High school football association scrambles to reschedule officials due to weather

They are some of the most crucial bodies on the field for East Texas HS football games: the officials.
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 6:39 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - They are some of the most crucial bodies on the field for East Texas HS football games: the officials. This week, with all the games being rescheduled, they had to act fast and be flexible.

“It’s easy to move the games in a computer. Sometimes it’s hard to move the bodies from one assignment to another, though,” said Sub-Varsity Assigner for the Tyler Football Chapter Stephen O’Neal. He said on Tuesday coaches began moving games up a day.

“From about 9 a.m. to about 4 p.m. on Tuesday, instead of doing my regular job, where I work at a church, I spent the entire day moving officials. It was nonstop,” O’Neal said. “To play sub-varsity on Wednesday, varsity on Thursday, so we had to shuffle roughly 170 officials and their assignments and make sure they would all fit with all the schools wanting to play.”

There are a handful of pieces that are considered when rescheduling a game. Head Football Coach and Athletic Director at Bullard High School Scott Callaway said they work closely with their local meteorologists.

“It’s not just about rain. It’s about the safety of kids, lightning, and traveling. Having to reschedule and it overlapping — there’s just lots of logistics that go into that decision,” Callaway said. “Of course, it’s not just one school district’s decision. As administrators, you’re working with the other school district’s administrators.”

While safety is the top priority, they are also on the edge of the playoffs.

“It has district playoff ramifications with it, so you gotta figure out, if you move it back you can go into another week, and UIL only allows you so many games per week. A situation like that going into playoff week, you might could appeal with UIL and them make a decision, but they’re going to ask, ‘Why didn’t you get that game in that week or move it up?’” Callaway said. “So, that has some weight bearing in the decisions that are made.”

O’Neal said they were able to cover every single sub-varsity and varsity game that their chapter is responsible for. They try to have four officials on the field for sub varsity games. In the past, for varsity games they used five officials but have since moved to seven.

“We do that because having more officials on the field helps us watch all the wide-receivers. Offenses have changed from everybody running the ball every play to lots of spread out formations, and by adding those two extra officials, it lets us see the game better and call it more fairly,” O’Neal said. “And actually, we have less penalties when we have more officials on the field.”

O’Neal said 150 officials were rescheduled at 27 different games across the area for this evening.