NORTH PORT / CYPRESS LAKE
By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports
NORTH PORT — Bring some donuts and coffee.
A lot of coffee.
We have some Saturday morning football.
North Port’s season-opener against Cypress Lake was postponed Friday night and rescheduled for 10 a.m. today due to inclement weather.
Lightning remained in the area all evening and into the night Friday, never even allowing players to take the field to warm up.
Coaches on both sides held onto a thread of hope as long as they could that they’d be able to play, but after a delay that lasted nearly two hours, the teams agreed to postpone the game at 9:15 p.m.
“We can’t control the weather so we’re glad we have the opportunity to play [today],” North Port coach Brian Hatler said.
“Unfortunately, (Cypress Lake) got canceled last week so they’re pretty motivated and we asked them if they could get transportation and they got that arranged. Four out of the five officials are able to work (today) so we’re going to give it a shot at 10 in the morning and see what happens.”
Hatler admitted playing under the sun instead of the lights will be different but is just glad his players get to play in Week One, unlike some teams in the state that just canceled their openers due to bad weather.
“We just wanted to have an opportunity to play so we’ll bring the kids in, get them a little breakfast, get them going and play a football game,” Hatler said.
LEMON BAY / PORT CHARLOTTE
By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
ENGLEWOOD — Mother Nature must be displeased with the Lemon Bay Manta Rays, because for the second week in a row, their Friday night game was wiped out by weather.
Unlike last week, however, Friday’s game will be made up. Lemon Bay and county rival Port Charlotte will kick off at 10:30 a.m. today.
Both teams wanted desperately to play Friday night, and waited until the last possible moment to officially postpone the game, but too much lightning in the area made it impossible to play.
Weather was an issue last week for both teams, with Lemon Bay’s preseason game t Lee County being cancelled. Port Charlotte’s game against Victory Christian was delayed two hours before finally kicking off using abbreviated time in each quarter.
What does this mean for the cross country meet scheduled at Lemon Bay this morning? The cross country program uses the track around the football field as part of its course
Under FHSAA rules, boys and girls varsity teams can’t run at the same time. The girls will still begin at 8 a.m. as scheduled, with the boys following shortly after at 8:30.
For the junior varsity teams, both boys and girls will run at 9 a.m., so they can get off the track with enough time for the football teams to warm up.
CHARLOTTE / FORT LAUDERDALE
By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent
PUNTA GORDA – After nearly three hours of torrential rain and lightning, Friday’s football game between Charlotte High School and Fort Lauderdale was cancelled.
Because the Flying L’s came from more than four hours away, and this is a non-district contest, the game will not be replayed.
The lightning started shortly before 6:30 p.m., just as both teams took the field for pregame warm-ups.
Charlotte coach Binky Waldrop said he wasn’t sure whether he would search for an opponent during his team’s scheduled bye week Oct. 7, but not playing this one was a disappointment.
“The storm just sat on top of us. That’s very rare. Our players are very disappointed, but they understand how this works,” Waldrop said. “I commend administration for waiting so long. They wanted to get this game in as much as the coaches.”
Fort Lauderdale head coach Richard Dunbar also felt bad for his players having to travel all this way for nothing, unable to make up from the 40-0 drubbing they took at Charlotte last year.
“We thought we’d have a shot at getting a measure of revenge from last year,” Dunbar said. “We were hoping this would be the start of a great rivalry and see what both teams can bring to the table.”
Lightning remained in the area for the next several hours, mostly to the north and west, interspersed by several torrential downpours and fierce winds. At one point, the winds nearly sent Charlotte’s inflatable helmet, which the team runs through at the start of the game, flying off its restraints.
The teams never came close to retaking the field. The game was officially called off at 9:20 p.m.