Three Rivers adjusting schedules because of officials shortage

Princeton-Rockridge will open under the Thursday Night Lights on Aug. 25

Princeton Tigers football fans will get to see their favorite team a little earlier than expected this fall.

The Tigers’ season opener at Rockridge has been moved up a day because of an officials shortage. The Tigers and Rockets now will kick off at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, rather than Friday, Aug. 26, at Rockridge High School in Edgington.

There will be more changes in the conference schedule to follow because of the officials shortage. The Three Rivers was forced to move several games last year, including some Thursday and Saturday dates.

“We got a list from our assigner that said these games are short crews right now, and he needs to know what to do, Thursday or Saturday. We chose to go to Thursday Week 1,” PHS athletic director Jeff Ohlson said.

Kewanee AD Tim Atwell said the conference assigner is looking to find officials for 11 games this upcoming season. And the Three Rivers is not alone when it comes to the officials shortage.

“As ADs, we will be having to make some decisions here shortly on these games,” he said. “It is a problem not only for the TRAC, but everyone across the state of Illinois. Other factors are high gas prices, along with what schools are paying officials for games, and shortages in transportation for buses and bus drivers.

“There are a lot of things that are in play that will be causing athletic directors to lose their hair this upcoming season. And some of us cannot afford to lose much more.”

St. Bede coach Jim Eustice said the Bruins will be changing their Week 4 (at Newman) and Week 8 (at Hall) game dates and is hopeful to have them on Saturdays.

Hall AD Eric Bryant said the Red Devils have moved two games, including the Week 8 St. Bede home game, and may have another date to change.

Bureau Valley coach Mat Pistole said nothing is concrete, “but it’s safe to assume” the Storm will be moving some game dates.

Mendota will be moving its Week 6 game at Sherrard to Saturday, Oct. 1.

Princeton will have back-to-back weeks playing under the Thursday Night Lights. The Week 2 Orion at Princeton game already was being planned for Thursday, Sept. 1, Ohlson said, at Orion’s request to not conflict with their town’s 50th annual Orion Fall Festival celebration.