High School Sports: Inclement weather an issue early this season

High School Sports: Inclement weather an issue early this season
Liberty players look on from the sideline in the first quarter shortly before their game against Boys' Latin was postponed because of lightning in Eldersburg Friday, August 31, 2018. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Jim Horn’s scheduling book has dates marked down and highlighted in multiple colors — colors for postponed games, makeup dates, and other scheduling matters.

South Carroll’s athletic director, among others, is working to keep the fall sports season running as smooth as possible, despite two weeks of inclement weather that has caused game delays and postponements.


The season is only in its second full week, but teams have been practicing since Aug. 8. Carroll’s football teams have played two weeks worth of games, but it hasn’t been easy.

“It’s really getting difficult,” Horn said. “Obviously it’s early in the year and there are dates available to reschedule, but you want to try to do it as quickly as possible just because they’re dates you back up later. If we get weather late in the year, then you’re stuck. Of course, we’re limited to how many games you can play in a week and that can have an impact.

“Football in particular is very difficult on us because we’ve got a very small window to play.”

Every Carroll football team has faced a game delay or postponement through the first two weeks of the season. Century’s season opener against John Carroll was moved to Saturday, Sept. 1 after Knights were delayed Friday night. Francis Scott Key also played Sept. 1 and was delayed an hour prior to hosting Berkeley Springs this past Friday.

Both of Liberty’s games were postponed and moved to the following day. The Lions were slated to host Walkersville on Sept. 7, but the game was moved to Oakdale High School on Saturday afternoon.

Manchester Valley and South Carroll had their postponements as well. The Cavaliers faced C. Milton Wright at Western Regional Park on Saturday because of poor field conditions at Parker Field from the week’s rain. That game was washed out Friday and rescheduled.

Westminster and Winters Mill had their Week 1 games moved to Saturday, and were both delayed this past Friday as well.

The rescheduling process might be tricky, but Horn said it’s nothing compared to what the coaches and athletes have to go through.

Winters Mill coach Matt Miller said the Falcons understand every team faces the same challenges when weather becomes a major factor. But in-game delays followed by postponements can add a wrinkle.

“You try and keep your game plans as simple as possible, but you still try to prepare for other team as best you can,” Miller said. “At some point it becomes, what can we get in with our time? It’s not just changing the dates. You change your practice times, you have to determine whether you’re inside or outside. … It’s situational awareness, preparing for any situation.”

Francis Scott Key linebacker Kane Richardson tackles Berkeley Springs quarterback Ty'Jae Armstrong in the rain during their game in Uniontown on Sept. 7, 2018.
Francis Scott Key linebacker Kane Richardson tackles Berkeley Springs quarterback Ty'Jae Armstrong in the rain during their game in Uniontown on Sept. 7, 2018. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Miller said athletes tend to handle the adversity better than coaches or school officials in terms of being ready to play. Those officials have to be just as prepared, however.

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association’s handbook states postponed contests may be rescheduled during the season, provided the number of games does not exceed the maximum number permitted in a week plus one additional contest. Football is allotted one game per week whereas cross country, field hockey, golf, soccer, and volleyball are given no more than two games/matches/meets per week.

Horn said this has to be factored in when scheduling makeup dates for games that are washed out, including taking location alternatives into consideration when field conditions are poor.

“We started way back on Aug. 8th and it’s the earliest date you can possibly start,” Horn said. “In my personal opinion, it’s way too early. You’re practicing since Aug. 8th and you finally get to when it’s game time and now we can’t play games. It’s so weird, with the head and back to the rain, I’ve been doing this longer than anybody else in the county and I can’t even remember a fall season starting like this.”


Horn said he’s already planning for potential scheduling conflicts this coming Friday by staying in touch with agencies from Howard and Frederick counties to determine where makeup games can be played as a result.

“I’m trying to make a decision about football, but I’m thinking, I still have 24 soccer games, 12 home games between boys and girls [junior varsity], and varsity doubleheaders,” Horn said. “I still have eight football games that have to be played, so is it worth it to destroy the field?”

Pat Stoetzer contributed to this article.