Class changes would effect local high school football teams

Jon Mitchell
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor

A proposal that goes before the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Legislative Council for approval today could change the landscape of prep football in the Class 3A and 2A Western Slope Leagues beginning in the 2016 season.

Among the items that will go up for approval during the Legislative Council meeting in Aurora is a proposal that would create an eighth classification for football following the 2015 season. The implementation of Class 6A — a move that was approved at CHSAA’s Legislative Council meeting in January — would require a two-thirds vote by the council for it to pass. That council, according to an article posted at, is not fully in favor of the proposal and is exploring other options to balance football classifications.

Current enrollment splits consist of schools with enrollments of 730 to 1,249 students for Class 3A. If the addition of Class 6A was approved, those splits for 3A would be changed and range from a minimum of 555 students to a maximum of 999.

Based on enrollment figures for Garfield County schools this season, the proposal’s approval would move Rifle and Glenwood Springs from two of the smallest schools in 3A football to the upper half of the classification. According to CHSAA, Glenwood’s enrollment stands at 879 students. Rifle’s enrollment is 762.

The proposed enrollment move, on paper, could help an already successful Rifle program see even more success. Since the 2011 season, Rifle is 41-1 against schools with an enrollment of 1,000 students or fewer and 44-7 overall in that four-year stretch. Glenwood, using this year’s enrollment figures, would have only five other schools in the classification with higher enrollment figures. Evergreen, the school that beat Glenwood in the first round of the 3A state playoffs this past season, would be on the cusp of remaining at 3A with 1,010 students.

The most recent opponent with an enrollment of more than 1,000 is Pueblo East, which defeated Rifle 30-14 on Nov. 29, 2014, in the Class 3A state title game.

Enrollment figures from the 2015-16 school year would be used to determine the classifications for each school for the following two-year classification cycle, which would last through the 2017-18 school year. Schools with enrollments of 1,941 or greater would be part of the proposed 6A classification.

Currently near the proposed cutoff between Class 3A and 2A is Coal Ridge, which currently has an enrollment of 546. Under this year’s figures, Coal Ridge would have the highest enrollment in Class 2A football. One of Coal Ridge’s league rivals, Aspen, would move up to Class 3A with current enrollment figures coming in at 563.

Roaring Fork, which has an enrollment of 345, would likely remain at 2A with the proposed enrollment for the classification ranging from 266 to 550 students. Grand Valley, which has an enrollment of 279 students, could move back up to Class 2A if the enrollment figures for the Parachute school remain steady. The school has seen a consistent drop in enrollment for the past five years — Grand Valley entered the 2010-11 school year with an enrollment of 350 students.

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