Things are getting intense now as teams are clawing and clutching for playoff spots and positions this week and next week in the 3A classification. I had a nice week with a 5-0 record which moves my season total to 22-7. Here’s what caught my eye in Week Six.
• Douglas’ whitewashing of Rawlins. I’ve done my best to give the Outlaws some credit this season and deservedly so, but this game was over by halftime, maybe even before. In a year where every team has some flaws, the Bearcats are one of those teams that does all the little things to win a game and they look very dangerous.
• Cody’s win over Jackson. I wasn’t surprised by this but a lot of folks were. I’m all for rankings, heck, I even vote in one every week when I remember, but last week was a reminder that running the ball 90 percent of the time is great unless the other team can stop you. Jackson has a chance to get folks back on the bandwagon this week up in Powell in another tough game.
• Road playoff teams. In the East Rawlins and Torrington will cause some issues and either Jackson or Powell will be on the road from the West. As things wind down the home teams better batten down the hatches.
Here’s a look at Week Seven. As always this is done in good fun and if you feel compelled to make your own predictions in the comment section, have at it!
Douglas (5-1) @ Riverton (6-0) – This is for not one but two home playoff games which I feel is especially important to the Bearcats. They just don’t lose at home very often under Coach Rhoades. Riverton has had me on their bandwagon since they beat Star Valley in Week Two, but the last couple of games appears to show that they have some weaknesses that haven’t been fully exposed. This is one of two really big games this week in terms of seeding and while I might be wrong, I think the Bearcats are playing fantastic ball right now and pick up the win. Llama says – Douglas 27-17.
Green River (0-6) @ Cody (5-1) – The talk in the cozy box in Afton last week centered around what would happen to the losing team between the Wolves and Braves. Green River is now just playing out the schedule with just the slimmest of chances to make the post-season. Cody got my top vote this week and they were my pre-season favorite. This will likely be a tune-up for next week’s battle with Powell. Llama says – Cody 45-6.
Jackson (5-1) @ Powell (5-1) – This is the most difficult game to pick on the schedule in my opinion. The Broncs will be anxious to prove last week was a minor setback while Powell gets to hunker down and finish the season with two home games against the West’s best teams. I think this one comes down to defensive play. I think both teams will be able to run the ball but the Panthers, especially at home, have a big edge on defense in my opinion. They’re used to winning in Powell and that will come through over four quarters tonight. Llama says – Panthers 24-14.
Lander (0-6) @ Rawlins (3-3) – The Outlaws were riding a wave of emotion for a couple of weeks in some tough games before Douglas swatted them back down last week. Look for them to get things back on track this week but don’t be surprised if the score is closer than we think. Llama says – Outlaws 34-16.
Torrington (4-2) @ Buffalo (1-5) – The Blazers will be in the road in the post-season so this game is just a chance to fine-tune those road skills before the end of October rolls around. It’s never an easy game in the Bison Bowl so it’s an excellent venue to focus on execution. Llama says – Blazers 27-10.
Star Valley (1-5) @ Worland (2-4) – As always I’ll make the case both for and against the Braves because I just can’t be trusted to be objective with my hometown team.
Why the Braves Win – Star Valley has had success against Worland not only historically but recently. They’ve won the last four games and eight of the last ten. After breaking through against Green River last week, Star Valley’s offense was prolific as they rolled up almost 500 yards. A young line has six games under their belt now and is being asked to open up lanes for Jesse Sanders who is a homerun type threat every time he carries the ball. Defensively the Braves may be able to stack the box to stop the run as the Warriors passing numbers are anemic at best.
Why the Braves Lose – The Worland defense causes issues even against the good teams they’ve played this year. They have 23 sacks according to Wyopreps.com, almost four times the amount the Braves have. They cause turnovers and chaos. On offense, they will use a running back by committee approach that may confuse the Star Valley defense especially if they over commit and give up some big plays on the edges. They also have a very stingy pass defense despite having played some pretty darn good passing attacks. Also, the Warriors have the home field, the only grass surface the Braves will play on all season.
There it is, let me know what you think, just keep it classy. Good luck to all teams and please come home healthy for your fans’ sake.