LIBERTY, Mo. – – The usual football Friday with the chill in the air turned to a muggy Late Night Friday Night Lights, as kickoff times were pushed back to 8 p.m. or later.

In Liberty, another day of scorching heat and humidity pushed back game time until 8:30. The school’s marching band was a “standing” band to keep cooler.

But the hottest day on record in more than a decade didn’t keep students away at Liberty for a pregame tailgate.

“It was hotter earlier but it’s getting good now, we got some shade in it’s going to be a good night,” seniors Dawson Harmon and Alex Piscari said.

Fans who filed in when gates opened at 7:30 were appreciative of the later start as well.

“I’m glad they put it back an hour and a half so it’s not quite as bad it was 91 or something when we came in,” Stanton Olson said.

Athletic Directors making decisions on start times weren’t just concerned with the thermometer reading but instead what it says on a device known as a wet bulb.

“It takes a number of things into account the temperature the humidity, heat index and spits out a number for us so when it’s 92 or higher we will not be outdoors whatsoever,” Liberty Athletic Director Jason Cahill said.

Even as players were warming up, cooling down and keeping hydrated was a vital part of pre-game activities.

“We have hydration stations all over the field for all the workers and everyone that’s helping run the event. We also have water in front of the student section so if they need water those type of things,” Cahill said.

Once they finally kicked off the contest against Lee’s Summit West, it was football as usual, except for those mid-quarter water breaks mandated by MSHSAA for the first four weeks of the season.

Friday was the start of a nine-week season, where fans sweating now will likely be shivering by season’s end.