Prep games are postponed
By Times staff reports
© St. Petersburg Times,
Tonight's high school games were endangered to begin with.
First, President Bush declared Thursday that today be a national day of prayer and remembrance. So in accordance with his wishes, games in Pasco and Hernando counties were postponed.
Then, Thursday evening, school today in Pasco County was canceled because of approaching Tropical Storm Gabrielle.
So, regardless of the reason, this much is certain: no football games will be played in Hernando or Pasco counties. Today, at noon, a moment of silence will be observed at high schools throughout the North Suncoast and the nation.
"I ask that the people of the United States and places of worship mark this national day of prayer and remembrance with noontime memorial services, the ringing of bells at that hour, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils," the President said Thursday.
"I encourage employers to permit their workers time off during the lunch hour to attend the noontime services to pray for our land," he said. "I invite the people of the world who share our grief to join us in these solemn observances."
Pasco County supervisor of athletics Kit Broadbelt said the decision was made locally after the school districts of Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties conferred.
"We decided to do so in deference to the President's latest proclamation, declaring (today) a day of remembrance and prayer," Broadbelt said. "We are all in agreement."
Coaches were in agreement with the decision.
"This is understandable," Central coach Steve Crognale said. "When I announced it to the boys, I said there are other things a little more important than football right now."
The 7:30 games affected are:
Pasco at Hernando, at Tom Fisher Stadium in Brooksville.
Wesley Chapel at Gulf, at Des Litle Stadium in New Port Richey.
Hudson at Zephyrhills, at Bulldog Stadium in Zephyrhills.
Springstead at Land O'Lakes, at Gator Stadium in Land O'Lakes.
Ridgewood at Mitchell, at Mustang Stadium in Trinity.
Central at River Ridge, at the Jim Valentine Athletic Complex in New Port Richey.
Hernando athletic director Matt Smith said he was told of the decision by principal Elaine Sullivan after Thursday's practice. The Leopards had been prepared to play as scheduled Friday night, but had no opponent, which, effectively, postponed the game.
Two games will be played. As of late Thursday, the Citrus County district had decided to press on. Lecanto will visit Citrus at Hurricane Stadium in Inverness, and Crysal River will visit Dunnellon.
When, where and how those postponed games will be made up is a logistical challenge that the schools' principals and athletic directors must address. It depends on whether a facility is available, whether it can be staffed and when an officiating crew is available.
The Florida High School Activities Association has made that task a bit easier, Broadbelt said.
FHSAA Bob Hughes told Broadbelt the games don't need to be played before the next scheduled contests. Hughes waived the ban on playing two games within seven days. But the season will not be extended, so schools have until the last night of the regular season, Nov. 2, to play all 10 games.
Monday isn't a likely candidate for make-up games because it falls on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and the first of the High Holidays. On Tuesdays, stadiums play host to middle school games, making the quick re-scheduling a daunting task.
This is the second time in three years a county team has had games postponed. In 1999, Central had a non-district meeting with Fort Myers Cypress Lake postponed until after the season due to the threat of an approaching tropical storm.
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111