Cortez drops to 2A for two years, out of Glenwood’s football league
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
CORTEZ, Colorado – After ending this past season with a 1-9 record, the Montezuma-Cortez High School football team has been searching for an answer to the school’s low turnout in the sport.
Athletic director Justin O’Connor and head coach Chuck Cotter may have found a way to start building a program. M-CHS will move from Class 3A to 2A for two seasons, beginning next fall.
“Myself and coach Cotter sat down and talked, … and I asked what is the best thing we can do to increase our numbers. We felt that going down to 2A would give us a chance to be more competitive and get our numbers up and build commitment and tradition,” O’Connor said.
Since winning five games in 2004, the Panthers have posted a combined 10-38 record (.208), including an 8-30 record (.210) in the past four years. Cortez went 1-9 this year, 4-5 in 2008, 1-8 in 2007 and 2-8 in both 2006 and 2005.
The Colorado High School Activities Association’s Classification and League Organization Committee met Nov. 16 and 17, and went over the requests from eight schools to “play down,” six of them in football and two in soccer. The CLOC recommended that M-CHS move to 2A, and CHSAA’s football committee approved the move Nov. 24.
CHSAA’s board of control will vote on final approval in late January in what likely will be a formality, although the board might consider new proposals. M-CHS is moving forward with scheduling for next season.
The program in Cortez was found to have met the requirements for “playing down,” or dropping to a lower classification: The varsity team had a combined winning percentage of less than 20 percent for the previous four years (though its winning percentage was slightly higher than that); and the school provided evidence that it would have limited success if it continued in the regular classification.
Cortez will compete in the Mountain Conference, which includes Bayfield, Buena Vista, Centauri, Monte Vista, Pagosa Springs and Salida. O’Connor said Salida and Buena Vista were opposed to the move because it means more travel for those teams.
“It does create a travel issue for us. … I did a little mileage research and found that we are closer to every other 2A school in the state than Cortez,” said Buena Vista athletic director and head football coach Bob Marken.
“Just for us to go to Steamboat this year was near $3,500, and that’s just out of the school’s [account],” Cotter said, adding that the booster club picked up part of the tab. “Next year [if Cortez stayed in 3A], we would travel to Glenwood, Eagle Valley, Battle Mountain and Craig for league play.”
There were proposals for realignment that would have affected the composition of the Mountain Conference, but the league will maintain its current makeup.
After two seasons, the Panthers will move back up to 3A.
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