For many years, the Class 1-A East has dominated the West, even sweeping the opening round of the playoffs a couple of times. As they say, the worm has turned with the West the dominate force in Class 1-A, 9-man football last season, and arguably again this year.
It’s been a quick nine months since Shoshoni handled Rocky Mountain in the Class 1-A 9-man state championship game at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.
The Wranglers are only slightly different this season losing a pair of all-state players to graduation in Duke Gibbel and Nathon Cousineau, but return a nucleus of six all-state players for their final year in Wranglerville.
Shoshoni head coach Tony Truempler has 10 seniors total on his 34-man roster with a great mix of size, speed, power, and skill across both the defense and the offensive side of the football.
Truempler is assisted by Max Mills, Toby Wood, and Jody Good, with JJ Pingetzer and Drew Peregoy serving as volunteer assistants.
Paced by all-state quarterback Alex Mills, all-state running back Pehton Truempler, and all-state receiver Trey Fike the Wranglers will again be explosive on offense.
“We’re not changing much,” Truempler said. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
Their line will be solid with all-state players Korbin Dewitt and Jaxon Stanley, and on defense, Cannon Campbell is looking solid for another season as an all-state linebacker.
“Tucker Maddock should help us at defensive end too,” Truempler said.
The Wranglers had just a single loss last season, 330 miles from home in a shootout with the Pine Bluffs Hornets.
It will be an interesting season opener next Friday at 4 p.m. when Shoshoni hosts the Hornets in a non-league contest at Harold Bailey Field.
“It’s definitely something we’re looking forward to since last year,” Truempler said. “It’s hard to win a game when you have five fumbles.”
Looking around the state, Truempler doesn’t have to look far with Rocky Mountain and Wind River both fielding solid teams. The Cougars lost just one player from a 7-3 season a year ago, and the Grizzlies are skilled offensively with a couple of quality linemen returning.
“We’re worried more about Rocky than Wind River right now,” Truempler said. “Rocky’s style of offense can give us trouble. Wind River likes to line up and run right at you. Wind River is a great team, with excellent coaches, our defense just matches up better with them.”
Defensively, Shoshoni didn’t yield many yards on the ground a season ago and that stellar run defense should take them far again.
An unknown this year will be the fourth-place team from the west. Greybull is greatly improved, Riverside was feisty a season ago and will continue to improve under head coach Greg Mendenhall. Big Piney graduated 13 seniors off a 6-4 team in Class 2-A last season, leaving the Punchers as an unknown for the upcoming campaign.
Shoshoni travels to Natrona County High School on Friday with a 60-play scrimmage at 2 p.m. against the Wright Panthers. They will face Lusk later in the day.