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Palm Coast Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2017 1 year ago

To cancel or not to cancel? What playing football means to kids trying to get scholarships

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For Matanzas and FPC's seniors without college offers, every game matters.
by: Ray Boone Sports Editor

Until Matanzas’ game against Seabreeze on the night of Monday, Sept. 18, football in Flagler County hadn’t been played in almost a month.

Thanks a lot, Irma.

Both the Pirates and rival Flagler Palm Coast were forced to cancel multiple games as a result of the arrival of the hurricane and the difficulties it created after the storm ripped through parts of the east coast of the state.

It’s quite obvious why the games before the arrival of the storm had to be canceled. Storm preparation and increased traffic on the highways would have made playing football incredibly difficult.

However, because Flagler County Schools decided to postpone classes until Monday, all after-school activities after the storm had passed — including athletics — were canceled. The school district has a rule that prohibits such events while school is not in session.

Several athletes, primarily football players, took to Twitter to discuss their disappointment in the games not being played.

The argument?

Seniors, especially uncommitted seniors, need as much highlight tape as possible to attract the attention of college scouts.

“You don’t want to miss an opportunity for film,” FPC coach Travis Roland said. “Each game offers the opportunity for a kid to do something special on film. It could be one play. … You want to get every game in that you can and give all your seniors the opportunity to play.”

Just to be clear, both FPC and Matanzas’ coaches made it clear to me that they understood and supported why the games were initially canceled. And in my opinion, it’s completely admirable to put things like safety and community outreach during a time of crisis over a football game.

But I understand where these athletes are coming from.

For some high school football players, if not many, all they’ve dreamed about is running out of the tunnel onto a college football field. And it’s tough to achieve that goal when you’re severely limited in the amount of times you can demonstrate your skills. All of the sudden, the amount of chances you're given to do something greatly tightens and the stakes rise.

Matanzas senior defensive back Cory Steward put it best.

“Not being able to play kind of messes with you,” he said. “I’m just trying to get an offer.”

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