A pair of undefeated county rivals collide in our WyoPreps Small School ‘Game of the Week’ on Thursday night.

From Class 1A-9 Man, top-ranked Shoshoni will host No. 4 Wind River at Bailey Field.

Yes, the fans voted for the SEWAC rivalry between Pine Bluffs and Lusk, but as the bold-face type in the story says, WyoPreps does reserve the right to overrule the poll. Short answer, we did.

Both the Wranglers and the Cougars are 3-0 entering the game.

WyoPreps spoke with both head coaches ahead of the big meeting. Wind River head coach Mykah Trujillo touched on his team’s terrific start, some of the keys to their early success, building the program, what the Cougars expect from Shoshoni, and more. Wranglers' head coach Tony Truempler talked about his experienced team that has grown from last season, some of the key personnel, the game versus Wind River, and more. That’s in the interviews at the top of this story.

The last time Shoshoni was undefeated this deep into a season was in 2015, according to records kept at wyoming-football.com. In that 2015 season, the Wranglers finished 8-1 in Class 1A-11 Man but lost in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.

After a 7-3 season in 2020, the Wranglers return a good core to this year.

The Cougars haven’t enjoyed a start like this since an 8-2 season in 2009. That’s from wyoming-football.com’s records. Wind River reached the semifinals of the playoffs that year.

Now in their second year of 9-man football, both teams feel they’ve adjusted well to the new-style game.

Wind River has the top rushing attack at 391 yards per game. The Cougars face a Shoshoni defense that allows only 121 yards per game on the ground. They feature a three-headed attack Cooper Frederick, Jaden Miller, and Chris Burk. Miller and Tucker Jensen lead the defense.

The Wranglers look for a little more balance. Shoshoni runs for close to 270 yards per game, but they also have the No. 3 pass offense in the division at 108 yards per game. The Wranglers will face a stingy Wind River defense that allows only 121 yards and six points per game.

The Cougars have won their games in a different fashion. After a forfeit victory, Wind River blew out Greybull, 56-6, and won a defensive slugfest last week over previous No. 5 Southeast, 8-6.

Shoshoni faced two ranked opponents in their first two games. They beat defending champion Southeast, 40-7, topped Rocky Mountain, 27-10, and then blew out St. Stephens last week, 72-6.

Thursday night will be the 56th game in the series, which dates back to 1969. Wind River holds a 29-26 edge in the previous games. The Cougars won eight of the first nine, but Shoshoni has won two straight and eight of the last ten. The series history is courtesy of wyoming-football.com.

The kick-off is at 7 p.m.

Wyoming At The Turn Of The Century Through The Eyes Of Lora Webb Nichols

Nichols received her first camera in 1899 at the age of 16. Her earlier photographs are of her family and friends as well as self-portraits, and landscape pictures of the land surrounding the town of Encampment.

- Wyoming At The Turn Of The Century Through The Eyes Of Lora Webb Nichols