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While sporting events aren’t foremost in the minds of those affected by Hurricane Florence, the storm has affected the schedule for high school athletics around the state. With most football games being wiped out last week, there are just as many unlikely to be played this Friday.
Hunt, Beddingfield and Southern Nash all had their games at best postponed, if not outright canceled. The Warriors were to play at Havelock while the Bruins and Firebirds were headed to Jacksonville to play Northside and White Oak, respectively.
There are no makeup dates currently for those games. Wilson County Schools were not in session Monday or Tuesday and while Nash-Rocky Mount Schools were open Monday, Southern Nash athletic director Robbie Kennedy said the football practice field is too wet for practice.
Hunt athletic director Jon Smith said the idea had been kicked around of the Bruins and Warriors playing this Friday at Hunt, instead of next Friday, Sept. 28, where it was moved after Florence postponed its original date last Friday, Sept. 14.
“We discussed it, but the field may not be playable yet and teams haven’t really practiced since last Tuesday,” he said in a text. “Not sure when we will be back in school. Best to keep it as it is for next Friday.”
Fike was to host Triton, which is located in storm-damaged Harnett County, this Friday, but Golden Demons head coach and athletic director Tom Nelson said that playing this week is unlikely, although the game hadn’t been officially postponed yet.
“Their school had major damage and they had to evacuate part of their city yesterday,” he said.
C.B. Aycock is supposed to host New Bern on Friday in the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference opener for both teams. However, with Florence inflicting catastrophic damage on New Bern and schools being closed indefinitely, that game is also highly unlikely to be played Friday.
Two games involving Wilson Times readership-area teams that are likely to be played are Princeton at North Johnston and Northern Nash at SouthWest Edgecombe. Johnston County Schools will not be in session Tuesday but teams have been given the go-ahead to practice, said JCS athletic director Brent Walston.
Walston said that unless school is not in session Wednesday in Johnston County, the North Johnston-Princeton game should go as planned Friday.
Edgecombe County Schools were in session Monday and SWE athletic director Sandra Langley said Friday’s home game against Northern Nash will be played, barring further inclement weather.
Greene Central athletic director David Bryant said Monday afternoon he was waiting to hear from Beaufort County Schools if Washington will be able to host Friday’s game against the Rams in the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference opener for both teams. However, with flooding affecting a large portion of Beaufort County, that game remains in doubt. Bryant said the back-up plan is for Greene Central and Farmville Central to play Friday in Farmville in a game that was postponed last week. Although Greene County Schools will not be in session Tuesday, the Rams were cleared to practice from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. by Patrick Miller, school system superintendent.
While concern for those in areas affected by the storm has been paramount, especially as rivers continued to rise throughout the day Monday, there is an inclination to figure out exactly how the schedule will be put back together. For now, it’s a waiting game for all involved, especially since counties in western North Carolina received a fair amount of rain Sunday and early Monday from the remnants of the storm.
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association will likely address the issue of missed football games, as well as in other sports, but not until the threat of flooding has subsided. The NCHSAA issued a statement last Tuesday, Sept. 11, on the coming storm, saying: “At this time, it is premature to think about whether the regular season will be extended, and playoffs pushed back. Any announcement, if necessary, would come from the NCHSAA office at the appropriate time and would be communicated to member schools before it is communicated to media and the general public via the Association website.”
There is a chance the NCHSAA could add a week to the regular season for football, as it did after Hurricane Matthew in 2016. However with many schools yet to start conference play, there are still opportunities for some schools to make up missed games, if they are conference games. The eight state championship games are scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 8.
Football gets the most attention in terms of rescheduling games because there are only 11 regular-season games, at most; however, there are plenty of other contests in other sports that will have to rescheduled as most high schools in eastern North Carolina as well as around the state work through the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.