Vicksburg, WC will play on Friday|[9/8/05]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 8, 2005

Warren County’s high school football teams will return to the gridiron this Friday – or, at least, most of them will.

Vicksburg Warren athletic director Lum Wright Jr. said Wednesday that Vicksburg High and Warren Central would resume their sports schedules on Friday with the schools’ football games.

The VHS and WC slow-pitch softball teams will return to the field Saturday when both play at the Clinton tournament. Junior varsity football will begin its season as scheduled next week.

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“We will start a normal schedule on Monday,” Wright said. “Things have improved as far as getting these schedules structured.”

That structure had been thrown into disarray by Hurricane Katrina, which slammed into the Gulf Coast early last week. Among its many effects on the region was the suspension of the high school sports schedule across the state.

The Mississippi High School Activities Association canceled all but a few football games last Friday, extended the season a week and moved the state championships to Dec. 9-10 in hopes that teams can salvage as much of their schedules as possible.

MHSAA Executive Director Ennis Proctor said football games would be played this week all over the state.

“People I’ve talked to feel playing these games are just as important to the communities as the student-athletes,” Proctor said. “It’s part of the healing process from the hurricane, so communities can rally around the school and so forth. Mississippi is a state where high schools and athletic programs are a big part of people’s lives.”

Not every school will play this Friday, however.

Union Academy officials said earlier this week that the Georgetown area was without power, water and gas, and the team has been unable to practice for its game against Porters Chapel. PCA coach Randy Wright said the game could be moved to Monday night.

Other schools, like St. Stanislaus, a Class 4A school located in hard-hit Bay St. Louis, may not play football at all this season.

“I don’t know whether that’s written in stone, but I understand they have a lot of serious damage,” Proctor said. “Bay St. Louis is in pretty rough shape.”

Proctor, however, is encouraged that many Gulf Coast schools and other areas impacted by Katrina hope to at least play their region schedules, which qualify teams for the state playoffs.

“Moss Point and Ocean Springs feel like they’ll be able to play again Sept. 16,” Proctor said. “We’ll have to base the playoffs on what games can be played. Most of them feel like they can get their region games in. If they have to, we’ll allow them to play two games in a week like on a Monday and a Saturday to get them in.”

Wright had put off making a decision on when to resume games for Vicksburg and Warren Central until this week. As the situation across the state gradually improved – including the end of long lines for gasoline that threatened to nix any road trips – Wright felt confident the schedule could resume.

“We tried to do everything we knew we could get accomplished,” Wright said.

While Warren Central and Vicksburg will play football this Friday, one of next week’s games is still up in the air.

Warren Central is scheduled to play at South Pike, in an area of the state that was hit hard by Katrina. Wright said he has not been able to contact any coaches or administrators from that school, and wasn’t yet sure if the game would be able to be played.

“We haven’t even been able to get a phone call down there,” Wright said. “I would think, as far as South Pike, as far south as they are, I would assume they are having a lot of problems down there without worrying about football.”

In other Katrina-related developments Wednesday: