The St. Frances football team has yet to complete a game this fall, and Hurricane Florence’s aftermath has canceled this week’s game too.
The No. 1 Panthers were scheduled to play at Lee High School in Jacksonville, Fla., Thursday, but the St. Frances administration decided to cancel the trip because they were to travel by bus.
“With the hurricane and the flooding in North Carolina, people have been advised not to travel through the state, so our administration didn’t want us to go” St. Frances co-coach Henry Russell said. “I think they said the rivers weren’t cresting until Tuesday, and so many roads are closed. We can’t catch a break.”
In a fall season that has been rainier and stormier than Russell and many other area football coaches can ever remember, the Panthers have finished a total of four-and-a-half quarters spread over two games. They haven’t played in two weeks and are 1-0 after a weather-shortened 41-6 win over Christ the King from New York. Both sides agreed to the St. Frances win after the game Sept. 7 at Utz Field in Patterson Park was called at the half because of lightning.
The previous week in their season opener in College Park against St. Joseph’s Prep, from Philadelphia, the Panthers led 13-7 with six minutes left in the third quarter when that game was called after 90 minutes of lightning delays. The back-and-forth game was declared no contest by St. Joseph’s officials, and both sides apparently have to agree before it’s considered a game. The Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association is still considering the outcome.
The Panthers, ranked No. 1 in the Maryland state media poll, still moved up to No. 7 nationally in USA Today’s Super 25. They’re No. 5 in the latest Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC) Poll. St. Frances is the only team in the two national polls that doesn’t have at least two complete games.
This is the second straight year the Panthers have lost a game to a hurricane. They were scheduled to travel to IMG in Bradenton, Fla. last September, but Hurricane Irma forced the evacuation of the IMG campus as it headed for South Florida. The game could not be made up.
St. Frances will try again next week when it hosts Life Christian Academy, from Virginia, Sept. 28 at Utz Field.