Florida high school football annually deals with weather conflicts

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

The need to adapt to weather and hurricanes is a basic reality all Floridians must deal with. Now, some say it’s time for high school football to change its game plan. On an annual basis, teams rush to make up games that are postponed because of storms.

Locally, some parents and even school districts we spoke to said there is only so much that can be done about the weather other than protecting the students. And they are the ones who feel the brunt of the cancellations.

The Powell family in Collier loves football. It’s their favorite sport. Andrew Powell’s son is a cornerback with Naples High School. The last thing he wants to hear during a kickoff under the Friday night lights is an announcement for game cancellation.

“It’s disappointing on some level because your son and the other boys and coaches and the sacrifices they make to get ready for 7 o’clock, 7:30 kick off is either delayed or canceled,” Powell said.

Hurricane Dorian forced some games to get moved up on the east coast, and many spectators, including Owen Gilleland, remember what happened during Hurricane Irma in 2017. Gilleland said safety is a priority.

“It’s a hassle when it rains like it does and people have to reschedule,” Gilleland said. “But at the end of the day, that’s part of it. And I think we’ve done it long enough that we realize it’s something that we have to deal with at the beginning of the year.”

The FHSAA has control over when teams play and where in the state. Powell said if rescheduling becomes a larger issue for his family, he would be open to changes.

“Football is a kind of sport that rules change, things happen, equipment advances, people adapt,” Powell said. “So if we have to adjust where we need to start playing the greatest sport ever played, we’ll adapt.”

School districts in Lee County and Collier County said they have protocols in place that would call for game cancellations per student safety requirements. The school districts said they work diligently to schedule makeup games. But ultimately they both said they don’t have plans to meet with the FHSAA to make changes to current polices.

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