BRANSON, Colo. (KDVR) — For towns across the country, Fridays in the fall are meant for football. That includes a small town in southern Colorado, where the football program was just created about seven years ago.
“It’s exciting and it’s a blast. It’s the only big thing we’ve really got going in Branson,” said Brad Doherty, Branson athletic director.
It’s a six-man football team, with only about a dozen players, but after going 7-1 in 2019 and 4-3 in 2020, the culture is starting to form within the Branson and Kim schools.
“Kids out here are just happy to play football. Literally, we are doing it in a pasture, but they don’t know the difference between turf, pasture. They are just happy to be out there,” said Adam Lucero, Branson head football coach.
There’s the plot twist: The Bearcats play in a pasture.
“It’s a pasture, I’ll admit it,” said Brad Caldwell, superintendent of Branson schools. “I had the boys and myself try to make a field. We did some leveling all by hand. We picked up cactuses, rocks and thistles all by hand. We tilled it all by hand.”
For a while, the field worked, and Branson was embracing the six-man football life. Then, on Dec. 9, 2020, opposing teams brought up in a meeting they wouldn’t play on Branson’s field anymore because of safety concerns.
“It kind of felt like a big betrayal because none of the field around here are amazing quality,” said Brody Doherty, Branson senior football player.
It’s not that the Branson Bearcats want to be in this position. If they could keep the grass growing where the field is, they would, but that’s the thing, they can’t do that.
“Water scarcity is the underlying issue,” said Brad Doherty. “It’s the only reason we can’t do it. We could get sod and install sprinklers, but the reality is we just don’t have the water to keep it alive.”
Instead of dwelling on the shortage of water, the Bearcat community is taking matters into their own hands and raising money for a new artificial football turf field as well as a shaded multi-use picnic area, and a quarter-mile walking path.
“This will be an artificial turf six-man football field that will be an 80-yard football field as opposed to a normal 100-yard football field,” said Doherty. “It’s a better project and it’s more complete if we include the whole community. From a football perspective and a fan perspective, we will have bleachers and a scoreboard and an announcer’s booth to fulfill that. We will also make such that the community can use it.”
Here is the breakdown of the costs:
$450,000 : Total Project Budget
- $350,000: Field (Playing Surface) Construction
- $13,000: Shaded Structure / Picnic Area
- $5,000: Walking Path
- $30,000: Announcer Booth
- $20,000: Scoreboard
- $7,000: Goal Posts
- $16,000: Bleachers
- $9,000: Fencing
Outside donations are needed for this project. Time is also crucial in this because they will need about two months for construction, but if anyone can do it, it’s Branson.
“If it gets right down to it, do it for the kids. These are the kind of kids that will go out into society and they will be productive members,” said Lucero. “One day these kids are going to be great husbands and dads, and they are really going to give back to their communities.”
If you would like to donate, please visit the school district’s website