Speedy Cougars ready to contend for postseason in Class 1-A WestAug 23, 2017 By Randy Tucker, Staff Writer
They've been rebuilding for a long time in Pavillion, but this may be the year for the Wind River Cougars. Coach Mykah Trujillo has 32 boys out for football and a bevy of returning talent off a squad that narrowly missed the postseason in 2016.
The Cougars graduated just three seniors, John Thoman, Taylor Tidzump and Ryan Jordan, and they bring speed and experience to the gridiron with 17 returning offensive and defensive starters.
Kevin Jones assists for the first time this season.
"We're looking definitely a lot better and a lot more mature this year," Trujillo said. "We're a lot crisper."
Dillon Cachelin has the inside track at quarterback, but with so many returning players Trujillo was quick to point out that all positions are still up in the air.
A likely starter will be running back Morgan Miller, with Cage Vogel, Jaren Guina and transfer Kaden Dower.
Dower is an incoming freshman at Western Heritage Lutheran Academy in Riverton, joining senior Jordan Kline as the the fastest Cougars this year. Kline won the Class 1-A 100-meter dash last season, and Dower posted the fastest time in the 100 meters of any junior high student in the Cowboy State last spring.
"He'll see some significant time," Trujillo said of Dower. "We're excited to have him."
Sophomore McCaden Anderson moves from the line to tight end, and his 6-foot-4 frame will be a big target downfield.
Colton Befus, Justin Martin and Owen McAdams anchor a huge offensive line.
"We're starting to have the bodies and the people to mix it up this year," Trujillo said.
The Cougars have an interesting mix of opponents in week-zero action.
They travel to Cody on Saturday Aug. 26, to play controlled scrimmages against the host Broncs, Worland and Thermopolis.
Class 1-A is a division in constant flux, with teams dropping from Class 2-A and moving to 6-man football when enrollments decline.
Cokeville returns all but one player from a season ago, and Coach Todd Dayton's Panthers are favored to win the 1-A West and have the inside track to yet another state championship.
The interesting portion of conference play comes among Rocky Mountain, Wind River and Shoshoni.
Rocky returns a host of seniors but lost speed when Mike Simmons took a job in California and took his two sons with him.
Shoshoni graduated most of last year's team but returns a solid group of nine seniors with help from a big sophomore class.
Wind River should fare well against both the Cougars and the Grizzlies, with the winner of the three-way battle hosting a playoff game.