October 8, 2009 10:23:00 AM
Bowl season doesn''t begin for another two months.
But the past four weeks have lasted just as long for Chris Hamm and his Victory Christian football team.
The defending Christian Football Association champion Eagles (4-0) haven''t played since a 67-12 victory against Tabernacle on Sept. 11.
Scheduled games against Marion Academy and Lighthouse Christian had to be canceled because the schools didn''t have enough players, while bad weather and unplayable field conditions have wiped out two other games.
Another game against Calhoun Academy, which was scheduled as a makeup game, had to be canceled because Calhoun Academy couldn''t get officials for Friday''s game.
"It''s not like we haven''t tried," Hamm said. "In hindsight, I wish the two schools on the schedule had made the determination early enough (that they wouldn''t have enough players for field a team) so we could have nailed something down."
On top of the scheduling hassles, Hamm and the Eagles have had to deal with weeks worth of rainy weather that has forced them off a soggy football field and onto the outfield grass on the baseball field.
"We have had a place to condition and go over our offense and hit," Hamm said. "We have tried to keep the pads on them and keep hitting so it is not like the first day of practice."
Hamm said the Eagles will return to action at 7 p.m. next Friday when they will travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to take on North River Christian. The school''s homecoming game against Tuscaloosa Christian was moved to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23.
A makeup game against Victory Baptist, originally scheduled for Sept. 18, will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 26 will serve as the final tuneup for the first round of the CFA playoffs on Oct. 30.
The league''s championship game will be Nov. 6 in Cottondale, Ala.
The Eagles, who have outscored opponents 255-34 this season, are the top seed in the CFA. Hamm said he hopes to use the challenge of playing three games in eight days later this month as motivation to help get the players clicking again.
"My biggest concern is the conditioning part of it," Hamm said. "We had been very fortunate in the first five weeks of the season (with a scrimmage) that we only had a little bit of cramping issues. I was real pleased with where our conditioning was coming out of summer workouts and two-a-days and then into the season. Now it has sot of ground to a halt to some extent, but we have tried to keep them sharp."
Still, Hamm knows working on in the outfield is different than Friday night game action. That''s why he hopes the weather will be good all next week so the Eagles will get plenty of time on the field to prepare for what will feel like the opener to the team''s second season.
"The kids are antsy," Hamm said. "When they know we have no game this week, or the next week, or the next week, they''re not as gung-ho to get out there on the practice field. They have been disappointed they haven''t been able to get a chance to play, but they seem to have handled it pretty good. We''ll see how they respond when we get back to it."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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