Ambridge officials blunder conjures memories of Valley-Ford City mix-up

Saturday, August 24, 2019 | 1:08 PM

Week Zero’s McGuffey-Ambridge officiating snafu was as bizarre as it was confusing.

The season-opening football game Friday night was postponed a day because no officials were hired to work the nonconference game.

Kickoff is now 7 tonight at Ambridge’s Moe Rubenstein Stadium.

McGuffey’s team received a phone call while in transit to Ambridge Friday about the lack of officials and had to do a U-turn and return to Washington County.

Odd for sure. But this isn’t the first time a stripes-wearing crew was missing on opening night.

A decade ago, Ford City was supposed to host Valley in a Week 1 matchup. A near-capacity crowd showed up to watch and the teams arrived at Ford City Athletic Field — and even warmed up. One problem: no refs.

Then-Valley athletic director Frank Campbell, the commissioner of the at-the-time-Class AA Allegheny Conference, was in charge of scheduling officials. He later said he sought officials from a different chapter and that “It was human error.”

The game was called a half-hour after its start time and was rescheduled for the next night. In the meantime, fans enjoyed an extended performance by the bands.

The officiating organization was later blamed for the mix-up.

McGuffey can’t seem to catch a break on the schedule. Northgate, which was supposed to play the Highlanders next week, forfeited. McGuffey had to scramble to find another opponent — Clairton.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at

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