Friday lights return for a slate of spring nights, as Season C prep football begins
Glenwood Springs opens at home Friday against Aspen; Coal Ridge-Rifle also square off Friday
High school football in Garfield County will start off a bit colder and gradually warm as the season progresses, rather than the other way around as is normally the case.
It all starts Friday night.
First up on the slate will be Glenwood Springs hosting Aspen at 7 p.m. Friday at Stubler Memorial Field, while Coal Ridge will host Rifle and Grand Valley hosts Ellicott, both also at 7.
Live fan attendance at games will be capped due to COVID-19 stadium capacity restrictions. Check with your local school for details and ticket information.
All of the area school districts opted for the pandemic-altered Season C to play football, rather than what ended up being a delayed fall season when several of the usual league opponents for area teams decided to play.
The season runs this week through the end of April, and also includes boys soccer and girls volleyball. The rest of the traditional spring sports — girls soccer, baseball, track & field, boys swimming, lacrosse and girls golf — won’t begin until the last week of April.
The football season will see some different teams in the mix as far as league assignments, with Glenwood Springs, Coal Ridge and Rifle playing in the 3A West with Aspen, Basalt, Montezuma-Cortez, Salida and Steamboat Springs.
The Demons look to improve on a 4-6 in the fall of 2019, in which they rebounded to go 4-1 in the traditional 3A Western Slope League.
Head coach Patrick Engle returns to lead the Demons, who sport a veteran-heavy roster of 19 seniors and 12 juniors.
Rifle, meanwhile, comes off a 2019 season that saw the Bears earn the top playoff seed in the state after winning the 2A Western Slope League at 5-0, and going 10-1 overall — the only loss coming in the second round of the playoffs against league rival Basalt.
Todd Casebier takes the helm at Rifle this season, and the Bears will have a decidedly younger look, with nine seniors and a slate of talented sophomores and juniors.
Coal Ridge, under the direction of Paul Downing, will look to improve on the 1-8 overall record the Titans posted the last time they took the field in fall 2019.
Roaring Fork Rams return to varsity
Playing in the 2A West will be Grand Valley and, returning to the varsity ranks for the first time in three years, Roaring Fork High School of Carbondale. League opponents will include Buena Vista, Ellicott, Manitou Springs and St. Mary’s.
Roaring Fork, now under the direction of coach Eric Bollock, last played at the varsity level in 2017. That year, the Rams went 0-9 before dropping their varsity program and rebuilding at the junior varsity and middle school level for two seasons.
Roaring Fork was to play in the smaller 1A classification this school year, before the Colorado High School Activities Association decided to give schools the option of playing in the fall or the spring after sports were delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Many of the 2A games will be on Saturday afternoons this spring.
Action begins for the Rams on the road at St. Mary’s Saturday at 1 p.m., followed by another road trip to Buena Vista on March 27. Roaring Fork is slated to have its home opener at 1 p.m. April 3 against Ellicott.
Grand Valley, under the coaching direction of Scott Parker, went 2-7 in 2019.
After Grand Valley’s home opener Friday, the Cardinals are on the road at Manitou Springs March 27 and again April 3 at Buena Vista.
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