Another shakeup in high school football league alignment is set to take place in 2018.
Earlier this month, the 15-member football committee for the Colorado High School Activities Association made its recommendations for new league alignment, and when the committee reconvenes in late January, its members will vote on the changes, which are expected to be approved.
“There might be some small changes here and there, but for the most part, I think it goes through with no issues.” said Adam Bright, athletic director for Durango High School.
Montezuma-Cortez High School won’t see many changes to its league.
M-CHS, will play in the Class 2A Southwest League with Alamosa, Gunnison, Montezuma-Cortez, Pagosa Springs, Salida and this year’s Class 2A state champions, Bayfield High School.
Salida is coming in, and Delta is moving out.
Dolores also won’t see much change to its league.
The new 1A Southern Peaks League will consist of Centauri, Center, Dolores, Ignacio and Monte Vista.
The only change will be John Mall moving from the Southern Peaks League to the Sante Fe League, with Center taking its spot in the SPL.
Dove Creek and Mancos return to the eight-man Mountain League, along with Del Norte, Norwood, Sanford, Sangre de Cristo and Sargent.
In the Four Corners, Durango High School’s football team will see significant changes to its league.
The Demons would be placed in the Class 3A Southern 3 League with all Pueblo schools. The league would consist of Durango, Pueblo Centennial, Pueblo Central, Pueblo County, Pueblo East and Pueblo South, meaning Durango would have to make five-hour bus rides for every away league game.
The realignment also means Durango will face two state champions in Pueblo South and Pueblo East.
“Having two state champions in the same league is going to be tough,” DHS head coach David Vogt said.
Pueblo East won the Class 3A state title in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and Pueblo South won the Class 4A state title in 2017.
Durango shared the South Central League with Pueblo Central, Pueblo County and Pueblo East the last two seasons. Harrison and Sierra high schools were the other two programs in league and were moved to the Southern 2 League with Cañon City, Falcon, Mitchell and Sand Creek.
Along with voting on new league alignment, the football committee will vote on changes to scheduling and the locations for the Class 3A and Class 2A state title games.
The scheduling changes would match the National Federation of State High School Associations calendar. These changes would allow teams to begin practices one week sooner and give all classes, except 5A, a bye week during the regular season.
Changes to the 3A and 2A state title games would shift from one of the teams hosting the title game to playing the championship on a neutral location, which has yet to be determined.
The football committee will vote on the proposed changes Jan. 24-25 in Aurora.
Sports editor John Livingston contributed to this report.