BLANCHESTER — The last scheduled Cider Keg game was such a huge affair, one night couldn’t hold it.
Mother nature decided to bring an end to the proceedings Friday, as lightning postponed the game with Clinton-Massie leading Blanchester 20-16 at halftime.
The game will resume 7:30 p.m. tonight with the start of the third quarter. There will be no admission charged Saturday night, according to Blanchester Athletic Director Bryan Pennix.
It was a frustrating night for both coaching staffs, who will have the night to watch game film and make adjustments prior to Saturday’s resumption.
“There’s no weather around for 20, 30 miles,” CM Head Coach Dan McSurley said. “There’s heat lightning, it’s frustrating. We’re going to have to make the best of it, come back at 7:30 and play the second half.”
McSurley said the energy level of the resumption will be intense.
“(Blan) is right in it,” McSurley said. “It’s a dogfight right now. They’re going to get the ball on the kickoff and we’ve got a couple kids banged up. We’re going to have to come to play. It’s going to be World War III as far as I’m concerned.
“They’re going to come with the same attitude. They’re going to come with a lot of intensity. Right now, it’s 0-0, so it’s one half of football.”
For new BHS Head Coach Brandon Sammons, his debut game will last a bit longer than anticipated.
“The kids came out, we feel like they’re on the right page,” Sammons said. “They’re competing. They’re doing the things we want them to do. The question is can we come back (Saturday) and channel it all back up again, harness that energy and finish it off.”
Sammons and his staff will be breaking down film and discussing how they’ll approach Saturday’s second half.
“It gives us more time to ponder and think, second guess ourselves,” Sammons said. “Try and figure out what we need to do differently … all those variables that you start to drive yourself crazy with. “We’re going to try to focus on what we can fix, talk about what we messed up, see where the kids’ heads are, and go with the gameplan we still have.”
On a night that marked at least the end of a rivalry game, and the start of a new era at Blanchester, it wasn’t just the clouds from a distant storm producing fireworks.
Two early Clinton-Massie turnovers allowed Blanchester to set up for its first score. After taking over at the Falcon 18, and gaining just two yards, Dakota Penquite easily converted a 33-yard field goal to give BHS a 3-0 lead with 6:20 left in the first.
The Falcons answered with a traditional Clinton-Massie drive. A 14-play, 69-yard drive ended with a 3-yard Jaycob Wolf touchdown run. Clinton-Massie led 7-3 after one quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, lightning struck for the Wildcat offense. Faced with a 3rd and 12 from its own 18, Tristan Greene rolled left and heaved it for Nick Hopkins. Hopkins caught it near midfield, shook a defender and ran the rest of the 82 yards for the touchdown.
Leading 10-7, Blanchester’s defense forced a three-and-out on the next Falcon series. Blanchester would be pinned inside its own 9 after the punt. After gaining three yards, Blan would put. Greene would bobble the snap, and would be tacked at his own 2.
One play later, Wolf covered the two yards to put the Falcons back on top 14-10 with 8:27 left in the half.
Massie’s lead lasted four plays. On 2nd and 10 from the 34, Greene hit Quenton Miller on a slant pass, and he took off. The 66-yard pass-and-catch put Blanchester in the lead again at 16-14.
“We broke down in the secondary a couple times and gave up those big plays,” McSurley said. “What is unfortunate is it was after some long drives by us. When you have an opportunity to step on their throat, boom, they come back with a big play.”
Clinton-Massie would need three offensive plays to take the lead back. Devon O’Bryon got to the outside on a keeper and sprinted 54 yards. A rare Chris Demler miss kept the score 20-16 with 6:07 left in the half.
An interception with 3:19 left in the first half appeared to give the Falcons one more chance to score before the half. However, a Brad Hunt fumble with 2:11 left at the Blanchester 26 allowed the half to end at 20-16.
At 8:09 p.m., just as the half ended, lightning was spotted by game officials. Barbour Memorial Field was evacuated as the lightning continued.
At 9:06 p.m., the game was officially postponed.
August 26, 2016
@ Barbour Memorial Field, Blanchester
B – Dakota Penquite 32-yard FG 6:20
CM – Jaycob Wolf 3-yard run (Chris Demler kick) 41.5
B – Tristan Greene 82-yard pass to Nick Hopkins (Penquite kick) 11:44
CM – Wolf 2-yard run (Demler kick) 8:27
B – Greene 66-yard pass to Quenton Miller (kick failed) 7:09
CM – Devon O’Bryon 54-yard run (kick failed) 6:07
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsports.