Fans were able to get a double dose of high school football in the opening weekend. Everyone can thank Mother Nature for that.
Storms, featuring heavy lightning, forced teams across northeast Ohio to split its games over two days this weekend, a rarity to many of the high school coaches.
``I don’t think I have been a part of one of those in a long, long time,’’ Green coach Tom Stacy said.
The Bulldogs made it one play into the fourth quarter – a one-yard touchdown run for Lake’s Jim Luther to make the score 14-0 – before lightning forced the game to be restarted 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Lake eventually won that game 21-7.
While the fans may have gotten an extra day of enjoyment out of the inclement weather, It didn’t do any favors for the players and coaches.
Saturday is considered a healing day, where players can rest after the beating that is taken on Friday night, Revere coach Terry Cistone said. Football is a weekly sport after all, crawling out of bed for a game the next morning isn’t easy.
Each team has its own schedule and routines for the week. Saturdays typically include film study for a lot of the area coaches. Barberton coach Brian Staats said a light workout is usually done as well, to get the lactic acid out of the player's system.
Tallmadge coach Joe Vassalotti said situations like this change the whole routine. Instead of having Sunday off, the Blue Devils’ coaching staff had to a lot of its film study and coaches meeting then.
``I just got home five minutes ago,’’ Stacy said at 9: 45 p.m. Sunday night.
But the good thing is it was the first week. For the players, at least, that routine had not been created yet.
The stoppage effected momentum in many different ways over the weekend too.
``It was really different,’’ Staats said about coming back for Saturday. ``It had a very different feel to it.’’
With all the construction on Sharkey Stadium, the Magics have been used to distractions this season, so Staats kept it simple with his team:
``What’s one more distraction?’’ he asked.
The Magics then finished off their 35-14 victory over Cuyahoga Falls.
It may have hurt Wadsworth’s momentum, coach Greg Dennison said; although they were still able to beat Stow 21-7.
Revere was struggling Friday when Akron East had the ball on the five-yard line with about a minute to go before halftime. An East score would have given them, at least, a 20-6 lead.
But the lightning struck. Revere had a few hours to regroup.
``Going home Friday night and playing the way we did; It was a sleepless night,’’ Cistone said.
When the game resumed the following day, Revere senior captain Chris Gibbs stepped in front of a slant route for an interception. Gibbs took it for an 104-yard touchdown to give the momentum back to the Minutemen. They hit the two-point conversion to tie the game at 14.
``It was a different team,’’ Cistone said about his team from Friday to Saturday. The Minutemen eventually won 28-14.
Copley also went through something similar in its 14-6 win over Jackson, a crucial win no matter what week of the season.
``I think on Friday night they were getting after us a little bit,’’ Copley coach Ron Viscounte said. ``We challenged the kids to step and, physically, play tougher and they responded.’’
The lightning delays and stoppages certainly made for an interesting first week full of unexpected moments.
``It is something that, unfortunately, happens,’’ Viscounte said. ``I think all the coaches would like to start their games Friday and finish Friday, but that’s not how it goes all the time.’’