Routt and Moffat County football officials selected for state title
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Three officials from the Routt and Moffat county area have been selected to officiate state championship football games. Of the 575 active Colorado Football Official Association members, 230 were assigned playoff games in 2018, only 35 get to work the state championship games.
Rusty McRight, a Steamboat Springs resident, will officiate the 2A state championship game, while Elvis Iacovetto, from Phippsburg, and John Haddan, a Craig resident, will officiate the 8-man football state championships Nov. 24.
McRight is in his 15th year of officiating, including four years in Colorado and 11 in Texas.
“I got a varsity game my first year and was kind of mentored by a fellow that’s actually a Big 12 referee,” McRight said. “Learned a lot from him and moved up here four years ago and ended up being director of officials for Area 16 (Steamboat Springs and Craig). I would put my officials up against any Denver official — ours are pretty good.”
This will be McRight’s first 2A state championship. Last year, he worked the state semifinal between Soroco and Meeker.
Getting invited to call a state championship is highly selective. Officials who have a gold ranking get nominated by their area director based on performance. The nominated officials are observed by 23 members of the Colorado Football Official Association for six weeks.
These members include retired officials, current Division 1 collegiate officials and local area directors. After the six weeks, they provide a recommended ranking list for officials to be assigned to state semifinal and championship games.
Iacovetto has officiated three 2A state games and has been selected to officiate the upcoming 8-man state championship with Haddan.
In the past, Iacovetto said he was selected as a crew, so he traveled to a state game with people he had officiated games with in the area. Under the new highly selective method, it’s different.
“I’ll be working with guys from Fort Collins, Trinidad, Pueblo,” Iacovetto said. “The challenge is going to be five guys getting together that’ve never worked together before.”
The system changed four years ago as a way to help maintain neutrality at the state semifinal and championship levels.
“It’s definitely an honor because there’s seven championship games — 6-man, 8-man and 1A to 5A for 11-man,” Iacovetto said. “I played football when I was in high school and it’s a good way to give back to the program.”
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