Colorado high schools given the option to play fall football; Vail Christian says yes, while Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley are undecided
Devils and Huskies now have to decide whether to go forward
Friday Night Lights in the fall are back on the table, and Vail Christian is going ahead, according to the school’s athletic director and football coach Tim Pierson.
The Colorado High School Activities Association approved the return of football from spring to fall late Wednesday night.
In the statement, CHSAA said that schools may make the choice of play, “field hockey, football and sideline spirit during the fall (Season A) season. Schools will continue to have the option to play these sports in Season C, as previously upheld by the Board, if they elect not to play during Season A. The seasons will be treated equitably. Schools may not play in both seasons. This will allow local schools and districts to make the determination.”
“Vail Christian would like to play (in the fall),” Pierson said. “There’s no guarantee that March (Season C) will be any better. We will be monitoring the COVID situation, but we feel that a majority of the 8-man Northwest League is on board.”
Schools must submit their declaration of intent to play in the fall by Monday. Pierson said he will be filing for the fall for the Saints. Class 3A Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley were undecided as of press time.
Huskies and Devils
Being very clear, this doesn’t mean that the Huskies or Devils will not be fielding teams in the fall. Again, both schools have until Monday to decide on fall or spring.
“We are looking for what is going to be best for our kids and allow them to play,” Huskies athletic director Gentry Nixon said.
Nixon added that evaluating the health implications is the top-shelf issue, but there are also factors like transportation and scheduling. For example, Battle Mountain doesn’t have extra buses to transport the team to a game.
On the scheduling front, only Palisade from the 3A Western Slope, in which the Devils and Huskies play, has confirmed fall play.
Nathan Deal, of the Grand Junction Sentinel, confirmed that via Twitter on Thursday afternoon.
On the flip side of the coin, Austin Colbert, of The Aspen Times, reported that the Roaring Fork School District will not allow fall football. That means no Glenwood Springs, Basalt and Roaring Fork.
For both Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain, Glenwood’s no to fall creates a hole in their league schedules. The Huskies were also scheduled to play Basalt in nonconference play.
Looking around the Slope, according to the Steamboat Pilot, Steamboat Springs football hasn’t decided yet.
Nixon said that Battle Mountain was also using the time until Monday’s deadline to figure out who is playing and make the necessary adjustments adjustments, if possible.
Coloradopreps.com started accumulating a list of schools making a decision from 6-man to Class 5A on Thursday. Of the schools making commitments to a football season, fall was a choice of the majority.
The only sports approved for a move to the fall are football, field hockey and spirit teams, so it appears that boys soccer and girls volleyball will remain in Season C, starting on March 4.
• Teams will play “6+1 season,” meaning a six-game regular season and advancing to the playoff field of just eight teams this year — it’s usually 16 — or playing a seventh game against a non-playoff-eligible team.
• Official practices start Sept. 24 with the Week 1 scheduled for Oct. 8-10. The first round of the playoffs will be Nov. 21 with non-playoff teams playing their “plus-1” game.
• Were schools to opt for the spring, the format, “6+1 season,” and eight playoff teams would be the same as the fall. Practice would start Feb. 25 with the opening games being March 11-13.
For football, the major sticking point had been exemptions on variances, or the number of people allowed to congregate in certain areas. CHSAA is allowing 50 players maximum on each sideline. The limit on the number of players who can dress and/or coaches should not affect Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley or Vail Christian.
When on the sideline, players, coaches and staff must wear masks and be socially distant.
CHSAA’s statement did not mention whether fans would be allowed at games.
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