Dozens of games initially scheduled for this week have been canceled or postponed until further notice as Napa County and its neighbors continue to realize the effects of wildfires ripping through the region.
Most of the cancellations have coincided with announcements from local school districts and colleges electing to keep their doors closed through early next week in some cases, with power still out in many areas and smoke-filled air blanketing the Bay Area.
In an email Tuesday, Napa Valley Unified School District spokesperson Elizabeth Emmett said “all athletics, dances, clubs and all other school activities are canceled, including any homecoming festivities.”
She clarified that also included this week’s slate of football games. Vanden was scheduled to visit American Canyon in a key Solano County Athletic Conference matchup.
NVUSD athletic director Jill Stewart said she doesn’t expect those football games to be rescheduled, and each program will most likely have to settle with the ramifications of a nine-game schedule.
According to CIF rules, no football team can play more than two games in an eight-day span. The only option would be a Monday-Saturday scenario next week, but the logistics are discouraging given a host of factors, including the lack of time to prepare and the player safety that might be compromised by two short weeks.
Before the district made its decision, American Canyon head coach Larry Singer said he was texting Vanden coach Sean Murphy and trying to figure out different scenarios to make the game happen.
This week’s matchup comes with a number of intersecting storylines for the Wolves, who have won three straight games after starting the year 0-3. Vanden, one of the teams they have shared the SCAC title with the past two seasons, was also the only team to get the better of them in league play last year, hitting a field goal as time expired to steal a 24-21 victory.
For Singer, his initial reaction was sympathy for his players, who have been in limbo all week.
“People are losing their homes, people are being displaced. But I think the one thing sports does is – especially for kids – is it gives them a sense of normalcy,” he said. “It gives them a sense of, ‘OK, this is all I have to do right now. This is what I can do. I can just enjoy this and have a good time. I have a routine. We have a schedule.’
“For some kids, that’s huge because they don’t have that at home. They don’t have that in their everyday life … so no, I get it. People are losing their homes. One of our players – his mom – her home is over in Santa Rosa and the fire was like a block away from her house. Literally the houses behind her the next street over were burned down to the ground and hers was saved. So that really puts things in perspective for us as a team. But at the same time (structure from sports is) what these kids need.”