Brentsville football coach Dean Reedy started this week thinking his Tigers had a short week to prepare for their next game. They’d beaten Bishop Ireton on Saturday afternoon, and were scheduled to play Clarke County on Thursday night.
But instead of playing twice in six days, Reedy and the Tigers will be lucky if they play twice in 10.
Football fields in Prince William will be unusually dark on Friday and Saturday nights and through the weekend following school officials’ decision to cancel or postpone all outdoor activities until Monday at the earliest. Last night’s game at Brentsville was among those postponed, first to Saturday, then later moved to Monday.
“Yesterday, I had a department chair meeting at Independent Hill,” Reedy said. “When I left we had the green light to play.”
By the time he made it back to Brentsville, a truck window had been shot out near Manassas, and Reedy was in the high school’s health room dispelling myths and rumors students had heard. After a man was shot and killed last night on Sudley Road in what has been linked to a Washington-area sniper’s killings, football had taken a back seat to safety.
This weekend’s Group AAA games had already been scheduled for Saturday instead of Friday, due to the Scholastic Aptitude Tests scheduled to be given that morning. But it is uncertain now whether those games will be played Monday, Tuesday or at all.
Football was not the only sport affected, as a Northwest Region girls tennis quarterfinal and several field hockey matches were among the sporting events called off. Osbourn Park’s tennis team agreed to move its home match with Culpeper to the road. Those schools are scheduled to meet today at noon at Culpeper.
“My argument to [OP activities director Dan Evans] was that I was trying to get my team to play as soon as possible,” Yellow Jacket tennis coach Lisa Rucker said Thursday night. “That first thought was that we had to keep our enthusiasm and excitedness high, but after that decision I wished I’d waited until Monday if that’s what we had to do.
“Now I’m going to do a little rain dance where hopefully we can make a better decision and play here or meet them somewhere.”
Few players and coaches were bemoaning the uncertain status of any of the matches or games.
“I kind of wanted to play this week, but they have to do what they have to do to keep kids safe,” said Gar-Field senior defensive back Darren Garrigan.
“You’ve got to understand [that with] safety issues, you work around them the best you can,” Reedy said. “We’ve done film work, we’ve done it with chalk and we’ve tried to get as much done in the gym as you can.”
Garrigan and his Gar-Field teammates spent Thursday in the weight room. Others recuperated from injuries.
Garrigan likened the situation to last September, when games were pushed from Friday, Sept. 14 to Tuesday Sept. 18 following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon.
“It’s not the same, because the whole world isn’t affected … but it’s crazy to think at any moment you could be shot,” he said.
Reedy said students were handling the situation “maybe better than the parents and adults.”
“As far as the safety factor, kids understand the magnitude,” he said.
Brentsville players have not been on the field since they played on Saturday. Reedy said players were giving other players rides home, and those waiting for buses were waiting indoors with adult supervision.
At press time, football games involving Stafford County schools were still scheduled for Friday. Also, Quantico was scheduled to play at Broadwater Academy on Saturday.
Garrigan said he didn’t like playing games on school nights, but the only disappointing thing would be if the games could not be played at all.
“Your senior year of high school only comes one time,” he said.
At a time when one or more serial killers are on the loose, football is of limited importance.
“We could talk about sports,” Garrigan said, “but [the danger] is always in the back of your mind.”
Staff writer Lacy Lusk contributed to this report.