After the disastrous effects of Hurricane Katrina on Louisiana, Mississippi, and the Gulf Coast states, the Houston Independent School District is taking no chances this week by canceling all high school football games scheduled for the next three days.
Known as one of the most intense high school football states, Texas usually is known as a state that doesn't easily shut down any high school football games without great reason. However, HISD press secretary Terry Abbott says given the danger of Hurricane Rita on it's way, it wasn't even a question.
"With four million people in the Houston area all on the highway getting out of town and a Category 5 hurricane headed your way, you have little choice," Abbott said. "Not one person has said anything about the games being cancelled. That's saying something in a football crazy state."
Right now, Abbott says the rescheduling of those games is completely up in the air and it will not be assessed until after coming back to the Houston area and finding out the extent of damage to the schools.
Pearland (Texas) senior safety Justan Vaughn is one player more concerned about getting out of town than this week's first district game being played.
"We have to do what we have to do," Vaughn said about leaving town. "That's one thing we have to do as a team and as individuals through all of this – we have to adjust."
"It's going to be tough coming back and expecting to play a game on Monday depending on what the effects of the storm are."
Pearland versus Clear Lake high school was rescheduled for next week, but according to sources at HISD, that looks to be a best case scenario, not a given.
Some players like Sugar Land (Texas) Austin defensive end Shane Jarka are not planning to leave the area, but rather ride out the storm. He is having to deal with loved ones fleeing the city.
"My girlfriend is going to get out and they're going to plan on coming back Monday," Jarka said. "My family and I are going to just ride it out. I've never been through a hurricane before, but I'm not looking forward to it either."
Where some of these players will go has ranged from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex all the way to even states like Tennessee. Texas Tech commit, offensive guard Dimitri Lott is not planning on watching the storm from his house.
Lott and his family are heading out of the area, but they're not sure where just yet.
"Today or tomorrow we're heading out," Lott said. "It's up in the air where we're going but it's going to be somewhere between Dallas, Fort Worth, or even Memphis. We've got family in all those places, so it's all an option."
"We just don't want to take any chances, so we're heading out."
Bigger games that had to be cancelled included undefeated district rivals North Shore versus the 3-0 La Porte Thursday which is currently set for Sept. 26. Katy (Texas) High School was also scheduled to open up their district play with fellow undefeated member Strake Jesuit on the road. That game has been postponed for a date that has yet to be announced.
Other big games that have been cancelled include 22-5A match-up Beaumont (Texas) West Brook at 2-1 district foe Kingwood and Galena Park (Texas) was set to finish up their non-district schedule to try to stay undefeated versus Orangefield who have one loss on the year.