Well put the non-conference into the books. It was good for some, for teams like the Braves fans are hoping that a few bad habits will remain in the past. For the third straight week, Star Valley outgained their opponent but lost by double-digits. The road doesn’t get any easier for the Braves with Cody in town today and a trip to Powell on the horizon. But in a conference where things could be very close, this weekend is a chance to show just how much parity in the 3A West there really is. After three weeks of football I am currently (10-5) on 3A predictions. Here’s what stood out to me in Week Three.
- Rawlins lost big to Jackson, but it was 8-0 for awhile. I don’t mind telling you that after predicting a big loss I was nervous that I had really offended the Outlaws.
- If you were thinking Worland would be rebuilding this year, I think you might be in trouble. One of the most intriguing match ups of Week Four is the Warriors hosting Jackson. Two good running teams that will be showing how good they are at stopping the run.
- Riverton is the real deal. Wins in Powell are hard to come by these days and they earned one in a very emotional setting. They are physical up front and can throw your quarterback for a loss. Things will be close in both leagues, but if the Wolverines came out on top in the 3A East I wouldn’t be surprised.
Buffalo (0-3) @ Rawlins (2-1) – Well, I’ve been fooled by both of these teams so far this year. Buffalo is running well but Rawlins has some real passing talent. I don’t have a real strong feeling about this match up but Jackson was able to run very well against the Outlaws and the Bison’s Kason Filbert should have some pretty big numbers in Rawlins. That being said, Rawlins’ Jace Allard is the top slinger in 3A so this might be tight. In the end I’ve always been a sucker for a team that can control the line of scrimmage with the run. Llama says – Bison 28-27.
Douglas (2-1) @ Lander (0-3) – Douglas just gets things done. They had just over 200 yards of offense against the Braves but picked up touchdowns on defense and special teams. They don’t miss many tackles and they can make a good running team look average. Based on the stats and a first-hand look at the Bearcats last week, I just don’t think Douglas will have much trouble this week. Llama says – Bearcats 28-3.
Jackson Broncs (3-0) @ Worland Warriors (2-1) – One of two really tough games to pick in my book. Both have shown flashes of dominance. I feel Worland has played the tougher schedule to this point and have shown a knack for causing turnovers at just the right time. Jackson is riding high and have plenty of confidence, but this is their first real test. In a game where the running defenses will dictate who has a good night, I have a little more faith in the Warriors at this point. Llama says – Worland – 35-32.
Powell (2-1) @ Green River (0-3) – Powell should have the defense to slow down a Green River team that is putting up stats but no wins so far. After a tough loss last week, how will the Panthers respond? I think they get back on track on the road. Llama says – Panthers 28-13.
Torrington (3-0) @ Riverton (3-0) – Easy to argue that this is the game of the week. The Blazers show that they can contend for the 3A East right away. For all the gushing about Riverton at the beginning of this week’s Stir, they have some vulnerabilities. They can give up yardage so it will be interesting to see how the Blazers do in this clash. It could go either way, but with this game in Riverton and a long-range kicking threat to win a close one, I’m going with the team I’ve seen. Llama says Wolverines! 24-21.
Cody (2-1) @ Star Valley (0-3) – As always, I will make the case both for and against the Braves.
Why the Braves Win – Star Valley is 8-2 against Cody over the last ten meetings. Despite a nice start and the most returning all-staters in the conference, the Broncs are giving up some yardage on the ground. Where they have excelled so far is shutting down the pass but they’ve done it against Lander and Buffalo, two of the weakest passing teams in the state. This week their secondary will be tested by Hiibel and Critchfield. With double-teams perhaps in their future, Battleson, Smith and Graham could have big games. Jesse Sanders’ speed could lead to a big touchdown play or two.
Why the Braves Lose – Cody is no stranger to Afton but this group of seniors is tired of losing there. The Myers brothers are putting on a show and senior Carter is one of the toughest ball-carriers in the state. The Braves will be outsized up front and over the course of the game Cody may wear them down and pull away. If Cody can duplicate their passing defense numbers that they’ve put up so far, it might be a long day for the Braves.
Well, there it is, give me your own picks in the comment section if you want. Keep it classy and we’ll see you at the game.