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For the past few weeks the Star-Tribune has taken a closer look at the upcoming fall season, sport by sport. Every sport has been covered and so far the football season at large has been touched on. So it’s time to take a deeper look at the games that could define it.

Sure, late-season games might receive the spotlight because of their proximity to the postseason. But each win counts as much as the ones surrounding it and the season’s not getting any longer.

Here’s a closer look at each classification’s biggest games for each week.

Week 0

Class 4A

Kelly Walsh at Laramie: This is the first look at what the Trojans could look like under new head coach Aaron Makelky. Not a lot is known about these Trojans. Laramie comes into the season under similar circumstances after losing so much talent and battling low participation numbers. So this game is a bit of a wild card.

Class 3A

Powell at Riverton: It’s the only 3A game scheduled for the first week of the season. Outside of that, it’s curious to see what both teams look like this season. Both teams will be young and come into 2019 with the slate wiped clean.

Interclass

Mountain View at Green River: The Buffalos’ quest for a third straight trip to War Memorial Stadium begins on the road against a 3A opponent full of question marks. One thing’s for certain, the Wolves will have to be sound defensively to stop Mountain View’s explosive offense.

Week 1

Class 4A

Cheyenne East at Kelly Walsh: The Trojans’ first home game of the season will be one of their most difficult. East returns the promising athletes that got injured toward the end of last season so they’ll have something to prove.

Class 3A

Evanston at Rawlins: A win for either could go a long ways toward post-season implications. For middle-of-the-pack teams, an early win in the pocket is a huge help. It’s not a conference game, but a victory puts the winner on the right foot and gets confidence high.

Class 2A

Pinedale at Lyman: Both teams come off seasons where they missed the playoffs. A win here would mean a lot for Pinedale in Clay Cundall’s coaching debut. It would mean more for Lyman, which has lost the past three to the Wranglers.

Class 1A/11-man

Lusk at Upton-Sundance: The Patriots have been a constant for the past several years. Beating them is a landmark moment. Some coaches are talking about this being Lusk’s breakout year and the Tigers can prove it immediately.

Class 1A/6-man

Guernsey at Farson: Farson lost a lot to graduation last year but it’ll be interesting to see what the Vikings look like coming off that long bus ride.

Interclass

Wright at Burns: The Panthers bring their fans something to take their minds off the unease in coal country. Burns looks to build off its promise of last season. These two defenses should be fun to watch.

Wild card

Cokeville at Mountain View: Last year’s exciting season opener kicked off years where both finished in the championship game.

Week 2

Class 4A

Natrona County at Sheridan: This game gets circled on the calendar every year. This time is no different.

Class 3A

Cody at Worland: Both come into the season with promise but there’s not much in terms of expectations for either.

Class 2A

Thermopolis at Buffalo: The Bobcats haven’t had a winning season since 2013 and opponents don’t get a lot more difficult than the defending champions.

Class 1A/11-man

Pine Bluffs at Wright: The importance of this game will be known for sure when looking back on it in Week 7.

Class 1A/6-man

Burlington at Snake River: Last year’s runners-up go down to Baggs, where the Rattlers have title aspirations.

Wild card

Thunder Basin at Cheyenne East: A lot of athletes will cover Okie Blanchard Stadium in this one.

Week 3

Class 4A

Sheridan at Thunder Basin: The Bolts scored the regular-season win last year but the Broncs got the last word with a 14-7 semifinal win.

Class 3A

Riverton at Star Valley: The defending champions start their conference slate with this home game.

Class 2A

Wheatland at Glenrock: The Bulldogs haven’t beaten Glenrock since the 2015 championship game.

Class 1A/11-man

Southeast at Pine Bluffs: This one always seems to bring the excitement.

Class 1A/6-man

Dubois at Farson: The Rams go to the defending champions looking to rebound from last year’s winless season.

Wild card

Worland at Jackson: William T. McIntosh Stadium is once again the place to be in Jackson on Friday fall nights.

Week 4

Class 4A

Cheyenne East at Natrona County: Both of last year’s meetings went down to the wire.

Class 3A

Jackson at Cody: The Broncs (take your pick) can prove their toughness with a pivotal win here.

Class 2A

Big Piney at Kemmerer: On the heels of last year’s playoff appearance, the Rangers welcome the new-look Punchers.

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Class 1A/11-man

Lusk at Southeast: It’s a rivalry game and the Cyclones are coming off their first winless season in 13 years.

Class 1A/6-man

Kaycee at Midwest: Both of these rivals have new head coaches so it may look different than in previous years.

Wild card

Moorcroft at Newcastle: Last year’s Wolves’ win snapped a decade-long losing streak against the Doggies.

Week 5

Class 4A

Natrona County at Thunder Basin: These are the two most-hyped teams in 4A coming into the season.

Class 3A

Torrington at Douglas: It’ll be interesting to see how the Trailblazers’ season looks going into the Bearcats’ den.

Class 2A

Kemmerer at Greybull: Both of thees teams come off playoff appearances, which hadn’t happened since 2009.

Class 1A/11-man

Pine Bluffs at Big Horn: This has been one of the state’s biggest games for the past three seasons.

Class 1A/6-man

Hulett at Kaycee: This could be the year the Red Devils firmly leap over the Buckaroos.

Wild card

Cheyenne Central at Kelly Walsh: A win here boosts a team up the standings.

Week 6

Class 4A

Kelly Walsh at Natrona County: It’s the Oil Bowl, ‘nuff said.

Class 3A

Jackson at Star Valley: These two proved to be the two best in the West last season.

Class 2A

Greybull at Lovell: Rivalry week everywhere means the Bulldogs can put last year’s 53-7 loss behind them.

Class 1A/11-man

Tongue River at Big Horn: Can the upstart Eagles pull off the upset? Stranger things have happened in this rivalry.

Class 1A/6-man

Farson at Snake River: It may not be the usual scoring explosion, but this game won’t be any less fun.

Wild card

Powell at Cody: There’s no love lost in this Park County rivalry.

Week 7

Class 4A

Cheyenne South at Gillette: If the Camels haven’t broken their losing streak by this point, this will be the best chance to do it.

Class 3A

Douglas at Lander: This clash at the brand new Tigers Stadium should be a lot of fun.

Class 2A

Thermopolis at Glenrock: If the Bobcats want to make a playoff push then they’ll need a strong showing against the Herders.

Class 1A/11-man

Rocky Mountain at Wind River: This has basically become a win-and-in game for the West Conference.

Class 1A/6-man

Riverside at St. Stephens: Both of these teams could make a run for the playoffs and this game could decide who gets the inside track.

Wild card

Star Valley at Cody: The Braves haven’t forgotten that Cody upended them in the semifinals two seasons ago.

Week 8

Class 4A

Cheyenne East at Sheridan: This one will likely determine seeding and both will be wise to get to the playoffs healthy.

Class 3A

Riverton at Douglas: These two historically explosive offenses look to make a final case for seeding in this one.

Class 2A

Greybull at Mountain View: The battle of the Buffaloes vs. the Buffalos is an afternoon appetizer.

Class 1A/11-man

Wright at Tongue River: Wright hasn’t won a game against the Eagles since 2010.

Class 1A/6-man

Hanna at Guernsey: The Miners are the favorites in the East and a win here could cement top seeding.

Wild card

Rawlins at Torrington: A consequential conference clash for seeding going into the playoffs.

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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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