High School Football

‘It’s not always about football’: High school coaches ponder schedule tweak due to Dorian

Kickoff Classic highlights in slow motion

Highlights of the 2019 CNB Kickoff Classic football jamboree held at Coastal Carolina's Brooks Stadium. The annual event showcasing area high school football teams was rained out after just two matches on Friday.
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Highlights of the 2019 CNB Kickoff Classic football jamboree held at Coastal Carolina's Brooks Stadium. The annual event showcasing area high school football teams was rained out after just two matches on Friday.

Notifications will ring out all week on the devices of Grand Strand area football players.

While the players will hope for a new follower on Instagram or a Snapchat from a friend, it will most likely be a little bit of homework from their football coach.

With Horry County out of school, organized team activities are out the window, but coaches from all 10 area football programs can’t afford to lose a week of mental preparation to go along with the practice time that can’t be made up due to the threat of Hurricane Dorian.

“We have phone apps, like Band for communication and everybody uses Hudl to watch film,” said Aynor coach Jason Allen. “So, our guys will be able to keep up on the homework and will have to do running and conditioning on their own. We can’t meet as a team or make them do anything, but our kids are motivated to make sure this doesn’t impact their season.”

Allen and the Blue Jackets dealt with the impacts of Hurricane Florence last season, playing only eight regular-season games, like much of Horry County. This year, with the loss of Creek Bridge on the schedule, Aynor would be down to eight regular-season games if Friday’s contest against Green Sea Floyds can’t be made up.

“We’re hoping we can just switch this game to our open date, since Green Sea Floyds is also free that week,” Allen said. “Then, this time out of practice and game prep is just like an early open date for us.”

Other programs aren’t so lucky to have flexibility with their opponents or the schedule.

Myrtle Beach will not play its home opener against Laurens this week and Coach Mickey Wilson doesn’t see a point on the schedule to make up the game. Socastee and coach Marty Jacobs hope to play Oceanside Collegiate in the Braves’ second game, but could struggle to find a good date for the contest.

“These kids are more familiar with this situation than I am,” Jacobs said, referencing last season’s struggles with make-up games. “We’re on hold right now until we hear anymore from the district when we can get back to school. We want to play; missing a game would be very disappointing to these players and the community.”

While football is an important activity for the players and coaches, Allen’s message to his team last week reminded the young men that there is much more at stake this week.

“We tell our kids all the time that it’s not always about football,” he said. “People’s lives will be changed by this storm. We’re thankful that we get to play football and we’ll be excited to return to the field once we’re back in school, but that takes a backseat right now.”

For now, Horry County schools are out until the foreseeable future, with no indications as to when school will be back in session – nor when football teams can begin to practice. Making up games is a possibility for many programs, but under South Carolina High School League guidelines, there must be three days of rest between contests, meaning teams could potentially play a game on Monday and Friday to try and complete a full regular-season schedule.

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