The domino effect of Hurricane Irma dipped into football practice schedules this week, shaking up what quickly becomes routine for high school coaches and players.
With school canceled Monday throughout the South Carolina Upstate because of the potential for hazardous weather conditions, so, too, were all extracurricular activities.
“We’ll just go a little bit longer than we normally would on Wednesday, just to make sure we have everything covered,” said Greenville football coach David Crane, whose Red Raiders (3-0, No. 9 in Class AAAA) will host rival J.L. Mann (1-3) Friday night.
“Tuesday is kind of our long day anyway, and that’ll still be a normal long day for us. Wednesdays, we’re usually only on the field for an hour and 25, an hour and 30 minutes. We’re in shells (helmets and shoulder pads) that day. We’ll probably just extend that out another 15 or 20 minutes, just to make sure we get some situational things covered. We’ll make it work.”
Crane said the good news is that most teams are in the same situation, and at least it’s four or five weeks into the season for everyone.
“At this point, most of your base stuff is in already,” he said, “so there’s not a lot of new install that you’re going to be doing right now anyway.”
Hillcrest coach Greg Porter, whose Rams will play at Gaffney on Friday, didn’t want to be in that same boat, so anticipating that school might be canceled Monday, he called a practice for Sunday.
“We tried to stay ahead of it,” Porter said. “You can’t get everybody out there, but we had the majority of the kids there. That’s the only thing you can do is adjust.
“This is a very important game for us. We’re playing on TV. I want to make sure I represent Greenville County positively when I go against other counties.”
The Hillcrest-Gaffney matchup is scheduled to be televised locally.
All are assuming school will be back in session Tuesday. If not, Hillcrest would still wind up with a short week, strangely for the second week in a row.
“We actually played our best game when I gave them the Labor Day weekend off,” said Porter, whose team is coming off a 57-16 win over J.L. Mann. “I’ve never done that before, just the natural pranoia of a coach, wanting to make sure we get that extra day. But after we lost to Dorman, I just said, ‘I’ll see y’all on Tuesday.’ “
Should school be canceled again Tuesday, Porter said Hillcrest would likely add to its Thursday schedule, normally the walk-through day.
“But our kids don’t like a lot of change, so I have to be very conscious about those types of decisions I make,” Porter said. “They get paranoid, too.”