At about 10:45 p.m. on Friday night, with massive raindrops falling from the sky, several coaches and staff members from the Hart and Canyon football teams stood alongside a handful of referees.
After the second weather delay due to lightning at College of the Canyons, the group was struggling to figure out what to do next. Reschedule the game for Saturday? Would be difficult, especially with field and referee availability. Cancel the game? Definitely a no.
So, they decided to continue the game.
Fifteen minutes later, with most of the stands emptied, both teams returned to the field, ready to play.
“In the locker room we just kept saying, we’re going to have to go back out there, just get your mind right and get ready,” said Indians quarterback Zach Johnson. “We don’t need anything coming out being flat or doing something stupid out here.”
The bizarre, inconsistent game had little effect on the Indians, who were able to come out with a 59-7 win.
Hart (4-4 overall, 1-2 in Foothill League) had already mounted a healthy lead up to that point. Johnson opened the first quarter with a pitch to Drew Munoz on the first drive of the game, a play that resulted in a 47-yard touchdown.
Johnson threw to Ryan Tomaszewski for a 22-yard score with 6:29 to go in the frame, then the first rain delay ensued. Protocol mandates that if a lightning strike is observed, there will be a 30-minute delay in the game.
On the other side of the delay, Taden Littleford scampered nine yards for another touchdown. Johnson tossed to Ashton Thomas for a 20-yard connection to make it 28-0 by the time the clock read 7:35 in the first quarter.
Canyon (2-6, 0-3) was able to get on the scoreboard shortly after as Aydyn Litz threw to Ryan Valdes for a 12-yard strike at the 4:54 mark.
Munoz was the recipient of another Johnson pitch with 2:23 left in the second. Munoz bobbed and weaved and broke a tackle, narrowly staying in bounds, then completed the 7-yard run for a touchdown.
“I think that it just shows that we really worked hard during the week and they worked really hard to prepare for the game and know what they’re supposed to do and to have guys that can do that is just so helpful for our team,” Johnson said of his receivers’ capabilities.
Less than two minutes later, Aaron Rodriguez added three points on a field goal to make it 38-7. With four seconds left in the first half, Rodriguez set up for another field goal, but a lightning strike forced another delay.
Players took to the locker room and stretched, stayed hydrated and talked about the game.
“We just made sure that we kept our focus in the locker room and we keep that mindset so when we got back out on the field we weren’t slow or we weren’t flat or anything like that,” Johnson said.
Littleford opened the third quarter after the weather delay with a touchdown to bring the score to 45-7, then Kyle Wiggins scored on a 5-yard rush.
Johnson threw his only interception of the game in the fourth quarter – a pass that was picked off by Canyon’s Shawn Gallagher – but made the tackle to prevent a touchdown.
The Cowboys were unable to capitalize on the possession as Litz threw an interception caught by Max Bjorkman, who returned it 27 yards for Hart’s final touchdown.
“I’ve never played in a game with any delays. So two of them was kind of interesting,” Johnson said. “But I’m happy with the way we came out and still performed even after those.”