SCHSL extends season but plans for Strand still afloat

The SCHSL’s executive committee voted unanimously Tuesday to extend the prep football season by one week, but the move doesn’t necessarily help Grand Strand area schools that are in danger of missing a second straight week due to Hurricane Florence.

After 50 SCHSL games were canceled across the state last Friday while Florence approached the Carolina coast, the governing body for public school sports voted 18-0 to add a Week 11 to the schedule, allowing those teams affected to make up their Week 4 games on Nov. 2. The move will push the first round of the playoffs to Nov. 9 and the state championship weekend to Dec. 7-8.

“The aftermath for many of our counties is one of tremendous damage: loss of homes, vehicles and other personal property, not to mention the schools and athletic facilities,” SCHSL Commissioner Jerome Singleton said in a statement. “Working as a team has and will always be the strongest characteristic the SCHSL membership displays year after year.”

However, Grand Strand schools face the possible cancellation of Week 5 as floodwaters continue to invade the area. Horry County Schools is expected to make an announcement Wednesday about whether to re-open for the remainder of the week. HCS has been out of session since Sept. 11, and policy forbids teams from practicing or playing while schools are closed.

“Coaches and athletic directors cannot participate while schools are closed, and we haven’t yet made a decision about the remainder of the week,” said Horry County Schools director of strategic communications Lisa Bourcier. “We have a lot of models for flooding still coming in and we’re having conference calls once or twice a day. We’re trying to gauge what things will look like a few days out and that’s never easy.”

There’s also some question about whether local schools would chose to play a non-region game the week before the playoffs while potential opponents would receive an advantageous bye week ahead of the playoffs. Last week’s cancellations included a battle of unbeatens between Carolina Forest and Myrtle Beach, as well as North Myrtle Beach vs. Socastee and Georgetown at St. James.

The Week 5 schedule features Myrtle Beach at Conway, although the game would likely have to be moved since Conway’s football field is partial submerged and surrounding roads are closed. Carolina Forest is scheduled to host Loris, Socastee is set to travel to Georgetown, and St. James is supposed to visit Aynor. North Myrtle Beach has a bye week, but all game involving HCS teams could be idle pending Wednesday decision. Other fall sports were not affected by the decision.

This marks the third time in the last four years that the SCHSL has been forced to reschedule due to weather-related issues. Check back for full details and updates.

Photo by Janet Morgan/myhorrynews

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