It was December 13, 1902.
Head coach William McMurray’s Wyoming Cowboys beat Cheyenne High School, 18-0.
Okay, the Pokes earned a victory, and a shutout at that. But there’s been a lot of those during the years, what’s the big deal.
Well, that was the last time Wyoming played a football game on its home turf in the month of December.
Until THIS Saturday that is. It’ll be an historic day indeed like maybe when Patrick Henry gave his “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech, or when Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg, or when Kennedy gave his “Ask not What Your Country” speech, or Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream”, or Neil Armstrong’s “That’s One Small Step for a Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind”.
Most of us couldn’t be there for those great moments in America’s history, but we can be in War Memorial Stadium Saturday for something that will be important in the history of Cowboy football. It will be a special day, an historic day, a unique day.
The Cowboys have never played a football game as big as this at home. The opportunity to win a championship, any championship, doesn’t come around very often. It hasn’t happened for Cowboy football in some two decades.
So why wouldn’t you be in War Memorial Stadium on Saturday for the Mountain West Conference Championship? It’s the Cowboys and the San Diego State Aztecs, and it’s for all the marbles. I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you it’s also part of one of the biggest doubleheaders we’ve had here in years as the Poke basketball team hosts highly touted Northern Iowa at 1 p.m. in the Double A, prior to the football championship. What a day!
The championship game has the Cowboys’ David, hosting the Aztec’s Goliath. It’s the preseason pick to finish dead last (it was a unanimous media vote by the way) in the league against the team picked to be the class of the league.
So why wouldn’t you be here? Why wouldn’t you come and support these Cowboys who last year endured one of Wyoming’s most trying seasons while winning just two games. A team whose will, grit and flair for the dramatic produced a season as special as any in Poke history.
The Cowboys are in the championship game because they took all of the embarrassment from last season, digested it and manufactured it into a very special motivation. Sure, there were a few bumps in the road, but they earned the right to be in this game.
It’s impossible to minimize what this team has accomplished. They’ve come a long way over a rocky road, a bed of thorns, to produce one of the biggest feel-good stories in this collegiate football season.
Why wouldn’t you be here Saturday?
I have talked to the seniors on this team, a very special group of men. Guys who have won more games this year than during the rest of their collective careers combined. Linebacker Lucas Wacha told me there were days when he didn’t want to go to practice as the losses multiplied earlier in his career. “It was a dark time, but I wasn’t about to hang up my cleats. I couldn’t do that to the rest of the team.” What a leader. That’s the kind of guy who passes on a successful legacy to the younger players. He’s why championships are accomplished.
These seniors are the guys who stuck with it. Many who should have been in this class went by the wayside. I’ll bet now they wished they hadn’t quit. These seniors didn’t, and now they’re playing for a ring.
You need to be here for them. You need to be here for a team that has done a miraculous job of renewing our pride in Cowboy football, while giving us some of the most thrilling moments in the program’s history. We’ll never forget those moments, we’ll never forget this team!
I know you will be here. You have been here all season. Those who haven’t need to be here. To a man these Cowboys will say it is the energy in War Memorial Stadium that has pushed them to this year’s perfect home record.
The Aztecs will be ready Saturday at 5:45 p.m., Rocky Long will make sure of that. So will your Cowboys, Craig Bohl will make sure of that.
Be here, it should be something special.
By the way, I speak for the team when I say THANK YOU Cowboy fans, especially those of you who have been here through all the thin years too. We see you in the stands every week. You have been a huge part of this program and this historic season. You are as special as your Cowboys!
See you Saturday.