The late summer heat wave has wiped out games and practices again Friday for all Baltimore City high schools and seven non-air conditioned Baltimore County high schools.
Baltimore City school officials announced Thursday night that they would close early Friday while Baltimore County officials said they would close all non-air conditioned schools, both for a second straight day. Both canceled after-school activities.
The heat index, forecast by the National Weather Service, is expected to exceed 90 degrees by 10 a.m. and hit 100 degrees in the afternoon.
It remains unclear how the school closings could affect Saturday's games. Some games, including football games, could be moved to Saturday, but athletics officials have a difficult decision to make about whether athletes should play after missing two days of practice, especially with the heat index forecast to top 100 again Saturday. But some games have already been moved to Saturday pending decisions from athletic officials.
Mike Sye, coordinator of athletics for the county public schools, and Tiffany Byrd, coordinator of athletics for the city schools, could not be reached for comment.
While games were scheduled in many sports Friday, only one county football game was affected — Perry Hall at Franklin, which was scheduled for 7 p.m. That game has been moved to Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
After the seven county high schools were closed Thursday, Kenwood's football game at Catonsville was moved to Saturday at 3 p.m. The rest — including the only one between two closed schools, Patapsco at Dulaney — were already scheduled for Saturday.
Most of the football games involving city teams were scheduled for Friday, including this week's Ravens RISE High School Football Showdown between Edmondson and Digital Harbor. That game is rescheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m.
If football games aren't played Saturday, it likely will be impossible to make them up. Baltimore city and county teams are not allowed to practice or play Monday because of the Muslim holy day, Eid al-Adha which begins at sundown.
If the games are canceled, the teams affected would have their seasons cut to nine-game schedules. That change could help some teams and hurt others when it comes to the playoffs.
Especially in a game between two historically successful teams such as Franklin and Perry Hall, the winner could bank a lot of bonus points. Winning teams are awarded bonus points based on the teams their opponents defeat, so a win over a team that finishes with a good record means more bonus points. Since only four teams in each region make the football playoffs, those points are critical in regions with a lot of successful teams. Some 9-1 teams have missed the playoffs because they don't have enough points.
Teams in other sports — except for those scheduled to play in tournaments — might be able to make up their games, because there's more flexibility in the schedule for teams that play more than once a week.
The county's non-air conditioned schools are closed when the heat index is forecast to be 90 degrees by 11 a.m. the next day.
Baltimore City teams did not practice Thursday either. All schools closed early because of the heat.
With the heat index for Saturday afternoon also forecast to reach 100, Prince George's County schools moved all of their football games to 10 a.m., including Bel Air at Central.