Category Archives: Colorado Football

Turn out the lights

The last article, IMG COLORADO?, struck a cord to many as my inbox was over 50 responses in the first day. The fact is there are coaches and teams that want to be great and want to play high level teams, the reality is 5A teams are punking out, as we learned several 4A teams want to play IMG Colorado Valor.  So now the time has come for a true high level course of action. We have heard in 2 years an open league may come about from the local association but that is too long to wait. The talent levels are rising while participation is diminishing. The decline in wearing high school sports colors for a varsity letter does not mean that much to kids and families. It has turned into high level coaching and playing for the ultimate reward, a scholarship for college.

While many of the phone lines ring at area schools to transfer kids, a vast many will go unanswered. Some because they do not want to be known as a football school and others because they just do NOT care and it is evident in the over all athletic records not only in football but other athletics. The culture is is a reboot or restart stage as parents are demanding more. However, the demand may be to Turn out the lights.

We feel to Turn out the lights may be the beginning of something new and refreshing. There are a vast many of coaches that enjoy the game of football and get satisfaction of teaching a game and teaching kids life lessons. Given that fact and mention of Club Football in the past few years the time has come for U16 and U18 Football in Colorado.

Many will struggle to accept the fact travel teams are a wave of the future in football but they said that about Basketball, Baseball and Hockey 2 decades ago and both Volleyball and lacrosse in recent years. So Football is a natural progression ever since IMG in Florida 5 years ago gave a blueprint for success. If you provide a top notch product people will come and in droves to pay you money. Private schools have seen this and have had big names run their program. However, we know its the assistants that run the program day to day and receive little notoriety.  Now they will have a better reason to coach because athletes and families have a vested interest to get better each day and win as a unit. However, the satisfaction will be down the road when kids are put in a better environment and given better opportunities. This is not to say some current high school coaches do not provide a more conducive atmosphere but sometimes the community is not on board or the school is fine with mediocrity.

“To be of good quality, you have to excuse yourself from the presence of shallow and callow minded individuals.”

So if you are an athlete, coach or parent feel free to respond to our exploratory questionnaire. While 2018 is 6 months away from league play, the transformation could happen for club immediately but the intention is to start play in 2019.

Some coaches might think an RPO is a Star Wars character, but our guys will know and learn its a Run, Pass Option!

We want to hire successful people to teach athletes to be successful on and off the field so we are all victorious. A proper education will last a lifetime. However, the memories of high school are only relevant at class reunions. The college experience is what creates your future, unless you inherit the family business,  so just like all the other club sports the local Colorado community is prepared for Club Football. Just see some of the comments:

We live North of Ft. Collins and know many coaches will not attend our games or visit our school. Based on some of the same schools or athletes always being feature we feel its time to consider other options that include Club Football for our son just like Club Volleyball for our daughter.

I have heard Valor University on your podcast and live video game nights, so IMG Colorado is fitting. I am sure the Denver Metropolitan area parents would travel as a club team. Currently there are parents  in 5A that we know falsify documents to play at one school and both in 4A and 3A coaches entice parents to attend their schools and drive miles out of their way because they want a better experience than the local attendance area HS.

Sports is important to our family and we would consider participating in a club football team. Our HS is given 5 conference team games that are not the best and based on RPI we will not be a top tier team or be able to schedule the top 5 teams because they all want to play one another based on competitiveness.

Our school would welcome playing Valor. Hell they are on TV all the time and nobody talks about the other 200 teams in the local papers or on broadcasts. I was just happy the last McCaffrey is graduating so maybe we can take the focus off that family and now Ed is the HC so its troublesome as its all about one family and one team. So yes I would appreciate club football for a semester if that is what it takes for writers or media folk to recognize other statewide talents. I really do not think 5A is that good of competition compared to 3A and 4A teams the past few seasons.

There will always be families like mine that would enjoy attending a try out to see how our kids stack up against others. But based on some camps we attended in the past it seems like players are pre determined for selection. However, a club team will want to win so we would definitely consider the opportunity to play for a Colorado based outfit. However, it can not be like some 7 on 7 teams that just do it for the money and empty promises.

If IMG is $70-$80,000 dollars and out of state that makes it difficult to attend games. I understand they are like a college prep school but would rather stay local to attend 5 games and probably watch 5 on TV. Also our local colleges say Colorado players are not as good as those from Florida, Georgia, Texas and  California. So to ready or compete against those teams would give us piece of mind and allow us to get better over time. Especially since many are specializing in one sport and train year around.

The outpouring of competitive football is among us and time will tell. The 6A classification is defunct and the participation is lower than ever before with more high schools than ever before statewide. The numbers suggest a decline. Also the recent 20% vacancy of head coaches in 5A, Colorados highest classification is another reason for concern. The State Title champion winners in the past decade probably dictate that reasoning but if a program takes that blueprint they could compete. Something we called “The Process” last summer. Currently the big boy classification has 3 vacant HC positions in Arapahoe, Castleview and JK Mullen. Their next leader will determine the direction of the program and if they can retain local talents and schedule local rivals, All 3 should have immediate success. However, it is the long term growth that matters most, otherwise team might succumb to Club football as the temptation for parents has arisen. Every parent wants their sons or daughters talked about at their school or in the local rags and until their is a climate control change it will be about a few teams thus fueling a desire to attend one school being featured, so for now its enroll in Club Football or attend a powerhouse high school team.

If you play cupcake teams, you will be a cupcake! Colorado just doesn't have the numbers like other states. We are suffering because every year it is the same teams. Look at DPS prior to suburban high schools. We created this mess and allowed the private schools to dictate the level of play. Now with open enrollment it is a mess and too much intensive self promotion from parents and kids not to mention the absurd trainers selling division one aspirations. Hell with all this hype its not like CU or CSU is adding 8-10 local kids each year. They will add walk ons to bolster the rosters but until competition gets better Colorado will be what it always has been, a Broncos city with a handful of high next level players that love the game of football - Former HS HC

IMG Colorado?

Over 6 years ago Colorado High School football was in a tizzy! Yes the State was in agitation over the dominating 3A then 4A to 5A team named VC (Valor Christian) that no one wanted in their conference because they were dominating. If this sounds familiar it is because again the football committee of 2017 found out again no one wanted to play VC. After all the Eagles have only suffered once in 2008 going 4-6-0 in 3A only to rebound in 2009 with a 14-0-0 record and a 3A State Title. Then the move to 4A resulted in a 2010 11-3-0 record and a back to back State Title. In 2011 VC again went 14-0-0 and won another State Title. In 2012 VC goes 12-2-0 and wins the last State title under coach Brent Vieselmeyer. So success of 2 Undefeated Seasons and 4 State Championships in 5 years with 1 Nationally Ranking seemed unfathomable. However, 2013 saw a change in the HC as Rod Sherman would go 13-1-0 and win the State 5A Title. In 2014 VC went 10-4-0 and lost to Cherry Creek but would rebound in 2015 by posting a 12-2-0 record and face Pomona in State and win. In 2016 VC would play to a 11-3-0 record and rematch the Pomona Panthers and win another State Title. But in 2017 the 11-1-0 Eagles would be halted in the playoffs by Grandview and eventually caused the head coach to resign.

Prior to be being officially announce by the school a media outlet took it upon themselves to publish a rumor and that led to lots of confusion statewide. The big splash hire was indeed Ed McCaffrey and the phone lines were  heating up in Highlands Ranch prior to the hiring of McCaffrey. The 13-year NFL veteran who has 3 boys that have played and graduated from VC also has another headed into his senior season and the fire has been ignited in Colorado once again.  Ed has been apart of VC for 10 years and Max and Christian in the NFL while Dylan is at the University of Michigan and Luke the youngest slated to be the VC starting QB.

Now the work begins as a head coach is in place but only 6 games have been officially scheduled of of 10. The only non conference game is against Pomona in the first 6 weeks of the season only to be followed by area teams Highlands Ranch, Mountain Vista, ThunderRidge, Rock Canyon and Castle View. It is conceivable Faith Christian will be added to reciprocate for their visit to Colorado last season. Other than that no one locally wants to schedule the powerhouse in a down year if there is such a thing. The 2018 graduating class removes 6 offensive linemen, 3 receivers, 1 TE and leaves CU commit RB Davis and QB McCaffrey in the backfield. As for defense there are a few players that will be major contributors in a rebuilding process.

So how do you get better? Oh that is so easy, recruiting that taboo so many hate to say but has happened for decades. Every time a big splash name hire happens the parents flock to that school and will do almost anything to get little Johnny on the field. At a private institution it is much easier to navigate the rules than a public school but many will turn their eyes the other way to make their program successful. The integrity of winning with what you have is long gone as the sports world has turned into a BIG GAME of attracting parents to buy into winning championships and being recruited. Just look at Floridas IMG. Basically a boarding prep school for sports that has made its mark recently with Football but was originally a tennis school. IMG now has 2 traveling football teams and 120 players with parents forking out $83K per year.

In California there are a handful of teams called IMG West but in Colorado the term has not been used until now. Yes Valor has a National following as Colorado is a centrally located state that offers much more with its mountains to ski or bike in addition to rock climbing and fishing. Some might mention the friendly 420 industry called legalized Marijuana that also brings attention to the Centennial state and Denver being a Mile High both literally and physically. As for a school in Colorado being the next IMG type, it has to be Valor as it has an expanding campus and a growing population to the South. The area is conducive to boarding athletes as apartments are about a block away and there will be a need to continue winning. A football team is the pulse of a school and a community. Also the $18-21K is a lot cheaper that the fellas in Florida if that is the only option.

Basically we are about to see Club Football for families that want professional coaches and coaching styles. Football is BIG in many other states and until you play out of state or the best competition you do not realize this statement. So for local teams not wanting to play a Pomona or Valor or even a Creek or Columbine is absurd. If you want to be the best you have to play the best. Given the dynamics of Valor and their dedication to being a small religious based school it comes as no surprise they are the crown jewell of Colorado. Any parent with the means probably should look into being a part of their community.

On the sports side of things the have their own TV network and always seem to be featured during the football season. So for the media rags and broadcasters it’s always going to be Valor, Creek and everyone else. It is unfortunate but everyone remembers number one and forgets about number two. Just read :

6A OR 5A ITS THE SAME RESULTS!

Only 6 different teams have been crowned state champion in the past decade, Pomona, Valor Christian, Cherry Creek, Columbine, Mullen and Grandview and a whopping 9 in the past 23 years in 5A. If you go back 27 years there was a 6A football conference for 4 years but the usual suspects were title winners.

If you have been a long time follower you will know to attend all local college events for FREE and put your cleats on college campus events. The only paid ones are listed on the cofridaynightlights.com website and will be updated as information becomes available.

Until the season starts best wishes to all in the off season and we will see you on the field or on Twitter As always we will post #BreakingNews on @303Gonzo twitter and facebook.A few dates to circle on the calendar:
February 7, 2018 1st official day to sign NLI until April 1st
May 1, 2018 access to 8th graders into OTAs
August 6, 2018 Start to 2018 Colorado football day 1 practice (No Contact or Pads)
August 23-25, 2018 Week 1 start to 2018 Colorado football season formerly zero week now called week one.

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http://www.cofridaynightlights.com/

NSD 2/7/18

The day many have waited for or worked multiple years to obtain. While many schools will honor all sports this day was intended for soccer and football players to announce their selections of the choice from multiple offers. As of last year the process has changed as football has implemented an early signing period. Many athletes signed their #NLI and some have enrolled into college while others just verbalized their choice. Today February 7, 2018 is just day one of the National Letter of Intent period that lasts until April 1st. The NLI program or agreement legally binds recruited student-athletes to a school for one year.

From 7am February 7, 2018 until April 1st we will follow the movement and celebrations. Feel Free to tag, DM or update @303Gonzo your source for Colorado High School Football.

Division I (FBS), Division I (FCS), Walk-Ons (47)

NAME SCHOOL COLLEGE
Blake Carette Arapahoe Air Force
Jalen Mergerson Eaglecrest Air Force
Jaylen Thomas Vista Ridge Air Force
Tevye Schuettpelz-Rohl Fairview Air Force
Spencer Lovell Rocky Mountain Arizona State
Issac Power Ponderosa Baylor
Blake Stenstrom Valor Christian Colorado
Dimitri Stanley Cherry Creek Colorado
Ray Robinson Highlands Ranch Colorado
A’Jon Vivens Mullen Colorado State
Florian McCann Mullen Colorado State
Trey McBride Fort Morgan Colorado State
Chad Muma Legend Legend
Tate Wildeman Legend Nebraska
Willy Boatman Kent Denver Northwestern
Adrian Jackson Mullen Oregon
Max Borghi Pomona Washington State
Cameron Murray Overland Wyoming
Gunner Gentry Grandview Wyoming
Zach Watts Windsor Wyoming
Dustin Johnson Cherry Creek Colorado
Ethan Villarreal Fairview Colorado
Thomas Pannunzio Pueblo South Colorado State
Jacob Wilton Brighton Colorado State
Ryan Marquez Pomona Wyoming
Tristen Lee Mead Wyoming
Jon Engle Fort Collins Drake (Iowa)
Justin Lamb Regis Jesuit Drake (Iowa)
Aaron Harris Grandview Northern Colorado
Chris Ditzenberger Cherry Creek Northern Colorado
Ezekiel Creps Skyview Northern Colorado
Gavin Green Fountain-Fort Carson Northern Colorado
Gunnar Garcia Cherry Creek Northern Colorado
Joe Golden Doherty Northern Colorado
Keion Cross Rampart Northern Colorado
KP Werner Northridge Northern Colorado
Mason Knighton Ponderosa Northern Colorado
Max Bruner Ponderosa Northern Colorado
Noah Sarria Clear Creek Northern Colorado
Santos Maguina Pomona Northern Colorado
Shamauri Rivera Cheyenne Mountain Northern Colorado
Jake Heimlicher Regis Jesuit Penn
Chad Dines D’Evelyn Rhode Islande
Koby Soden Fairview San Diegio
Trevor Szilagyi Valor Christian Weber State (Utah)
Garry Raymond Cheyenne Mountain Yale
Ryan Barkley Durango Montana State

 

Our new coach is…

Everyone in Colorado is shaken up by the recent developments in namely 5A with the new 2 year cycle but moreover, the dragging of the feet for a new head coach. There have been some recent developments and most likely Monday we will know the next HC at one school while a few others have meetings behind closed doors. For many that know football insider @303Gonzo it was no surprise over a week ago that Matt Pees was a leading candidate at at least 2 5A programs and possibly more. Pees was set to interview this week but landed the ultimate gig, a job with the NFL Titans of Tennessee.

Local athletes rarely have an opportunity to be coached by a rising star that moves up the ladder and goes to the next level. Usually it is the polar opposite of a former next level moving down to coach. One thing for sure is local eyes will be on the Pees family as Matt will be working with his dad Dean in the family business of teaching youngsters to be more competitive, hard working and to love the game. The ultimate goal learned by Green Mountain students will be never stop reaching for the brass ring. Pees and company will be instilling the same core values of living life to the fullest with Mariota and the Titans.

So just like the NFL draft the football committees and administrators are having to cross off one more name off the big board. Option number one or even number two may no longer be available. Once again perhaps the approach of “NEW BLOOD” as stated by many retiring or resigning coaches should be followed. It is apparent both athletes, coaches and parents want change or a better fit. They want an unbiased and hard working head coach that assembles a staff that rolls up the sleeves to develop all levels and have success breed success. It all starts early when 8th graders are allowed to participate in OTAs on May first and continue to work hard each year bonding with teammates in an all for one, one for all mentality. The make up or attitude of a program is determined in the off season.

One thing for sure is the disposition of many will be questioned as more time passes before selecting a new head coach at many programs. The teams that will have success in 2018 have already had 3 months of OTAs. Based on a 10 game regular season this could be the difference of a 7-3 November record versus a 4-6 record with out the hard work, discipline and time in both the weight room and simple reviews of the football playbook. As Super Bowl Sunday comes and goes it usually signals the start of something for many programs. Usually a wake up call to take Zero hour, Breakfast club or Monday night football or even Wednesday night sessions more seriously. Both May 1st and August 6th are rapidly approaching so I understand the frustrations for those programs with out a leader or a direction. Complacency has put programs in there current status of seeking a new HC when it is clear from those that held the position state “NEW BLOOD” is the future. To stay competitive you need to breed a new culture, most likely a winning culture both on and off the field. Best wishes to the “NEW BLOOD” waiting to hear if your achievements merit a much needed appointment to leadership as a head coach.

For those tracking the coaching carousel, here is the latest:
* denotes moving to another local program

SCHOOL CLASS Former Current Hire
Arapahoe 5A Mike Campbell*
Castle View 5A Dustin Pfeiffer
Eaglecrest 5A Mike Schmitt Dustin Delaney
Highlands Ranch 5A David May (interim) John Trahan*
Mullen 5A Tom Thenell
Smoky Hill 5A John Trahan*
Valor Christian 5A Rod Sherman
Aurora Central 4A Jamarr Kerney Austin Able
Liberty 4A Marc Sites Erick Gossage
Thornton 4A Dorian Cagaanan Nick Trombetta*
Centaurus 3A Bob Carskie
Denver North 3A Nick Trombetta*
Evergreen 3A Rob Molholm
Falcon 3A Terry Poirier
Glenwood Springs 3A Rocky Whitworth
Green Mountain 3A Matt Pees (Took NFL Job)
Kennedy 3A Rich Martinez Scot Kinder
Northfield 3A Open Ahmad Lowe
Sand Creek 3A David Ramirez Ricky Lobato
Aspen 2A Karson Pike
Englewood 2A Jay Graves Mike Campbell*
Faith Christian 2A Ralph Nance Vince Siravo
Resurrection Christian 2A Mark Roggy
Riverdale Ridge 2A Open
Prospect Ridge 2A John Roberts Michael Storer
Ellicott 1A Donte’ Stewart
The Pinnacle 1A Marcus Dow
Sanford 8-man Rhett Larsen
Sangre de Cristo 8-man Emmanuel Nwabuonwu
Colorado Deaf & Blind 6-man Darrell Shular

 If you have been a long time follower you will know to attend all local college events for FREE and put your cleats on college campus events. The only paid ones are listed on the cofridaynightlights.com website and will be updated as information becomes available.

Until the season starts best wishes to all in the off season and we will see you on the field or on Twitter As always we will post #BreakingNews on @303Gonzo twitter and facebook.A few dates to circle on the calendar:
February 7, 2018 1st official day to sign NLI until April
May 1, 2018 access to 8th graders into OTAs
August 6, 2018 Start to 2018 Colorado football day 1 practice (No Contact or Pads)
August 23-25, 2018 Week 1 start to 2018 Colorado football season formerly zero week now called week one.

It’s the HCs fault

It is week 5 of the 2018 New Year and 9 days away from the first day of NLI, National Letter of Intent also known as signing day that concludes April 1 for football. In years past the final days of January were extremely crucial to potential D1 prospects. However, in 2017 college coaches ratified the proposed early signing day that took place on December 20-22, 2017. In the past this was exclusively for mid season transfers and Junior college transfers. Nevertheless nearly 75% of the graduating 2018 class inked their names to agreements while the remaining 25% gave strong verbal commitments. So December was a big success for mostly athletes and parents as the stress level deescalated over the holidays and now the final days college coaches can ease their way into the final stretch knowing their future rostered players.

For many 2018 graduating athletes they knew their fates about this time last year. These athletes relied on their sophomore varsity video and academics to get them noticed by college recruiting coaches. For a vast majority these same athletes had a high school head coach or even an assistant coach that gave colleges a reason to come back and recruit their rising juniors. Asking for advice of head coaches has been an age long process. However, the modern day landscape includes tertiary parties sometimes referred to as club coaches, personal trainers or handlers. The later becoming more vocal against the high school head coaches who probably know the kids better than anyone who are not paid to pump sunshine and make D1 promises.

Just like coaches picking players as captains who understand and embrace the opportunity to be a team leader is important, so is selecting a high school head coach. As high schools host open houses this is the time to interview the coaching staffs. Over the course of 4 years these will be the folks that lead your son or daughter and make decisions on the court or field to benefit the team. It will be up to the individual to perform in the class room and on the practice surfaces to make an impact not the tertiary parties being paid to tell you It’s the HCs fault.


One of many programs that openly post and praise colleges for stopping by to evaluate their talents.


These are the coaching staffs that allow their athletes access to college programs. If you have the talent and grades most schools will take note and your high school coaching staff will advocate for you for free! The same can be said of the school councilors as they are often the contact for transcripts and course curriculum. Yes college and universities actually want to know you beyond the field. So the next time you enter the sunshine pump please ask, Why do you criticize my coach? Then mention their unfavorable negative judgment may be hurting me as It is NOT the HCs fault that I am away from our teams OTAs or routine events and they do not know me because I have been paying you to get me recruited and have been away from my team to bond properly. Now it is the 11th hour and I have no D1 offers as promised or the ability to make a commitment to further my post secondary education or next level play.  I am relying on the contacts my high school coach mentioned. Meanwhile my coaches warned me about putting team first instead of me, me, me! Now I know what he meant by be prepared and do the little things that lead to bigger things. Unfortunately I bought into It’s the HCs fault. So lesson learned and I hope others do not make the same mistake and enjoy time with friends or team mates during their 4 years rather than being sold some magic beans and empty promises.

In the end question everything. Especially all the  tertiary  parties trying to expose your bank accounts for some meaningless camp, all star game or hand timed combine event that does very little to help further your development. If you have been a long time follower you will know to attend all local college events for FREE and put your cleats on college campus events. The only paid ones are listed on the cofridaynightlights.com website and will be updated as information becomes available.

Until the season starts best wishes to all in the off season and we will see you on the field or on Twitter As always we will post #BreakingNews on @303Gonzo twitter and facebook.A few dates to circle on the calendar:
January 25, 2018 Football proposal vote PASSED
February 7, 2018 1st official day to sign NLI until April
May 1, 2018 access to 8th graders into OTAs
August 6, 2018 Start to 2018 Colorado football day 1 practice (No Contact or Pads)
August 23-25, 2018 Week 1 start to 2018 Colorado football season formerly zero week now called week one.

The Fix is in!?

Another week and another round of interviews for statewide head coaching jobs. However, are they really holding interviews? Some very high profile names have knocked on the 303 doors only to be told NOT to interview or apply. Many suggest this process is normal when an internal candidate wants the position. Perhaps the outgoing coaches knew this and were grooming assistants to take over as “NEW BLOOD” was a common theme in exit statements.

One interesting trend is having interview committees made up of students in addition to parents or faculty. The pressure to select the correct coach is bigger than ever as participation is declining in the only non cut sport in high school, football. Football often subsidies many other sports and is a must have for many programs. So when you see some names resurface you might wonder was The Fix is in?

Again we hear we need “NEW BLOOD” but is it really happening or just a facade to appear as if an interview search is occurring. I guess we will know come December for some high profile clubs and others that will exit the race in November.

Let us hope a true search is happening as some quality assistants deserve a fair handshake and opportunity to prove they deserve to wear the HC hat.

2018-19 Football done ?

The ratification of the football committee was as advertised, a rubber stamp formality in a take it and shove it attitude! Behind the scenes NOT everyone was happy or had an opportunity to change what had been decided last year. What is and has been alarming is that many schools do not want to play a handful of teams. In 4A Pine Creek is the Darth Vader while in 5A it is Mullen, Regis and Valor. Many wanted them in their own conference and perhaps add a few other Private schools to move into one classification. So when you exam the 5A conferences it shows how a Mullen wanted to be in the METRO EAST conference after no one wanted Regis in that spot that is absurd. RJ fits best geographically but will get another pass playing in the SOUTH conference that both Castleview and Valor should have been located thus giving way to Arapahoe to be in it geography as the only LPS program a few miles away from Douglas County namely Highlands Ranch schools.

CLASS 5A
NORTH METRO WEST SOUTH
Fairview Arvada West Regis
Horizon Columbine Chaparral
Legacy Lakewood Douglas County
Fossil Ridge Pomona Legend
Poudre Ralston Valley Fountain Fort Carson
Rocky Mountain Mullen Doherty
METRO SOUTH METRO EAST 10 Conference of X
Valor Christian Cherokee Trail Denver East
Highlands Ranch Cherry Creek Smoky Hill
Mountain Vista Eaglecrest Rangeview
ThunderRidge Grandview Adams City
Rock Canyon Overland Far Northeast
Castle View Arapahoe Westminster
Boulder
Mountain Range
Prairie View
Northglenn

So Arapahoe will be the only team West of I-25 in their assigned conference but most likely will benefit from RPI as many of the CCSD teams are arguably Top 15 while AHS is struggling and seeking a new head coach. The Warriors finished 3-7 in 2017 and 5-5 in 2016 after being in a layup league the previous two seasons. Meanwhile RJ will be in a competitive conference but honestly Castleview should have been in this league as they are miles away from DC a natural rival. Even Valor would have been a better fit. Mullen is about the only private school that benefited by being in its usual Jeffco division and most likely the best conference headed into 2018. Arapahoe is the anomaly but perhaps a new staff will motivate a talented group of 2019 graduates. Regardless of what happens in non coference RPI will favor teams 12-24 as the next two year cycle added 8 more teams. Yes its a 24 team playoff format in the Juice box 5A league. So basically anyone can get in from the group of 30 while the conference of 10 most likely will have the conference winner unless the algorithm of RPI suggests a second team deserves a shot at the title.
About the only positive is Colorado will follow the national date of August 6th as day one of official practice and the season will start week 1 of 11 weeks August 23-25, 2018. Each team will have a bye week during the 11 week stretch. In addition the top 8 playoff teams will have a round 1 bye as the other 16 teams battle it out for a round 2 contest. Time will tell if RPI will be adjusted but it is clear that 5 or maybe 8 teams will run the table in the next two year cycle in 5A.
Here is a look at the final conferences statewide:

SIX MAN
NORTH EAST CENTRAL CENTRAL
Briggsdale Arickaree/Woodlin Colorado D&B
Fleming Flagler/Hi Plains Deer Trail
North Park Idalia Edison
Peetz Otis Genoa Hugo
Prairie Stratton/Liberty Hanover
Weldon Valley
SOUTHEAST SOUTH CENTRAL SOUTHWEST
Cheraw Aguilar Antonito
Cheyenne Wells Branson/Kim Cotopaxi
Eads La Veta Cripple Creek
Granada Manzanola Mountain Valley
Kit Carson Primero Sierra Grande
Walsh
EIGHT MAN
ARK VALLEY PLAINS MOUNTAIN
Fowler Akron Del Norte
Holly Byers Dove Creek
Las Animas Caliche Mancos
McClave Dayspring Christian Norwood
Springfield Haxtun Sanford
Hoehne Merino Sangre De Cristo
Wiley Sedgwick County Sargent
SOUTHERN NORTHWEST CENTRAL
Calhan Gilpin County Belleview Christian
Custer County Hayden Elbert
Pikes Peak Christian Plateau Valley Front Range Christian
Kiowa Rangely Justice
Simla Soroco Rocky Mountain Lutheran
Swink West Grand South Park
Miami Yoder Vail Christian
Dolores Huerta – Independent
CLASS 1A
NORTH CENTRAL FOOTHILLS SANTA FE
Holyoke Jefferson Crowley County
Wray Sheridan Rocky Ford
Yuma Platte Canyon Peyton
Burlington Clear Creek Ellicott
Wiggins Manual John Mall
Limon Lake County Trinidad
WESTERN SLOPE SOUTHERN PEAKS TRI PEAKS
Olathe Dolores Florence
Paonia Ignacio Buena Vista
Hotchkiss Center Colorado Springs Christian
Cedaredge Monte Vista St Mary’s
Grand Valley Centauri Rye
Meeker
NORTHERN
Strasburg
Highland
Cornerstone Christian
Pinnacle
Lyons
Estes Park
CLASS 2A
NORTH #1 NORTH #2 METRO #1
Weld Central Academy Arvada
Fort Lupton Eaton Bennett
Valley Prospect Ridge D’Evelyn
Sterling Resurrection Christian Faith Christian
Brush University Middle Park
Platte Valley Berthoud Denver West
METRO #2 SOUTH WEST
Alameda Elizabeth Delta
Machebeuf Classical Academy Rifle
Kent Denver Manitou Springs Moffat County
Ridgeview Academy Lamar Coal Ridge
Englewood La Junta Aspen
Riverdale Ridge Woodland Park Basalt
SOUTHWEST
Montezuma Cortez
Alamosa
Pagosa Springs
Gunnison
Bayfield
Salida
CLASS 3A
NORTH CENTRAL #1 NORTH CENTRAL #2 NORTH CENTRAL #3
George Washington Mead Roosevelt
Evergreen Holy Family Erie
Conifer Frederick Fort Morgan
Kennedy Denver North Northridge
Lincoln Skyview Thompson Valley
Green Mountain Northfield Niwot
SOUTHERN #1 SOUTHERN #2 SOUTHERN #3
Discovery Canyon Mitchell Pueblo Centennial
Palmer Ridge Sand Creek Pueblo East
Lewis Palmer Falcon Pueblo South
Lutheran Harrison Pueblo County
Littleton Sierra Pueblo Central
Thomas Jefferson Canon City Durango
WEST
Palisade
Summit
Battle Mountain
Eagle Valley
Glenwood Springs
Steamboat Springs
CLASS 4A
NORTHERN #1 NORTHERN #2 METRO #1
Windsor Monarch Dakota Ridge
Broomfield Loveland Wheat Ridge
Greeley West Silver Creek Golden
Longmont Skyline Chatfield
Mountain View Fort Collins Bear Creek
Brighton Greeley Central Grand Junction
METRO #2 METRO #3 SOUTHERN #1
Ponderosa Centaurus Pine Creek
Denver South Vista Peak Vista Ridge
Aurora Central Hinkley Mesa Ridge
Heritage Thornton Cheyenne Mountain
Gateway Standley Lake Palmer
Montrose Fruita Monument Grand Junction Central
SOUTHERN #2
Pueblo West
Air Academy
Liberty
Coronado
Rampart
Widefield

Therefore this is why in our way too early poll we had the rankings as follows:


Until the season starts best wishes to all in the off season and we will see you on the field or on Twitter As always we will post #BreakingNews on @303Gonzo twitter and facebook.A few dates to circle on the calendar:
January 25, 2018 Football proposal vote PASSED
February 7, 2018 1st official day to sign NLI until April
May 1, 2018 access to 8th graders into OTAs
August 6, 2018 Start to 2018 Colorado football day 1 practice (No Contact or Pads)
August 23-25, 2018 Week 1 start to 2018 Colorado football season formerly zero week now called week one.

Highlands Ranch*New HC & Conference

Highlands Ranch* playing up to 5A arguably has put together one of the toughest schedules in 5A. As of today Thursday January 25th the 5A landscape has been changed for the next 2 year cycle. Dates have not been published but take a look of what should be finalized soon once zero week has been clarified. August 6, 2018 will be the first day of practice statewide and August 23-25 opening week of the regular season.
Highlands Ranch* with new head coach and staff members will have arguably the toughest schedule in 5A. Six of the 10 games are with playoff teams in the 16 team format. In 2018 and 2019 24 teams will make the playoffs in 5A.
NON Conference
Week 1 Eaglecrest*
Week 2 Grandview
Week 3 Regis
Week 4 Columbine
Week 5 Pomona
Conference
Valor Christian*
Mountain Vista
ThunderRidge
Rock Canyon
Castle View*
*New Head Coaches
A bye week will occur so basically it will be an 11 week season. However, the top 8 teams will have an additional bye week as the lower 16 teams will have a playoff in week 12 or round one of the post season. The infamous RPI is still under discussion but will again rely heavily on the opponents wins. So again you have to win your own games and hope the opponents win all of their games to have a better computer model algorithm.
Therefore this is why in our way too early poll we had the rankings as follows:


Until the season starts best wishes to all in the off season and we will see you on the field or on Twitter As always we will post #BreakingNews on @303Gonzo twitter and facebook.A few dates to circle on the calendar:
January 25, 2018 Football proposal vote PASSED
February 7, 2018 1st official day to sign NLI until April
May 1, 2018 access to 8th graders into OTAs
August 6, 2018 Start to 2018 Colorado football day 1 practice (No Contact or Pads)
August 23-25, 2018 Week 1 start to 2018 Colorado football season formerly zero week now called week one.

I GUARANTEE 7 VICTORIES*IN 2018! Part 2

On November 4, 2017 I wrote “I GUARANTEE 7 VICTORIES*IN 2018!” and well that immediately caused a stir but who knew in addition to a few teams I cited that needed a new culture, both Mullen and Valor would be vacant. Also 2 top tier programs in Eaglecrest and Highlands Ranch would be replacing head coaches but they recently found their next head coach and are currently filling out staff members. In addition Arapahoe, Castleview and SmokyHill are all seeking new HCs. Meanwhile 5A is being revamped in the new proposal scheduled to be discussed and voted on this Thursday January 25th. More than half the coaches are not excited about this new alignment but none are willing to hang up the whistle over it but that might change as we gain more insight as to the 20 new coaches to be hired statewide. Many have hinted 5A is overrated and the lower classifications are attractive because of the hometown small school charm. Meanwhile OTAs is the off season as we deemed the process and they are not happening without the new coaches in place and players and parents are worried. The process is what needs to happen year round NOT mid August until the last week of October otherwise that is why November ends many teams seasons. So for every month that goes by that is potentially one less win based on a ten game schedule. Especially if the players did not participate in a winter sport and became unmotivated during a 3 month slowdown from football. Some might be awaiting the spring sports next month and once again complications trying to juggle a new coach with an existing spring coach to get some football work in and gain access to the 2018 team.

So many have sent an IM or DM asking, "Will we see you in a  HC uniform this season?"

Currently that answer is ambiguous as some phone interviews have transpired and some positions still remain open until months end. The main issue is I would change the culture BIG TIME! As I mentioned to one AD and will another this week, How about scheduling all our games on Saturday nights. This is 2 fold in my thinking process. The first being the ability to develop the lower levels by having JV play on Thursday at 4pm and Freshmen on Friday at 4pm and allowing all of them to participate in team meal Fridays and dress on Saturdays. Everyone would be able to recover on Sundays and work 4 hard days. The second is to allow parents to enjoy a Thursday or Friday off knowing they did not have to rush to games after work or compete with other events on Saturdays. Thus Saturday nights lights would be a nice way to end a busy week and keep the kids off the streets or head to a game with their coaches to scout other teams. YES Scout other teams as a team as that is how you get better. Some learn via film, others on the field and others in person. So Saturdays work!
Many parents continue to ask about recruiting and there is no easy solution other than to prepare over time and be the best product on the field. So if the @303Gonzo squad was the team of the week every Saturday it would allow everyone to view top talents that will be game ready to play next level on Saturdays. Yes we would focus heavily on the Varsity team and emulate the same process as colleges that play on Saturdays. So why not get these guys next level ready being coached and head into the playoffs on a FRIDAY night so that way college coaches that ofter watch games in November on Fridays because most colleges play on Saturdays and the coaches could watch our team. In addition this allows players to attend recruiting events that usually happen on Saturdays late in the season as we now have an early signing period in late December.
Thinking outside the box is a must for many programs hiring coaches especially at the 4A and 5A classifications. The lower levels are accustomed to playing on Saturdays. Old school coaches are habitual and that is why we are seeing a decline in participation. Repeated playbooks and the way things were done 5, 10 or 20 years ago does not work in this modern millennial generation. They have been raised on i-phones, i-pads, Apps and now drones. So the eye in the sky truly does not lie! Both Regis and Highlands Ranch use drones to film practices in football as does Monarch in Rugby. Something many programs should invest in as they are behind the times. Also there is some great software out there that help during the game that I have used or beta tested but it takes someone with a passion and desire to win to make sure these are being used properly. So while many programs will be handicapped, I still believe that 7 wins are obtainable but a hiring would have to happen by next Friday the 2nd for a February 5th Monday night football meeting and OTAs for 90 minutes to get to know the players.

Being a head coach will not be necessary because a few that I spoke with would welcome @303Gonzo because of the developmental aspect in the weight room, summer program and film work during the season not to mention a recruiting Colorado event that will be in its 6th year in 2018. All of this can happen if the price is right and it is a good fit! Shoot I might even be better off being a consultant for a handful of teams. You never know. So you can see why the answer is ambiguous as there is a lot to consider before adorning a hat and a headset on the sidelines trying to mold boys into men and create a winning culture in a incapacitated community.

So now it is up to the community to buy into the Gonzo Saturday night tailgate package as success breeds success! If you trust the process you will see a dramatic change from old school to new school and it is a one shot deal. If hired as a head coach it could be a one and done or an extension for 2019. By guaranteeing 7 VICTORIES in 2018 was a way to let administrators know I was not messing around. To underwrite the district wages was to put up collateral for what will benefit the community long term. Anyone would be a fool not to gamble up to $7K for less than one year of service as the season officially ends December 2nd, 2018. So the time is now as we are 9 days away from “I GUARANTEE 7 VICTORIES*IN 2018!

Until the season starts best wishes to all in the off season and we will see you on the field or on Twitter As always we will post #BreakingNews on @303Gonzo twitter and facebook.A few dates to circle on the calendar:
January 25, 2018 Football proposal vote
February 7, 2018 1st official day to sign NLI until April
May 1, 2018 access to 8th graders into OTAs
August 6, 2018 proposed start to 2018 Colorado football day 1 practice (No Contact or Pads)
August 23-25, 2018 proposed start to 2018 Colorado football season formerly zero week not called week one.

Coaches should be worried

The revolving door in Colorado for head football coaches was alarming when 18% of 5A football schools had a vacancy in recent days. The coaching carousel has not hit the numbers as in previous seasons but the urgency to fill them is on a slow pace. Many athletic directors are aware that the next hire will define their programs especially with a new 2 year cycle to be ratified on January 25, 2018. For the most part it is a rubber stamp but there are at least 5 schools that are vehemently heated about the conferences namely what has been deemed the “Developmental Conference.” There has been NO empathy from the other 30 schools not in the conference of ten only a sigh of relief they are not in it. Regardless of what happens this Thursday in the CHSAA meetings one thing for sure is Coaches should be worried!

Coaches will be more than ever scrutinized by everyone in the community. If you are a normal parent you are sending your children to the attendance school. However, the pressure at the middle school to play club sports is increasing while playing for your local team colors is dwindling. If your survey parents they are being brain washed to think club sports is more important for recruiting their children. Maybe even believe the hype of trainers to patronize their gym because they are more successful than your high school coaches resources. Perhaps there is a happy medium but currently it is one sided and the pay to be noticed continues while coaches struggle to build team bonding while athletes are at xyz camp or abc trainer because they are being filled with hype at the daily sunshine pump. The people filling are doing it for a reason, MONEY! Lots of MONEY! These are they same people working against the high school coaches and making comments like, “Your coach doesn’t know what it is like to play at a high level” or “You have to train with me to be D1 or you will get nowhere.” Everyone should question if these statements are true but also realize this is at minimum an annual $6,000 dollar question. On average in Colorado families are shelling out $6K to play a club sport or train with a guru. Ofcourse all financed at $495 a month for a 12 month period just like the scandalous gym memberships everyone complains about 2-3 months into the cycle. These sordid activities continue to happen daily as these entities have to make MONEY to pay the bills and earn an income. Meanwhile a top head coach statewide is lucky to make the maximum stipend of $7,000 for the season that pays for a season that is mid August until the first week in November. Roughly 14 weeks if you do not count the off season that has become extremely important in recent years as programs are suffering with participation numbers and games played during the season.

The easy way for parents that run the booster clubs is to do their homework and work with the ADs to make sure athletes are interested in the high school the students are attending. In addition know if the head coach and his staff are genuinely interested in being a part of the community which might include rolling up the sleeves during the 9 month off season. This might include adding a zero hour weight room, speed and agility or football elective class. However, it takes dedication to open that door to the classroom at 6am Monday through Saturday and prepare a plan for success. The days of rolling out the ball in PE or reading a newspaper in the back of the weight room class is over. The modern day players or athletes need more motivation and daily input that should be a free benefit from their high school. However, complacency has occurred and the smugness era is over! 

The reality is if a head coach does not do his job he will be replaced. If not by a club or trainer by the booster club via the AD or the administration namely the principal. Sports has become such a fabric of daily activities that it often molds who we are as a person or community. If you are in a small town or rural area you will see this first hand. It is unfortunate that Denver metropolitan does not do a better job in the media focussing on these such communities. Instead many outlets are selling their souls for advertising dollars and clicks. The investigative reporting is not being done. Instead relying on relationships or a paid advertiser to supply top positional athletes because they are part of their paying clientele that is paying the media outlet and authors bills rather his salary.

Yes do the research and un peel the onion. The readership or viewership audience is getting duped by dependents relying on financial support to validate their services. So now more than ever before Coaches should be worried. Worried for their jobs and perturbed that the chips are being stacked against you by a few challenging your efforts.

The media has a purpose when they do their job. However, in recent years they have relied on Social media and other influences to write or tell their stories. Social media has a benefit if used properly but in some instances more often than not, it is for chest thumping, hype and to bash your school coaches efforts. For many in this new generation it is about the sunshine pump and parents that are willing to pay for these promoted services. In reality the next level coaches DO NOT CARE!

"We don not care what is associated behind your name! It is about character or how you treat your parents when we visit you. It is how you interact with team mates and coaches." - College recruiting coach 1-20-2018

The above reference was when a player asked about how important post season awards were or being on some subscription based service that has a monthly fee. The following was how important it is to have a relationship with your high school administrators, coaches and counsellors.

What is important to us is seeing you in person and talking to your coaches NOT some 3rd person trainer. However, if you play club sports we will watch your film or tournament for athleticism but we know you pay to play so of course the trainers and coaches are going to build you up. That is their job and why you pay them. We might visit a gym on the way to a high school but it is not our primary focus just a courtesy to players in the same way they email us about games they will be playing. We still rely on you high school coaches, teachers and school counsellors. So you might want to save a few bucks and visit us on campus rather than pay some arbitrary service that promises you next level opportunities.

At the end of the day Coaches should be worried or at least threatened by outside entities that browbeat you on a daily basis. The sport of football is headed in the wrong direction but can be resuscitated. Collaborating with area teams will be a start. In time high school football might be a community sport similar to little league where zip codes determine the club not the high school. Yes 3 or 4 area teams might merge into one because of participation numbers and the threat of club sports. A Florida club named IMG has gained popularity and it will just be a matter of time before entrepreneurs figure out a way to make money funding club football statewide and nationally. They have had success with 7 on 7 so tackle football is on the horizon as long as 10 cities decide to field teams similar to IMG. The focus has shifted from leisure to professional.
Meanwhile in Colorado we await to hear the next head coach at traditional powerhouse teams like Mullen and Valor that are seeking a facelift. Athletics is important to their dichotomy but the emphasis on religious values and college preparatory education is a primary concern. The focus as the head into vetting their next selection or face of their football program has more importance than in the past. Again Coaches should be worried about their own in house issues and not so much on exterior. If you have your house in order Coaches should NOT be worried.
Until the season starts best wishes to all in the off season and we will see you on the field or on Twitter As always we will post #BreakingNews on @303Gonzo twitter and facebook.A few dates to circle on the calendar:
January 25, 2018 Football proposal vote
February 7, 2018 1st official day to sign NLI until April
August 6, 2018 proposed start to 2018 Colorado football day 1 practice (No Contact or Pads)
August 23-25, 2018 proposed start to 2018 Colorado football season formerly zero week not called week one.