Ten months after Buffalo lifted the state championship trophy in the War Memorial Stadium end zone, the 2019 Class 2A season, at least on the surface, is right back to where the last one ended.
The defending champion Bison return valuable role players at skill positions and the bulk of its boisterous line, while runner-up Mountain View returns nine starters, including five all-state selections, from last season. That's why the majority of 2A coaches believe, barring injury and an unforeseen Cinderella, this fall may unfold just like the one that came before it.
Buffalo stampedes into this season with its full, healthy line and the momentum of a 10-game winning streak. That includes scoring at least 50 points in three of their last four games, and at least 43 points in all of their last four games (including the 43-18 championship win over Mountain View). They once again open their season against 3A Douglas before defending their crown as the East Conference's gold standard.
Mountain View, meanwhile, has all of the weapons. The Buffalos' top four all-purpose players, accounting for a combined 466.2 yards per game, return. Four players responsible for total of 51 touchdowns and one kicker who made 44 extra points, all return. The West Conference appears in flux with three new coaches and a wide-open field, that means a chasm exists between the Buffalos and everyone else.
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But if it's someone else, if expectation's apple cart gets overturned and the overwhelming favorites don't meet in Laramie for a rematch, who stands among possible contenders?
As always, Glenrock will be tough, but the Herders face the unusual obstacle of not only replacing nine starters but doing it with a new head coach. Wheatland and Burns stand on the verge of a special season in the East Conference, both having improved under first-year coaches last year. Possibly the closest to Mountain View out West is Greybull, which returns a strong core into former Wyoming Cowboy Eli Moody's second season at the helm.
With two overwhelming favorites on a path to repeat, the onus will be on both to hold up their end of the deal and meet again in Laramie.