Yes, even football has weather delays.
Yes, even football has weather delays.
As halftime ended, officials issued a 30-minute delay after lighting was sighted southeast of the stadium. An hour and 45 minutes later, the Marysville High School football team and visiting Groveport returned to the field.
When the game resumed, the lead changed for the third and final time when Nathan Weeks scored on a 7-yard touchdown run with 5:10 remaining to give Marysville a 25-20 victory.
"We took our helmets off, took our shoulder pads off and I told them it's useless using nervous energy," coach Jeff Gafford said. "I told them we'll play tonight."
However, it looked as though the Cruisers would prevail. After Marysville's final touchdown, Groveport's Justin Bell returned the kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown, but the play was called back because of a holding penalty.
Coming out of the long halftime break, quarterback Luke Fleming gave the Monarchs a 19-14 lead with a 27-yard touchdown run with four minutes gone in the quarter. Groveport answered to take a 20-19 lead on a 16-yard touchdown run by quarterback Aaron McKenzie.
What proved to be Marysville's game-winning score, the Monarchs took almost four minutes off the clock in their nine-play, 86-yard drive.
Groveport held a 14-13 halftime lead despite Marysville's touchdown with 23 seconds remaining in the second quarter. For the second time in the first half, Fleming found Barrett for a touchdown reception, this time for 16 yards on a third-and-goal. Hayes Chrispin's point-after attempt was wide right.
Marysville also struck on third down three minutes into the game on its first possession. Barrett shook free of Groveport cornerback Chris Johnson and took Fleming's pass in full stride for an 83-yard scoring play.
Groveport answered Marys-ville's score three minutes later as a fumble by the Monarchs gave the Cruisers possession at the Marysville 36-yard line.
"We worked on (the passing game) all season," Gafford said. "In practice, if we complete eight of 10, we'll throw in the game. We're getting better as a team in that aspect and we threw when we had to tonight."
Groveport wasted no time. McKenzie, who threw for 331 yards in the opener, found Charles Dixon for a 36-yard touchdown pass as Dixon beat three Marysville defenders on a post route.
Marysville went three-and-out on the ensuing possession. Groveport then put together a 16-play, 77-yard drive culminating in a 11-yard touchdown run by LeVeon Bell with 10:46 left in the second quarter. Bell rushed for 141 yards, but only 38 in the second half.
COMING UP -- For the second consecutive game, Marysville will face a program coming off a playoff berth when it visits Bellefontaine on Friday. Bellefontaine won its opener over Wapakoneta 20-14 on Aug. 22.
Bellefontaine's defense forced four turnovers in the second half against the Chieftains as it came from behind for the win. Defense is where Bellefontaine's experience lies as the Chieftains returned eight starters who helped them finish 9-2 a year ago after losing in the first round of the Division III playoffs to Shelby 35-7.
In the regular season, Bellefontaine defeated Marysville 31-0.
Linebacker Nate Dodds (6-foot-2, 190 pounds), cornerback Nick May (5-10, 170) and tackle Jordan Vermillion (5-10, 250) have returned to highlight the 5-2 defense.
Marysville's defense also has been impressive as the Monarchs put together three consecutive strong outings, starting with its first scrimmage to its shutout of Marion Harding on Aug. 22.
"We've been doing a good job keeping leverage," Gafford said.
"Our corners are forcing the action to our safeties who are coming up and making a play. They're doing a good job of not letting anyone get one-on-one with us.
"That's our goal. Not to let teams get loose and so far our defense has been doing a really good job with that."
Offensively, Bellefontaine returned its two offensive tackles in Zach Vermillion (6-5, 250) and Derrick Schmidt (6-2, 215), but lost some key skill players to graduation. Gone is quarterback Keith Morgan, now at Bowling Green, and running back Sean Egler, who rushed for 6,000 yards in his career. In their place, the Chieftains' spread offense has remained run-oriented. Bellefontaine ran 46 times in its opener with only 12 passing attempts. Zach Mosbarger (5-10, 175) was the workhorse with 92 yards on 17 carries as the Chieftains totaled 391 yards of offense.
At a glance
MARYSVILLE at BELLEFONTAINE
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Last meeting: 2007, Bellefontaine 31-0
Bellefontaine to date: Defeated Wapakoneta 20-14; played Sidney
Top Chieftains: Nate Dodds, Nick May, Zach Mosbarger and Brandon Winter
MARYSVILLE 25, GROVEPORT 20
Stars: Luke Fleming and Nathan Weeks who combined for 20 carries for 161 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the second half.
Key play: Following Marysville's go-ahead score in the fourth quarter, Groveport's Justin Bell returned the kick off 78 yards for a touchdown. The play was negated on a holding penalty.
Key stat: Marysville's defense held LeVeon Bell to 38 second-half rushing yards after Bell amassed 103 in the first half.