You’ve heard of Friday night lights. But have you heard of Tuesday night lights?
That’s exactly what will happen in District 14-3A DI as the district put together a very flexible district schedule to respond to any potential COVID-related stoppages or postponements. The seven-team district, which includes Jourdanton, Poteet and Lytle, will utilize a rule from the UIL that allows teams to play games every five days.
With the schedule, teams in the district will play games on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays as they move into the second half of district play starting this Thursday with Poteet (5-2, 2-1) traveling to Marion (4-3, 2-1).
The schedule was created with two schools in mind: Cotulla and San Antonio Cole. Cole didn’t get to play their first game until week five due to local health orders surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Cotulla played their first Marion after their school board approved their athletics to return on Sept. 8.
“The main reason it came about was Cotulla and Cole’s uncertainty,” Jourdanton Athletic Director and Head football Coach Darrell Andrus said. “The issue was with Cole and Cotulla not knowing if they’d start up or when they’d start up. The only way to ensure everyone got to play was to revert to an alternative schedule.”
Initially, they were going to condense the schedule to hopefully be completed Week 11, with that final week serving as the potential make-up date. But, the district wanted to ensure that each and every team had every opportunity to play all of their district games. Given when Cole and Cotulla returned, they each would’ve been forced to postpone or forfeit at least one district game with Cotulla likely having to forfeit multiple games under the pre-COVID schedule.
“It ended up benefitting Cotulla because they get to play all six district games,” Andrus said. “Our reasoning for it, too, is we wanted to give every student-athlete at every school a chance [to play], a chance. [The coronavirus] could still mess it up.”
In the new schedule, each team has two open dates over the course of eight scheduled game days. For teams like Poteet and Lytle, that means short turnarounds with a game on Tuesday following their games at Marion and Cole, respectively.
Knowing the season could be halted at any moment, coaches love the new challenge compared to the alternative of not having a season or team’s missing out on games.
“I told my kids a long time ago that we’ll play anybody on any day of the week,” Poteet AD and Head Coach Darby House said. “It doesn’t matter what or who it is, we’re gonna show up and play. That’s the mentality we’re taking so far and we’ll see how it works.”
The timeline of the turnaround for the Aggies and Pirates means they’ll practice on Friday and Saturday after their Thursday night contests before doing a light practice or walkthrough on Monday to prepare for their Tuesday night games.
Given the experience each of those two teams have, they’re likely wellsuited to make that quick turnaround.
“It’s nice when you have such an experienced team like we have,” House said. “We don’t change much, just a few wrinkles here and there. For the most part, we’re gonna stay the same. We’re gonna play defense the same way we play every week. This is a team that’s prepared for that.”
The Indians caught a lucky break with the alternative schedule. Their first open date is this Thursday before traveling to Lytle on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Then they won’t play again for 11 days.
“We got a big break in it all,” Andrus said. “We’ve played eight games backto back, no breaks. Eight tough games, especially in our non-district schedule. Our reprieve is coming with seven or eight days to prep for Lytle, then two weeks off before playing Cotulla.”