2A WSL to be split into two new football leagues | PostIndependent.com
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2A WSL to be split into two new football leagues

Jon Mitchell
jmitchell@postindependent.com

The Class 2A Western Slope League would be disbanded and the Class 3A WSL would gain two teams and lose two, according to a proposal released by the Colorado High School Activities Association on Monday.

Moves would also include Grand Valley dropping from Class 2A to 1A for football, according to the proposals released by CHSAA. The proposals will be presented for approval to CHSAA’s football organizing committee on Dec. 5. All changes would go into effect for the upcoming 2014-16 classification cycle.

At the 2A level, the proposal will essentially split the 2A WSL into two separate leagues thanks to CHSAA allowing a pair of Class 3A WSL teams to play down at the 2A level. One proposed league is the 2A Northwest League, which would include Aspen, Basalt, Coal Ridge, Moffat County, Roaring Fork and Battle Mountain. The proposed Southwest League would include Bayfield, Gunnison, Olathe, Pagosa Springs, Alamosa and Montezuma-Cortez.

A drop in enrollment forced Moffat County to drop down to 2A in football, but it would remain at Class 3A for its other sports. On the flip side, an enrollment bump for Roaring Fork moved it up from the 1A WSL to Class 2A. Battle Mountain and Cortez, which played in Class 3A, were granted permission by CHSAA to drop down a class because of their lack of success for the past four years.

The moves would create a pair of more geographically friendly leagues to potentially cut down on travel costs, but it would reduce the number of league games the teams would play from seven to five.

“With five league games, it would give us a chance to play some nonleague games against schools we don’t normally play,” Coal Ridge football coach Kyle Sager said. “It would be interesting to have Battle Mountain in our league. That’s one you’d almost want to circle on the calendar.”

CHSAA accepts petitions to play down a class when a program has only won 25 percent of its games in a four-year time span. Battle Mountain is 12-28 in the past four seasons for a 29 percent winning percentage, but a move down would create an even number of teams in each of the new leagues.

Not all coaches are as receptive to teams playing down a level, however.

“I think playdowns are unfortunate,” said Rifle football coach Damon Wells, whose 3A Bears could welcome Summit and Grand Junction Central next year based on CHSAA’s proposal. “It helps the schools attain some success, but it comes at the success of the smaller schools.”

Summit’s football team would be the last at the school to join the WSL. All of its other sports are already in the league, and Summit remained in the Denver Metro-East League only to retain football allegiances.

The move down by Central, though, came since the Warriors are only 5-35 in the past four years. Central played in the 5A/4A Southwestern League and has an enrollment of 1,452, according to the CHSAA proposal.

“In the past three seasons, we’re 32-5,” Wells said. “Four of the five losses we’ve had have come against schools who have had an enrollment higher than the maximum CHSAA allows for 3A football. I really wish someone would speak in defense of the small schools.”

Avoiding a move to Class 4A, according to the proposal, is Palisade. The school was granted an enrollment exemption by CHSAA, noting in its proposal to CHSAA to remain at 3A for football that students who were part of a special education program for students 18 to 21 years old shouldn’t be counted in the school’s enrollment figures. Based on that, Palisade’s enrollment falls in at 1,049, the maximum number CHSAA allows for a school to play football at the 3A level.

Proposals for all football leagues and moves will be approved or turned down on Dec. 5.


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