Football: New restrictions to keep fans from state title games

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DENVER | State championship games for the fall football season are still set for Dec. 3-5, but no fans will be allowed to watch on the campus of Colorado State-Pueblo.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released a statement late Wednesday night that will affect the championship games in seven classifications moved to one location by the Colorado High School Activities Association.

Due to the increased spread of COVID-19 in Pueblo County — where health experts estimate that 1 in 29 people are contagious with the coronavirus — variances that had been in place since Nov. 4 that would have allowed spectators to watch the games were changed. Now, only teams, athletic staff, cheerleaders, band members, broadcast staff and essential personnel will be allowed to attend.

“We appreciate the ongoing partnership with the Colorado High School Activities Association as we navigate these tough times,” CDPHE Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan said in a statement issued by CHSAA. “Early in the season, our organizations both agreed that additional safety measures like these might need to be taken, and now unfortunately we are there. These decisions aren’t made lightly, but they’re necessary.”

CHSAA said the games will not be moved from Pueblo due to the variances.

Championship matchups have yet to be set, but will be determined based on Saturday semifinals.

No Aurora teams will be involved, as the city’s three qualifiers for the eight-team Class 5A state playoffs — Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest and Regis Jesuit — all were ousted in the quarterfinals, leaving the semifinals to consist of No. 1 Cherry Creek (which defeated No. 8 Regis Jesuit) vs. No. 4 Pomona (which downed No. 5 Eaglecrest) and No. 2 Valor Christian (which topped No. 7 Cherokee Trail) vs. No. 3 Legend (which beat No. 6 Fairview).

The 4A semifinals pit No. 1 Dakota Ridge against No. 4 Loveland and No. 2 Palmer Ridge against No. 6 Fountain-Fort Carson; the 3A semifinals see No. 1 Roosevelt face No. 4 Pueblo South and No. 2 Holy Family face No. 3 Durango; the 2A semifinal matchups are No. 1 Resurrection Christian vs. No. 5 Eaton and No. 6 Delta vs. No. 7 Lamar; the 1A semifinals pit No. 1 Limon against No. 4 Wray and No. 2 Strasburg goes against No. 6 Centauri; the 8-man semifinals include No. 1 Sedgwick County against No. 4 Dove Creek as well as No. 2 Sanford against No. 6 Merino and the 6-man semifinals feature No. 1 Fleming against No. 4 Granada and No. 2 Stratton/Liberty against No. 3 Cheyenne Wells.

Spring football championship games are also scheduled to take place at CSU-Pueblo. Five Aurora programs — Aurora Central, Gateway, Hinkley, Rangeview and Vista PEAK — will play in the spring.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports