MONUMENT - — The Palmer Ridge Bears are the back-to-back-to-back 3A football state champions.
But in 2020, as they aim for their 4th straight title, the Bears will face some new challenges.
"There is a heightened sense of urgency," explained Palmer Ridge head football coach Tom Pulford. "I think that's probably true for many seniors across the state of Colorado."
Palmer Ridge will move up to the 4A division this year and will have the work within the new COVID-19 restrictions put in place by CHSAA and the governor's office.
"This is a little bit different than cross country, tennis, and softball where you can spread those kids out," said Palmer Ridge Athletic Director Lance McCorkle. "These guys are going to be close together way more than those other sports."
Another obstacle for the Bears? Being playing in a conference with teams from the Western Slope, as Palmer Ridge will have to travel over 5 hours west, three times this season.
"We have an opportunity," said Pulford. "And we can either embrace that opportunity and make the best of it or we can find a reason to complain about something and we're not going to be real successful on the field or off if that's our attitude."
And with 17 returning seniors, that features top prospects like Kaden Dudley, Luke McAllister, and Saxon Wright, these Bears are looking to make CHSAA history by becoming the 7th team to win four straight state titles.
"If you are climbing a mountain and you're looking at the peak the whole time, you're probably going to stumble a lot along the way because you're not looking at what's right in front of you," added Pulford.
Palmer Ridge will begin their title defense on Oct 9th at Golden.