Posted: 3:30 pm Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Hurricane Sandy forces Thursday, Friday cancellations in Palm Beach County 

By Matt Porter

This story was updated at 5:24 p.m. Friday

Hurricane Sandy quickly became a threat to Palm Beach County on Wednesday, and it wasted no time causing chaos in a busy week of high school sports.

The stands in Palm Beach County will be empty Thursday and Friday due to Hurricane Sandy. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

The stands in Palm Beach County will be empty Thursday and Friday due to Hurricane Sandy. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

After the Palm Beach County School District announced it would close school three hours early on Thursday and all day Friday, school officials were scrambling to find days to make up a slew of postponed games. It’s a week of critical late-season football games, eight girls volleyball district championships, the county’s cross-country championship meet and more. Many of the football games this week are district games and must be played.

School administrators hoped to move some events to Saturday, but at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, the district announced that no games or practices may take place until Monday.

Ten football games and seven district volleyball championships are now on Monday. Four non-district football games were canceled and will not be made up. See the schedule below for details.

Rescheduling any athletic event is not easy, but football presents a special challenge. Schools must re-book game officials, many of whom work youth and other leagues on non-high school nights; secure police officers and wrangle support staff; and navigate around other planned school activities.

With the district banning weekend games, coaches and players cannot meet until Monday. No practices. No scrimmages.

“A week of game-planning down the tubes,” lamented Santaluces coach Daryl Drinkwater.

In addition, time is now a pressing issue. Girls volleyball district championships must be played by Tuesday, Oct. 30. Football district games must be played by Saturday, Nov. 3.

That means all important football games will be played Monday, and the teams involved will deal with a short week. For example, No. 4 Royal Palm Beach plays a critical District 13-7A game at No. 8 Atlantic at 7 p.m. Monday. They will likely rest Tuesday and have two days of practice before another district game against No. 3 Dwyer on Friday.

Royal Palm (5-0) is at the top of its district. It must now defend its first-place position, and home-field advantage in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs, against Dwyer and Atlantic, which are both 3-1. Two losses would mean the Wildcats would be out of the playoffs.

A disadvantage to play on short rest? “Absolutely,” Royal Palm Beach Athletic Director Eric Patterson said. “Any time you make a football team play two football games in five days, it’s a disadvantage for all the teams.”

Dwyer Athletic Director Tom Pagley shares Patterson’s concern. “You lick your wounds on Tuesday, try to have a safe practice on Wednesday, then it’s Thursday and Friday’s your game. It’s not easy. Ask the NFL,” he said.

But these players aren’t professional. They’re teenagers. “They’ve got school the next day,” Pagley said.

One Palm Beach County football team that expects to play this weekend is top-ranked American Heritage, which boards a plane Friday morning for Louisiana. The Stallions face nationally recognized West Monroe at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Heritage is a private school and not under the jurisdiction of the Palm Beach County School District.

King’s Academy, another private school, will host Pembroke Pines-Somerset Academy on 1 p.m. Saturday.

No. 2 Fort Pierce Central will visit Centennial at 5 p.m. Saturday.

The Southeastern Football Conference, the 14-team independent football league that includes Benjamin, St. Andrew’s and Pope John Paul II was scheduled to open its playoffs on Thursday. It will instead play those games Thursday, Nov. 1.

In swimming, the District 10-1A meet at St. Andrew’s will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday.

The county championships in cross-country and bowling are postponed.

All Broward County outdoor events were canceled on Thursday and Friday, but school is still in session on Thursday. Broward students were scheduled to be off Friday for a teacher planning day. Indoor events were scheduled to go on as planned.

It doesn’t seem like a good day to be an athletic director. There was plenty of grumbling around the area, but not in the office of West Boca Raton’s Randy Kalman.

“It’s fun,” Kalman said. “This is the good stuff. You’ve got to roll with it and get it done. Gotta get these kids to play.”

* * *

UPDATED SCHEDULE

All games 7 p.m. unless noted

FOOTBALL

Saturday
Pembroke Pines-Somerset Academy at King’s Academy, 1
No. 2 Fort Pierce Central at Centennial, 5
No. 1 American Heritage at West Monroe (La.), 7:30 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 29
Suncoast at Fort Pierce Westwood, 6
Berean Christian at Miami-Northwest Christian, 6
Spanish River at West Boca Raton, 6
South Fork at Olympic Heights, 6
Palm Beach Lakes at Okeechobee, 6:30
Sebastian River at Forest Hill
No. 4 Royal Palm Beach at No. 8 Atlantic
No. 3 Dwyer at Lake Worth
Jensen Beach at Glades Central
Summit Christian at No. 10 Glades Day
Village Academy vs. Jupiter Christian at Dwyer

Canceled

No. 9 Park Vista at No. 7 Palm Beach Gardens
No. 6 Seminole Ridge at Boca Raton
Jupiter at Santaluces
Boynton Beach at Inlet Grove

Monday, Nov. 5

Wellington at Vero Beach

VOLLEYBALL

Thursday
District 13-7A at Royal Palm Beach
Championship: Royal Palm Beach vs. Santaluces, 10 a.m.
District 12-2A at Grandview Prep
Championship: Lake Worth Christian vs. Boca Christian, 1

Monday, Oct. 29
District 12-3A at Benjamin
Championship: Benjamin vs. Jupiter Christian, 4:30
District 13-3A at American Heritage
Championship: American Heritage vs. Pope John Paul II, 6
District 15-5A at Jensen Beach
Championship: Suncoast winner vs. Jensen Beach, 6
District 9-8A at Dwyer
Championship: Jupiter vs. Wellington
District 10-8A at Boca Raton
Championship: Park Vista vs. Boca Raton
District 12-4A at Cardinal Newman
Championship: St. Andrew’s vs. Cardinal Newman
District 14-7A at West Boca Raton
Championship: West Boca Raton vs. Atlantic

Cross-country

Monday, Oct. 29
Palm Beach County championships at South County Regional Park, Boca Raton, 8:30 a.m.

Girls soccer (preseason)

Canceled

Boca Raton Classic
Parkland-Douglas vs King’s Academy
Boca Raton vs Pope John Paul II

Swimming

Saturday
District 6-2A at North County Aquatics Center, Sebastian, 1
District 6-1A at Sail Fish Splash Water Park, Stuart, 4
District 10-1A at St. Andrew’s, 5

Monday, Oct. 29
District 7-3A at North County Aquatics Complex, Jupiter, 1

Bowling

Canceled

County championships at Greenacres Bowl

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