Aftermath: Sandy's Impact on Area Sports Teams

La Salle High football coach Drew Gordon visited the Explorers' grass practice field Tuesday afternoon, checking on its post-Hurricane Sandy condition.

"It's a mess," he said. "It'd be dangerous to practice on it. You'd have to worry about players getting injured, maybe pulling a muscle or something like that. It'd be hard for the kids to get their cleats in the ground."

After seeing the field, soaked by rain and covered with leaves, Gordon was seeking alternatives for Wednesday's practice. La Salle, like other Philadelphia-area high schools, was closed Monday and Tuesday due to the storm.

"I've been driving around for the last two hours looking for a turf field that we could practice on," the coach said. "I've had no luck."

As for possibly practicing at one of the local colleges, including Villanova and Temple, Gordon said, "They're not very receptive to the high schools coming in. They can't accommodate people."

La Salle, ranked No. 3 in Southeastern Pennsylvania by The Inquirer, is scheduled to face Roman Catholic in a Catholic League Class AAAA semifinal at 3 p.m. Saturday at William Tennent.

"We could practice in the gym, but you're so limited there," Gordon said. "You can't go full speed."

In the regular season, La Salle defeated Roman, 28-14. "If you had the idea of putting in any new plays for Saturday, this makes it pretty difficult," Gordon said. "You just don't have the time."

George Washington, the defending Public League Class AAAA football champion, has not practiced since last Thursday. The Eagles, who had a first-round playoff bye last weekend, are slated to play Northeast in a semifinal at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

"Right now, you're talking about five days without any hitting," longtime Washington coach Ron Cohen said. "The only hitting we'd be able to do, maybe, is on Thursday. You don't want to do any hitting the day before the game."

Like La Salle, Washington has a grass practice field. Northeast has Charlie Martin Memorial Stadium, with a turf field, in its backyard.

"That's an important factor," Cohen said. "It's a big advantage for Northeast. In a case like this, you just want it to be the same for everybody."

Bob Ruoff, executive secretary for District 1 of the PIAA, said his goal is to have the district's boys' soccer, girls' soccer, field hockey, and girls' volleyball playoffs completed in time for the scheduled start date of their respective state tournaments.

"We're hopeful of that happening," Ruoff said. "But we've talked to the state, and they said they could push things back if needed."

Abington, Central Bucks West, and Council Rock South are among the suburban schools closed on Wednesday. "We didn't get a lot of water, but the power outages in our area have been crazy," C.R. South athletic director Buff Radick said.

"There was no power at the local hospital [Tuesday] C.B. West boys' basketball coach Adam Sherman said. "That's not one of the places you expect that to happen."

-Rick O'Brien