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Jul 29, 2014 11:45 AM by Steven Albritton

Referee Shortage Causing Scheduling Issues In HS Football

With August just around the corner that can only mean one thing. Football is almost back! Unfortunately, in the high school ranks, here in Acadiana a crucial shortage to make these games even happen is forcing everyone into schedule changes.

The lights may be going dim for a Friday night tradition. With about 28 varsity games played each week in Acadiana, a shortage of officials is forcing games to be moved to Thursday nights.

"The first thing you look at when the schedule comes out is to look to see what games got moved. You hope it's not this game because it might be a tougher opponent and you got a day less to have rest and prepare. So, you're kind of wondering where it might fall but it's the luck of the draw pretty much," Head Football Coach and Athletic Director at Notre Dame High School Lewis Cook said.

Cook says the change effects everyone including attendance at the gate and whether parents can bring younger kids to the games.

"It makes it a little tough having that Thursday game because like I said the next morning you have to get up and go to school and you've got not only the football players but you're talking about the band and the pep squad there's a lot more involved than just the players," Cook said.

Greg Gautreaux with the Lafayette Area Football Officials says they are trying to constantly recruit and train new officials. Without a younger group stepping up to run the show, it's a problem that won't be going away soon.

"It is something that's fun. You know if you're a competitive person you really compete out there. Really officials are the third team on the field. You have the offense, the defensive team and you have the officiating team and all three have to be in sync to have a good contest," Gautreaux said.

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