Storm sends Selma back to practice field

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 2, 2004

Times-Journal Writer

Hurricane Frances may still be off the southeast coast of Florida, but its effects are already being felt in Selma.

The Selma High School Saints, originally scheduled to depart for Pensacola, Fla., this morning for a football game tonight, are instead staying home.

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The Saints were scheduled to travel to the Florida panhandle to take on Pensacola Pine Forest, a Class 3A school, in preparation for their game next week against state powerhouse Prattville.

The game was canceled, however, because of the possible Florida landfall of Hurricane Frances. The storm, packing 140 mph winds as of Thursday afternoon, could make landfall in central Florida today and possibly move north through the state’s panhandle Saturday.

Rather than traveling 185 miles to the Gulf coast, the Saints will instead use their newly found free time to prepare for their battle next week, Saints’ head coach Woodrow Lowe Jr. said Thursday.

“I’m kind of disappointed we’re not going,” Lowe said, “because I think we could have been competitive.”

Lowe said Thursday morning that he would notify his players at practice Thursday afternoon of the cancellation.

“I’m sure they’re going to be disappointed, too,” Lowe said. “They were really looking forward to going.”

Seniors Rod West and Eric Martinear said they were both anticipating the trip and the chance to play a strong Florida team. Both added that they also would miss an opportunity to have their names better known by college recruiters.

“Florida’s supposed to be the best recruiting state,” Martinear said. “I’m going to miss the opportunity because of the hurricane.”

“I wanted to play (Pine Forest),” West said. “I hear they’re pretty good. There probably would have been a lot of scouts at the game.”

Lowe said the Saints originally had scheduled for this week a game in Gulf Shores, Texas. However, the game was called off weeks ago because the host institution was a private school and not permitted to play a public school team.

After the first option was canceled, Pine Forest was the Saints’ next choice.

“They called me over the summer and asked me if we would be interested in playing,” Lowe said. “I thought it would be good for the kids to get that kind of experience.”

Although the game has been canceled this season, Lowe said there is a possibility the two squads could face each other next year.

“We’ll just have to wait and see,” Lowe said. “As for this week, we’re planning on practicing (today).”

The week off could be what the Saints need. Selma will be on the road next Friday to face a tough Prattville team that handed the Saints a 50-0 loss last season, one of six regular-season shutouts recorded by Prattville last season.

The contest will be Selma’s first regional contest of the season.

Prattville will be in Adamsville tonight to face Minor in a non-regional tilt.

“We’ll have a chance to scout them (tonight),” Lowe said. “We won’t trade films with them until Saturday, but we’ll have a chance to see them before that.”

Prattville, considered one of the strongest teams in the state, could be in for a battle.

“We’re a much more mature team than last season,” Lowe said. “We’re a better team than when we played them last time.”

As for the two seniors, they both agreed one event would help them become more attractive to college recruits.

“We need to work a little harder,” Martinear said, “and come out with a win against Prattville.”