Back in August if you told Booneville head coach Scott Hyatt he would be preparing for a Dec. 13 football game, he likely would have been elated.
Of course, under the original schedule the Friday the 13th game was a 7 p.m. kickoff in War Memorial Stadium for the Class 4A crown.
Hyatt had his team in full contact practice when the Arkansas Activities Association officially pulled the plug on last weekend’s high school football playoffs.
The AAA decision to shut down the playoffs and extended the season came as the state was bracing for a winter storm that called for icy conditions across a large swath of the state.
"We had prepared like we were going to play Friday," Hyatt said. "Even until (Wednesday) there was a chance we could have played on Thursday, or Saturday, or Monday, so we had to practice like we were going to play.
"But this time of year there’s no sense in taking a chance in getting somebody hurt, so we just polished up."
The announcement that the Bearcats game at Pine Bluff Dollarway would not be played until Dec. 13 ended that.
"This decision was based on a safety issue," AAA executive director Lance Taylor said in a news release. "We wanted to make sure everyone could travel to Little Rock or the other semifinal locations without hazardous driving conditions. We talked with several of our member schools involved in the playoffs, and we checked with the (War Memorial) stadium. This appears to be the best route to take by extending the season one week.
"Playing in a state championship game can be a lifetime dream. We want this to be something the athletes, coaches, parents and fans will remember for the rest of their lives."
The AAA’s decision also pushed the 4A championship game back to Friday, Dec. 20 and the 5A-7A games to this weekend.
"I think we had options," said Booneville superintendent John Parrish. "We could have left out Thursday, got south of the bad weather and played. Schools in northwest Arkansas were not as lucky."
Among them was Bentonville, who was to play in the 7A title game last Friday. Instead, the Tigers will face Cabot this Friday.
Of course, Parrish added, doing so could have been a hardship and or a safety issue for fans who wanted to go to the game, had it been played on Friday.
Knowing the preparation period for the Cardinals had been extended by a week, and although school was cancelled on Thursday, Hyatt and his staff put the Bearcats through a normal weightlifting session on Thursday and spent extra time on conditioning.
On Monday of this week, Hyatt said, "it was back to the grind."
Hyatt said the extra work could help his team.
"This time of year if you’re still playing you’re playing well. We’re wary of losing momentum but if the kids stay focused and not let it bother them this could help us because we get a chance to spend more time on film," said Hyatt.
Hyatt said as long as he has been around high school football he can’t recall a game being postponed due to weather.
"We always played, but it usually don’t hit like this in December," said Hyatt.