ELKHART — Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any stranger, the lights went out in the third quarter Friday at Jake Field.
And they didn’t come back on.
Because, of course, they didn’t.
With Wawasee facing a third-and-six from its own 31-yard line, the lights went out at the home of the Concord Minutemen in the middle of the play. After more than a 20-minute delay, school officials decided to suspend the game with 4:22 left in the third. Concord leads, 21-7, over the Warriors.
Play will resume with that third-and-six play for Wawasee at 11 a.m. today back at Concord.
“Of course,” Concord coach Craig Koehler said. “That’s the emotion: ‘of course.’ That’s about all I can say. 2020 continues. It’s wild.”
“Exasperation,” added Wawasee coach Jon Reutebuch on his emotions following the suspended game. “You’re in the middle of a game and you’re hyped up and you’re trying to get something done. You’re driving the football finally in the second half, getting something going and then the lights go out on a pass that, literally, was in our receiver’s hands when the lights when out. I mean, talk about timing.
“In 2020, that’s about par for the course.”
The official cause for the power outage was a transformer blowing, causing a fire. Concord Fire Department responded to the scene.
Reutebuch said a plan to return to Concord in the morning hasn’t been set. He said they will work backward from the 11 a.m. resumption time to make sure players are properly stretched.
“They just played two-and-a-half quarters, and there’s going to be some soreness and some tightness,” Reutebuch said. “So, we have to physically get them ready so they don’t get injured, number one. And number two, is getting them mentally ready because this is a total change.”
Friday was the home opener for Concord after its week one game vs. Elkhart was canceled due to an Elkhart County Health Department mandate. The Minutemen also missed a week of practice in the summer due to a positive COVID-19 test from a member of the program. In their first two games, Concord faced two teams with new offensive personnel, giving them little to prepare with heading in.
“Literally every week, it’s been crazy,” Koehler said.
When football was played at Jake Field on Friday, it was a competitive contest between the 2-1 Warriors and 1-1 Minutemen. After a series of three-and-outs between the two teams to start the game, Concord finally broke through on its third possession of the game. Specifically, junior Will Odhiambo made an impact for the Minutemen. He took a screen pass 29 yards for a first down to the Wawasee 20. On the next play, Odhiambo ran 16 yards to the four-yard-line, setting up a first and goal situation.
After a one-yard run from Odhiambo, he finished off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 Concord.
“He’s a really good high school football player,” said Koehler of Odhiambo. “All 5-6, 150 pounds of him. He is a really good player for us on both sides of the ball.”
Wawasee would then strike late in the first quarter. Senior quarterback Parker Young threw a beautiful pass over the middle to senior tight end Zach Smith, who hauled in the pass for a 46-yard score to tie the game at seven. The touchdown came two plays after an interception by Wawasee senior linebacker Dominic Blair.
After back-to-back punts, Concord would take advantage of a short field to score its second touchdown of the game. Taking over at the Wawasee 27-yard line, they only needed four plays before junior quarterback Hunter Dutton connected with senior wide receiver Brenden Stockman for a 14-yard touchdown reception. This put the Minutemen up 14-7 with 7:21 to go in the half.
It would remain a 14-7 game until the middle of the third quarter. A two-play momentum swing would pay huge dividends for Concord, as junior Zaven Koltookian intercepted a Young pass and ran it back to the Wawasee 33-yard line. On the next play, junior quarterback Tommy Kinsman found senior Amarion Moore on a crossing route, who ran it down the far sideline for a 33-yard touchdown.
Within 20 seconds, the Warriors went from driving to trailing the Minutemen, 21-7.
Kinsman came into the game for Dutton because of an ankle injury to the starting quarterback. Dutton’s status for today is uncertain.
CONCORD 21, WAWASEE 7 — Game suspended with 4:22 left in the third quarter due to a transformer issue knocking power out of the field
Wawasee — 7; 0; 0; 0 — 7
Concord — 7; 7; 7; 0 — 21
C — (6:06) Will Odhiambo 3 run (Yordy Amaya-Diaz kick)
W — (22.7) Zach Smith 46 pass from Parker Young (Caleb Clevenger kick)
C — (7:21) Brenden Stockman 14 pass from Hunter Dutton (Amaya-Diaz kick)
C — (5:51) Amarion Moore 33 pass from Tommy Kinsman (Amaya-Diaz kick)
*Play will resume at 11 a.m. today with 4:22 to go in the third quarter. Wawasee will have a third-and-six from its own 31-yard line*