The new era of Island Coast High School football will begin a week later than planned.
Friday night's preseason game against East Lee County was canceled after a lengthy lightning delay at Island Coast.
No makeup was scheduled.
New Gators coach Wayne Blair kept saying he didn't want to go into next Friday's crosstown showdown at Ida Baker without a warm up. In the end he didn't have a choice.
"Unfortunately that's how things are with the weather. I think it was county-wide," Blair said. "Everybody was checking the reports and had to make a decision about what had to be done. You really can't anticipate what's going to happen with the weather. That's the way things are."
Ironically the scoreboard clock stood at 13:13 until game time when the school's lightning detector first forced the teams and fans out of the stadium and into the gym at Island Coast.
The first raindrops didn't fall until about 20 minutes after the game was called.
Jaguars coach Dave Smith shrugged off the problems with the weather.
"We're used to it," Smith said. Lightning "happens every day at East so we know what to expect. This is what we have every day at our place."
It was different for the Gators, who hadn't missed a single practice due to the weather. Blair and his staff held practices early in the morning to dodge Southwest Florida's frequent afternoon storms.
"I'm hoping next week will be a little less thunderous," Blair said. "And dry."
The Gators won't practice again until Monday.
"We'll give them the two days off to watch the opening weekend of little league football," Blair said. "I know the referees will be busy tomorrow from 8 a.m. until 6 or 7 p.m. The guys should be able to take advantage of watching the young ones play some good quality ball."?So Island Coast, instead of warming up against an East Lee team that was 0-10 a year ago, will get its first action Friday against a Bulldogs team coming off a 9-1 campaign, and a city rival to boot.
"Spring wasn't a true gauge of where we are," Blair said. "Baker's got a talented team offensively, defensively and special teams. Basically we're going in blind. Right now we've got to push on, get to our film study. Watch as much film as we have on them. I'm pretty sure they're going to be doing the same thing."