OCT. 3 SPORTS COLUMN — PETE TEMPLE, SPORTS EDITOR
Monticello’s homecoming football game against Center Point-Urbana, as you’re probably aware, was a varsity game only.
Earlier this season, JV games against Maquoketa Valley and Cascade were called off or moved. The Oct. 12 game at West Liberty will also be varsity only, with JV moved to Monday.
That makes four changes to the JV football schedule this season.
What’s going on?
“It’s a numbers game,” Monticello activities director Tim Lambert said.
The biggest factor is the rule stating that a player can only play four quarters in a day.
“When the numbers get low, you might need some JV kids to play varsity,” Lambert said.
Of the four, the CP-U game was the first time Monticello initiated the postponement. Due to injuries and other factors, the Panthers had a limited number of JV and varsity players available Friday.
Suppose all the JV players were used for a JV game against CP-U. If the varsity team had then suffered a few injuries in its game, the team would have run the risk of playing with 10 or fewer players on the field. The other alternative would have been to forfeit.
Rather than risk that, the JV game was moved, so that all the players on both squads would be available both days.
The Maquoketa Valley situation, back on Aug. 31, was different from the other three. In that case, there was intense heat, and MV officials called to suggest calling off the JV game. The varsity game was played as scheduled because temperatures had cooled some by then.
In two of the cases – Cascade and West Liberty – the other school called Monticello to say their numbers were low, and asked that the JV game be moved to the following Monday.
“They called us and said their numbers couldn’t support two games that night,” Lambert said.
Lambert stressed that nobody is happy when a JV game has to be moved.
“Is it ideal? No,” he said. “It kills your gate, and it hurts your booster club. All the workers have to come back (on Monday), and I have to find another set of officials. It reduces the gate and doubles the work.”
Concession sales suffer, particularly since there is no football going on over the supper hour. Rather than enjoy the walking taco or other delights our concession stands offer, most fans had probably eaten elsewhere before they arrived for the 7:30 p.m. game.
Lambert said Monticello is definitely not alone when it comes to postponing JV football games.
“You hear it all the time,” he said.
The situation is becoming more common across the state, and might eventually lead to the permanent scheduling of JV games on Monday nights instead of “curtain-raisers” on Fridays, he said.