The remnants of Hurricane Floyd lashed the region yesterday, forcing school closings around the area and the postponement of most of the day's scheduled high school sporting events. The weekend football schedule remained intact for the most part, albeit with no small amount of juggling.
As Floyd's rains tapered yesterday afternoon and with a forecast today calling for sunny conditions and temperatures in the mid-70s, a consensus seemed to settle among area coaches and athletic directors: The games will go on, though some will be pushed back to Saturday, and the fate of others will be decided this morning.
In Northern Virginia, several games scheduled for tonight have been moved to Saturday because of the weather, though decisions on many others were not expected until late last night or this morning.
In Maryland, the five games scheduled for today in Anne Arundel County have been moved to Saturday. Changes to today's football schedule in the District, Charles, Howard, Prince George's, Queen Anne's, Montgomery and St. Mary's counties will not be made until this morning, according to Al Ferraro, commissioner of the Washington District Football Officials Association.
Today's forecast--calling for a climate conducive to drying out fields--would help alleviate what could otherwise be a difficult week for many area football teams. If games cannot be played tonight or Saturday, many schools likely would have to play on Tuesday because Monday is Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday.
"Since we cannot play Monday, we would run into some serious health concerns if the kids were to play Tuesday and then again on Saturday," said Don Disney, athletic director for Howard County schools.
Disney already has addressed one set of safety concerns regarding postponing games because of lightning and thunder. Unlike Montgomery and Fairfax counties, which postponed all games last Thursday where lightning was observed, several games in Howard County were completed that day despite lightning, according to the Baltimore Sun.
"We have reiterated to all officials that the games must be suspended at the first sight of lightning or first sound of thunder," Disney said. "Any official who does not comply will not work in Howard County again. We will get complaints that some games are called too soon, but it is better to be safe in these circumstances."
The thunder and lightning in Northern Virginia last weekend had forced many games to be moved to Monday. Already working on a short week of preparation, coaches who had their games moved back a day this week welcomed the heavy wind and rains brought on by Floyd.
"The extra day helps us get over some lumps and bruises from Monday's game," said Fairfax Coach Tom Verbanic, whose team is 2-0. "[Today] will be a long day since we could not practice [Thursday], and I anticipate we will practice Saturday morning just to make sure we have everything right. We are off to a decent start and we do not want to take anything for granted."
Notes: If games in Montgomery County are postponed, most will be rescheduled for Saturday night. The exception is Churchill, which would host Blair at 10 a.m. on Saturday because of homecoming festivities at the Potomac school.
Special correspondent Nathan Max contributed to this report.