Major changes for Blazer football for 2020 season

TORRINGTON – The Torrington High School football team will be moving down to Class 2A for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.

The move will make Torrington the largest 2A school in the state.

“(The Wyoming High School Activities Association goes) on a two-year cycle,” THS Athletic Director Dave Plendl said. “The top 10 in football are 4A. The next 16 are 3A, and we were the 17th. So, we are going to flip with Buffalo.”

Average daily membership numbers are how the WHSAA determines classification, and it ultimately came down to four students.

Buffalo’s ADM for the next two years is 356.91, while Torrington’s is 252.13.

“Those are based off the numbers that are reported to the Department of Education, and the WHSAA uses that to come up those,” Plendl said.

However, Torrington will remain 3A in all other sports.

As a result of the move in classification, Torrington football will face the challenge of a whole new schedule of opponents in 2020.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the program. We played in the state championship game in 2017 and 2018, playing against schools three times our size,” THS coach Russel Stienmetz said. “I’m really excited to be going against new coordinators and new head coaches. There will be a challenge there for sure. It’s going to be nice going against different opponents that we have haven’t seen ever.”

Torrington will have a nine-game schedule instead of the usual eight for the upcoming season, and there are a couple reasons for that decision.

Firstly, Torrington and Gering wanted to continue playing each other.

“It helps them with travel, and we are similar sized schools,” Plendl said.

Secondly, it will save the Blazers from driving halfway across the state for a Week 0 jamboree since the current jamboree Torrington attends will now feature all nine-man teams.

“If we are going to have to travel halfway across the state to play in a jamboree, we might as play in a real game,” Plendl said.

Wheatland and Burns also took part in those jamborees, and there was no interest in participating in a jamboree with teams which Torrington will see during the regular season.

“There are some great football teams in 2A,” Stienmetz said. “I know Mountain View will be tough year in and year out. I think Big Horn are going to be shaking up the 2A East, coming from 1A. Even Cokeville is a traditional football powerhouse in 1A. It’ll be awesome to see what they can do up at the 2A level.”

With the larger 2A East Conference, which features seven additional teams, Torrington had to pick up one additional game. But had Torrington stayed in 3A, the Blazers would have needed three additional games.

As a result, the Blazers will continue to play the Douglas Bearcats.

“Mr. Stienmetz and I sat down and talked, and he was willing to play Douglas,” Plendl said. “It’s a longtime rival. I think the communities expect that and would have been disappointed. Talking to the Douglas AD, they wanted to continue playing us. It just kind of worked out that we were able to keep that.”

Football-volleyball doubleheaders

One other major change to scheduling will feature three Friday evenings that will feature volleyball and football doubleheaders.

“Hopefully that will be a good thing for the community,” Plendl said.

The volleyball/football combination events have been on Plendl’s mind, and he’s been able to do that for the last couple years against Rawlins.

The dates of the doubleheaders include Sept. 25 when Upton-Sundance comes to Torrington, Oct. 16 against Wheatland and Oct. 23 when the Blazers travel to Burns.


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