Hurricanes would be bad news during any season of the year, but they are an annual plague on high school football coaches and fans during the fall in North Carolina.
Even before Hurricane Dorian’s arrival in the state, Cumberland County Schools officials took the wise precaution of closing school Thursday and Friday and postponing all athletic events both days, including Friday night high school football. The big concern for everyone is avoiding serious damage to life and property as the result of high winds, heavy rain and potential flooding.
For football coaches, once the weather has finally cleared, there are a host of concerns. First, they need to check on all of their athletes and their families to make sure everyone got through the storm all right.
Then comes the challenge of rescheduling games. Was your field or the field of your opponent rendered unplayable? What’s your schedule for next week? Often at this stage of the season teams are moving into conference play. No coach wants to move a Friday game to Monday in a week when they’ve already got a conference game set on the next Friday.
The perfect situation, which rarely happens, is when both teams have an open date at the same time later in the season and can move the game there. Cramming games too close together cuts down on recovery time and increases the risk of players being injured. I wish we could will hurricanes to a time of the year when they would be less a problem for everybody, but I guess that time truly doesn’t exist.
Here’s praying everyone in our area comes through our latest stormy encounter with the least possible harm and things return to order as quickly as they can.
The record: 11-4
Another decent week with a 5-2 record, pushing the season count to 11-4, 73.3 percent.
Cape Fear at Lumberton - Talk about mixed messages. Cape Fear opens its season a week late and loses a nail-biter to a strong Seventy-First team. Meanwhile, Lumberton gets routed by Terry Sanford in a game that included a running clock, then turns around and stuns defending Patriot Athletic Conference champion Pine Forest on its home field.
I’m thinking the Lumberton win was an aberration since Pine Forest was without University of North Carolina commit D.J. Jones.
I’m going to lean toward Cape Fear in this one.
Cape Fear 28, Lumberton 14.
Lee County at Douglas Byrd - A good night is not likely for Byrd against Lee County, one of the strongest teams in the Cape Fear region this year.
Lee County 35, Douglas Byrd 12.
Seventy-First at E.E. Smith - Duran McLaurin brings his Falcons to his former place of employment and gets Seventy-First’s third win of the young season.
Seventy-First 32, E.E. Smith 6.
West Johnston at Gray’s Creek - The Bears look to get their third win ahead of next week’s Battle of the Bridge with South View.
Gray’s Creek 34, West Johnston 6.
Pine Forest at Jack Britt - Every season there’s one team I seem to have trouble picking correctly. So far this year, it’s Jack Britt. I’m 0-2 calling the outcome of Buccaneer games. Last week’s win over Terry Sanford has made me a believer, so I’m going with Britt in a big match with Pine Forest this week.
Jack Britt 21, Pine Forest 20.
South View at Purnell Swett - South View didn’t want to play Monday and face two games in one week as the Tigers open Patriot Athletic Conference play next Friday against rival Gray’s Creek. Unfortunately with the threat from Hurricane Dorian options were few.
The day the game is played won’t influence my prediction. I’m going with South View.
South View 28, Purnell Swett 14.
Hoke County at Westover - This is one of those dreaded coin flip games that could go either way. I’m leaning toward Hoke because they seem to be playing a little better, plus Westover is coming off an open date and it’s sometimes tough for teams to regain playing rhythm after a break.
Hoke County 14, Westover 13.
Open dates: Terry Sanford.
Other games: Trinity Christian 31, Sandhills Titans 14; John Paul II Catholic 31, Fayetteville Christian 6.