High School Football

Approaching storm Hermine chases prep football into Saturday

May River’s long awaited home football debut will have to wait a little longer, the expectancy doused by an intruding Hurricane Hermine.

School closings triggered by the approaching storm also forced a shuffle of Friday’s high school football schedule, with the May River-Whale Branch contest among four to be rescheduled for Saturday. Two more involving SCISA schools may be added, though those decisions were held off until early Friday.

“It’s tough because we want to make a call in the interest of letting people know as early as possible,” said John Paul II athletics director Matt Dakolios, whose home game against Palmetto Christian was left in limbo.

“The thing is (Hermine’s) worst part isn’t supposed to hit until Friday afternoon. We may have to make that call based on forecasts and not anything that’s actually happened.”

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for the Lowcountry from Friday morning through late Friday night. Forecasts estimated the storm could bring between 4 and 8 inches of rain to the area.

It will now be a daytime christening at May River’s new stadium, with kickoff against Whale Branch tentatively scheduled for Saturday at noon. Same for Beaufort’s visit to Bluffton in a matchup of 2-0 teams.

Battery Creek and Hilton Head also will play Saturday afternoon, though that venue was switched to take place at Hilton Head with a 1 p.m. kickoff. In Jasper County, Ridgeland-Hardeeville set its game against Allendale-Fairfax for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff Saturday.

Gregory McCord, Beaufort County’s chief student services officer, emphasized that further changes could be necessary depending on Hermine’s impact on playing fields.

“Of course, it’s going to be dependent on what the rain does,” McCord said. “If a field’s not safe, we may still have to reschedule.”

Things were a little murkier for the area’s SCISA schools. Thomas Heyward saw its visit to St. Andrew’s postponed and unlikely to be made up, and John Paul II is waiting to reassess its situation until Friday morning. Beaufort Academy’s game against Patrick Henry was canceled late Thursday.

“It’s unfortunate,” BA athletics director Neal McCarty said via text, “but the right decision for everyone.”

The situation is complicated at John Paul II, where this week’s game is the Golden Warriors’ region opener. A Saturday game is by far the preferred option, as long as field conditions allow. They also could play Monday, but that would allow only three days to recover before next Friday’s visit to Hilton Head Prep.

“We only have 20-something kids on the roster,” Dakolios said, “so that indirectly plays a role. You’d want to have it on Saturday because we have a lot of two-way players playing. Same for Palmetto Christian.”

Hilton Head Prep, by the way, has no such concerns with this week’s open date. “It’s a good time to have a bye week and not have to worry about it,” Dakolios said.

▪  Kickoff for Saturday’s USC Beaufort women’s soccer game against Faulkner (Ala.) was pushed back to 4 p.m., allowing additional time for Faulkner to travel safely and for the storm to pass through.

▪  Fripp Island Marina canceled its annual Kingfish Invitational, a Labor Day tradition that goes back more than a quarter-century. Even with the storm set to pass through late Friday, Capt. Ralph Goodison said the waters still would be too rough Saturday or even Sunday.

Jeff Shain: 843-706-8123, @jeffshain

Revised kickoff schedule

Saturday’s games

  • Beaufort at Bluffton, noon
  • Whale Branch at May River, noon
  • Battery Creek at Hilton Head, 1 p.m.
  • Allendale-Fairfax at Ridgeland-Hardeeville, 1:30 p.m.

Pending or canceled

  • Palmetto Christian at John Paul II, TBD
  • Beaufort Academy at Patrick Henry, canceled
  • Thomas Heyward at St. Andrew’s, ppd.