PANAMA CITY/SNEADS, FL (WJHG/WECP) Call it a rather tough end to what was a great season for the North Bay Haven volleyball team.
No doubt when your region suffers an epic storm like Hurricane Michael, high school athletics certainly isn't at the top of anyone's priorities list.
Still, coach Fred Corbin and his Buccaneers were in the midst of the young program's best season ever, winning 20- of 24 games, and getting set to be the top seed in the district tournament.
A.D. Kevin Jacobs says in the wake of the storm, and given all the circumstances they now face, ending the North Bay Haven volleyball, football and cross country seasons was the best thing to do.
"Our kids have more things to worry about than getting here for a district volleyball match." coach Jacobs told me while he was driving back from Atlanta Monday. "So our coaches, they were on the same page that we were and we have some coaches that are in the same boat as the kids, they don't have anywhere to go and they need to take care of their families and don't worry about athletics."
Coach Jacobs adding coach Corbin was a big factor in the decision in terms of ending the volleyball season, detailing a conversation they had this way.
"He said Kevin, and he didn't mean this in a mean way, 'are you really asking me this question right now?' He said I don't even know where our kids are, I'm more concerned with their safety. Yes it's great to be 20-4 but we're just not ready to play volleyball right now. You know I don't want to bring our kids in, feeling like they have to be there.' So it really wasn't that tough a decision for volleyball."
Some other teams, somewhat less affected by the storm are playing on. Case in point, the 1A-2 tournament starting Monday at Holmes with Cottondale beating Holmes, and Bethlehem beating Vernon.
So Tuesday it's Bethlehem facing top seed and five time defending state champs Sneads 4. The winner of that plays Cottondale in the title match at 6.
Sneads Coach Heather Brinkmeier and her Pirates are 18-5 overall, 6-0 in district, hence being the top seed in the district tourney. Coach Brinkmeier taking advantage of an offer by former Sneads coach Sheila Roberts to practice at a facility in Tally.
That and a local with a sand court helping the team stay sharp during very difficult times!
"Absolutely, the girls have really enjoyed seeing each other. They've been nothing but positive to each other and uplifting. We've actually took part in some community service to give back. I think it obviously brought us a little bit closer than anything. It kind of took a toll on where we usually practice, but we found a way thanks to Sheila Roberts and Steve Sprouse is a local here who has a sand court and without those two we would have no facility to practice at."
Sneads hoping to make it back to the playoffs, and continue the dream of making it 6 straight state championships! And that helps put things in some perspective.
"It seems as if we have no right to complain because other people have it worse than we do. And we all have our own struggles at the moment. But the one thing that we do have in common is that we still have that goal to go after six straight titles. So we found a way to practice even though we don't have power. Actually Sheila Roberts reached out to not just us, but a lot of the surrounding areas to open up ProStyle in Tallahassee, to anybody that wanted to practice. So we jumped at that opportunity, we practiced there several times. And again, with a local here who has a sand volleyball court. So we still found a way to practice. So the goal, even though it feels everything around us falling through, volleyball still gives them hope and still gives them something to keep pushing towards."