Aurora Public Schools Athletic Director Casey Powell said the district was “ready to go” for football in the fall if it was approved, contrary to a statement made in a radio interview Thursday. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

AURORA | Like every district in the state of Colorado, Aurora Public Schools got somewhat blindsided earlier in the week by rumblings of a possible fall prep football season.

But APS Athletic Director Casey Powell immediately jumped into the fray of planning transportation and everything else that was needed in place for district schools should the Colorado High School Activities Association come up with a plan to play that Gov. Jared Polis’ office approved.

That never happened, however, as CHSAA’s Board of Directors unanimously voted Tuesday night not to make any changes to the calendar it approved Aug. 4, which moved football to the spring in a decision that has elicited a lot of reaction statewide.

“I was excited for the opportunity to play fall football, so I went right to (APS Chief Operating Officer) Anthony Sturges and said ‘this might be coming down,'” Powell told the Sentinel Thursday. “He told me the points to look for, I called a meeting of the ADs and we got to work on it. We were ready to go if we were going to play.”

That wasn’t the message that came across Thursday morning, however, in a radio interview with Ryan West, the principal of Englewood High School and a member of the Board of Directors.

During a segment on KOA with Dave Logan — who is also the head coach of the defending Class 5A state champion Cherry Creek High School football team — West said that “large districts like DPS (Denver Public Schools) and Aurora aren’t ready to play football.”

Nate Smith, West’s co-worker and athletic director at Englewood, was the one who had the conversation with Powell and said what West meant to say in his interview with Logan was that DPS and APS weren’t yet in position to return in-person school yet.

One of the elements of the discussion the Board had included the fact that some school districts in the state — such as DPS and APS — began the school year remotely.

“I talked to Ryan and he misspoke, he meant that those two districts weren’t ready to go back to school in person yet,” Smith said.

Smith did confirm that there were districts — not APS — among those he represents that told him they were not ready to play football. Among the reasons given were being physically ready to compete at a necessary level with such a short turnaround.

“These are difficult times and I believe the board acted in good faith and made a decision for what was best for all of Colorado,” Smith said.

Meanwhile, Powell has been working on outfitting the district’s main facility — Aurora Public Schools Stadium — to prepare for the spring.

The district is currently constructing a shed inside the stadium located at Hinkley High School to store abnormally large-size pads and equipment for track and field as well as for a tractor with a push plow for those times in the spring football season where Powell knows he’ll have to clear the field.

“It’s not a question of if, but when we get snow in February and March, so I’ll be out there with my little John Deere hat on clearing the field,” said Powell, who said the shed also fulfills a need pointed out long ago by John DeSiato, the longtime APSS stadium manager who passed away last December.

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