PUEBLO — CSU-Pueblo has been selected as the host site for the Class 2A and 3A state football championship games.
CHSAA and Friends of Football, located in Pueblo, made the joint announcement for a two-year agreement at a press conference on Friday afternoon. This season's 2A title game is set for Nov. 24, and the 3A championship will be played on Dec. 1. The 2019 games are scheduled for Nov. 30 and Dec. 7.
"We're excited we found enthusiastic partners in CSU-Pueblo and the Friends of Football to provide a meaningful experience for players, students, families and fans," said CHSAA assistant commissioner Bud Ozzello, who oversees football. "We are confident not only Pueblo but the entire Southern Colorado community will embrace this event."
Said CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green: "None of this happens by itself. There is teamwork, and it took a team to bring this together today."
Both games are scheduled to be played at CSU-Pueblo's Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl. The CHSAA Board of Directors approved the site at their meeting on Wednesday.
The ThunderBowl has a seating capacity of 6,500, and features a synthetic field turf. It was built in 2008.
"I am thrilled to be able to say that we are able to host a significant championship event on our campus," said Paul Plinske, the athletic director at CSU-Pueblo. "This is a wonderful day in the history of our program."
In recent years, the 2A and 3A games have been hosted at home sites. The football committee voted last December to host the games at a premier venue neutral site. The 2A and 3A games were last hosted at a neutral site from 2007-12 at Legacy Stadium in Aurora.
In searching for a host site, the CHSAA office requested bids from various universities all over the state. CSU-Pueblo emerged as the selection among those bids.
"We're excited about having another event in Pueblo," said Rick Macias, the district athletic director of Pueblo City Schools, and a member of CHSAA Board of Directors. "Pueblo is a high school town, they like to go out and support high schools. ... Whoever is in the state championship, they'll be here."
There is a backup plan in the event CSU-Pueblo's football team is hosting a playoff game which causes a conflict with a championship game: The host site would shift to Dutch Clark Stadium in Pueblo. Should a Pueblo team be involved in that scenario, the game would move to Pueblo West High School.