Crowley-Patterson game canceled due to travel concerns

CROWLEY – One of the state’s most anticipated opening games of the 2011 season fell victim to Tropical Storm Lee.

Crowley High vs. Patterson, a game that featured a number of Division I prospects and two of the state’s top offenses, ended before it even started Friday when officials from the two schools agreed to cancel the game due to deteriorating weather conditions.

“We were packed and ready to go,” said CHS coach Tommy Tate. “We were leaving at around 3:30 and we had everything packed up and ready to go (when the game was officially canceled).”

Tate said the issue wasn’t with the field conditions as much as it was the travel involved.

“We knew it was going to be a mudbath, which is not unusual for football,” said Tate. “Anybody who has ever played football has played in a mudbath. The main concern was with the travel. And not just the team. It was more so with the parents and the students.”

Tate said the Crowley High main office began fielding phone calls from concerned parents sometime around noon Friday. All of the calls dealt with safety issues due to stormy conditions brought on by Tropical Storm Lee whose path was still unsure at the time.

“It was just the concern of everyone being on the road early in the morning on the way back and possibly stormy conditions,” said Tate. “I think that was the deciding factor. If this game was played in Breaux Bridge or Lake Ch.arles, it’s not a factor. But two hours to the south into the tropical storm was a concern.”

Tate said he felt the CHS administration made the decision based on what was best for everybody concerned.

“And you can’t hold that against them,” he said.

Patterson coach Tommy Minton, although not pleased with the decision, said he understood the concerns of the CHS administration and its desire to not play the game.

“Their issue was transportation, basically going home, knowing the weather was going to deteriorate as the night went on,” said Minton. “That’s what they were worried about and I can understand that.

“I wish we could have played the ballgame. We wanted to play, but they were the traveling team and if they had those issues, we would honor their request because they were the team that had to get on the road. But we felt that it was going to be a safe situation.”

Although the request to cancel the game was granted, neither coach was content with losing an opening contest.

“It is very disappointing for the players and the coaches,” said Tate. “You put in so much time preparing for the opener, so it was disappointing for both schools. Not only is it the season opener, but it’s two teams that were really looking forward to playing each other.

“And it puts us a week behind. It’s one week under your belt, it’s game experience and game training. You really have to train your team to play four quarters of football and we are going to miss out on that.”

Coach Minton echoed Tate’s thoughts.

“It’s disappointing in a lot of ways,” said Minton, whose team travels to Raceland Friday to take on Central Lafourche. “For one, your kids have worked hard all week and they want the payoff on Friday. Two, when you start looking at the overall big picture from a power-ranking standpoint, this would have been a big game for both teams. Whoever was going to win was going to end up getting a lot of points in.

“And the third thing that worries me is now I have to go into Week 2 and play somebody who already has a game under their belt and it is basically going to be our first four-quarter ball game.”

For the Gents, who play host to Class 5A Comeaux Friday, the game was lost, but Tate was pleased with his team’s preparation.

“The week was not wasted by any means,” said Tate. “We had four really good days of preparation. I thought we had four really good days of work preparing for Patterson and you don’t lose that preparation, you just lose (playing) the game.”

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