BOZEMAN — High school sporting events across Montana are being postponed, canceled or rescheduled this week for a variety of reasons ranging from COVID-19 to low numbers, lack of bus drivers and lack of officials.
COVID-19 has impacted football schedules in Missoula and at Sheridan, Plains, Hays-Lodgepole and Rocky Boy.
Sheridan, No. 9 in the 406mtports.com 8-Man football rankings, shuttered its doors this week as a precautionary measure but is expected to reopen Monday. The Panthers were scheduled to play Lone Peak on Friday but that game has been moved to Sept. 24.
Meanwhile, Plains has moved to online learning next week and is canceling all of its activities. The Horsemen are scheduled to play top-ranked Drummond-Philipsburg on Saturday and at Victor on Sept. 18.
The Great Falls Tribune reported Thursday evening that Rocky Boy has students in protocol and had to postpone its 8-Man game at No. 2 Fort Benton.
Hays-Lodgepole, which considered shutting down its season due to low numbers, also is closed this week due to COVID-19 and impacts from a wildfire, meaning no sporting events. And the No. 1 Missoula Sentinel-Missoula Hellgate game Friday has been called off.
Eureka closed its doors Wednesday but reopened Thursday amid a COVID-19 outbreak. The school's volleyball program postponed its match against St. Ignatius scheduled for Thursday but is planning to play football at Fairfield on Friday. Three Forks volleyball against Harrison on Thursday was also postponed, as were Townsend's matches scheduled for Thursday and Saturday.
COVID-19 isn't the only culprit.
After suffering a number of injuries in its first two games, both losses, Great Falls Central called off its Thursday night 8-Man game against No. 8 Belt. The Huskies turned around quickly and rescheduled with Chester-Joplin-Inverness, which had a vacancy because of Hays-Lodgepole's closure.
St. Labre already has canceled its season due to lack of participation.
Lack of bus drivers in the Kalispell area forced Glacier to cancel boys and girls soccer matches in Missoula on Thursday.
Numerous events around Montana have been slightly rescheduled due to a referee shortage. Plentywood's 8-Man game at Ekalaka, originally scheduled for Friday, Sept. 17, has been moved to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept 18.
On Thursday, Sidney put out a plea for referees for all sports on Facebook.