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History and origins -- Wyoming High School Football History

High schools in Wyoming have been playing football since at least 1894, when a team from Cheyenne High School faced a team from the University of Wyoming.

UW won the game 14-0. It marked the university's first official football game.

But was it the first high school football game in Wyoming history? No one is quite sure.

Although the 1894 game might not be the first in Wyoming high school history, it has to be close. Few high schools even existed before the turn of the century; in fact, only five high schools (Cheyenne, Buffalo, Rawlins, Evanston and Sundance) were in existence in the state in 1895, according to the Wyoming Almanac.

It appears most larger Wyoming high schools started football programs in the 20 years after the turn of the century. Many smaller schools started their programs after the end of World War II.

According to UW records, the Cowboys squared off against high school teams from Cheyenne and Laramie 15 times from 1894 to 1915. UW went 9-0 against Cheyenne and 5-1 against Laramie.

UW quit playing high school teams after the 1915 season. That year, the Pokes beat Laramie 19-0 to open the season but went 1-6 from then on out.

Here's a breakdown of pre-World War I games involving UW and Wyoming high schools:

Date Away Team Away Team Score Home Team Home Team Score Game Notes Source Season Notes
F22/1894 Cheyenne Central 0 Wyoming 14
D16/1897 Cheyenne Central 0 Wyoming 16
N29/1898 Laramie 11 Wyoming 8
D13/1902 Cheyenne Central 0 Wyoming 18
O16/1903 Laramie 0 Wyoming 15
O15/1904 Cheyenne Central 0 Wyoming 56
N8/1904 Wyoming 12 Cheyenne Central 6
N18/1905 Wyoming 10 Cheyenne Central 0
O29/1906 Laramie 0 Wyoming 12
O2/1909 Wyoming 30 Cheyenne Central 0
O12/1909 Laramie 0 Wyoming 25
O1/1910 Wyoming 61 Cheyenne Central 12
S30/1911 Laramie 0 Wyoming 74
S30/1914 Cheyenne Central 10 Wyoming 18
S25/1915 Laramie 0 Wyoming 19

Source: University of Wyoming football media guide

Press clippings

Here are some newspaper stories relating to the history of Wyoming high school football:

Advantage: Panthers -- Cokeville has had Wyoming's best home-field advantage over the past 50 years. By Patrick Schmiedt, Casper Star-Tribune.

The mythical history of state football championships -- An overview of Wyoming football in the 1960s and early 1970s, when state championships were awarded not by playoffs, but by polls. By Patrick Schmiedt, Casper Star-Tribune.

The Rozet Mustangs -- A brief story on the Rozet Mustangs football teams. (If you'd like the full version of the story, let me know.) By Patrick Schmiedt, Gillette News-Record.

The Best of the Best -- A story focusing on the eternal debate: Which was Wyoming's best high school football team? By Ryan Johnson, Casper Star-Tribune.