By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Apparently, Mother Nature decided there weren’t enough fireworks on the field Friday night between Goshen and Northridge.
A stronger than anticipated thunderstorm – packing dangerous lightning and torrential rain – hit Middlebury just as the teams were exiting the field for their respective locker rooms at halftime.
Under IHSAA safety rules, a game must be lightning-free for at least 30 minutes before play can be resumed.
With the fans evacuated from the stands at 8:50 p.m., the persistent storm kept the game from being restarted until 10:15 p.m.
When the game finally ended just before 11 p.m., it was the Raiders coming out on top. 20-0 to move to 6-1 on the season (4-1 NLC).
Northridge coach Tom Wogomon said the games are getting bigger for his team each week.
“We were able to get some big plays when we needed them.”
If you like punting exhibitions, much of the first half was your kind of game, with five punts exchanged in the first quarter and a half.
It became apparent early on that on this wet, muggy night in northern Indiana that the first team to come up with a big play was going to have the upper hand in this one.
That ended up being the Raiders.
Midway through the second quarter, it was Travis Schlabach breaking an 85-yard run off left tackle to get the Raiders on the board with 8:34 left until intermission.
The Raiders for a second score just before halftime when senior quarterback Tanner Love connected with receiver Sam Ahonen for what turned out to be a 47-yard scoring play. This time, the Hunter Hardin extra point was good and the Raiders led 13-0 with 2:34 left in the second stanza.
After the game finally resumed, it was the Raiders finding the end zone once more: Love burst through the Goshen defense on a third-and-goal play from the Goshen 23 for the TD and the final Raider tally.
For the Redskins (0-7, 0-5 NLC), it was another chapter of the storyline that has dogged Goshen all season: The Redskins move the ball well at times, but hit a wall and struggle to finish drives.
Goshen coach Mike Cheviron said his defense played well, except for three big plays.
“I can’t fault our guys,” Cheviron said.
Goshen travels to Plymouth next week. Northridge heads to Concord for a key NLC matchup with the Minutemen, who lost a 42-39 shootout at Plymouth Friday night.
Northridge’s victory over Goshen — coupled with Concord’s loss and a Warsaw victory over Wawasee — created a three-way logjam atop the NLC standings: Northridge, Concord and Warsaw are all 4-1.
The Tigers host NorthWood next week.