Pittsfield may be forced to take forfeit victory in football opener with Riverton not fielding team

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PITTSFIELD, Ill. — The Sangamo Conference football coaches are scrambling, and it could result in Pittsfield being without a season-opening game.

Monday, Riverton officials announced publicly it will not field a varsity football team for the upcoming season due to low participation numbers. The statement released by the school said it will field a junior varsity team with plans to bring back varsity football in 2025.

All Sangamo Conference schools and the Illinois High School Association were notified of the situation prior to Riverton releasing its public statement.

Seven weeks until the prep season kicks off, each of the remaining nine Sangamo Conference teams is trying to find a replacement for the week it was scheduled to face Riverton.

In Pittsfield’s case, that’s the season opener.

The Saukees were scheduled to host Riverton on August 30, and Pittsfield coach Zach Ferguson, who is also the athletic director, is actively searching for a replacement. So far that search has not yielded a team with Week 1 open.

If the Saukees are unable to find a replacement, they will be forced to take a forfeit victory.

Ferguson said he doesn’t want his players, especially the seniors, to lose the opportunity to play a game, and he also wants them better prepared for a Week 2 game at home against Athens, which has made 13 consecutive playoff appearances and is coming off a Class 2A state runner-up finish.

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