As the remnants from Hurricane Sandy continued their slow creep away from Central Pennsylvania on Tuesday, they left in their wake plenty of rain-soaked fields at high schools throughout the area. Already the storm has forced the postponement of several District 3 playoff games in sports such as soccer and volleyball.
What was not clear yet, however, was whether this weekend's Week 10 football schedule might also be reshuffled. Nine schools in York and Adams counties are scheduled to host football games on grass fields this weekend. Seven of those matchups are set for Friday.
South Western football coach Damian Poalucci said he would not be surprised if the Mustangs' home game against YAIAA Division I leader Spring Grove is pushed back a day. Like many schools, South Western had no school Monday or Tuesday. That meant no practice, per school policy.
Poalucci was optimistic school would resume Wednesday. The same goes for his mood about the Mustangs' Corral, which has a natural grass surface.
"It doesn't look that bad actually," he said Tuesday, shortly after surveying the stadium. "I see a few puddles, which is to be expected, near where we kick extra points."
Poalucci has been able to share scouting video and reports with his players via hudl.com and he plans to resume practice indoors Wednesday, assuming there is school, because South Western's practice fields are in worse condition.
Poalucci said postponing Friday night's game -- possibly to Saturday -- has not been ruled out. With the District 3 playoffs set to begin next week, and Spring Grove (ninth in Class AAA) and South Western (14th in Class AAAA) both in position to qualify, time is a factor.
"Monday I think would be a disaster if they pushed it back to that," Poalucci said. "Saturday would be fine. Friday would be nice."
The West York football team is in a similar spot, although with an added complication. With a 9-0 record and a No. 2 ranking in the District 3 Class AAA power rankings, it has the potential to host as many as three District 3 playoff games during the coming month. The Bulldogs play New Oxford at home Friday with a chance to win an outright Division II title.
West York athletic director Roger Czerwinski said the potential for further field damage will be a factor in whether the game is postponed.
"In our situation, it's A, not beneficial to put safety at risk," Czerwinski said, "and B, tearing up our field when we could have several more home games is not beneficial to our district."
That said, Czerwinski pointed to the relatively dry fall as a reason for optimism that the game would proceed Friday.
At Dallastown High School, which is scheduled to host rival Red Lion on Friday, the storm resulted in a saturated field and a goal post that was bent by high winds. Dallastown athletic director Tory Harvey said he would monitor the field during the next few days before making a decision on whether to postpone the contest.
Harvey said he has spoken with Red Lion athletic director Arnie Fritzius about the possibility of moving the game to Red Lion's Horn Field -- which has artificial turf. But Harvey stressed he and his staff will "do all we can to keep it here."
"It's senior night for football players, cheerleaders, the dance team," Harvey said. "For budgetary purposes, it's important to have the game here. We'll do all we can. We'll take a look at Friday, Saturday, or if we have to Monday."
District 3 volleyball pushed back: Perhaps the more immediate concern for Harvey was the status of the District 3 girls' volleyball tournament, the quarterfinals of which were postponed from Tuesday to Wednesday. Harvey, the district's volleyball chairman, said that as of Tuesday afternoon, he has not heard from any schools who would not be able to attend Wednesday's quarterfinals -- which will be held at various sites, including Dallastown and Central York.
"But again," Harvey added, "we will not put a school in a situation where they do not feel it's in their student-athletes' and fans' interest to travel somewhere."
Once again, there is little wiggle room. The semifinals and finals of the volleyball tournament are scheduled for Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Four YAIAA teams are still alive -- Delone Catholic and Eastern York in Class AA; and Susquehannock and Central York in Class AAA.
Soccer teams play waiting game: The York Catholic girls' soccer team's District 3 Class A semifinal against top-seeded Tulpehocken -- originally scheduled for Tuesday -- is now set for 5 p.m. Thursday at Hempfield High School's artificial turf field.
"I kind of hope we play just to play," Irish coach Ryan Luckman said, "but part of me says it would be nice to have at least one day to practice."
The fifth-seeded Irish practiced during the weekend but did not meet Monday or Tuesday. Luckman said Tuesday's cancellation was an administrative decision, based on the condition of York Catholic's fields.
The York Catholic girls are one of two YAIAA soccer teams still playing. The fifth-seeded Biglerville boys' team will play top-seeded Trinity in a Class A semifinal at 7 p.m. Thursday at Penn Manor. The Canners also were not able to practice on Monday or Tuesday -- a fact that concerned coach Jebb Nelson.
"Just because you don't know if the players are doing anything on their own or not, trying to keep them focused," Nelson said.
Cross country still set for Saturday: It appears as though the rain and potential flooding will not have any affect on the PIAA cross country championships, which are scheduled for Saturday morning at the Parkview course in Hershey.
Mark Byers, the PIAA's chief operating officer, said he had been in frequent communication with event's organizers, both before and after the brunt of the storm rolled through.
"They feel the course is in good order, save for a few minor areas," Byers said Tuesday. "They were proactive last Friday. They put stone out in areas of the course that have been problem areas in the past."