HS football schedules get juggled
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
The impact of Hurricane Ivan has made a mess out of high school football schedules across the state.
Ivan not only wiped out the Abbeville at T.R. Miller and Headland at W.S. Neal games from last Friday, but the Alabama High School Athletic Association postponed all games across the state. Last week's games have now been rescheduled for week 10, which is October 28-30.
The week 10 games have now been pushed back a week and will be played November 4-6. T.R. Miller is supposed to host Jay (Fla.), while W.S. Neal is slated to travel to Southern Choctaw.
The state playoffs have also been pushed back a week. The first round is now slated to begin November 12 with the second round now set for November 19. The quarterfinals will be November 26 and the semifinals on December 3. The Super Six state finals have been pushed back to Deceber 9-11. The Class 3A state title game is now set for December 11 at 11 a.m. at Legion Field in Birmingham.
There are some snags with the rescheduling process. With the T.R. Miller-Jay game pushed back a week, Jay already has a game scheduled for November 5 at Milton (Fla.).
"That is a problem for all Alabama teams who are scheduled to play out-of-state teams during week 10 on the original schedule. Those out-of-state teams could have somebody already scheduled like Jay or they could be starting their state playoff series that week," T.R. Miller coach Jamie Riggs said.
So what are the options? If the opponent is willing, the game could be played early in the week like on a Monday. Another option would be to find an in-state school in the same situation and schedule a game with it. The third option is to sit idle.
"I'm not sure what we will do yet," Riggs said.
On a more personal sidenote, the original date of the T.R. Miller-Jay game was both Senior Night and the 30th anniversary celebration of longtime Tigers manager Andrew "Zeke" Johnson. Those activities could remain on the original week 10 (which is now the Abbeville game) or moved to week 11 if T.R. Miller can work out its game situation with Jay or another school.
While the AHSAA has made its decision, Riggs said he hoped the state would have moved week four into the week 11 spot.
"We're under contract to play Jay November 5. To me, we should honor that contract," Riggs said.
Meanwhile W.S. Neal coach Shane Smothers said he was not in favor of extending the season an additional week.
"For those schools that are
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in the state playoffs, it will cut another week into the basketball season. It's not fair to the athletes in those programs," Smothers said.
Even though it would have cost his team a home date against Trinity, Smothers said he would have preferred week four to replace week five.
"The games the state lost last week were region games. Those games need to be played. The games this week are non-region games. You want to play them, but they don't have to be made up like region games," Smothers said.
Another problem is what to do with schools that may not be able to play again this week.
"You've got a situation like Gulf Shores where people can't even get into their community, let alone having football practice at the school," Riggs said. "I remember a similar situation when Hurricane Frederic hit in 1979. Teams played two games in a week to get the games made up."