Snowouts increase pressure on Chattanooga area prep schedules

Snowouts increase pressure on Chattanooga area prep schedules

January 29th, 2014 by Kelley Smiddie in Sportspreps

Jon Overcash, left, and teacher Chad Burnette push a Mustang up the snow-covered Dallas Road in front of Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts after snowfall made the road slick, stranding numerous cars, on Tuesday.

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

All high school sporting events in the Chattanooga area were called off because of Tuesday's snowstorm, creating more scheduling problems on top of those caused previously by unusually cold temperatures.

And perhaps no local TSSAA district has been hit harder than 7-AA. Weather problems at outlying schools Bledsoe County, Grundy County and Sequatchie County similarly affect league opponents Chattanooga Christian, Notre Dame and Signal Mountain inside Hamilton County

For instance, Notre Dame was supposed to play at Sequatchie on Tuesday. But not only did those games get moved to Thursday, those teams are scheduled to play again at Notre Dame next Thursday in a makeup doubleheader from Jan. 7.

And the Irish and Lady Irish still have makeup district games at Grundy County that have yet to be scheduled. When that happens, they'll be playing six games in 10 days, right before district tournaments are set to start.

"It's tough because it's this late in the season," Notre Dame girls' coach Wes Moore said. "It's a physical, long season as it is. Now we're trying to squeeze in this many games, and especially with four of the six games being district games. I think most coaches will have to take into account the scouting they've done throughout the year. You've just got to use your best judgment. There's going to be a lot of in-game adjustments."

Signal Mountain had planned to reschedule Tuesday's district game at Grundy County today, but that was nixed when it was announced that Hamilton County schools would be closed today. So the teams may end up playing Thursday, when Signal Mountain was supposed to play nondistrict opponent South Pittsburg. But the Pirates and Lady Pirates needed to free up a day to play a District 6-A makeup doubleheader at Lookout Valley anyway.

The Eagles and Lady Eagles each have seven opponents remaining, but only two are district games. Signal Mountain girls' coach Jason Hill said district games are the priority at this point, but his team doesn't want to lose any games to bad weather if it can help it.

"Teams are going to have to be ready to play without any practice," Hill said.

In Georgia, the GHSA is waiving the weekday restrictions regarding scheduling basketball games for the rest of the regular season. Until now, one game preceding a school day per week was allowed with a starting time of 6 p.m. or later.

Ridgeland, for instance, already has a rescheduled game with Dalton next week, and with Tuesday's LaFayette game now set for next Thursday, the Panthers and Lady Panthers will have a minimum of three games next week and there could be more. Region tournaments begin the following week.

"We have those three games and there is a region tournament play-in game on Saturday, so we could have four games in six days," Ridgeland girls' coach Matt King said. "We're only playing seven players, so to go maybe four games in six days would be a stretch for us. Hopefully we can play well enough to avoid the play-in game."

Two wrestling dual meets were snowed out Tuesday, but so were several practices for team

Neither Soddy-Daisy coach Jim Higgins nor Baylor coach Ben Nelson seemed overly concerned about losing a little practice time. Higgins mainly emphasized to his wrestlers not to go sledding or do anything with an increased risk of injury.

"It's pretty easy to get caught in the assumption you have to go, go, go, but this time of year rest is about as important as anything," Higgins said. "It may do them some good. Weight-management may be an issue, but that's part of the sport. We may go running in the snow at some point the next couple of days."

Said Nelson: "We had good practice Sunday and [Monday], so a day off might be good for them. Their bodies are going to benefit as much as anything we may have drilled."

Higgins and Nelson may be tolerant of the issues caused by the snow, but it's doubtful that any coach welcomed the dusting any more than Northwest Whitfield girls' basketball coach Greg Brown.

"The timing of this weather could not have been better for me," Brown said. "My wife delivered our third child yesterday, so I'm getting to spend extra time with him tonight due to the snow!"

Contact Kelley Smiddie at ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6653. Follow him at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.