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Hurricane Ivan halts Friday night football

According to the National Weather Service, Ivan is predicted to be the largest hurricane to hit the United States in at least 25 years.

So far, it has been blamed for 68 deaths in the Caribbean alone.

If Ivan follows the patch projected by the Weather Channel, then the storm will move directly over us in route to Montgomery and all points north.

"It's looking bad," said Randy McKee, head of the National Weather Service office in Mobile. "Whether we're on the fringes or right in the middle, no one can tell yet. We're just advising everyone to prepare for a Category 2 to 3 storm."

According to the Mobile Register, a hurricane watch was issued at 10 p.m. Monday covering the Northern Gulf Coast from east of Morgan City, La., to St. Marks, Fla., Including all of coastal Alabama and the greater New Orleans area.

"Right now, we are waiting to see what the storm's going to do," said Dr. Mike Reed, superintendent of the Butler County School System. "I was talking with the civil defense today and it's [Ivan] is not predicted to hit land until sometime Thursday morning. I will make an announcement then."

The announcement about school closures will be made before noon on Wednesday.

"I talked to all three principals whose schools are playing at home Friday night and told them they need to talk to the schools that are coming here and make alternate plans," Reed said.

Greenville and Georgiana both host opponents. Greenville is scheduled to play host to No. 2 Charles Henderson from Troy and Georgiana will play host to No. 2 ranked Washington County.

Right now, the schools are operating under the wait and see directive when it comes to Friday night's games.

"At present time, I have spoken with Washington County's principal and we are to talk again Friday and we are to go from there," said Roland Petty, principal of Georgiana High School. "Best case scenario is that Friday night is a go. Second option would be to play on Saturday. If we do have to play on Saturday, then we have discussed the possibility of playing earlier. We have not set a time, but I am going to check with the state association to see if we can play earlier than the 7:00 time. The other option is that you would have to go to Monday night. We will just have to reassess Friday morning."

For Fort Dale, who was scheduled to go to Mobile and face Mobile Christian.

"That game has been rescheduled for Friday Nov. 5," said David Brantley, Headmaster of Fort Dale Academy. "The decision was made after consulting with the Mobile Christian people and the AISA. Initially, there was the thought of trying to play it on Monday. Neither us nor Mobile Christian was in favor of that. Because of a number of schools will be in the same situation Friday night, the AISA decided to reschedule those games for the week of Nov. 5 and move their playoffs back a week."

Fort Dale will also be closed Thursday and Friday due to Hurricane Ivan.

This message was posted on the Alabama Independent School

Association's online newsletter, The Link at aisaonline.org: Hurricane Ivan is possibly approaching Alabama this weekend.

You need to stay in touch with your opponent, in case the storm disrupts Friday night.

Keep your officials informed.

The AISA position on rain or inclement weather:

you play on the next playable date.

Be sure to check your lights and clock after the bad weather.

It would be wise to go ahead and make a check list of things to do and contacts to make in case we do receive bad weather from Ivan--don't wait until the last minute.

"We have to have a contingency plan for when an emergency comes up," Reed said.

"We activate our plan when the situation calls. That's just normal business."

Besides Fort Dale, McKenzie also travels Friday night. They will make the trek to face Zion's Chapel.

Dr. Cathy Murphy, principal of Greenville High School and Randy Williams, principal of McKenzie School were both unavailable for comment about plans for the Hurricane.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association released this on the front page of their website, www.ahsaa.com: Member schools are urged to work together in negotiating the rescheduling of games postponed due to inclement weather situations.

Playing on the "next available day" is the primary AHSAA guideline for rescheduling regular season and playoff games. Other than the safety factor, the priority is to make sure all region games get played, but schools are urged to make up any postponed non-region games as well since they may have playoff implications when the tiebreakers are used.

Reed plans to make an announcement Wednesday before noon about the other three games that are to be played in the Greenville area.