After lightning strikes in the area delayed their return to the field last night at Anthony Wayne, Central Catholic struck like lightning in the third quarter to pull away for a 35-12 football victory.
The Fighting Irish (2-1), who led just 14-6 at halftime, scored three touchdowns in a third-quarter span of 8:10 to take control of the game.
Central running back Brad Rogers (23 carries, 137 yards) set up the first of the scores, breaking off a 49-yarder around left end on his team's first play from scrimmage after the break.
Greg Hammond then scored at the 9:18 mark on a 20-yard burst around right end, his only carry in the game.
After AW's Aaron Keyer fumbled on a punt return, Central recovered at the Generals 34, and Irish quarterback Tyler Kleeberger went deep to Donte Johnson down the right sideline on the next play, giving Central a 28-6 lead with 4:59 left in the third.
Another Generals turnover - Johnson's interception of AW QB Hank Taylor - kicked off Central's final scoring drive.
This time the Irish pounded the ball on the ground, using eight plays to cover 40 yards, with Kleeberger sneaking in from the 1 with 1:08 left in the quarter.
"We played real tough the first half and we were real happy with where we were at halftime," Generals coach Craig Smith said. "Then, after the delay, they just took it us in the third and fourth quarter.
"No excuses [about the delay]. They just played a lot better than we did in the second half, for whatever reason. We just didn't get it done. We thought we were ready to go, but we weren't."
Lightning was spotted just before the second half was set to start at 9 p.m. and continued, causing a delay of 98 minutes. The game ended at 11:38 p.m.
"I thought the kids really came out well after that delay," Irish coach Greg Dempsey said. "We were able to get in our power formation and power the ball down, and then we were able to quick-strike after a turnover.
"That's tough to comeback from [for AW], especially after the wait these guys went through, and our kids just took advantage of some fortunate situations."
Central began the game with a monster 17-play, 73-yard drive which took 8:46 off the clock and culminated in Rogers' one-yard touchdown plunge over left guard. Twelve of the 17 plays were runs by Rogers totaling 40 yards.
The next Irish possession was the antithesis of the first. This time Central needed just 13 seconds to score and one play - a 76-yard strike from Kleeberger to a wide-open Cedric Bouyer - who caught the ball at the Anthony Wayne 45 and bolted untouched to the end zone with 1:26 left in the first quarter.
The Generals (1-2) responded on their second possession, using eight plays to march 78 yards and score on Taylor's seven-yard pass to Keyer on a rollout to the right 1:52 into the second quarter.
Key in that drive were a 28-yard run from David Birsen (eight carries, 84 yards), and Taylor's 22-yard scramble. When the Irish were offsides on the point-after attempt, AW opted to go for two points from a yard-and-a-half out, but Birsen was hit in the backfield and the score remained 14-6.
AW scored with 9:07 remaining on Nate Sherman's two-yard run.
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