Heat delaying kickoff for some area football games

Published: Aug. 23, 2023 at 10:18 PM CDT
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EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. (KCTV) - This month’s heat wave means a longer wait for the start of a new high school football season.

Several local teams are pushing back their kickoff times on Friday night. At least three area games will start at 8 p.m. – instead of the customary 7 p.m. kick – to beat the heat.

In Excelsior Springs, the Tigers are hosting Belton. Due to the extreme heat, Excelsior Springs decided to push kickoff back to 8 p.m. – if not later.

“I think everybody is ready to kickoff the football season regardless of what time we do it,” said Excelsior Springs’ Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Mark Bullimore.

Friday night lights will come on a little later than normal for the first game of the season.

“This game is not bigger than the health of these athletes,” said Excelsior Springs Head Football Coach, Mark Faubion.

READ MORE: Kansas City heatwave impacts Friday night high school football games

“We’re not looking at just the athletes,” Bullimore said. “We’re looking at fans, we’re looking at elderly family members or the younger elementary students.”

On Wednesday evening, the heat index on the school’s turf was more than 125 degrees. Later in the night, at practice, the Tigers took extra steps to make sure their student-athletes stayed hydrated. They are taking more water breaks and wearing pads and helmets less.

“We bring kids out. ‘Hey, go get a drink of water.’ ‘I’m good, coach.’ ‘Doesn’t matter if you’re good, go ahead and get some,’” said Faubion. “It’s almost like a lightning situation where there is an imminent danger just kind of hanging around out there for you.”

On game day, the coaching staff at Excelsior Springs says they will take more precautions for the heat than ever before.

“I can’t remember pushing a game back because of heat, ever,” Faubion said.

The school district told KCTV5 that Friday night’s 8 p.m. start time may be pushed back further. The district said if conditions are not safe for a warmup around 7-7:15 p.m., they may be forced to delay the start of the game again.