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Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer
Fairview High School’s Grant Page (No. 23) makes a catch while tackled by Poudre High School’s Eric Balderrama (No. 2) at Recht Field in Boulder on Oct. 24, 2019.

High school football in Colorado is officially back after a lengthy, coronavirus delay.

It’s been a lot of chatter. A lot of on-and-off again uncertainty swirling around the sport’s return for months. But, at last (at least for now), there’s some finality as state officials allowed districts and schools the choice to play in the fall or spring.

According to CHSAA, 79 percent of high schools — 218 teams — declared for the fall. Fifty-eight teams opted for the spring.

“Season A” teams can begin practice Thursday in front of season openers starting Oct. 8.

On Tuesday, restructured league alignments and team-by-team schedules were released on CHSAANow.com.

Around town, the 2020 setup sees Fairview and Legacy in the 5A North League. Broomfield, Erie and Silver Creek in 4A Northern 1, and Longmont, Monarch and Skyline in Northern 2.

In 3A, Frederick and Mead are in the Northern League. Holy Family and Niwot are in the Colorado League.

Prospect Ridge Academy, meanwhile, will play in the 1A Foothills League. And Lyons is in the 8-man Central.

The plan is for teams to play a six-game regular season. And those that don’t qualify for the postseason can add an additional seventh game to the backend of their schedule.

Here’s a week-by-week look at a few of the key fall matchups.

Week 1

Broomfield at Monarch

When: Friday, Oct. 9

The 4A state runner-up Eagles and BoCoPreps.com Coach of the Year Blair Hubbard begin their 2020 campaign against Monarch, its 300-plus win coach Phil Bravo and his double-wing offense. It’ll be interesting to see what Broomfield can do as an encore to a 13-1 2019. Who will fill voids left by 2019 all-area grads that included running back Caden Peters, receiver Grant Swenson, defensive back Trey Ortega and offensive linemen Tyler Carpenter and Bryant Walker? One good pick for a monster season: Two-time all-conference linebacker Hall Edmonds. A nose for the ball whether by ground or air, football’s closest thing to the NSA is the guy who’s everywhere. The guy who, one false move, is bursting in. For Monarch, quarterback Kyle Gordon comes in with another year under his belt leading Bravo’s run-heavy system. Both the Eagles and Coyotes were among the most productive ground attacks in 4A last season with the Broomfield accumulating 252.9 per game, with Monarch just back of that at 243.9.

Another option: Holy Family at Niwot (Oct. 9)

Week 2

Erie at Silver Creek

When: Oct. 16

If adjusting to Class 4A wasn’t a big enough challenge for Erie, Chad Cooper’s team will be asked to do so on the fly as part of a whacky, delayed, six-game regular season. That’s adversity. Against the wind. And yet … the Tigers have proven capable of shining when backed into the dark. In 2019, they started 2-3 — were a two-point conversion short of a last-second stunner over Frederick — and then rattled off five straight wins to end the regular season and qualify for the playoffs. For Silver Creek, finding a new starting quarterback following the sensation that was Carter Closson will be an adjustment of its own. The Raptors will have to work quickly as their first three games are against recent playoff mainstays in Skyline, Erie and Broomfield.

Another option: Longmont at Monarch (Oct. 16)

Brighton's Justice Kaneta, left, pressures Skyline ...
Daily Camera file photo
Brighton’s Justice Kaneta, left, pressures Skyline quarterback Chase Silva during the game on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019 at Everly-Montgomery Field in Longmont.

Week 3

Longmont at Skyline

When: Oct. 23

The Skyline-Longmont quarterback matchup glistens like your Thanksgiving green bean casserole. Now, pass it. Skyline’s Chase Silva and the Trojans’ Keegan Patterson are gifted throwers, terrific playmakers. Since taking over for the Falcons, Silva has thrown for 5,112 yards in 25 games. His completion percentage is 64 and his touchdown-to-interception ratio is better than 3-to-1 (61-18). Patterson, as a sophomore in 2019, threw for 1,476 yards and rushed for 687 to help lead Longmont to a 6-5 record.

Another one to watch is Platte Canyon at Prospect Ridge Academy (Oct. 23)

Week 4

Legacy at Fairview

When: Oct. 30

Both teams delivered one heck of an upset bid before falling short in last year’s state postseason. Legacy, the 23rd seed, nearly stumped No. 10 Eaglecrest in the first round but lost 34-31. Fairview and then-backup QB Liam O’Brien were tied after three quarters with eventual state champ Cherry Creek in the quarterfinals, then lost 42-28. In 2020, Fairview is stacked with D-I players on both sides of the ball with defensive end Brayden Wood headed to Kansas State and receiver/defensive back Grant Page still entertaining offers. For Legacy, Adarius Edwards proved to be a star in the making after he threw 16 touchdowns to just one interception last year.

Also check out Byers at Lyons (Oct. 30)

Week 5

Holy Family at Lutheran

When: Nov. 6

The last time Holy Family faced Lutheran in football was 15 years ago. A 56-0 drubbing handed out by the Tigers, who went on that fall to win their second Class 2A title in four years. So, maybe now is the time to regale the wonders of the past to the youngins before they add a chapter of their own. In 2020, the programs return to play in the same conference — the Colorado League. There will be plenty of time for nostalgia as away trips will be lengthy. The league includes teams from the Colorado Springs/Monument area in Discovery Canyon, Lewis-Palmer and Mitchell, as well as Niwot and Riverdale Ridge from up north.

Another to watch out for this week is Fairview at Horizon (Nov. 6)

Week 6

Mead at Frederick

When: TBD

Last season’s Mead-Frederick game was standing-room only. Fans piled into the bleachers and stretched around the chain-linked fence just off the field. It had Broncos cheerleaders, a third of Denver’s Three Amigos in Mark Jackson. Pandemonium, not pandemic. And on the gridiron … it was even better. A pitch- black sky either way you looked out, reverberating in the middle was a see-saw game that eventually went 27-20 to Mead and decided the 3A Northern Metro League champ. In 2020, albeit with new restrictions and a new season setup, implications could be big once again as they’ll collide in the 3A Northern League finale.

Or try Broomfield at Erie (Nov. 13)

*Dates are subject to change