State Decision Stops “Friday Night Lights,” High School Pigskin Season Delayed Until Spring

Golf, Cross-Country and Softball Get the Go-ahead for Fall Season

~ by Trevor Phipps ~

For weeks, the Colorado High School Sports and Activities Association (CHSAA) has been working with Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ office and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to figure out how sports will take place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, CHSAA announced their verdict, and the news isn’t good for fans of high school:  “Friday Night Lights.” High school football is regarded as the premiere crowd favorite for  this time of year, and often takes center stage during the annual homecoming parade.

As a part of the collaboration of several organizations, it was decided that softball would take place in fall with a shortened season. In addition, golf would be allowed to resume, and cross country would still compete.

Last week’s decision postponed football until February 22, 2021 and volleyball and boys’ soccer until March 1, 2021. However, all of the sports will have modified seasons and restrictions that ensure the safety of those involved.

“The health and safety of our student participants, coaches, officials and essential personnel, including volunteers is a primary concern for the return of interscholastic athletics and activities,” said CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green. “We are very grateful for the state, health and educational leaders for their shared commitment of a return to these highly beneficial education programs when it is deemed safe for all school communities.”

Locally, football players have been doing some training and practices to prepare for the fall season. But, now that the decision was made to move the season to spring, the practices will halt until after Labor Day weekend, according to Woodland Park’s football coach and athletic director Joe Roskam.

Roskam said that the school has not made a decision how practices for the sports will work going forward, but that the decision will be made in the near future. “It’s now a local decision but we are not sure what we are going to do and what we are not going to do,” Roskam said. “I know we are not going to do anything at least until after Labor Day just so we can give ourselves a chance to get into school and get those other sports started and get those guys running well. And then we will kind of decide and hopefully we can get all of the sports together for practice somehow.”

The Panther football team program was the recipient of a recent golf tournament fund-raiser, held at the Shining Mountain Golf Course. The event attracted more than 100 participants.

The Woodland Park High School golf team  was the first to start practice last week and their first tournaments took place last weekend. The golf team is one to watch this year because the Panthers have several young stars out on the course for 2020. In the last few years, a number of Woodland Park linksters have qualified for the state championship.

The cross-country team starts practice this Wednesday and has their first tournament over the weekend. Being a mountain school, cross country has always been a popular sport and Woodland Park always competes with a highly competitive team.

Girls’ softball also starts practice this Monday and then they have their first game at home against Coronado this Wednesday. The Lady Panthers hope to come out swinging this year as Rich Krause was appointed early in the summer as the team’s new head coach.