4 — Football’s Southwestern Conference disbanded

The Southwestern Conference in football is gone.

Montrose head coach Todd Casebier probably put it best: “I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around that.”

The Colorado High School Activities Association Football Committee decided in early December to disband the conference and send the five teams from 2013 to five different conferences and three different classifications.

The decision was really made when Central petitioned to play down a classification after posting a 5-35 record over the past four seasons. CHSAA accepted that request, and the Warriors will now play in the Class 3A Western Slope Conference.

It made little sense to continue with a four-team conference.

For the next two years, Grand Junction and Fruita Monument will play in Class 5A conferences in the Denver-area, and Montrose and Durango will play in Class 4A Colorado Springs-area conferences.

Grand Junction will play in the South Metro Conference, and Fruita Monument will play in the Continental North Conference. Montrose will be in the Foothills Conference and Durango in the Pikes Peak Conference.

Grand Junction, Montrose and Fruita Monument will still play each other in nonconference games.

Palisade was set to move to Class 4A because of enrollment numbers, but the school asked for an exception because of a special-education program that included students who are not eligible for athletics. CHSAA accepted the exemption and kept Palisade’s enrollment in the Class 3A level by one student.

The 2A Western Slope Conference will now have eight teams with Moffat County, Battle Mountain and Montezuma-Cortez all moving to Class 2A for football. Central and Summit will be the new additions to the 3A Western Slope Conference.

All of the new conference alignments will be for a two-year cycle, then CHSAA will re-evaluate enrollment and other factors.


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