By LACY LUSK
Another football season, another one-week extension on the Virginia High School League state playoffs.
For the second consecutive year, the six VHSL state finals have been pushed back a week. The season after a sniper scare led to a mid-December day of championships, the aftereffects of Hurricane Isabel have done the same for 2003. Tuesday, the VHSL Executive Committee unanimously approved the move of this year’s finals to Dec. 13 in Richmond, Lynchburg and Harrisonburg.
The switch was a welcome decision to teams in the Richmond and Tidewater areas, where most schools were unable to play one of their scheduled football games. They can now make up those games the weekend of Nov. 14. The first of four weeks of playoffs will begin Nov. 21.
Two Stafford County schools have gained the chance to make up games postponed from Sept. 19 – Brooke Point at James River and Stafford at King George.
Brooke Point activities director Chris Courtney said after school Tuesday that no makeup date had been set for the Black-Hawks’ visit to the Richmond area, but that the VHSL ruling was a positive – and expected – development.
”We have talked with James River about playing that game at the end of the season, and I think that’s what we’ll end up doing,” Courtney said. ”But as of now we have not made a decision on that.”
Come November, each region will have the option of following the original playoff schedule (with a week off between the regional final and the state semifinals) or waiting until the weekend of Nov. 21 to begin postseason play. No other sport was affected by Tuesday’s special meeting of the executive committee.
”In view of the extraordinary and sustained hardships experienced by so many schools and communities, this was clearly an appropriate response that reflects statewide support,” Ken Tilley, executive director of the Charlottesville-based VHSL, said in a statement.
In 2002, the field hockey postseason also was extended by a week, but Stafford activities director Wes Bergazzi said Tuesday night, ”Field hockey was on schedule [this year], so it will not be impacted.”
Bergazzi said he had not been in discussions with King George officials over the possibility of making up their Sept. 19 game, but that Tuesday’s decision ”certainly would open the door” for the game to be rescheduled.