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2A Football Championship

Mountain View's Briggin Bluemel jumps over a Buffalo defender during the Wyoming State High School Class 2A Championship game last year at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.

CLASS 2A FOOTBALL PREVIEW CAPS

East Conference

Buffalo Bison

LAST YEAR: 10-1; defeated Kemmerer 56-20 in quarterfinals, defeated Wheatland 50-7 in semifinals, defeated Mountain View 43-18 in championship.

HEAD COACH: Rob Hammond (8th year, 29-33)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 6/2018

KEY RETURNERS: WR/DB Dawson Hatch (sr); RB/DB Rowen Ruby (sr); OL/DL Hunter Pope (sr); OL/DL Anthony Graves (sr); OL/DL Nathan Swanston (sr); RB/LB Hyrum Hatch (jr)

OUTLOOK: With most of the line and a 1,000-yard rusher returning, the Bison might have what it takes to defend their title.

Burns Broncs

LAST YEAR: 4-4; did not qualify for playoffs.

HEAD COACH: Brad Morrison (2nd year, 4-4)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 2/2008

KEY RETURNERS: RB/LB Boe Clayson (5-11, 185, sr); QB/DB Kaden Lakin (5-11, 165, sr); RB/DB Ben Banville (6-2, 210, sr); WR/LB Tanner Wilson (6-4, 160, sr); RB/DL Keenan Manlove (6-0, 190, sr)

OUTLOOK: Burns believes in football again and the Broncs hope to capture that excitement by going to the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

Glenrock Herders

LAST YEAR: 7-3; defeated Big Piney 45-0 in quarterfinals, lost to Mountain View 33-21 in semifinals.

HEAD COACH: Ryan Collier (1st year)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 8/2008

KEY RETURNERS: QB/DL Jonah Young (jr); OL/DL Corden Philips (jr); OL/LB Julih Pittsley (sr); RB/DL Dawson Blaylock (sr)

OUTLOOK: With just two returning starters on both sides of the ball, the Herders will have to mature quickly in order to make another semifinal.

Moorcroft Wolves

LAST YEAR: 3-5; did not qualify for playoffs.

HEAD COACH: Travis Santistevan (2nd year, 3-5)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 1/1996

KEY RETURNERS: WR/DB Mica Herrera (sr); QB/WR/LB Parker Seeley (sr); RB/LB Rowdy Pfeil (sr); OL/DL Parker Schlater (sr); OL/DL Wyatt Peters (sr); TE/DL Christian Robinson (sr).

OUTLOOK: The Wolves will have to call on their underclassmen in order to make a playoff push this season.

Newcastle Dogies

LAST YEAR: 1-8; did not qualify for playoffs.

HEAD COACH: Matt Conzelman (11th year, 48-52)

STATE TITLES/LAST: None.

KEY RETURNERS: RB/LB Chauncey Jenerou (5-8, 156, jr); QB/LB Bradyn Frye (5-9, 170, sr); WR/DB Nick Jingleski (5-9, 121, soph)

OUTLOOK: The Dogies are optimistic that if they can improve on defense, which allowed 45 average points per game last year, they can make a run.

Thermopolis Bobcats

LAST YEAR: 3-6; lost to Mountain View 41-0 in quarterfinals.

HEAD COACH: Matt McPhie (4th year, 7-19)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 8/2010

KEY RETURNERS: OL/DL Logan Cole (jr); WR/DB Remington Ferree (jr); TE/DL Jarron Mortimore (sr); OL/DL Blake Williams (sr); OL/LB Riley Shaffer (sr).

OUTLOOK: Consistency is the key for the Bobcats to improve upon last season and improve their standing going into the playoffs.

Wheatland Bulldogs

LAST YEAR: 6-4; defeated Greybull 21-14 in quarterfinals, lost to Buffalo 50-7 in semifinals.

HEAD COACH: Cody Bohlander (2nd year, 6-4)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 2/2015

KEY RETURNERS: WR/DB Keegan Meyer (5-7, 140, sr); OL/DL Tanner Kennedy (6-0, 300, sr); OL/DL Kaleb Peterson (6-0, 245, sr); RB/LB Seth Dewitt (5-10, 160, sr)

OUTLOOK: Last year’s successes have this year’s team ready to achieve more despite the Bulldogs’ prominent youth this season.

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West Conference

Big Piney Punchers

LAST YEAR: 5-4; lost to Glenrock 45-0 in quarterfinals.

HEAD COACH: Ryan Visser (1st year)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 8/2006

KEY RETURNERS: WR/DB Wyatt Marquardt (sr); QB/DL Kaden Raza (jr); RB/LB Kolby Lucas (jr); WR/DB Teagan Elliott (sr).

OUTLOOK: Utilizing team speed will be the Punchers’ key as both sides of the line will need to cut their teeth due to inexperience.

Greybull Buffaloes

LAST YEAR: 5-4; lost to Wheatland 21-14 in quarterfinals.

HEAD COACH: Eli Moody (2nd year, 5-4)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 1/1960

KEY RETURNERS: none provided.

OUTLOOK: If the Buffaloes can develop depth in the trenches to match what they have at skill positions, they could make a charge.

Kemmerer Rangers

LAST YEAR: 3-5; lost to Buffalo 56-20 in quarterfinals.

HEAD COACH: Bart Jernigan (3rd year, 4-13)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 4/2007

KEY RETURNERS: QB/DB Dawson Schramm (sr); RB/DB AQ Martinez (jr); OL/DL Brendan Miller (sr); RB/LB Colter Julian (sr)

OUTLOOK: With the playoff drought erased, the Rangers now focus simply on improvement in a wide-open conference.

Lovell Bulldogs

LAST YEAR: 1-8; did not qualify for playoffs.

HEAD COACH: Nicc Crosby (1st year)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 2/2011

KEY RETURNERS: RB/LB Hunter Harris (5-8, 170, sr); OL/DL Coy Trainor (5-10, 250, sr); QB/DB Zane Hitz (6-1, 150, sr)

OUTLOOK: Long-time Star Valley assistant, and Lovell alumni, Nicc Crosby looks to his athletes to get prospects turned around for the Bulldogs.

Lyman Eagles

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

HEAD COACH: Dale Anderson (8th year, 35-36)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 4/2012

KEY RETURNERS: QB/DB Hagen Lamoreaux (sr); RB/DL Preston Brewer (jr); OL/DL Hansen Bradshaw (jr); QB/LB Carter Smith (jr)

OUTLOOK: Inexperience on both sides of the line is the main concern for the Eagles, who do return a few in the skill positions.

Mountain View Buffalos

LAST YEAR: 9-2; defeated Thermopolis 41-0 in quarterfinals, defeated Glenrock 33-21 in semifinals, lost to Buffalo 43-18 in championship.

HEAD COACH: Brent Walk (8th year, 54-18)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 5/2017

KEY RETURNERS: QB/WR/DB Braeden Walk (5-10, 175, sr); RB/DB Briggin Bluemel (6-4, 205, sr); WR/DB Ashton Schofield (5-11, 160, jr); QB/WR/LB Kimball Madsen (6-2, 195, sr); OL/DL Hunter Gross (6-2, 195, sr)

OUTLOOK: With nine starters back from last year’s team, there’s a lot of excitement in Bridger Valley for this team’s potential.

Pinedale Wranglers

LAST YEAR: 3-5; did not qualify for playoffs.

HEAD COACH: Clay Cundall (1st year)

STATE TITLES/LAST: 2/1975

KEY RETURNERS: RB/DB Thomas Harnack (5-10, 165, sr); DL/OL Dodge Westercamp (5-11, 225, jr); OL/DL Riley Wilson (6-0, 185, sr); QB/DB Konner Ziegler (5-10, 155, soph)

OUTLOOK: Underclassmen and inexperienced players will have step into big roles if the Wranglers want to make improvements in a crowded conference.

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