Coaches, athletes and parents were left anxiously awaiting throughout the summer the Colorado High School Activities Association’s decision regarding fall sports in Colorado.
On Tuesday, the governing body for Colorado prep sports made its decision, and quite frankly, threw quite a bit into disarray when it comes to high school sports. While there were no right answers to the issues CHSAA faced with making sure high school sports happened this year, the decision to split the year up into four seasons – all while moving sports out of their traditional seasons and into new ones – has coaches, players, and parents scrambling.
Northwest Colorado – and the Western Slope as a whole – has a number of challenges ahead when it comes to sports. Fall sports such as boys golf and cross country will be held this fall for Moffat County, but traditional fall staples in football, girls’ volleyball, and boys’ soccer have all been moved to…March.
While volleyball shouldn’t have many issues playing games indoors in March, picture football and boys soccer happening in Moffat County…in March.
Aside from weather issues that the two outdoor sports will undoubtedly face in Moffat County, all three teams could face travel issues due to the weather, while all three teams will have to adjust to new schedules and wait to play meaningful games next year after working hard all summer long.
FOOTBALL…IN MARCH…IN COLORADO??
The most puzzling decision from CHSAA was the one to move football to March. High school football will start practice on February 22 and will play its first game on March 4. The season will be seven weeks long, and just eight teams in each classification will make the state playoffs.
“I’m happy we’re going to have a season, that’s for sure,” said Bulldogs head football coach Lance Scranton. “But I just feel bad for the kids, honestly. They shouldn’t have been put in this situation.”
With a shortened season and a smaller playoff window, it will be paramount for the Bulldogs – who had playoff aspirations heading into the fall in the first year under Scranton – to get off to a fast start. With snow likely on the ground still (and most definitely still falling) the Bulldogs will have to adjust not only practice schedules, but travel schedules, and maybe even the style of play.
“I think because we want to play football, we’re going to make it work,” Scranton said. “I just have a feeling it’s going to be pretty dicey as far as the weather goes. That means that we’re probably going to have to do some things we’ve never worried about before, liking clearing off the field just to play a game.
“I don’t know that we’re going to be able to play home games at all, depending on how the weather goes,” Scranton added. “It could just be early in the season, but we only have seven weeks…it’s just a tough situation all around.”
Another thing that could ultimately affect the Bulldogs’ preparation is waiting for athletes in other sports to finish up their seasons before joining the football team. Wrestling and boys’ basketball will hold their seasons in January, and should the basketball team or individual wrestlers make it to the state tournament, the football team will have to wait for a full roster.
Scranton says the Bulldogs will wait and cross that bridge once they come to it. For now, the football team will continue working throughout the summer leading up to the first day of school. The team will also still hold its annual football fundraiser of Bulldog cards. Aside from that, everything is still up in the air for Scranton.
“We’re going to have to get together and regroup and figure out what we’re going to be able to do in the fall,” Scranton said. “We’re going to have lots of kids with a lot of time on their hands, so we have to make sure we keep them focused in school and make sure they’re staying busy.”
VOLLEYBALL FACES GYM-TIME CHALLENGE
While volleyball won’t see games delayed – or even possibly canceled – due to too much snow on the playing surface, the Moffat County girls will have to fight for gym time in a condensed season, head coach Jessica Profumo said.
“It will be difficult once basketball and wrestling starts up with it all swapped now,” Profumo said. “With girls’ and boys’ basketball, it’ll be really hard to get any gym time; that will be our biggest challenge. That February time frame will be the biggest challenge because of gym time and trying to get girls back up to speed with volleyball after basketball.”
Challenges aside, Profumo said the girls are simply happy to have a season at all this year.
“We had to break the news to them the last time we were in the gym, so we discussed it as a team, and they were pleased and they were still positive,” Profumo said. “They’re happy to have a season and want to stay in the gym.”
Profumo said the team will drop down to two days a week of workouts – down from three – until school starts. All workouts are voluntary.
SOCCER MOVES TO MARCH WITH NEW COACH
Diego Quezada is just excited to have a head coaching job. As far as how he’ll handle the switch for boys’ soccer from fall to early March? Well, that’s to be determined.
Quezada takes over the varsity program after coaching the freshman last season. It’s a tough role to not only step into for the first time, but also have your usual season moved due to a global pandemic.
He’s taking it in stride though and will adjust on the fly.
As far as how he’ll conduct summer workouts? Well, he needs to get to know the entire team first before deciding how to proceed forward.
“I need to get to know all of the boys first, but so far this summer we’ve only been allowed to basically do conditioning,” Quezada said. “We can’t use the balls in our workout due to restrictions, so it’s just been a lot of conditioning. We’ll probably continue doing that until school starts.”
While some coaches are concerned about the season moving, Quezada views it as a blessing in disguise, considering he’s so new to the position and still needs to try and understand his team’s makeup.
“It really helps me, honestly,” Quezada said. “It gives me a chance to catch my breath and really understand what’s ahead. Without these changes we’d be starting next week, which would be really tough for us.”
All programs across the state of Colorado will undoubtedly face new challenges while trying to conduct sporting events throughout the school year, but it’s hard to not factor in the weather and the smaller number of athletes available in Moffat County and not think the Bulldogs were dealt a tough hand all around.