There will be about 21 minutes to play, but the Onalaska and Central high school football teams will have a little more than 68 hours to think about how to approach them.
A bolt of lightning struck over the bluffs behind the Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex just before 9:30 p.m. on Friday night, and the inclement weather persisted long enough for the officials to suspend the MVC game until 6 p.m. Monday.
The Red Raiders led the Hilltoppers 26-7 with 8:53 left in the third quarter when the game was officially postponed. That leaves the weekend for each coaching staff to decide a strategy on how to approach the remainder of the game.
However, the WIAA rules will force each coach’s hand, as they mandate that teams rest at least one full day during each calendar week.
“We’ve got to decide when we’ll practice and we’ll go one of those days,” Central coach Tony Servais said.
“We’ll get ready, watch some film, and hopefully finish this thing off the right way.”
The Red Raiders hold the three-score lead, but it was Onalaska that opened the scoring on a 90-yard touchdown run by Alex Teal with 3:44 left in the first quarter.
After that, the Hilltoppers started to wear thin due to injury and fatigue.
“I think (the delay) is actually to our advantage,” Onalaska coach Tom Yashinsky said. “They were starting to gas us running the ball and this gives us a chance to change things up and make our adjustments.”
That Red Raiders rushing attack was led by Lamont Murphy, who had 14 carries for 129 yards and two scores. Quarterback Mitchell Johnson-Martin added 75 yards on seven carries, including a 69-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.
Central had 313 yards of offense at the delay, while Onalaska stood at 211, led by 114 rush yards by Teal.
Yashinsky is optimistic that a few days will allow his team to rest up and be ready to go when the game resumes.
Said Yashinksy: “If we can come out Monday, get a touchdown and make it a two score game, we’ll be right in this thing.”
The Red Raiders will spend the weekend trying to figure out a way to prevent that from happening.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but they’ve got the same challenge,” Servais said. “It’s one of those things where we’re going to have to be ready to go on Monday and get back at it.”
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