In the final days of a season that may be remembered for its staggering number of postponements, two Virginia football teams have been forced to wait at least one more day for the state playoffs to begin, thanks to Thursday's snowfall.
The Virginia AA Division 4 semifinal between Stone Bridge and Lafayette, originally scheduled for this afternoon, was moved to Sunday at 1:30 p.m. to give the Stone Bridge athletic staff more time to prepare its field, which was buried underneath eight inches of snow. Meantime, Stafford's AAA Division 5 semifinal at Hopewell was pushed back a day because of snow and ice that blanketed the Richmond area. That game also will be played Sunday at 1:30.
"Of course, you want to try to stay on schedule, especially with the state championship scheduled for the following Saturday," Stafford Athletic Director Wes Bergazzi said. "But the issue came down to [field conditions]. They just didn't feel confident they could get the field ready. They felt with the extra day's worth of sun and warming weather, they could get the field dried out. . . . Sunday is fine by us."
Oakton moved its AAA Division 6 semifinal against Western Branch back by one hour to 2:30 today to give the staff and volunteers more time to prepare the field, stands and parking lots. Oakton's stadium was a flurry of constant activity yesterday. The field was covered by a tarp on Wednesday, but county maintenance workers were called upon yesterday to use snow blowers to clear the snow off of the tarp. Parents helped clear the stands of snow and ice, and trucks plowed and salted the parking lot.
"We've had pretty good practice at this," Oakton Athletic Director Dave Morgan said, referring to this season's sniper and rain-related postponements. "The extra work doesn't matter. The only thing that matters to us is that the kids get a chance to play."
Oakton and South Lakes received waivers from Fairfax County yesterday, allowing them to practice or travel on a day when school was canceled. Oakton worked out in Robinson's spacious fieldhouse less than a week after the Cougars defeated the Rams, 31-29, in the AAA Division 6 Northern Region championship. South Lakes, meantime, boarded buses and headed for Hampton for today's AAA Division 5 semifinal against Phoebus.
Host Hylton has bumped its AAA Division 6 semifinal back at least a half-hour for a planned 2 p.m. start against Thomas Dale. The hope is that direct sunlight will help melt the icy patches on the field before kickoff.
Yesterday, Hylton Principal Robert B. Benson was part of the snow removal crew, as was Hylton senior wide receiver Eric Blackman. One volunteer donated five buckets of chicken to the cause.
"The effort made me feel good," first-year Hylton coach Lou Sorrentino said. "I told the kids that you have a lot of people out here who want to see this game and care about us, and they deserve a good effort from us. I think the kids will respond."
Brooks to Enroll at U-Va.
Former Hylton linebacker Ahmad Brooks, the 2001 All-Met Defensive Player of the Year who attended Hargrave Military Academy to raise his standardized test scores, has qualified academically and plans to enroll at the University of Virginia for the second semester, a university official confirmed.
"He's down there [in Charlottesville] right now registering for classes," said Brooks's brother, Perry Jr., yesterday.
The 6-foot-4, 236-pound Brooks was the 2001 USA Today defensive player of the year, with 207 tackles, including 34 for losses, and five forced fumbles as a senior.
"Ahmad looks better than I have ever seen him," said former Hylton coach Bill Brown, who visited with Brooks last week. "He's bigger, stronger, and just really, really looks good. The military influence down there helped, as well."