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Following the rains and unprecedented flooding challenges brought forth by Hurricane Florence, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association announced Monday that it would make modification to its fall sports playoff calendar in some sports, including football.
As a result, the NCHSAA decided it would extend the regular season in football by a week, the same solution it employed in response to Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Therefore, teams have the option to play a final regular-season contest the week of Nov. 9, with the playoffs beginning one week later. No rounds of the postseason were eliminated, and the eight state championships will be contested the weekend of Dec. 14-15 at sites to be determined.
Locally, teams are responding to the extra week in different ways. For some, making the move to Nov. 9 and maintaining 11 regular-season games was a cut-and-dry affair. But in other cases, schools are dealing with opponents — specifically closer to the coast — that stand to lose more than one game to Florence. The addition of one more week to the season will not be sufficient for some schools to play a full 11-game schedule without reaching out to other schools in a similar situation.
Such is the case at Fike, where the Golden Demons had two games affected by Florence. This was originally scheduled to be an off week for Fike, but instead, the Demons are making up a game with Clayton on Thursday that was originally set for Sept. 14. Erwin Triton was the scheduled Sept. 21 opposition.
With the Demons set to begin 3-A Big East Conference play next week, the only open date for Fike is Nov. 9. But Triton missed a game with West Johnston, leaving only one spot for either the Demons or Wildcats on the new date. As of Monday, Fike head coach and athletic director Tom Nelson was not sure if his team would slide into the Nov. 9 slot against Triton. Should Fike and Triton not play on Nov. 9, then Nelson said he would attempt to seek out a new opponent for an 11th game.
Beddingfield is in a similar situation, as the Bruins have contacted what was to be their Sept. 21 opponent in Jacksonville Northside. However, with Northside dealing with some of the worst flooding from Florence, the Monarchs will be dealing with multiple missed games — including a Sept. 12 miss against James Kenan.
Bruins athletic director Jody O’Neal said that if Beddingfield can’t reschedule with Northside, then the Bruins would likely settle on a 10-game schedule. Any decisions to enter the market for an 11th contest would be the decision of head coach James Ward, O’Neal said.
At Hunt, the Warriors came to a Monday agreement with Havelock to move their originally scheduled Sept. 21 game to the new Nov. 9 date, athletic director Jon Smith said. A simple move paid off for SouthWest Edgecombe, which will now travel to county archrival Tarboro on Nov. 9.
Armed with an open date the week of Nov. 2, Charles B. Aycock intends to play a full 11-game schedule. Golden Falcons athletic director Jon Horton said that while moving pieces are still in play within the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference, CBA will play either New Bern or North Johnston on the new date.
Eastern Wayne and D.H. Conley were to have an open date this week, but with New Bern and West Craven — the respective opponents for each — unable to play, the Warriors and Vikings decided to move their conference meeting up to Friday to help clear the deck for the Bears. Similarly, North Johnston athletic director Nicole Davis said via text that the Panthers are working with CBA to reschedule to Nov. 9. The Panthers are off this week before beginning 2-A Eastern Plains Conference play at Beddingfield.
CBA, which was granted special permission to resume practice Monday, is on pace to resume ECC play at Greenville Rose on Friday. Earlier, the NCHSAA mandated a minimum of three days of practice before schools could return to play, making Tuesday the last possible day to resume football activity for a Friday contest.
Greene Central, which opened 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference play with a shutout win at Washington on Friday, is set to be off this week after being scheduled to host Kinston. However, athletic director David Bryant indicated that the Rams will move the Vikings to Nov. 9 and face nonconference archrival Farmville Central on the road on Tuesday, Oct. 2. Should that arrangement stand, the Jaguars will play three contests in eight days after hosting West Carteret on Sept. 28 and Nash Central on Oct. 5, leaving Nov. 9 as an open date.
Should that arrangement stand, the Jaguars will play three contests in eight days after hosting West Carteret on Sept. 28 and Nash Central on Oct. 5, leaving Nov. 9 as an open date.
Southern Nash athletic director Robbie Kennedy said that he has been in communication with Jacksonville White Oak officials about a possible Nov. 9 game, but nothing has been confirmed, including a possible replacement opponent.
The Firebirds lost their Sept. 21 game with the Vikings to Florence and will travel to reigning NCHSAA 4-AA champion Wake Forest on Thursday. White Oak must address the loss of two contests with the Firebirds and Croatan.
Finding an 11th game and standing pat at 10 is the difference between being able to drop a loss for playoff seeding purposes.
Another noteworthy change came in volleyball, where the NCHSAA waived the maximum three games in a week rule. Teams may now play five matches a week, but still cannot exceed daily limitatons. Condensed postseasons are on the horizon for both volleyball and boys soccer.
Girls golf, cross-country and girls tennis postseason play was unchanged.