Rockport-Fulton and Aransas Pass high schools were scheduled to open the 2017 football season against each other Friday night.
Hurricane Harvey, though, has put football in the backseat as both communities were devastated by the category 4 hurricane that hit Friday night. But Pirates coach Jay Seibert and Panthers coach Ryan Knostman are determined to get their teams back on the field as soon as possible to help give their players, each school’s students and the community a sense of normalcy.
Seibert and Knostman said the goal is to play their first games Sept. 15, which also is likely the first week the two schools will be back in session. Both teams have suspended their seasons indefinitely to assess the damage. Also suspending its season was Ingleside, which also was hard-hit by the storm.
“People say athletics is not important and right now it’s not in the big picture but it’s very important for our kids to get back to normalcy, to what’s normal to them,” Seibert said from his cell phone on Sunday. “I went up the football field and there were a couple of players looking around. We plan on the next two weeks to do everything we can to get the team together before that two weeks is over.”
Seibert said he rode out the storm in Portland but said Rockport-Fulton's football stadium held up well as the storm’s eyewall barreled into the community. He said there was damage to the bleachers and the locker room facilities were good. But he said the school’s gym is destroyed as is the school’s girls locker room facilities.
The Aransas County ISD superintendent said the goal is to start school on Sept. 11 and Seibert said he wants to try to begin working with his team before that so they can play on Sept. 15. The Pirates are scheduled to play Leander Glenn in Seguin.
Knostman said the Aransas Pass' football field — Bo Bonorden Memorial Stadium — suffered heavy damage as both press boxes were destroyed, and he said there was significant damage to the baseball and softball fields.
He said all extracurricular activities at the school have been suspended, but like Seibert, he wants to be able to play on Sept. 15. According to a message on the Aransas Pass Independent School District's Facebook page, school is canceled until further notice.
“I’m going to try my hardest that once school reopens that we get rolling again,” Knostman said. “I want to do everything in my power to have the shortest amount of delay possible that once we open school we will be resuming extracurricular activities.”
Ingleside football coach Hunter Hamrick, who was in Waco, said their season has also been suspended and said the school lost light poles and both goal posts at their football stadium.
He added the school's new indoor athletic facility looks to be fine. A Facebook message from the district said classes are canceled until further notice.