)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 5/2017

KEY RETURNERS: OL/DL Keith Connor (sr); RB/LB Charlie Beaudrie (sr); QB Hunter Hays (sr); WR Tristan Blatt; FB Nic Talich (jr); OL/DL Jeff Williams; OL/DL Duncan Radakovichl LB Paul Lovera; LB Matt Sandoval.

OUTLOOK: The Broncs are solid up front and have the skill players to make a deep run in the playoffs.

Evanston Red Devils

LAST YEAR: 6-4; lost to Torrington 34-7 in quarterfinals.

HEAD COACH: Jim Burton (1st year)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 3/1997

KEY RETURNERS: QB/DB David Baxter (sr); WR/RB/DB Rigden Wagstaff (sr); WR/RB/DB Jamin Barker (sr); RB/LB Bryson Davis (sr); QB/RB/LB Jagger Mitchell (jr).

OUTLOOK: The Red Devils might have a new coach, but their run-first philosophy remains in place. They’ll need some underclassmen to gain experience early before the start of conference play.

Green River Wolves

LAST YEAR: 2-6; did not qualify for playoffs

HEAD COACH: Marty Wrage (2nd year, 2-6)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 5/2004

KEY RETURNERS: RB/ILB James King (5-11, 185, jr); WR/CB Seth White (6-2, 170, jr); OL/DL Thomas Harvey (5-10, 190, sr); OL/LB Payton Tucker (6-2, 205, sr); WR/DB Reise Allison (6-2, 175, sr).

OUTLOOK: The Wolves expect to be better in the second year under Marty Wrage, but reaching the postseason would be a major accomplishment.

Jackson Broncs

LAST YEAR: 8-3; defeated Lander 32-17 in quarterfinals, lost to Torrington 22-21 in semifinals.

HEAD COACH: David Joyce (3rd year, 8-12)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 3/2007

KEY RETURNERS: RB Jeydon Cox (sr); WR Peter Goettler (sr); LB Kirby Castagno (sr); QB Pearson Evans (sr); CB AJ McCool (sr); CB Colter Dawson (soph).

OUTLOOK: The Broncs were within a faulty clock operator of finishing last season in Laramie. With good numbers and talented skill players they don’t want to leave it to chance this year.

Powell Panthers

LAST YEAR: 2-7; did not qualify for playoffs

HEAD COACH: Aaron Papich (2nd year, 2-7)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 8/2013

KEY RETURNERS: RB/LB Brody Karhu (sr); RB/LB Kadden Abraham (sr); MLB/FB Carson Olsen (sr); OL/DL Ryan Good (sr).

OUTLOOK: This season will be a test for the Panthers after starting quarterback Ethan Asher was seriously injured in a car accident on Aug. 27.

Star Valley Braves

LAST YEAR: 10-2; defeated Worland 48-0 in quarterfinals, defeated Cody 33-0 in semifinals, defeated Torrington 35-14 in championship.

HEAD COACH: McKay Young (4th year, 31-4)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 11/2018

KEY RETURNERS: QB/DB Brant Nelson (5-11, 170, jr); DB Bryson Jenkins (6-0, 160, sr); QB/DB Dean Shaw (6-0, 180, sr); RB/LB RJ Cazier (6-3, 225, sr); RB/LB David Castillo (5-9, 205, sr); OL/DL Trent Clark (6-2, 210, sr); OL/DL Branden McDonald (6-2, 240, sr); OL/DL Parker Merritt (6-2, 255, sr); OL/DL Gabe Nield (6-2, 230, jr); WR/DB Chase Merrell (6-5, 190, sr).

OUTLOOK: Simply put, the defending champs are loaded. With returning starters in the backfield, out wide and at the line of scrimmage the Braves are the favorite to capture their fourth state title in five years.

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