Devils at Huskies opens football season; full schedules released
Full schedules released
The new football schedules are out and local fans won’t have to wait long for the Eagle River Rumble.
Battle Mountain hosts Eagle Valley for Week 1, either Oct. 9 or 10. Vail Christian opens the season with a state-playoff rematch at Dove Creek also on Oct. 9-10.
Due to COVID-19, The Colorado High School Activities Association rebooted a fall season on Thursday with schools from across the state having until Monday to declare to play in the fall or the spring. Locally, all three teams, the Devils, Huskies and Saints, chose the traditional fall season.
In the 3A Western Slope, Glenwood Springs and Steamboat Springs opted for spring, so the league is Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley, Palisade and Summit and newcomers Green Mountain, Evergreen and Conifer. Five of six games are within the conference. The Huskies will not play Conifer, while the Devils skip Evergreen.
The 8-man Northwest League is all the usual suspects for Vail Christian, except for Plateau Valley.
CHSAA, not the schools themselves, made the slates, which is a change from normal. All schedules keep teams within their classifications (3A or 8-man). CHSAA is using a “6+1” model, meaning that teams will play six regular-season games and qualify for the playoffs through the rating-percentage index or play a seventh game against a non-postseason-eligible team.
Only eight teams — as opposed to the traditional 16 — make the postseason in 2020.
In answer to the first question on the lips of Eagle Valley fans, “Hey, didn’t we play on the road last year against Battle Mountain? Why aren’t we hosting the Huskies this year?,” CHSAA made the schedule.
While blaming CHSAA is quite fashionable, the organization had one day to make schedules for 218 schools — from 6-man to 5A — playing fall football in 24 hours and didn’t have time to figure out which conference team hosted whom last year.
Ergo, the Battle Mountain game is in Edwards. On the positive side, the Devils play four of their six scheduled games in Eagle County.
While, of course, the Battle Mountain game has intergalactic implications for all involved, the Devils do have a bit of a softer start to the season with the Huskies (2-8 last season) and Summit (3-7).
In the previous two incarnations of the 2020 schedule, Eagle Valley was hoping to beef up its schedule. The Devils still get their wish in schedule No. 3.
Week 3 is at Green Mountain. The Rams went 10-3 last year, finishing second in the Mountain Metro Conference and advanced to the 3A state semifinals. Week 4 is Mountain Metro Conference champion, Conifer, in Gypsum.
Want a tough schedule, Eagle Valley? Here’s Frederick in Gypsum in Week 5. Technically a nonconference opponent, the Warriors finished second in the Northern League with an 11-2 record. The Devils’ three non-traditional opponents went 27-3 during last year’s regular season, so Eagle Valley probably doesn’t need to worry about strength of schedule in the RPI in 2020.
And, by the way, the Devils finish the season at Palisade.
If Eagle Valley football can negotiate this schedule, it would be more than deserving of a playoff berth. That’s certainly the plan in Gypsum, coming off a 5-5 season and returning a lot of juniors in key positions.
As if Battle Mountain coach Jim Schuppler wasn’t pumped enough for the upcoming season, his team starts with Eagle Valley and Palisade right out of the gate.
Grab your coffee, boys.
As far as the rest of the schedule goes, it’s probably not the schedule the Huskies envisioned. Said schedule doesn’t exist anymore after Aspen and Basalt, among other teams like Rifle, Roaring Fork and Coal Ridge on the Western Slope, opted for the spring season.
So Battle Mountain will be playing some pretty solid 3A teams. Evergreen (Week 3) went 4-6 last season, but had a beastly nonconference schedule. Those first five games included losses to Erie, Lewis-Palmer and Mead before beating Eagle Valley, 49-6, and Palisade, 19-17.
Roosevelt (Week 4) made the playoffs with 5-5 regular-season record before bowing out against Discovery Canyon.
Green Mountain (Week 6), as already noted, made the state semifinals.
Vail Christian got pretty much what it expected. With Plateau Valley not fielding a fall squad, Dove Creek was about as “natural” of a nonconference foe as possible. There is nothing geographically convenient for 8-man football outside of the Northwest League.
After Dove Creek, the Saints go into league play for the rest of their scheduled games. Vail Christian is the defending league champion, but will be trying to keep the crown with a lot of faces in new places after heavy graduation losses.
On the plus side, the Saints are home for arch rival, Soroco, in Week 4 and also get West Grand in Week 6 in Eagle County.
On a lighter note…
The Western Slope wasn’t the only league that got a remodel. As such, Front Range teams are finding out that they have to travel … gasp … to the Western Slope … gasp … twice.
We’re sure the entire Western Slope feels their pain.
Oct. 15-17: at Palisade
Oct. 23-24: Evergreen
Oct. 29-31: At Roosevelt
Nov. 6: At Summit
Nov. 13-14: Green Mountain
Nov. 19-21: TBD
Oct. 9-10: At Battle Mountain
Oct. 16: Summit
Oct. 22-24: At Green Mountain
Oct. 30-31: Conifer
Nov. 6-7: Frederick
Nov. 12-14: At Palisade
Nov. 19–21: TBD
Oct. 9-10: At Dove Creek
Oct. 16-17: Gilpin County
Oct. 23-24: At Hayden
Oct. 30-31: Soroco
Nov. 6-7: At Rangely
Nov. 13-14: West Grand
Nov. 19-21: TBD
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