Coaching is about making the right call: There was a lot riding on Friday’s originally scheduled game between No. 24 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.) and No. 2 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) that was called off this week. The game was to be televised by ESPNU and it would have been a chance for the SFA Panthers to show how far they have come. However, it was a good choice to postpone the game to possibly later this season or perhaps not at all. With Hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida, there was a strong possibility that while the Panthers could make the trip in, it could be another story whether they would be able to escape the storm’s wrath once they got to the Gulf Coast.
“We talked with their staff and even though they probably would be fine getting here, it makes no sense flying into a place that will probably be evacuated,” IMG coach Kevin Wright said. “Our county could evacuate. If they had come down on a Thursday and we had to evacuate on a Friday, where does that leave them? It’s a high school football game and there’s too much at risk.”
The game could be rescheduled later in the season. IMG doesn’t play in the Florida state playoffs and St. Frances wraps up its season with the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association playoffs that end Nov. 18, so the teams could play the weekend after Thanksgiving or the first weekend in December.
It’s the second time in as many seasons that IMG had to cancel a game because of a hurricane. Last October, IMG’s homecoming game with Southern Lab (Baton Rouge, La.) was called off because of Hurricane Matthew.
Evangel Christian-Allen may be closer than you think: On paper, No. 4 Allen (Texas) has a big advantage playing at home Friday against Louisiana Division I champion Evangel Christian (Shreveport) on Friday. With roughly 6,400 students, Allen is 18 times the size of Evangel, which has 350 students. Last year’s score, a 45-10 win by Allen, reflected the differences in the schools’ respective sizes. However, Evangel is off to a solid start after defeating defending Illinois 7A champion East St. Louis 14-6 last week. The key will be if Evangel’s defense, led by Elijah Chatman, will be able to avoid being worn down by Allen’s offense.
St. John Bosco vs. Chaminade is the best game in SoCal this week: No. 5 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) bounced back from its opening 9-3 loss at St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) with a 63-0 destruction of Garces Memorial (Bakersfield) last week. Chaminade (West Hills) has one of its best teams in years and the Eagles looked solid in a 35-29 defeat of Mountain Pointe (Phoenix) last Thursday as well as in a 47-10 season-opening defeat of Oaks Christian (Westlake Village). Bosco is in a different category, however, and the Eagles will be tested by Braves quarterback Re-al Mitchell and company.
Chandler vs. Mountain Pointe is the top game in Arizona: No. 10 Chandler, Ariz. (1-1) struggled to an 35-28 overtime defeat of Pinnacle (Phoenix) last week. With quarterback Jacob Conover out with an injury suffered in Chander’s season-opening loss to IMG, running back Drake Anderson picked up the slack with 106 yards rushing and four touchdown catches. Last year, Mountain Pointe handed Chandler its only in-state loss, 52-7, only to lose 36-17 to the Wolves in the 6A state championship. Mountain Pointe is averaging nearly 43 points a game, so this could be interesting, especially with Chandler a little banged up.
How will St. John’s respond to its first loss? The No. 20 Cadets from Washington, D.C., had De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) on the ropes last week before tiring in the second half of a 35-31 loss. That’s not surprising since St. John’s was playing three time zones away in a game that started at 11 p.m. (ET). This week, however, St. John’s has the home-field advantage as it hosts No. 13 St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.). It has all the indications of a great game. The Knights are the defending New Jersey Group 3 champions and they looked really good in a 44-21 season-opening defeat of Deerfield Beach, Fla., last week as Nick Patti threw two touchdown passes. St. John’s, led by quarterback Kevin Doyle, managed 447 yards of offense on De La Salle, so the Cadets will be hard to slow down as well.