Strike may move football team to next round


PAXTON, Ill. (WCIA) — Dozens of Central Illinois schools are preparing for the first round of the Illinois High School Association Football Playoffs.

But one is in a unique situation.

Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School may not even have to take the field to win the game. They are set to take on Chicago’s Carver Military Academy, but striking teachers up north mean the team has not been able to practice. The IHSA says if they do not practice by Wednesday, the game will be forfeited.

If that is the case, PBL will move on to the second round automatically. But there is still a day for the union and city to agree to a deal.

Panthers coaches, players and faculty are still preparing for a normal week. PBL Athletic Director Brock Niebuhr says it is business as usual until they hear otherwise.

“We’ve got a scheduled two o’clock game with Chicago Carver,” says Niebuhr. “That’s what we’re planning on right now. Obviously there’s a lot of things going on up there. From our end, we gotta prepare like we’ve got a game and that’s what we’re doing right now.”

Gameday positions like score keepers and ticket takers are already preparing if the game happens. Dozens of fans have already shown concern. Niebuhr says PBL players and coaches both want to play the game.

Chicago teachers have been on strike since October 17. Members of other CPS playoff schools have even shown up at the Mayor’s office to help make a deal. CPS soccer, golf, tennis, and cross country teams have already been forced to forfeit their playoff appearances.

20 football teams from CPS qualified for the playoffs. The Chicago Teachers Union has called a House of Delegates meeting Tuesday night. At the meeting, members will decide if there will be school Wednesday or a tenth straight cancelled day.

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