The first round of the 2021 football playoffs is here. There are 40 teams across five classes with the hope of winning a title in a couple of weeks.

WyoPreps caught up with some coaches of teams that we haven’t had an opportunity to visit with, while still looking at some key matchups in the first round.

Lander Tigers

The Tigers finished the regular season with a 4-4 record. They won their last three games and earned the second seed from the 3A East Conference on a tiebreaker. Even though they are at home, Lander is an underdog against the Star Valley Braves. The two teams are so similar from a statistical standpoint. They are separated by 0.2 yards per game on offense and 0.3 yards per game on defense.

WyoPreps chatted with Lander head coach John Scott about his team’s season, overcoming a slow start, winning three in a row coming into the playoffs, the matchup with Star Valley, and more.

The kick-off is at 5 p.m. at Bill Bush Stadium in Lander.

Big Piney Punchers

After a slow start, Big Piney won four straight at the end of the regular season and has a 6-3 overall record entering the playoffs. The Punchers earned the third seed from the 2A West Conference and travel to Wheatland to play the Bulldogs on Friday. Both teams put up similar numbers on offense. Big Piney has the No. 1 defense in 2A and is No. 1 versus the pass. They allow only 41 yards per game through the air.

WyoPreps spoke to the Punchers’ head coach Ryan Visser about his team’s season, playing two games last week, the slow start compared to finishing strong, lessons learned from last year, and playing Wheatland in the first round.

The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. in Wheatland at Bulldog Stadium.

Upton-Sundance Patriots

The other No. 3 seed playing on the road in the first round is Upton-Sundance. The Patriots have a record of 6-2 on the season. They have won four consecutive games entering the postseason. They face the Lovell Bulldogs on the road on Friday. Both teams like to run the ball. Lovell is tops in 2A at 257 yards per game, while Upton-Sundance is at 202 yards per game. Both defenses are in the top six of the division.

Patriots’ head coach Andy Garland likes how his team has progressed throughout the season, understands their keys to success, some of their key players, and facing a tough Lovell team on the road.

It’s a 6 p.m. start at Kevin P. Robertson Memorial Stadium in Lovell.

Meeteetse Longhorns

Our final conversation takes us to the third seed in the Class 1A-6 Man football with the Meeteetse Longhorns. They play at the Midwest Oilers at 6 p.m. on Friday.

Meeteetse is 4-3 on the season. Their two losses in conference games were against the top-two ranked teams in 6-man football this season. It’s a strength-on-strength matchup. The Longhorns have the top offense at 463 yards per game. Midwest answers with the No. 3 defense that allows only 261 yards per game.

Meeteetse head coach Zeb Hagen talked about their regular season, how the Longhorns are playing, having a bye on their schedule last week, and facing an improved Oilers squad.

The kick-off is at 5:30 p.m. from Oiler Field in Midwest.

Out of the 20 total first-round playoff games, five feature a ranked team playing another ranked team. There’s one of those matchups in each classification.

Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium

Did you know it would take the populations of Gillette (32,857), Laramie (32,381), Rock Springs (23,319), Sheridan (17,844) and Wright (1,200) to create a sellout inside Michigan's famed 107,601-seat Big House, the largest college football stadium in the nation?

For those of you not familiar with the Cowboy State, those are Wyoming's third through sixth most inhabited cities, along with the small mining town in Campbell County.

- Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium

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