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Smoke causes changes to football schedules

North Medford, Crater, Phoenix and St. Mary’s move Friday openers out of area, while SOU postpones Saturday home opener

Poor air quality brought on by wildfire smoke outside the region, and little end in sight, has forced a host of changes to the sports schedules for this weekend.

On Thursday, Southern Oregon University announced that it will be postponing its planned home opener at Raider Stadium Saturday against Montana State-Northern. The teams plan to make up the Frontier Conference football game next week during a conference-wide bye. More details will be released when those plans are finalized.

SOU officials chose to make the call Thursday morning as MSU-Northern was set to start the long bus trip from Havre, Mont. All tickets purchased online can be used on the makeup date.

As the Rogue Valley endured most recently to begin the 2017 and 2018 football seasons, several local contests have also been rescheduled to be played outside the area.

North Medford athletic director Brent McConaghy confirmed Thursday afternoon that the Black Tornado’s season opener Friday at Spiegelberg Stadium will now be played at Del Norte High in California. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m.

The Black Tornado also postponed planned boys and girls soccer games Thursday and Friday until Sept. 14.

St. Mary’s athletic director and football coach Jamie Young also confirmed Thursday that his Crusaders will now open the season on the road against North Valley at Sutherlin High. Kickoff is 3 p.m.

Earlier this week, Phoenix High School relocated its season opener against Sutherlin to a road matchup at 7 p.m. Friday, while Crater moved its opener against North Bend to 5 p.m. Saturday at Marshfield High in Coos Bay.