Hurricane Sandy has turned the local high school sports schedule into chaos.
Local athletic directors aren’t sure when games will be played. Contests have been postponed and rescheduled only to be postponed again.
No high school sports events are scheduled for today.
Some coaches don’t even know where their athletes are.
“We don’t even know where our students are right now,” Atlantic City athletic director Frank Campo said in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon. “Many of them were evacuated.”
Coach Thomas Kelly of the Atlantic City football team said he had been in contact with most of his players and many of them are holed up in the homes with no electricity.
“The last thing we are thinking about is football,” Kelly said. “We always preach that life is about more than football and sometimes it takes a natural disaster to make that apparent.”
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association announced Monday a contingency plan for dealing with the storm. If any school cannot reopen until Monday (Nov. 5) the football playoffs will be pushed back a week.
The new schedule would be:
First round: Nov. 16-17
Second round: Nov. 30-Dec. 1
Championship games: Dec. 7-8
This schedule would allow Thanksgiving games to be played as scheduled.
If all schools are back in session by Thursday, this weekend’s games must be played by Sunday. The playoff schedule will remain unchanged.
First round: Nov. 9-10
Second round: Nov. 16-17
Championship games: Nov. 30-Dec. 1
With schools closed and no practices or games being held, several athletes were trying to keep in shape on their own.
Southern Regional athletic director Chuck Donohue Jr. was driving around Manahawkin on Tuesday when he saw Rams running back Abe Gonzalez out for a run. Several of Southern’s athletes live on long Beach island, one of the area’s hardest hit by the storm.
“I’m just hopefully that everybody in our community is OK,” Donohue said.
The Southern football team is scheduled to play Toms River East on Saturday. The game was originally scheduled for Friday. But Donohue said Tuesday it’s hard for him to envision the game being played Saturday.
“My early holiday wish is that the games are pushed back a week,” he said. “Let people come back to school and get back in a normal groove before playing.”
In addition to football, athletic directors were scrambling to postpone and reschedule playoff games in boys and girls soccer, field hockey and girls volleyball.
NJSIAA officials stressed they would flexible when it comes to the scheduling of all games after the storm. NJSIAA officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday. NJSIAA did say a decision on whether to hold the sectional cross country championships this Saturday will be made today.
“I’m on draft number six of tentative plans and then I just gave up,” Absegami athletic director Steve Fortis said. “We really can’t do much about anything until we get back to school.”
The Absegami girls volleyball team was supposed to travel to Ridge High School in Somerset County for a playoff game today.
“I don’t know what to do about that,” Fortis said. “Do I put my team on bus up there? I don’t even know what the roads are like.”
Most schools are assessing on a day-by-day basis whether to reopen.
Some school officials say it will take a day or two to get organized, especially for football, when the schools reopen. Some wonder whether the athletes will be in condition to play. Campo said he’s concerned that many of the Atlantic City students who were forced to evacuate haven’t gotten proper meals or sleep.
“I’m not sure when we’re going to play,” he said.