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STRANDED IN VEGAS: Football team can’t get home to Miami

Waves crash over a seawall at the mouth of the Miami River from Biscayne Bay, Fla., as Hurricane Irma passes by, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

The Miami Central High School football team has been stranded in Las Vegas since Saturday while waiting for an opportunity to fly back to Florida following Hurricane Irma.

Andre C. Fernandez of the Miami Herald noted the Rockets, who have been helped by opponent Bishop Gorman High School during the wait, are hoping to secure a flight home Tuesday.

“When you talk about a crisis like this, we just feel very thankful and blessed for the way [Gorman] has treated us this whole time,” Central coach Roland Smith said.

The Miami Central traveling party, which includes about 65 people, has been in Las Vegas since last Wednesday. The No. 16 Rockets scored a 24-20 upset over the three-time defending national champion Gaels on Friday night, but were unable to return home over the weekend due to the storm.

Bishop Gorman has covered the cost of Central’s extra nights in a local hotel, and the team has continued to practice in the parking lot, though it’s still unclear whether athletic activities will resume as scheduled when they do get home, according to the Miami Herald.

“We just kept telling the kids we’re all going through the same thing together,” Smith said. “I kept showing everyone all the messages we kept getting from people back home and other coaches pulling for them. We were the only high school team from South Florida playing, and they were rooting for us. We put the city on our backs, and we got the job done.”

Catherine E. Shoichet and Alanne Orjoux of CNN noted 72 percent of Miami was without power as of Monday after wind gusts over 90 mph and flooding Sunday. Miami mayor Tomas Regalado said “thousands of trees are down” because of Irma.

Miami Central’s next game is scheduled for Thursday night against Miami Edison High School. No decision has been made about whether to play that contest as the Rockets attempt to make their way home.

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