‘Packed’ Friday night: Northern Wisconsin HS football games clash with Green Bay’s NFL opener

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The NFL schedule release has created excitement for fans across the country and even the world, a progression that continues to highlight the league’s dominance. However, some of the expansion has introduced a bit of detailed torment for high school football in northern Wisconsin.

It begins with history in South America.

Green Bay’s 2024 opener is on September 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles in Sao Paola, Brazil.

It’s the first-ever NFL game in South America and the first meeting between the two NFC teams since 2022 when the Eagles won 40-33 at Lincoln Financial Field. 

Kyzir White #43 of the Philadelphia Eagles attempts to tackle Aaron Jones #33 of the Green Bay Packers during the second half at Lincoln Financial Field on November 27, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

It’s also on a Friday, when the bright lights of high school football have historically shined without the NFL causing any scheduling dilemmas for the fans—both in the stands and on the field.

But the game was set in February, a major announcement that headlined the Eagles as one of the teams making the international trip.

The other team was TBD, which added to the intrigue and simultaneously developed conflict for any sports on September 6 that might be in the fan base’s area.

Once Green Bay became the opponent, that scenario took aim at high school football, where officials have been figuring out ways to shift things around under the new circumstances.

And it’s not an easy lift. 

According to a report from USA TODAY Network’s Green Bay Press Gazette, a few games—Pulaski vs. De Pere and Bay Port vs. Preble—have already moved to Thursday, while others have made earlier kickoff times.

Bay Port players watch from the sidelines during a game against Pulaski. (USA TODAY Network)

But that shift presents a far more significant issue, as Steve Kestly, co-commissioner of the Fox River Classic Conference, highlighted:

“There are 10 conferences that share officials. If everybody wants to move their games to Thursday, you have to see if officials are available and if everyone wants to do that, there won’t be enough officials.”

The puzzle is filled with more than just football pieces, too; other fall sports, such as volleyball and soccer, could get caught up in the domino effect created by moving football games to Thursdays.

“We have to take other things into consideration,” Kestly explained to the Gazette’s Jeff Bollier.

“That’s why it will be on an individual basis.”

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