This year's big rivalry football game in the county will occur during a week when school is not in session for the second straight year, but games in the future should avoid the break.
This year’s game between East Jessamine High School and West Jessamine High School is set for Friday, Oct. 12 — the last day of the county’s week-long fall break. School-board members raised concerns about the scheduling last week, and school officials acted quickly to ensure future football battles of Jessamine County will not occur during breaks, when families may be out of town.
The 2011 and 2012 football schedules were set at the same time two years ago when East and West moved into a new district with high schools from Montgomery, Franklin, Anderson and Woodford counties. District athletic director Ken Cox said each school brought their own scheduling priorities to the table when they all met at East High in 2011 to develop the district schedules.
“Working with those four other schools, needless to say, they have to be considerate of us, and we have to be considerate of them, so that’s what happened,” he said.
With typically the biggest crowd of the season in the county, the East-West game also provides the home school with a chance for bigger profits — a chance that Cox said is diminished when the game occurs during a break from school.
“The football game is such a community event,”¿he said. “Selfishly, from a financial standpoint ... last year, it hurt West, and (this year’s game) is going to hurt East a little bit financially.”
School-board members Hallie Bandy and Fran Settle asked at the board’s Sept. 10 work session why the game had been during fall break each of the past two years. Superintendent Lu Young told the board then that the game dates were set well in advance but that it could be possible to keep the East-West game out of fall break in future years.
The schools succeeded, receiving confirmation Tuesday from Kentucky High School Athletic Association commissioner Julian Tackett that the East-West game could be played on week four — in the middle of September — in 2013 and 2014. KHSAA encourages district play to begin in week five of the season, though it does not prohibit district games from occurring before that.
Cox also said there was a slim chance that both schools’ bye week could fall on the Friday of fall break for the next two years, which could theoretically provide families of football players the chance for a vacation that they lack when there are practices and games that week. But he said he was “doubtful” that all the pieces would fall into place for that while working with the four other district schools.
“We’ve got to be good neighbors and work with those folks,” he said.