Postponements leave some Montgomery Co. football teams with two games in five days


Joshua Gills (5) and Northwest managed to get their game in Thursday vs. Richard Montgomery after a 30-minute delay. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
September 15, 2013

Seneca Valley’s football team was ready to travel to Rockville to take on the Rams last Thursday night.

Just as the Screaming Eagles were preparing to bus over, word spread that the game was canceled because of inclement weather. Lightning threatened the area, and the field conditions were sloppy following heavy rain, causing the Rockville athletics department to postpone the Montgomery 3A game.

With Yom Kippur beginning at sundown Friday night, pushing the game back a day was not an option. A slew of Thursday Montgomery County games were rescheduled for Monday to avoid a conflict with the holiday, giving several teams the daunting task of playing two games in five days.

The decision to postpone, though, surprised the Seneca Valley coaches and players, who were hoping to wait out the weather.

“We were getting ready to go outside, getting pumped for the game,” Seneca Valley quarterback Calvin Reighard said. “Just like that, it got canceled.”

Complicating matters somewhat is the fact a few teams waited and got their games in Thursday night. Northwest, Seneca Valley’s opponent Friday, delayed kickoff 30 minutes, then beat Richard Montgomery, 34-13. As a result, the Jaguars have the full week to prepare for Seneca Valley.

For the Northwest athletics department, the decision came down to scheduling. Two soccer games were scheduled on the football field for Monday. If football was bumped, the Jaguars would have had to reschedule for Tuesday, thus moving the Seneca Valley game to Saturday.

Even so, that won’t likely ease the mind of Seneca Valley Coach Fred Kim.

“Montgomery County’s always about equity, equity, equity, equity. And equity again,” Kim said. “Here we are, we don’t have the equity. . . . They definitely have the advantage. I’d much rather be in their situation.”

The decision to cancel games usually falls on a game-by-game basis with the schools. County bodies don’t like to get too involved and cancel games throughout the area, with the reasoning that if you can get a game in, both schools are better off for it.

In Anne Arundel County, a decision was made to cancel all of the games once inclement weather threatened. The games were rescheduled for Friday, allowing teams the standard full week of rest and preparation between games. Howard County games were also moved from Thursday to Monday.

Greg LeGrand, the Anne Arundel schools’ coordinator of athletics, said the majority of the time schools will be left with the decision whether to get games in. In this instance, there were scheduling conflicts that caused his group to intervene.

“If we move all of our games to 3:30, what do we do with field hockey? What do we do with soccer?” LeGrand said. “Do we say they have to play those on alternative fields? Are those fields lined? Are those fields playable?”

In Montgomery, playing two games in one week will be tough on players and coaches. It generally takes the two-day weekend for players to recover from a Friday night game, Northwest Coach Mike Neubeiser said. Teams such as Seneca Valley and Wheaton, which hosts Magruder on Monday, will hold full practices one day after playing their Monday games. Wheaton Coach Ernest Williams said there’s a chance he will scale Tuesday’s practice down some if injuries become a concern.

Coaching staffs across the county spent Friday night preparing a game plan for this Friday’s opponent, yet they still have the task of remaining cognizant of Monday’s game.

“You don’t want to get too caught up in it and get the two games mixed up when you’re calling a game,” Williams said. “That’s my greatest fear.”

Seneca Valley and others must adjust accordingly, and Reighard, the Screaming Eagles’ senior quarterback, said there’s not much his team can do about it now.

“It’s definitely an advantage for them, but it is what it is,” he said. “You can’t really complain about it now. It’s too late for that.”

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