High School Football Week Zero Preview

The Wyoming high school football season kicks off Week Zero on Friday, and all of 4A’s teams will be in action.
Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 12:54 AM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - On Friday night, the 2022 Wyoming high school football season will kick off. All 4A schools will be in action to begin their nine-game slates, and all of Week Zero’s 4A contests will kick off at 6 p.m.

Kelly Walsh will be the only team in Casper under the Friday night lights. They’ll host Rock Springs to begin the year.

Senior Trojans offensive lineman and linebacker Derek Hernandez said he was looking forward to “the hype” of Friday’s opener.

“The energy that my guys are going to have when we run out the field and make that first play. That’s the biggest thing for me is like having that energy,” said Hernandez earlier this week. “The pride to come back in this last season and have a good last first game. That’s what I’m most excited about.”

The Trojans made two trips to Rock Springs in 2021, and neither of them was successful. In Week 2, the green and white were shut out 52-0, and the Tigers eliminated Kelly Walsh from the 2021 4A state playoffs in the quarterfinal 42-21.

Senior Asher Vail, an offensive and defensive tackle, said he’s looking forward to some redemption.

“I want to play them again because they beat us in the playoffs last year, and they beat us in the regular season,” said Vail before practice on Wednesday. “I’m just ready to beat them.”

Natrona County, the Trojans’ rival, will hit the road to begin its 2022 journey. The Mustangs will try to extend its streak of 30 straight 4A playoff appearances by taking on Laramie.

In 2021, the black and orange won a lopsided affair 45-0. The Plainsmen haven’t beaten Natrona County since 2001.

Mustangs head coach Steve Harshman said earlier this week that his squad needs to be prepared for an improved group from Laramie.

“We [must] look for a very energetic team, and the hard part on a first game you gotta kinda be ready for everything,” said Harshman during a studio interview on Tuesday. “We can look at last year’s film and all that stuff, but we’re going to have to adjust and be ready and continue to get better as the game goes on.”

East will be the lone Cheyenne high school team to open its season at home. They’ll host Campbell County for Week Zero.

When the two teams met last season, East pulled out a 27-21 victory.

The Thunderbirds return a collection of skill players that have many coaches around the state envious. Garet Schlabs, 4A’s leading receiver in 2021, will be back, and Drew Jackson, a key cog in the 2021 offense, will move from wide receiver to running back.

Dominic Kaszas moved from Sheridan to the capital city and will join East’s high-powered offense. Camden Hayes, who stepped into the quarterback spot late last season, will have a chance to cement his QB1 status.

Trevor Eldridge and Ethan Brinkman, key defensive players, will be back, too.

South and Central will hit the road to begin the year. The Bison are headed to Gillette to take on Thunder Basin to begin the year. The Bolts beat South 45-6 in 2021.

The Tribe will cut over on I-90 to take on the defending 4A state champions on their home turf. They’ll face Sheridan, who won 2021′s contest 31-20.

Last season’s loss has created a chip on the shoulder for two seniors heading into the 2022 opener.

“This is exactly what I wanted,” said Jack Miller, an offensive and defensive lineman, about opening the season against the Broncs. “After going up there, kind of getting humiliated, I really want a second chance.”

“Go back up there and rip their head off. That’s the number one goal,” said fellow offensive and defensive lineman Auggie Lain. “And it’ll go how it goes. [It’s the] first game of the season, but I’m not worried about learning from it yet, we’re gonna have to learn from it, but first things first, I’m gonna get after those guys. It’s exactly what you wanted.”

At 3A, Riverton will travel to take on Powell to begin its season. When the two teams met in the 2021 opener, the Panthers came away with a dominant 37-7 victory.

From 2A, Wheatland and Torrington will travel across the eastern border to take on opponents from Nebraska. The Blazers will face Gering, and the Bulldogs will square off against Mitchell.

Many of the 1A-3A schools will take part in scrimmages or jamborees on Friday.

1A 9-Man Shoshoni will play in a jamboree with Lusk, Saratoga, Wind River and Wright at Natrona County High School.

3A Lander will host 2A Pinedale for a live scrimmage in the first half and a situational scrimmage in the second half.

Lingle-Ft. Laramie, Pine Bluffs and Southeast will play in a 1A 9-Man jamboree in Pine Bluffs.

Douglas will host Cody and Newcastle for a scrimmage.

Burns and Glenrock will square off with Rawlins and Mountain view at a jamboree in Rawlins.

Casper Christian will debut its football team in a scrimmage at Midwest.

On Saturday, Dubois will play Encampment and Farson-Eden in a 1A 6-Man jamboree in Encampment.