Florida Keys prep football returns to the field Friday with a hurricane-size game in Tavernier.
Not even surly Hurricane Irma could prevent Marathon High School’s Dolphins from challenging island rival Coral Shores High in a South Florida Conference clash, moved to George M. Barley Jr. Stadium in Tavernier.
Kickoff at Coral Shores is scheduled for an early start at 4 p.m. Friday. Hurricane damage left the Marathon field unplayable and damaged some Upper Keys field lights.
“Man, we’re excited. It feels like we haven’t played in months,” Coral Shores head coach Alphonso Bryant said Monday.
“We’re ready to play somebody,” Bryant said, “but going against a rival makes it an awesome situation.”
Coral Shores (1-0) has seen four regular-season football games and a preseason exhibition scratched in 2017.
A lightning storm erased the opener against Immaculata-LaSalle. After a 27-6 win over Somerset Academy, the last three games — against Village Academy, St. John Paul Academy and Florida Christian School — were canceled by Irma’s approach and aftermath.
Efforts are being made to reschedule the only missed conference game, against Florida Christian, since the contest may affect league playoff standings.
“A lot of Keys people are dealing with bigger issues but I do feel bad for the 17 seniors on our team,” Coral Shores athletic director Russell said. “They’ve worked very hard and were looking forward to a special season with a real shot at a conference title.”
Marathon’s Dolphins (1-1) got back to practice Monday in preparation for Friday’s conference game against the Hurricanes.
Marathon head coach Paul Davis said about 20 players showed up. “We wanted to get them back to some sort of normalcy and be able to come to practice,” he said. “Everyone was glad to see each other.”
A game against Ransom Everglades, originally scheduled for last Friday, now will be played Oct. 27 at Ransom.
“A lot of our games are going to be away, so that will be a challenge,” said Davis, noting the storm damage at the Marathon stadium. “But we’ll be all right.”
He could not say when the Dolphins will play their next home game.
The regular season ends Oct. 20, followed by conference playoff games Oct. 27 and the first weekend in November.
Coral Shores High’s girls volleyball team planned to return to action Tuesday with a home match against visiting Colonial Christian in Tavernier (results pending).
The Lady Canes travel to Keys Gate Charter for a 5 p.m. Thursday game, following a 3:30 p.m. JV start.
Coach Kathy Ets-Hokin’s Canes travel south to Key West High on Oct. 3, then visit Westminster Christian on Oct. 4. The next home match tentatively is slated for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 4 against Marathon High (JV at 5 p.m.).
Scheduling information for Marathon High was a work in progress.
Key West High (1-2) has not played since Sept. 5 but expects to be back on the home court Saturday for a 12:30 p.m. Saturday game against Pine Crest, Conch volleyball coach Kim Butler said. A JV start is set for 11 a.m.
Marathon High has been invited to make it a three-team event but had not confirmed at deadline.
“We took a real hit, losing three weeks of practice and games,” Butler said as practice resumed Monday.
Canceled matches include home tournaments that were expected to provide needed funding for Conch volleyball. “Everything from uniforms to referees and travel,” Butler said. “Basically we have to be self-sufficient.”
Cane swimmers, runners
The Hurricane boys and girls swim teams may shift their remaining home meets to the Jacobs Aquatic Center in Key Largo since the regular home pool at Founders Park likely will be closed until December due to storm recovery work.
All of the Coral Shores cross-country “home” meets are being held in Miami-Dade County this fall.
With reports by Kevin Wadlow, Katie Atkins and Larry Kahn