The Wind River season ended at Shoshoni the past two seasons in Class 1-A 9-man semi-final action, but the Cougars are hoping to go a little deeper into the playoffs this season.
Second-year head coach Rod Frederick has 25 boys out, with 10 seniors returning for their final year of high school football.
Cooper Frederick, Isaac Gardner, Chris Burke, Tucker Hardcastle, Blake Snyder, Rowdy Shearer, Aiden Ruby, Kyzaia Jones, Wambli Romero, and Joaquin Stevens all saw a lot of action a season ago and will make up the bulk of the Cougar starting lineup.
“We’re hoping for a few more when school starts next Tuesday, “Frederick said.
Joining the 10 seniors with an opportunity for some varsity time are juniors Mato Amos, Jacob Hardcastle, Braden Tatro, and Troy Tidzump, and sophomores Ryker Roberts, Holden Yates, Logan Jensen, Isaiah Remacle, Blue Star Friday, and Ben Snyder.
Frederick is assisted by Kyle Hunter and Troy Anderson with James Cunningham working as a volunteer.
“We know we’re going to be a little smaller across the line, but I’m hoping we can be a little quicker,” Frederick said. “We’re hoping to match the physicality we had with a little more speed.”
Wind River opened the season with six straight wins before losing a pair of backfield starters against Shoshoni. They won at Southeast Goshen in the opening round of the playoffs in a possible portend of what this season could look like at Pavillion.
“I think it’s going to come down to us and Big Piney on our side,” Frederick said. “I think Greybull will be improved. On the other side, it will be interesting, we saw Pine Bluffs at camp, they’ll be young, but they have a ton of kids.”
Lingle-Ft. Laramie is a favorite on the other side as well with a small team, but outstanding speed.
Southeast under venerable head coach Mark Bullington is always in the mix and they return possibly the quarterback on the east side.
“It’s going to be an interesting year,” Frederick said.