If 2018 taught Horry County football coaches anything, it was when to fold ‘em.
With the district expecting to be closed through Thursday at the earliest and all signs pointing to schools being out until next week, teams have already canceled games that were originally scheduled for Friday or they are trying to postpone them until another date.
So far, Myrtle Beach’s home opener against Laurens and North Myrtle Beach’s trip to West Brunswick (N.C.) have been scrapped outright. The list is expected to grow in the coming days.
"Last year made veterans out of all of us with postponements and hurricanes,” Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said. “The problem with [Laurens] is even if we were able to play on Monday, they wouldn’t be able to do that. They’d have to drive four hours to come down here, then drive back, then try to play [another] game on Friday. If it was more of a local team, we could pull it off.”
The distance between opponents is a crucial factor in how teams are approaching their schedules. Where many of those opponents are located also plays a role.
West Brunswick is out of school all week, as are Charleston-area teams Oceanside Collegiate and Colleton County, who were scheduled to play Socastee and Carolina Forest, respectively. All three will be dealing with their own effects from Hurricane Dorian.
The timing of make-up games can be a bit of a jumbled mess.
For starters, teams are not allowed to play games on the first day back in school and are typically encouraged to practice for at least two days. So even if those teams were allowed to practice Saturday — something some coaches believe would be allowed — many schools in Horry County wouldn’t be able to play a game until Tuesday.
That’s where experience from last year’s extended school closings comes into play. It was then that coaches admitted they often held out too much hope for certain games to be played instead of simply scrapping it and starting preparations for the next one.
“For a non-region game, it is [too much effort],” Conway coach Carlton Terry said. “That makes it easier to move on to the next game because it doesn’t affect the playoffs at all. … We need to make sure everyone is safe before we can resume activities.”
That was on the forefront of several coaches’ reasoning behind their approach to this week’s games. Many of them said their teams wouldn’t be ready after such a quick turnaround.
“I don’t know how safe it would be for the players to take a week off and then play on one day of practice,” Green Sea Floyds coach Donnie Kiefer said.
Kiefer and his team do have the luxury of sharing the same Sept. 20 open date as Aynor, this week’s opponent. The two teams have tentatively planned to reschedule it for that Friday.
As for the other six games involving Horry County teams, it appears increasingly likely that none of those contests will be played.
Originally, Friday’s slate was to look like this: Conway at Sumter; Carolina Forest at Colleton County; Oceanside Collegiate at Socastee; North Myrtle Beach at West Brunswick; Laurens at Myrtle Beach; South Columbus (N.C.) at Loris; and Green Sea Floyds at Aynor.
St. James was idle this week.
Now, all of them are going to be, even if an unlikely, last-ditch effort to make up any of this week’s games comes to pass.
“We don’t have a choice,” Carolina Forest coach Marc Morris said. “I just hope we don’t have to scrap any more games. You only get but 10 shots at this thing.”