MEDFORD, MASS. (WHDH) - The lights are out at the stadium where the Medford High School Mustangs usually play Friday night football.

A referee shortage forcing the team to play on Thursdays instead.

Bob Prestera of the Association of New England Football Officials says there are a number of reasons for the drop in available referees.

“We’re losing probably 50 percent of the officials who take the course after three years,” he said.

Rule changes to the game, retirements during the pandemic, and hefty time demands have been among the factors contributing to the shortage.

Medford High School’s Athletic Director, Robert Maloney, Jr., said the school had to be flexible to make it work.

“You have a choice, you can either try to play a Friday night and not have a full crew or if you walk into Thursday nights you’re going to get a full crew.”

Prestera says some games have even been moved from a Saturday to a Friday, something he’s never seen in his 42-year career.

It will be Thursday night lights in Medford for the rest of the season.

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