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Glenwood, other Re-1 schools stick with spring football

No word on Rifle, Coal Ridge plans yet

Austin Colbert
The Aspen Times
Glenwood Springs' Dylan Albright slips through the hands of a defending Rifle Bear during September 2019 football action.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

After a week of mixed messages and increased pressure from coaches, players and parents, the Colorado High School Activities Association announced this week that the fall football season was back on, should schools choose to take part.

But the Roaring Fork School District Re-1, which includes high schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt, announced in a news release Thursday afternoon they were opting out of the fall season and will play football in the adjusted spring season.

“We are working closely with other teams in our leagues so that we can offer a competitive football season for each of our schools next spring as currently provided in the CHSAA schedule, even if that means playing teams in other conferences,” the news release said. “We are all eager to give our kids opportunities to resume normal activities but we cannot make decisions that jeopardize our students’ or staff members’ safety.”

Glenwood Springs plays at the 3A level in a league that includes Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley in the neighboring Eagle County School District, as well as Palisade, Steamboat Springs and Summit.

Basalt plays at the 2A level with Rifle and Coal Ridge high schools in the Garfield Re-2 District. No decisions had been made as of Friday morning by those schools.

Cedaredge, which plays in the Class 1A Western Slope League with Grand Valley and Roaring Fork, and is a frequent non-league opponent of other area teams, announced on Twitter late Thursday it had voted to go ahead and play football this fall.

Roaring Fork plans to return to varsity play after a two-year hiatus, but at the 1A instead of 2A level where it had been classified previously. That will now wait until spring.

Schools have until 8 a.m. Monday to decide if they want to play this fall, which is dubbed Season A, along with softball, cross country, golf and boys tennis.

Football schools still have the option to play in Season C, with games beginning in March, which had been the original plan for football in the new four-season approach CHSAA opted for during this pandemic-influenced school year.

Teams are not allowed to play in both the fall and spring, and CHSAA said a state champion will be crowned for each season.

Aspen High School is also still weighing its decision. AHS Athletic Director Martha Richards spent a good chunk of the day Thursday talking with other Western Slope AD’s, as well as AHS Principal Sarah Strassburger and Aspen School District Superintendent David Baugh, although too many questions remained for them to make a declaration.

“We are looking at everything and taking everything into consideration,” Richards said Thursday evening. “For us, we are still evaluating everything and trying to let the dust settle and see where we are as a district.”

According to a report by The Denver Post, CHSAA Assistant Commissioner Adam Bright “said early estimations are that 75 to 80 percent of Colorado high school football teams will play in the fall.”

Boys soccer and volleyball, both traditionally fall sports along with football, were not part of CHSAA’s announcement Wednesday night and won’t play until the spring. Field hockey and sideline spirit, however, were given the go ahead to participate in fall activities along with football.

Football teams that decide to opt in for the fall were allowed to begin practice Thursday, with games starting as soon as Oct. 8. The first round of the eight-team playoffs would begin Nov. 21, with the state championship games scheduled for Dec. 5.

Season C in the spring, which seems to be where much of the 3A and 2A Western Slope is putting their focus, will start practice Feb. 25 with the first competition scheduled for March 11.

While weather can be a major hurdle for spring sports in the mountains, Richards is adamant they can make it work.

“We are very fortunate in Aspen to have a new state-of-the-art turf field, and we are accustomed to preparing it every spring for boys and girls lacrosse and girls soccer,” Richards said. “So if we play boys soccer and football in Season C, it won’t be an issue because we get our field ready for lacrosse and girls soccer every year during this same window of time. For schools with grass fields, it may be more challenging. However, I really believe that if they have a girls soccer team that they get their field ready for every spring, that they’ll be able to get their field ready for football and boys soccer.”

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Post Independent reporter John Stroud contributed to this report.


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