All week-one parish football games canceled

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Ascension Christian’s week-one road game against Fisher has been cancelled for the second straight season.

With the coming of the 2021 high-school football season, many were excited for a return to normal.

Unfortunately, high-school football fans will have to wait a little longer to see any semblance of normalcy.

COVID-19 may still be an issue once the season progresses, but in week one, it wasn’t the virus that knocked Louisiana to the mat, it was Mother Nature.

Hurricane Ida hit the state hard, especially in the southeast, leaving a trail of destruction and creating power outages for more than 1 million residents.

The aftermath of Ida has affected so many things here in Louisiana, and now high-school sports has become one of them.

David Alexander, superintendent of the Ascension Parish School Board announced on Wednesday that teams in the parish will not be able to practice or play in games this week. This includes all football contests on Friday night and over the weekend.

Just one day earlier, East Ascension and Zachary had worked together to push back their Friday night matchup. It was moved to Saturday evening.

Now, it won’t happen. It’s the second straight season in which East Ascension and Zachary’s season-opening meeting has been canceled. Last year, it was because of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, it was announced that all schools in Ascension would be closed for the rest of the week.

Alexander said that now sports will be put on hold as well. He cited several reasons for the decision.

Of course, the conditions resulting from Hurricane Ida are his chief concerns. Much of Ascension Parish is still without electricity.

Also, travel to and from practice and to and from games would be a challenge due to widespread fuel shortages and increased traffic.

Also, when it comes to football, Alexander is worried about the health of the student-athletes.

He said that if football players cannot practice, they cannot play games. It would not be safe physically, and it would also be tough psychologically for the young athletes.

Unfortunately, some of the parish’s football teams now have had games canceled two weeks in a row.

A week earlier, Donaldsonville’s jamboree was scrapped after its opponent, West St. John had multiple players test positive for COVID-19.

East Ascension was not allowed to play its jamboree against Dutchtown. It was a penalty levied by the LHSAA for a postgame altercation that occurred between the Spartans and Central at a scrimmage game a week earlier.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen until a day before the game, and Dutchtown was unable to find an opponent to fill East Ascension’s spot on such short notice.

Dutchtown and St. Amant were both in the process of trying to find new opponents on Friday night, before Alexander ruled that games would be canceled this week.

Dutchtown and St. Amant were supposed to play Northshore and George Washington Carver, respectively. Both teams were not able to play due to Ida hitting Northshore and New Orleans so hard.

Even if power is restored in Ascension, week two will present challenges for some parish teams.

St. Amant is scheduled to play Booker T. Washington, and Ascension Christian plays Ben Franklin. Both are New Orleans-based schools. Both most likely won’t be ready to play by then.

Due to the new artificial turf not being completed at Floyd Boutte Stadium, Ascension Catholic was supposed to play its week two and three home games at E.D. White High in Thibodeaux. But the city of Thibodeaux experienced widespread damage in the storm.

Also, the Bulldogs’ week-two opponent, Metairie Park Country Day comes from a hard-hit era.