The winter blast that hit Dallas-Fort Worth late last week left a thick blanket of ice on major roadways. With driving out of the question, area football teams in the playoffs had their Thursday-Saturday playoff games rescheduled and were forced to stay indoors, forgoing practice time.
“We were going to try to get the kids up to the field on Saturday afternoon,” Aledo coach Tim Buchanan said. “Five coaches made it, but we had to go pull two out of a ditch, so we canceled the practice.”
With less face time, coaches had to be creative if they wanted to keep their players informed and engaged.
“I texted the team captains and they texted the others as far as keeping their mind right and staying ready to play,” said Fort Worth Nolan Catholic coach Joe Prud’homme, whose Vikings are scheduled to face Plano Prestonwood in the TAPPS Division I state final on Tuesday in Corsicana. “There isn’t a whole lot you can do right now, it’s an incredibly unique situation.”
Buchanan, assisted by his son Caleb, a senior linebacker for the Bearcats, leveraged the reach of social media to communicate with his players.
“Believe it or not we are using Hudl [a web-based video sharing software] and Twitter,” he said. “You can text and email through Hudl and I asked each of them to text me confirmation when they get the messages.”
Practice wasn’t the only concern on Buchanan’s mind, though.
“If we are able to get past Wichita Falls on Monday, that will only leave us with a few days of practice before Saturday’s [state semifinal] game against Ennis,” Buchanan said. “The last thing I want to do is cloud my mind against Wichita Falls, who’s playing really well, but Ennis was able to get their game in last Thursday and a three-day advantage is a pretty big deal.”
With Monday’s temperatures dipping back into the 20s around 6 p.m., Birdville coach Jim Skinner was concerned that the roads may not see any improvement before their game against Denton Guyer.
“I just hope it’s just safe to drive,” said Skinner, whose Hawks will have to travel nearly 40 miles north on I-35W to UNT’s Apogee Stadium. “Hopefully we’re able to play the game, but it’s not worth risking our kids’ safety, that’s for sure.”
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