At least Mother Nature had the decency to wait until the second week to wreck havoc on area high-school football games last year.

At least Mother Nature had the decency to wait until the second week to wreck havoc on area high-school football games last year.

This time, however, thunderstorms rolling through central Ohio last Friday came on opening night, delaying or suspending countless games across the area, including Granville coach J.R. Wait's debut against visiting Johnstown.

"It's always about safety first," first-year athletics director Kevin Jarrett said.

The Blue Aces and Johnnies were tied 7-7 midway through the second quarter when that game was suspended until Saturday, Aug. 29.

The scoring came on big plays. Tyler Link ripped off a 77-yard touchdown run on the first play of Granville's second possession, going in untouched over the middle. The Johnnies quickly answered on their next possession as Brad Couts rumbled 35 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown.

Elsewhere last Friday, almost every other game involving Licking County schools was suspended or called early.

Licking Valley lost 21-0 at Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit in a game ending in the third quarter. The same thing happened with Newark, which fell 51-6 at rival Zanesville, and Lakewood, which lost 41-0 at home against West Muskingum.

The Watkins Memorial-Walnut Ridge, Utica-Grandview and Heath-Middletown Madison games were all suspended until last Saturday.

Licking Heights defeated host Philo 58-13 and Newark Catholic lost 14-0 at Amanda-Clearcreek.

•LOOKING AHEAD -- Highlighting second-week action is Licking Heights' game Friday at neighboring Watkins Memorial.

Last year's "Battle for Broad Street" was tied 14-14 at halftime when thunderstorms postponed the finish until the following morning. The Hornets eventually won 41-14 for the second consecutive time in the series. The Warriors last won 35-0 in 2006, and Licking Heights prevailed 40-7 in '07.

"The scores have been kind of odd, very one-sided," Hornets' coach Darren Waters said of a rivalry that resumed three years ago following a long hiatus. "The fans seem to be enjoying the games, but I'm sure they'd like to see one come down to the fourth quarter."

Another top game is Heath's visit to Johnstown. The Bulldogs prevailed 28-14 a year ago and also 34-28 in 2006, but the Johnnies recovered both seasons to make the Division V playoffs. Both are playing in Division IV this year. Johnstown won 41-14 in 2007.

Granville plays at Utica in the third game involving two county schools. The Blue Aces rolled 49-0 in last year's game, one which was called at the half because of the threatening weather, and they also have won two of the last three played at Utica. The Redskins' last victory in the series was 26-21 in 2006.

Elsewhere, Zanesville plays at Licking Valley after the Panthers won last year's game 35-13 and also 27-7 in 2007 in Hanover. On Saturday, Centerburg will meet Newark Catholic at White Field after the Green Wave won last year's game 26-0.

Friday's games also include three area teams who are playing new opponents. Northridge plays at Bexley, Marion Harding visits Newark and Ready is at Lakewood.

All three opponents have made the playoffs this decade, although Harding is trying to make it back for the first time since qualifying four consecutive years from 2000-03. Ready has made it six times since 2000 while Bexley qualified for the first time in school history a year ago.