Officials shortage leads MHSAA to alter football schedules


The Mississippi High School Activities Association has moved final regular season football games up one day.


For 2A, 3A and 4A teams, including Kemper County, the final game will be Thursday October 28. For 1A, 5A and 6A teams it will be Thursday November 4.


The changes were made because of a shortage of officials available. Games for 1A, 5A and 6A scheduled for Friday October 29 will not change and opening round playoff games for 2A, 3A and 4A will remain on Friday November 5. For each week, about half the games will be played on Thursday and half on Friday.


Games that will be changed include Kemper County at Nanih Waiya from October 29 to October 28. It’s a Region 5-2A game that could affect region standings and seedings for the playoffs.


In a You Tube video on the MHSAA website, executive director Rickey Neaves said “This is a change we feel like we have to make. I think it’s a good plan and it’s even a plan we might consider next year or for every year to ensure that we get the best officials possible for our year-ending games and for all of our playoff games.”


The changes will give teams one fewer day to prepare for the final regular season game, but one additional day for playoff teams to prepare for opening round games.


Kemper County coach Ray Westerfield said having one fewer day to prepare for a region opponent is significant. “One less day of watching film. One less day of rehabbing injuries. One less day of practice. But the good thing is that we will all have an even playing field. You have to play the hand that has been dealt and put your best foot forward. The game will be played on Thursday whether we are prepared or not.”


Conversely, he said the extra day to prepare for a playoff opponent is a plus. “One more day to watch film. One more day to rehab. One more day to meet with your coaches and get a game plan when it’s win or go home.”

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