There continue to be many different balls in the air when it comes to the present and future of high school football and cheer in Colorado.
Following the announcement that there will be two football seasons this school year, the Boulder Valley School District decided to leave the decision to declare between fall Season A or spring Season C up to the district’s individual schools. On Friday, several of those schools made decisions well ahead of the Colorado High School Activities Association’s deadline at 8 a.m. on Monday.
Broomfield and Fairview have opted for Season A while Boulder announced that it will join the slowly growing but still much shorter list of schools to play in the spring.
“Meeting with coach (Ryan) Bishop and (principal) James Hill, we discussed what would be best for the Boulder High School program,” Boulder athletic director Eddie Hartnett said. “We’ve come a long way in a few years and we want to keep that momentum going. One of the most important things for that, we felt, was league alignment. We want to stay in our league and the Metro 1 is going for spring.”
Hartnett added that it is his understanding most of the Metro 1 League, which was created in 2018 put struggling programs in their own conference to create an even playing field, is in favor of moving to the spring in order to stay together. That would require at least 50 percent of the teams to remain in the same season.
With only eight teams qualifying for the postseason under the new rules, Boulder could likely remain more competitive and continue to grow the program in the spring while also playing with a chance to have a playoff game.
“Everybody’s kind of got to do what’s best for their program,” Bishop said. “We’re going to go in the spring because it’s best for our program right now.”
As for Broomfield, a team that played in the last fall’s Class 4A state championship game, the Eagles are resuming in the fall but not without a bit of caution from athletic director Steve Shelton via a release to parents and players.
“I do feel the need to temper the excitement a little bit,” Shelton wrote. “All of these approvals can be rescinded if we enter level three of the safer at home public health order. If we commit to the fall and the county or an outbreak shuts us down, we do not get the opportunity to join season C, we will be done. Throughout this process, BVSD has committed to following the more conservative restrictions between Boulder and Broomfield County Health and that will continue.
“We implore you to continue to help keep you kids and our programs safe by protecting each other. Don’t gather with your friends off campus, wash your hands often and wear your masks all the time in public. We must play in at least 4 of the 6 games to qualify for playoffs and one exposure can shut us down for 14 days.”
For Fairview, the decision to play in the fall was driven by competition and timeliness.
“Our football community is really gung ho and we wanted to be able to compete in the most competitive situation with the majority of teams in the fall,” Fairview athletic director Rod Beauchamp said. “There are still a lot of hurdles to clear and we aren’t sure how things are going to go. But we don’t know if we’ll even have a Season C at all so while we have the opportunity to play, we’re taking it.”
Monarch and Centaurus have yet to make a decision and both continue to collect data in order to best inform on when they’re ready.
“Centaurus High School will definitely have our declaration in before the deadline on Monday,” Centaurus AD Emmy Murphy said. “We’re working to get as many data points as possible, which includes talking with the principal, district athletic directors, our football coach and our league schools. We’re also sending out a survey to parents because we want input from them and the players so that we can make the most informed decision possible.”
Denver Public Schools and Aurora Public Schools have already declared for Season C. Those districts include Aurora Central, Denver South, Gateway and Vista PEAK, which account for over half of teams in Centaurus’ league. Parents have until 11 a.m. on Saturday to fill out the survey before members of the Centaurus administration will meet to discuss the results.
Still facing numerous unknowns like other schools are, Monarch football coach Phil Bravo said the Monarch staff has had virtual meetings with other conference coaches and will continue to do its due diligence until they feel comfortable declaring.
“We’ve met extensively with our administrators and our stakeholders,” Bravo said. “We were hoping to make a decision by Friday afternoon but by tomorrow morning, we’ll have a better idea of what we’ll want to do. We’re still looking at a lot of things.”
Of note, Legacy of the Adams 12 School District — the only other 5A program in the area — also announced Friday that Season A was their declared destination.
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