The following statement was released by Houston School District Superintendent Dr. Justin Copley regarding the 1 p.m. kickoff time of the high school football team’s game Friday at Mountain Grove.

We are incredibly excited about the success of our football program. As Friday approaches, I wanted to provide some clarification for our community regarding the 1 p.m. kickoff. I am extremely apologetic that the game time has created some inconveniences and confusion for our parents and community. Here are a few items to note regarding the contest:   

•The game was scheduled and contracted prior to the start of the football season in August. In fact, the planning of a 1 p.m. kickoff began in March. 


•One of the goals of the initial conversations was to create the opportunity for students at the host school, who otherwise may not attend Friday nights, to watch the game. 

•Additionally, there were conversations about how the early kickoff could support a referee shortage.

•It is understood by both districts that when Houston hosts in 2023, the district may elect not to have a 1 p.m. kickoff and instead start at 7 p.m.

•The high school is sending a Pep Club bus for 66 students who have signed up and meet the eligibility requirements that have been set by the club.

•The district is not going to release early for the day and is not going to excuse absences of students who leave school early outside of the organized Pep Club. Consideration was given to these ideas; however, in an effort to be consistent with other regular season activities and contests that take place during the school day, it was decided not to proceed with early release or excused absences.  

It is clear that this decision has caused some angst among the Houston community, and for that I apologize. I assure you that the intent of these decisions is not to negatively impact our school or community, especially at a time when our school programs and teams are thriving! As always, I appreciate your constructive feedback. Please feel free to contact me at 417-967-3024 or


Dr. Copley

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  1. As a Houston Alumni and a Houston Tiger Football player this decision is ridiculous. Tiger Pride spawns from the sport given to the team from students and fans. All provisions should be explored to ensure maximum sport and fan participation. J

  2. This may not be an ideal time, I will agree with that. But the negative words going around can influence the teams thinking and take away from their focus and excitement. The only thing anyone should be hearing out of Houston fams is how proud we are of them and that they are supported whether we are in the stands or in spirit. Let’s all try to stay on the positive and actually show some Tiger Pride.

  3. Will Rogers never met this man apparently. Just got confirmation that Mountain Grove IS dismissing ALL schools early and allowing ALL students to go. Including high school.

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