Mother Nature still undefeated

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Late August, early September is such an exciting time because it marks the beginning of the college and high-school football seasons. Unfortunately, when you live on the Gulf Coast, it also marks the heart of hurricane season.

And hurricanes and football, they have and never will mix.

Fortunately, Louisiana has been spared the destructive force of one of these storms for the past five years. Knock on wood.

Still, even without the hurricanes, we often catch some of our most nasty rainstorms during this time.

Just over a year ago, a huge cycle of rain stood stationary over the state for 48 straight hours, causing well over 20 inches of rain and a catastrophic flood that some folks are still trying to find ways in which they can recover.

Even though Hurricane Harvey spared us, we still caught heavy rainfall. There was still some flooding, including here in Gonzales.

In fact, because of the heavy precipitation, the Ascension Catholic season opener was forced to be moved from Thursday to Saturday night.

Unfortunately, the southeast part of Texas was smashed by Harvey. Sure, the winds were strong, but it was the excruciatingly slow movement of the storm that caused the most damage.

Like last year’s Louisiana storm, it just sat over places like Galveston and Houston and drenched the areas with astronomical amounts of rain. The results were predictable: disastrous flooding.

It’s been quite amazing to see people from across the nation come together to help the victims of the storm.

People have rushed to make donations, people have rushed to the flood waters to make rescues, people have rushed to Houston to volunteer and help complete strangers that desperately need the assistance.

That’s the American spirit personified. That’s what makes this country so great.

Every time there is a natural disaster like this here or overseas, Americans always band together to help.

We saw the same thing here in Louisiana last year.

Hurricanes are nothing new to us, and football being reshuffled as a result of the hurricanes has also become all too common.

It has pretty much became a yearly tradition at LSU. It’s a safe bet before the season that at least one game on the schedule will be altered because of weather.

This year, the opener against BYU was changed.

The game was originally scheduled for Houston, but obviously, the game had to be moved because of the flooding. ESPN and NRG decided to move it to the Superdome in New Orleans.

Last year, Hurricane Matthew created scheduling hysteria between LSU and Florida.

The game was supposed to be at The Swamp on Oct. 8, but the storm forced the two schools to try to come up with a compromise. LSU offered to play in Baton Rouge, or even at Florida as late as Sunday.

The Gator brass turned down all options. In the end, the game was moved to Tiger Stadium on Nov. 19. This forced LSU to cancel their originally scheduled contest with South Alabama.

In 2015, the season opener against McNeese State was cancelled due to a prolonged lightning storm.

Later that year, a road game against South Carolina was moved to Tiger Stadium due to the destructive aftermath of Hurricane Joaquin.

Back in 2008, the opener against Appalachian State was moved up from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m. in preparation of the landfall of Hurricane Gustav. The game with Troy the next week had to be moved back to November.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the state. LSU had to move their opener with Arizona State from Baton Rouge to Tempe, Ariz.

Their next game with North Texas was moved to October.

Then, Hurricane Rita came along. It was in no way close to as destructive as Katrina, but it still forced LSU to move its third game with Tennessee from Saturday to Monday night.

Because of all these changes to the schedule, the Tigers had a stretch of 10 straight games without a bye week. Brutal.

It’s no surprise that when the SEC Championship Game rolled around, they looked gassed. As a result, they were crushed by Georgia, 34-14.

The Louisiana high-school football schedule has seen their share of changes stemming from the weather as well.

Back in 2012, most week-one games in central and southern Louisiana were cancelled due to Hurricane Isaac.

Just last season, the August flood also caused alterations to the week-one schedule.

East Ascension’s first game had to be cancelled because their opponent, Denham Springs was still not prepared to play. Their community and school were devastated by the flood.

St. Amant had to move their opener from the friendly confines of The Pit to Live Oak. Their home field was not close to ready for game action after being submerged under over five feet of water less than two weeks earlier.

Football is king in Louisiana. LSU football is almost divine. Still, they will never hold a candle to Mother Nature.