Wyoming’s Most Heated High School Football Rivalries
With high school football season heating up, here’s our list of the five most historic, and hotly contested gridiron rivalries in the Cowboy State.
Sheridan vs. Gillette, ‘The Energy Bowl’ – Dating all the way back to 1922, this rivalry ranks among the oldest in the state. It also pits two traditional powerhouses versus each other in a battle for bragging rights and playoff seeding.
It wasn’t always that competitive. Sheridan crushed Gillette by a score of 87-0 in their first meeting 93 years ago.
When the Energy Bowl was introduced 37 years ago, the rivalry really heated up.
Last year's meeting was one for the ages, featuring a matchup between the two top ranked teams in the state. One a rainy night, Gillette scored a last minute touchdown to edge their archrivals.
Six weeks later in a rematch for the state championship, Sheridan would get the last laugh, avenging their loss 38-31 and claiming the title.
Lander vs. Riverton – Only 23 miles apart, these neighboring towns first met on the gridiron in 1922, when the Lander shut out Riverton 60-0. Since then, the Wolverines have turned the tide and lead the all-time series 60-50-7.
In 1994, the two bitter rivals met for a rematch in the Class 3A State Championship. Regarded among the best games ever played in Wyoming, Riverton won 33-27 to claim their first state football title in school history.
Central narrowly defeated East in their first meeting by a score of 13-7. Central holds the edge in the all-time rivalry, 45-21. Last year, the Indians came from behind to beat the Thunderbirds 20-17 on a game winning touchdown late in the 4th quarter.
Natrona County vs. Kelly Walsh, ‘The Oil Bowl’ – Since the first meeting in 1965, the 52 year-old rivalry has been largely one sided. Natrona County has compiled a record of 38-13. The Mustangs have also won all four playoff meetings between the schools.
One of the best games in ‘Oil Bowl’ history came back in 2013, when Kelly Walsh pulled off a 21-20 upset win in overtime. Natrona County would bounce back later that year, shutting out the Trojans 33-0 in the playoffs.
Wyoming's Oil Bowl shares a name with another famous football game, the annual Texas High School All-Star game, which has been held in Wichita Falls, Texas, every year since 1938.
Lingle vs. Guernsey-Sunrise, 'The Highway 26 Rivalry' - For nearly sixty years, these bordering schools, located just over 20 miles apart, battled for bragging rights every fall on the football field. Sadly, the rivalry ended in 2008, when Guernsey-Sunrise dropped from 1A to the six-man division.
This year, Lingle moved to six-man and the North Platte valley rivalry has finally been renewed.