When the McDowell Titans qualify for the State 4A Playoffs, they’re used to having an extra week off before the postseason begins, thanks to the fact the Titans’ open date traditionally falls on the final Friday of the regular season.

The wait could be even longer if McDowell makes it this year.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) decided to push the start of the football playoffs back a week due to flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Matthew in the eastern part of the state.

Seeding for the playoffs has been moved from Nov. 5 to Nov. 12, and first-round games will take place on Nov. 18 instead of Nov. 11.

That means the Titans, should they make it to the postseason, would play their final regular-season game Oct. 28 and wouldn’t take the field again for 21 days.

Other fall sports, including tennis, volleyball and soccer, have been affected as well.

In a release from the NCHSAA, commissioner Que Tucker said keeping athletes safe is the association’s top priority: “The logistics of moving the fall championships dates, especially this close to the events are complex; however, we must do everything in our power to do what is best for our student-athletes in the state,” said Tucker. “Keeping our young people safe as we try to minimize risk of injury must be paramount in our decisions.”

McDowell has made the playoffs in football in three of the last four seasons. The Titans were a 16 seed last year in the 4A bracket. They fell to top-seeded Greensboro Dudley 54-0 in the opening round.

Headed into Friday’s game at home against A.C. Reynolds, the Titans were 4-5 overall and 1-3 in the Mountain Athletic 4A/3A Conference. McDowell’s regular-season finale is at Enka the following Friday.