ALTON - The Marquette Catholic High School football team will be playing some rare 'Thursday Night Lights' after their game was bumped up a night.

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The change was confirmed Wednesday evening due to the ever-growing issue of the state-wide referee shortage. With so many games going on in the region on Friday night, there are no longer enough officials to go around.

Because of the problem, there are six games scheduled for Thursday in the St. Louis region and another 13 to be played on Saturday. It's expected that this referee shortage will continue on into basketball season as well.

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After some of the officiating crew was double-booked for Marquette's Friday night match with St. Louis Priory, they were only left with two referees. Five referees are needed to hold an IHSA-approved football game so the teams had no other choice but to reschedule.

MCHS Athletic Director Brian Hoener and head football coach Leon McElrath came to the decision to play the game that starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, at Public School Stadium.

Last week, the Explorers played on Saturday afternoon, most likely to avoid another scenario like this one. After a week two game cancellation due to a lack of players, the MCHS football team has had a rollercoaster year.

Marquette still encourages fans to swarm Public School Stadium in support of the team's final home game of the season and as the Explorers celebrate Senior Night.

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