Suitland Coach Nick Lynch was next in line at the barber shop when he got the call. Gwynn Park's Danny Hayes already was at school, his players getting dressed for their game Saturday afternoon, when he learned the news.
While most of the county's public school teams played their games as scheduled last weekend, three games were postponed until Monday because of inclement weather. The rain might have created sloppy and muddy field conditions, but it also had at least one coach steaming.
Unlike another weekend this month, when Prince George's supervisor of athletics Earl Hawkins postponed a full slate of games because of the rain, spotty rain Saturday prompted Hawkins to leave the decision to play up to individual schools. Of the eight games scheduled for Saturday, five were played and three were pushed to Monday. Across the Washington area, only two other games were postponed.
"The games on Saturday, the weather, they were calling for a break in the middle of the day," Hawkins said. "I didn't think there had been that much rain. I felt it was best for the individual schools because each field handles rain differently. Some probably were more wet than others."
The weekend's marquee game -- Suitland at C.H. Flowers -- was postponed because of standing water on the field. Bladensburg at Largo also was postponed, as was Gwynn Park at Surrattsville, which left Hayes plenty upset. It was the second time this season the Yellow Jackets have played Monday. On Oct. 10, they defeated Suitland, 27-7. On Monday, they beat Surrattsville, 41-18.
Hayes was not happy; with a 7-0 team headed for the playoffs, he wants as few disruptions as possible. He prefers his team to maintain a weekly schedule with no alterations.
"With only [a few] schools being canceled, I think [Hawkins] needs to go see what is going on, go see if the school is playable," Hayes said. "We will definitely get through this. But to cancel a football game because of, I wouldn't say rain, not even scattered showers? This is football. This is not baseball where you cancel a game. I don't even think they cancel it in golf."
By Monday morning, Hayes apparently already had spoken with Hawkins.
"Surrattsville, what do they have to gain from this?" Hawkins said when asked whether some coaches were upset with the decision to play or not play. "It's not going to make their season."
Hawkins said he was not going to question any school's decision.
"I can't worry about that," Hawkins said. "If a school determines its field is unplayable or unsafe, we've got to go with that," Hawkins said. "I'm not going to second-guess that decision. A number of our fields were very muddy. Once that turf is gone, it's gone."
Surrattsville Coach Tom Green, who had a game postponed this season at Rockville, said he was looking ahead to the season's final weeks when he made the decision to postpone. The Hornets (3-5, 2-5 Prince George's 3A/2A) had played their previous five games on the road and play their final four games at home.
"I was trying to be cautious," Green said. "It isn't the best already. I didn't want to tear my field up. I know Gwynn Park wanted to play, but it wasn't tearing their field up."
At Flowers, Coach Mike Mayo said the main culprit behind his field's poor drainage is last season's playoff game between Potomac and Fort Hill that was moved to the Springdale school. Before that game, Mayo said, county maintenance workers rolled the field from side to side and end zone to end zone, eliminating the crown on the field.
"Where the water would run to the drain, now it sits on the field because it's flat," Mayo said. "We called and tried to get it rolled again [last week] and nothing was done. Basically, we have nothing but dirt on the field. When soccer played, that was the end of the grass. Now it's like a mud pit. Once it didn't get rolled, is it safe enough to play on? We didn't think so, especially playing important games at the end of the year."
Different coaches dealt with the postponements in different manners. Most teams used the extra day to practice in their gym, then coaches went out to scout upcoming opponents. While some coaches were upset to have their games postponed, others were happy to play.
"It wasn't as rainy as the Parkdale game," said Bowie Coach Jae Jackson, whose team beat Laurel, 20-0. "For a lot of people a dry field is an equalizer. We feel mud is an equalizer. The two teams we played in the rain play a spread offense. We line up pro-style, with a fullback, and run behind the fullback. The rain doesn't give us an advantage, but it levels the playing field when we're playing teams that spread it out."