Gustav no match for area teams

Published 12:53 am Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Miss-Lou felt the brunt of Hurricane Gustav and many people are still feeling its effect.

Homes were damaged, power was out and, in some cases, water and sewage failed as well.

After the storm hit on Monday, I was sure that there would be no high school football games played Friday night.

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After all, how were teams supposed to play when school was canceled and no one had power and, in some cases, running water or sewage.

However, as I made phone calls on Wednesday, coach after coach told me their game would either be played as scheduled Friday or be pushed back to Saturday.

When it came down to it, only two games had to be canceled — Natchez High at Gulfport and Vidalia at Block.

Three games were pushed back to Saturday and the rest went on as scheduled, including Wilkinson County Christian hosting Glenbrook, just one night after the school had its power turned back on.

It took a lot of effort on the parts of the coaches and players to be able to play games Friday night or Saturday afternoon.

Coaches not only had to try to wrangle up players and try to have practices, but for the teams that had home games, they had to paint the field and get it ready for play while making sure there wasn’t any structural damage.

Many teams weren’t able to have much practice last week. Wilkinson County and WCCA, for instance had just one practice before their game while Huntington had only two.

Other schools were able to practice more but had to stay inside due to the wet weather, not allowing them to get the timing down on their offense.

Another thing that hampered high school teams were the lack of players.

Many players had evacuated the area before the storm and did not return to the Miss-Lou until the middle of the week.

Despite that, most of the games went off as scheduled and, in several cases, the local team won the game.

Cathedral, Franklin County and Ferriday all won on Friday night while Trinity, Centreville and Jefferson County won on Saturday.

It’s amazing to me that these teams, with all the distractions that befell them, with the storm and massive power outages, were able to pull together and not only play football this weekend, but win their games.

Perhaps we should have seen that coming, however.

As we all know, sports can be a great diversion. All it takes is one good football practice or game to take your mind off what might be going on at home.

When they were practicing and playing, the players and coaches had a couple of hours to forget about storm damage or a lack of electricity and water.

They put all of their focus into the football game and it paid off on Friday and Saturday.

I know the coaches and players are looking forward to getting back to normal this week.

But they should be congratulated for the hard work that allowed them to be able to play games this weekend and play them well.

Jeff Edwards is the sports editor for The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3632 or