Lightning and heavy rains led to the postponement or cancellation of numerous high school football games Friday night.
The headliner game of the night, Dunbar High at South Fort Myers, was among the casualties.
Fans of both teams never entered the South Fort Myers stadium because of lightning. School officials wanted to make it up at 11 a.m. today but could not secure game officials. The schools will play at 6 p.m. Monday.
Neither team wanted to cancel the game.
“It’s a really big letdown,” said South Fort Myers senior offensive tackle Robert Hampton, who has been friends with some of the Dunbar players since middle school. “It’s been the talk of the year.”
Hampton spent part of the night napping on the pillow his grandfather gave him years ago. He sleeps with the pillow at home and brings it with him just about everywhere.
South senior receiver I’Tavious Harvin listened to Young Scooter, Rich Homie Quan and other rap artists on headphones. Harvin said the music helped him stay focused on playing.
“We pray,” Harvin said. “Then we do what we do.”
Fort Myers High coach Sammy Sirianni said he and North Fort Myers coach Brian Makar chose to start their game at 9 a.m. today because some weather reports are showing storms to return around noon.
“Brian and I just feel this gives us the best chance to finish the game,” Sirianni said. “It makes breakfast early. We gotta get food in ’em by 6. But they get up early for school and they’ve gotten up early for different practices.
“The players are disappointed. We had gotten pretty much through full warm-ups. The kids were amped up to play but they’re eager to play tomorrow as opposed to not playing at all.”
Bishop Verot coach Phil Dorn felt bad about canceling his team’s game at Lemon Bay, but the Vikings have a Thursday game with North Broward Prep.
“We’re already short a day of preparation, playing tonight and playing then, so if we play tomorrow, I think it’s too big of a risk,” Dorn said. “One thing is we don’t have a real favorable weather outlook for tomorrow, either. So if you’re going to play, you’ve got to play it in the morning at nine or 10 o’clock at best. Which means by the time we get home tonight, we’d have to get right back on the buses first thing in the morning to get back up here, and then play that game and take the risk that our kids could get injured or have a tough go at that, and then turn around Thursday and try to play again. So, being a non-district game, it’s in the best interest I think for safety reasons to try to just forego the game.”
While Naples coach Bill Kramer said his team couldn’t reschedule his team’s game at Golden Gate today because of previous commitments, Golden Gate coach Mike Digrigoli said his team really wanted to play.
“We were willing to wait as long as it takes to get this game in,” he said. “Since we can’t play (Friday), we wanted to play tomorrow but we understand Naples had other commitments and they couldn’t play. So we’re hoping to play Monday if we can move our game Thursday night (with Barron Collier) to Saturday.”
LaBelle and ECS almost got a quarter of their game in Friday before lightning struck again. ECS was leading 6-0. The teams will play at 6 p.m. on Monday.
Also canceled was St. John Neumann at Oasis.
“Everything was going great, looking well, and then the weather came and just washed it all away,” Oasis athletic director Brian Montag said.