For just over two hours Oct. 4, the Lee’s Summit North and Blue Springs football teams cooled their heels, checked their phones and kept a wary eye toward the stormy Western sky.
With less than two minutes to go in the third quarter, the Broncos were driving and down only 11 points to the undefeated and defending Class 6 state champion Wildcats. Blue Springs wouldn’t stop this drive, but Mother Nature certainly did when the referees saw the sky light up.
That led to a long lightning delay, which led to a postponement to Saturday afternoon, which led to a 27-3 loss for the Broncos on their home field.
Lee’s Summit North, 2-4, trailed 14-3 when it marched from its own 22-yard line to the Blue Springs 39 with 1 minute, 36 seconds left. That’s when the referees saw the first flashes of lightning and a mandatory 30-minute delay began. With each bolt, another 30 was tacked onto the delay.
“I kept my shoulder pads on and I was just sitting up there ready to play,” Lee’s Summit North quarterback Matt Brumfield said. “It was so weird because it felt like a second halftime. I kept reminding our guys we’ve got to be ready because we could still be playing this game tonight.”
That wasn’t going to happen, not after Lee’s Summit School District athletic director Darwin Rold huddled with the coaches and officials and declared a postponement at 11 p.m. Friday night. All parties agreed to return to the field at 5 p.m. Saturday and pick up where they left off.
Lee’s Summit North coach Ty Kohl used that extra time on his hands to watch game film, and thought he saw an opportunity to jump-start the Broncos. So when the game resumed amid cooler and sunnier conditions and a small scattering of fans, Kohl had Brumfield toss the ball to running back Josh Caldwell for a halfback pass to James Harris.
Harris was wide open, but the ball sailed over his head. The Broncos would punt two plays later.
“We looked at formations and how they were lining up and thought we could easily get that by them,” Kohl said. “It was set up beautifully and we didn’t execute it.”
Brumfield, who said the Broncos had never run the play before, had hoped the play would have sent a message to the favored Wildcats.
“We knew that they had heard for the last I don’t know how many hours how they should be killing us,” Brumfield said. “We knew they were going to come out tough and we thought we could probably take some wind out of them with a big play like that.”
That halfback pass would be just one of several missed opportunities for the Broncos. Caldwell returned the game’s opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown only to see it negated by a holding penalty. They went nowhere after Jordan Caldwell picked off a pass and returned it 40 yards and saw a sure touchdown catch by Trevor Mountain go for naught.
Which was a shame for Lee’s Summit North, because its defense put in a stellar effort in slowing down Blue Springs in the first half. The Wildcats managed only 108 total yards and a 7-0 lead by halftime on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Ian Brown to Kaleb Prewett.
Lee’s Summit North pulled within 7-3 when Harris booted a 47-yard field goal early in the third quarter, but the Wildcats answered when Dalvin Warmack scored from 12 yards out. Then came the lightning and a long break.
“We were very frustrated (Friday night) but part of that frustration was based on the good things they were doing,” Blue Springs coach Kelly Donohoe said. “But (Saturday) we just said let’s come out to play and get some of that mojo back.”
That Blue Springs did, with Warmack finding some big holes up the middle. Warmack, the Wildcats’ Simone Award-winning running back, capped an 8-play 80-yard drive with a 1-yard run for his second touchdown of the game and put the Wildcats up 21-3 with 6:09 to play. After getting only 40 yards on nine carries in the first half, Warmack finished with 187 yards on 30 carries.
“I can’t say enough how proud I am of our defense,” Kohl said. “That’s a great offense, that’s a great team. Our defense played as scrappy as they can play and shut down a really great offense.”
So after a long Friday night and a quick 40 minutes of football Saturday, Kohl and Lee’s Summit North were left to wonder what might have been.
“We sure had our opportunities,” Kohl said.