Braxton-Sissonville game moved
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Superstorm Sandy continues to wreak havoc on the state's high school football schedule.
Sissonville's ultra-important Class AA home game with Braxton County, which had previously been moved to the artificial turf at Laidley Field, has been switched from tonight to 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Braxton County officials were adamant about not playing the game on Friday since classes have been canceled since Monday because of snow and power outages.
"I would not let them play Friday,'' said Braxton athletic director Lynn Stalnaker. "I told our coach, 'I can't let you play Friday. It wouldn't be fair to our kids.' If they want to play Saturday, we'll play Saturday. Then we can prepare a little bit.
"They sent us home after school Monday, so we didn't practice. Tuesday, half our kids were snowed in and we didn't practice. Wednesday, we couldn't get hold of five of our starters, including [quarterback] Jacob Yanero, and we had 18 kids missing [from practice].''
Making the situation even more interesting is that if the game couldn't be played because of factors caused by the weather, Braxton County (5-4, No. 13 in the ratings) would have been assured of a playoff spot with a nine-game schedule. No forfeit would have been ruled. However, Sissonville (5-4, No. 16) was not afforded the same luxury. It needed to play or risk falling out of the top 16 and missing the postseason.
"It was kind of crazy,'' said Sissonville AD Rich Skeen. "We really were [in a bad situation].''
Stalnaker realizes that some people might think his school took advantage of Sissonville by forcing the delay, but said that didn't figure into his decision.
"My gut doesn't work that way, no sir,'' he said. "I can't back in [to the playoffs]. I'm not going to lie to you.
"There are big implications for both teams in the playoffs - I know that. They beat us, they have a chance of making it. We win, we're in; we lose, we're out. We know that.''
Interestingly, George Washington AD Shawn Wheeler said if he knew Laidley Field was available tonight, he would have moved his home game against Parkersburg into that time slot. Thinking it was already filled, GW settled on a 1 p.m. Saturday game time at Laidley because its own home field was waterlogged.
"We were willing to play Thursday night [at Laidley] - without practice,'' Wheeler said, "but Parkersburg wouldn't play Thursday night. We definitely would like to have played [tonight].''
Because classes were called off in Kanawha County on Tuesday and Wednesday, teams were not permitted to practice.
At least a dozen games around the state have been moved, delayed or canceled entirely. (See revised state schedule, Page 2B.)
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.