All seven football championship games to be played at CSU Pueblo

All seven classifications of the 2020 state football championship games will be held on the campus of CSU Pueblo as part of CHSAA's Championship Weekend this December.

The CHSAA office and the Pueblo-based Friends of Football made the joint announcement of the games on Wednesday.

The event will mark the first time in the history of Colorado high school football that all seven classifications will play at the same site as part of Championship Weekend, which is slated for Dec. 3, 4 and 5 at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl.

"This is an opportunity to showcase all seven levels of football — from schools with 30 students to schools with more than 3,000 — on the same field on the same weekend," said CHSAA assistant commissioner Adam Bright, who oversees football. "This will be a great culminating event to this football season."

The historic combination of playing all seven classifications at one site will result in the following schedule:

  • The 6-man and 8-man games will be held on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 4, will see the 2A and 4A games, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • On Saturday, Dec. 5, the 1A, 3A and 5A games will be held at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

With varying field dimensions, temporary goal posts and field paint will be used for the 6-man game, and 8-man will use the same temporary field paint.

The CHSAA Board of Directors unanimously approved the site move during a meeting on Tuesday evening.

"The unanimous vote speaks to our confidence in this plan," said Troy Baker, the president of the CHSAA Board of Directors. "We are excited for Championship Weekend, and are celebrating the fact that the CHSAA staff has worked so tirelessly to put this plan together with the Friends of Football."

CHSAA's Season A began its championship season with golf in early October. Tennis, softball and cross country have all completed successful championship events.

"Our championship season started with golf, and then continued with tennis, softball, and cross country," said CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green. "For me, this is about a celebration of the athletes, coaches, athletic directors and parents in our school communities; our officials; and the CHSAA staff. Even in the midst of the pandemic, our Association has found a way to celebrate high school athletics and activities. We are looking forward to celebrating football as the culmination of Season A.

The relationship between CHSAA and Friends of Football began in 2018 when the groups combined to put on the 2A and 3A state football championships at CSU-Pueblo.

"I want to thank the Pueblo community, the leaders within the city, the leaders at CSU-Pueblo, and the Friends of Football for not only advocating for this event, but wanting this event," Blanford-Green said. "Their work and their history has shown they want this event. It's always great to host an event where you're wanted. They did everything they could to make this happen."

"Friends of Football and CSU Pueblo Athletics are very proud and excited to work through the challenges of 2020 for the benefit of student athletes from 6-man schools to 5A schools," said Dan DeRose, president of the Friends of Football. "The Pueblo community will do all we can to make this a weekend that will never be forgotten."

In order to be able to play the games in Pueblo, Friends of Football worked diligently with the Pueblo County Health Department, the Pueblo County Commissioners, and CSU Pueblo to create a variance in state health guidelines that was approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The variance allows for 1,400 fans per game, meaning roughly 15% of stadium capacity will be used.

Safety measures as part of the variance include:

  • Upon purchase of a ticket, contact information will be gathered to communicate safety measures, as well as for contact tracing purposes, if necessary.
  • Seven entrances will be used.
  • Fans will have color-coded tickets, which will help direct them where to go.
  • Seven entrances will be used, with touchless ticket taking.
  • Groups have designated parking areas, as well as their own restrooms and concessions.
  • Masks will be mandatory.
  • Pods will be separated in different seating areas, and spaced six feet apart to maintain social distancing in any direction with neighboring pods.
  • The stadium will be cleared between each game.

The state football playoffs begin next week. State playoff brackets will be posted on CHSAANow.com on Sunday.