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NC vs East

Natrona County students cheer on the Mustangs during their Class 4A semifinal game against Cheyenne East last year at Cheney Alumni Field in Casper.

This year’s high school football playoff schedule currently includes Saturday semifinals, which would be a change from recent years should teams not mutually agree to a different kickoff date and time.

A clause in the Wyoming High School Activities Association rulebook states that if the University of Wyoming plays a home game during the week of the football semifinals then those semifinal games would be played on Friday, in an effort to allow spectators at both high school and University of Wyoming games. That’s been the exact scenario teams have faced recently, with the Cowboys playing at War Memorial Stadium the week of the semifinals every year since 2011.

But with Wyoming playing at Boise State on Saturday, Nov. 9, that clause no longer applies. So, according to the WHSAA bylaws, every semifinal game is set for a 1 p.m. kickoff on Saturday (in this case, Nov. 9). That rule was set in place to limit time out of class, so the visiting team wouldn’t need to leave school early in order to get to the game, and Wyoming weather can occasionally be more kind in the early afternoon in late October-early November than in the evening.

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The WHSAA does allow for teams to alter those kickoff times by mutual agreement. If two semifinal opponents agree to play their game at a more conventional 6 p.m. kickoff on a Friday night, then that game can be rescheduled for that time. If one school prefers a Friday kickoff but the two sides do not come to an agreement on kickoff time then the game reverts back to the scheduled Saturday kickoff at 1 p.m.

No Class 4A semifinal has been played on a Saturday since the 2010 season between Gillette and Natrona County. The Cheyenne East-Sheridan semifinal that year was played on Friday. Class 2A, Class 1A/11-man and Class 1A/6-man semifinals have been played early Friday and on Saturday afternoons. That could be as much on the lack of agreement to an alternative kickoff as it is some sites not having lights at their football fields.

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Follow sports reporter Brady Oltmans on Twitter @BradyOltmans

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High School Sports Reporter

Brady Oltmans reports on high school and local sports. He joined the Star-Tribune in July 2016 after covering prep sports and college soccer in Nebraska. He also contributes to University of Wyoming sports coverage. He and his dog live in Casper.

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