Smyrna still looking for a 10th football game

Smyrna head coach Mike Judy

SMYRNA — Mike Judy has been down this road before, of course.

But just because Smyrna High was able to find a 10th football game late last June doesn’t mean the Eagles will be able to schedule a game at the last minute this season.

Right now, Judy said all Smyrna can do is keep looking.

“The surrounding states have flip-flopped schedules and conferences and changed some things,” said Judy, the Eagles’ head coach. “So it’s made the out-of-state teams a little harder to get hold of.

“We’ve had two out-of-state teams that we tried to set up games with but it didn’t work out.”

Three-time DIAA Division I state champion Smyrna was left with only nine games for the upcoming season after Irvington, N.J. had to drop the Eagles. Irvington — a first-time opponent last season — couldn’t play Smyrna this year after changing conferences and having to alter its own schedule.

As things stand now, the Eagles have an open date on Sept. 21. Smyrna’s three nonconference opponents right now are Middletown, Franklin, Md. and Salesianum. Its other six games are Henlopen Conference Northern Division matchups.

While the Eagles would love to play a full 10-game schedule, Judy said there are limits to how far they would travel. He said Smyrna probably wouldn’t go farther than a three-hour busride (one way) for a game.

Middletown, on the other hand, is traveling to Florida for a game this fall.

“We’re not going to travel across the country to play a team,” said Judy. “We’ve looked into that before. Really, the logistics of that for a high school team. … that’s not realistic in most cases.”

Football scheduling is particularly difficult for big schools in a small state like Delaware. There are only 16 Division I programs in the state.

Smyrna is already playing nine of the other 15 Division I schools.

Most schools in the region are also in the second year of a two-year scheduling cycle and already have their schedules locked up for this fall. Judy said the Eagles will keep searching as long as they reasonably can.

There’s always the chance a team will find itself with an unexpected opening at the last minute.

Judy said his players are taking the situation in stride right now.

“They ask but we went through it last year,” he said. “Hopefully we can come up with a game but, if not, then we’ll be playing nine.”

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