As Hurricane Ian approaches, Georgia high schools move up football games ahead of storm
LISTEN: Friday nights in Georgia are usually all about high school football, but Hurricane Ian is forcing a change of plans. GPB Sports anchor and senior correspondent Jon Nelson, who is also co-host of the Football Fridays In Georgia podcast, spoke with GPB's Peter Biello.
Friday nights in Georgia are usually all about high school football, but Hurricane Ian is forcing a change of plans. The coming storm is shifting schedules for teams throughout the state. Jon Nelson, anchor and senior correspondent for GPB Sports and the co-host of Football Fridays In Georgia, spoke with GPB's Peter Biello.
GPB Sports has all the latest football schedule updates here.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: GPB's Football Fridays In Georgia TV game of the week between Calhoun and Cartersville and the streaming game of the week between Blessed Trinity and Roswell have both been moved to Thursday night. They both will be streamed live on GPB.org and on the GPB Sports app at 7:30 pm. The Calhoun and Cartersville game will also replay Friday night on GPB TV along with Recruiting 2022 and the post-game show starting at 7 pm.
Peter Biello: So how are schools trying to sidestep Hurricane Ian?
Jon Nelson: It is a logistical exercise for a lot of folks because you're having discussions with administrators and county athletic directors [who are asking]: "Do we move it one day? Do we move it two?" For the most part, they're just sliding it one day for the varsity games. But we do have at least a little more than a dozen instances where folks were just like, "Now we're going to go ahead and play Wednesday and not worry about Thursday at all."
Peter Biello: So what about playing on Wednesday and Thursday? That's a school night. What does that mean for kids who have to play on a school night now?
Jon Nelson: It's not real different than Friday. It's just that your schedule has been pushed a day or two ahead. And so obviously everyone is showing a great deal of patience when it comes to understanding. I mean, you have everyone on social media saying "Please understand that this is for the best interest of the kids in sliding everything a day or two, because we don't want Mother Nature to to continue to to be as undefeated as she is." Because, as you know, Peter, Mother Nature and Father Time, they are always undefeated. And so the biggest thing is just to make sure we get these games in. [It's the] easiest way to do it. Instead of having practice as you normally would on a Wednesday or Thursday, the game day is now pushed a day or two ahead.
Peter Biello: Which means don't do your shopping on Wednesday. Do the game on Wednesday. Get your shopping done tonight if you need to.
Jon Nelson: Yes. Get your shopping done to make sure you are as secure as possible. And the games will continue to be pushed a day or two ahead.
Peter Biello: And is this a statewide thing or is it impacting one part of the state more than another?
Jon Nelson: It looks like it is moving its way from south to north. Early yesterday, we had obviously a lot of South Georgia, Southeast Georgia. And it has gradually worked its way up. I mean, you even had Atlanta schools that were pushing to Thursday. You've had Athens area schools pushing to Thursday. You've had metro Atlanta schools pushing to Thursday in some instances. So it is kind of this domino of everything being shoved, southeast to northwest.
Peter Biello: What does this mean for attendance? I imagine people some people who may have planned to go on Friday just can't make it on Wednesday or Thursday night.
Jon Nelson: I think it will be interesting to see just how it plays out because in South Georgia, you and I both know that you're looking at a lot of football-crazy towns that really do believe in their programs. And some of the games that are there are incredibly important in the grand scheme of things for the schedule. I want to know what they're going to be like. I imagine that the support will be as close to Friday night as possible because, hey, it's an excuse to go see a game in the midweek instead of on the weekend for a change.
Peter Biello: And what about recovery time for players? Usually they have a few more days than they'll have now because of Hurricane Ian. Do you think that will have an impact in some way?
Jon Nelson: These days you have schools and coaches and physiotherapy that is at the front lines of making sure that everyone is as safe as possible. I mean, I've talked to coaches who in the adjustment of the schedule sit there and say, "We're not going to really do anything differently. We will do weight training six days a week." It's just that everything slides to this particular instance where your game has been accelerated. But because you're in the routine of everything Monday through Saturday or Monday through Friday plus Saturday or Sunday lifting, it's just the game itself has slid. Your calendar itself has not slid. The only thing that has slid is the game itself.