You Can Help!

The 2023 Vermont high school football season will kick off under the lights on the campus of St Johnsbury Academy on the last Thursday in August.  

We embrace the honor of being the state’s first game, but it is due to necessity and not desire.  Vermont, like so many other states, has such a shortage of football officials that we cannot have all of our teams playing on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons.  Each week this season at least one school will host a Thursday night game.  To keep player safety paramount, the VFCA has unanimously voted that opponents playing a Thursday night game will not have played on the previous Saturday to allow players adequate recovery time.

My lifelong friend and former high school teammate who is now a North Carolina football official informed me that they are playing varsity games on Thursdays and Sundays to combat the shortage of officials.  

 A couple of years ago, I heard that a shortage of softball officials would cause many JV games in the state to be canceled so that varsity games could be staffed, so I became a Vermont softball umpire and have thoroughly enjoyed the role and the camaraderie of my fellow umpires.  Needless to say, I did not play high school softball, so you do not have to be a former player to be an official.  I encourage you to contact your local association and sign up to be an official.  In Vermont, those interested in helping the game of football by becoming an official can contact Paul Trono at

We’ve often talked about the benefits of High School Sports and how the lessons and experiences encountered on the field, in the locker and weight rooms transcend school echoing through the lives and communities of players for decades. Leadership, teamwork, character, ethics, resilience, and empathy all stem from team sports and athletic experiences. Please consider helping foster such growth and benefits for today’s youth, as they will very shortly be tomorrow’s leaders.

Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at and share with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time! 

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