STEUBENVILLE - Catholic Central scored on three of its four possessions in Saturday's battle with Frontier at Harding Stadium before remnants of Hurricane Isaac drenched the Ohio Valley.
Following a lengthy delay due to lightning and thunder, officials from both schools decided enough was enough and the Crusaders were granted a 23-8 victory in the game which lasted just 15 minutes and 21 seconds.
"Both sides discussed the situation and we came to an agreement," Central's Steve Daley said. "They have a two-hour trip ahead of them (Frontier is located in Washington County). The way the rule reads, you can't restart a game after 11 p.m. We looked at the radar and there didn't appear to be any let up until then.
"We considered tomorrow (Sunday) but it doesn't look good either. So we decided to leave it where it was."
Central received the opening kickoff and threatened immediately. Quarterback Brenton Colabella hit his favorite receiver, Zack Herrington, for a quick 33-yard gain. Doug Maslowski ripped off a short gain before Colabella connected with Ryan Fletcher. The Crusader march would stall at the Cougar 34.
Frontier and its potent ground attack put together a march of its own on the next series. Starting at their own 34, the Cougars moved to the Crusader 33. Facing a third and eight, quarterback Jordan Jefferson dropped back for a rare passing attempt. Stone Romano, Central's sophomore linebacker, burst through and registered a sack, forcing Frontier into the game's only punt.
Central 23, Frontier 8
Frontier 0 8 - 8
Central 16 7 - 23
C: Laukert 26 pass from Colabella (Fletcher pass from Murphy)
C: Fletcher 25 pass from Colabella (Potenzini pass from Murphy)
F: Merckle 54 run (Howell run)
C: Laukert 43 pass from Colabella (Romano kick)
RUSHING: Central 4-13 (Colabella 1-9; Maslowski 2-1; Laukert 1-(-1)) Frontier 15-94-1 (Jefferson 4-(-2); Merckle 4-72-1; Howell 6-15; Salazar 1-9).
PASSING: Central 10-13-193-3 (all by Colabella); Frontier 1-2-16-0-1 (all by Jefferson).
RECEIVING: Central (Herrington 2-42; Carapellotti 2-13; Fletcher 4-69-1; Laukert 2-69-2); Frontier (Asber 1-16).
FIRST DOWNS: Central 7; Frontier 4.
PENALTIES-YARDS: Central 0-0; Frontier 2-15.
PUNTS: Central 0-0; Frontier 1-38.
FUMBLES-LOST: Central 0-0; Frontier 0-0.
Six plays later, Central finished off an 80-yard drive when Colabella hit senior Kyle Laukert for six. The scoring toss covered 26 yards. Chris Murphy and Fletcher hooked up for the two point conversion. On the march, Colabella connected with Fletcher for 32 stripes and senior Michael Carapellotti for 13 more. The junior also added nine yards rushing.
Daley's offense was right back in business thanks to an interception by junior Aleks Porreca. It took Central just three plays to make Frontier pay for the miscue. This time, Colabella and Fletcher combined for a 25-yard pitch and catch touchdown. Murphy again went from holder to punter and found Luke Potenzini for the two-pointer.
Frontier's lone score came when Taylor Merckle broke loose on a 54-yard scamper. Jared Howell ran in for the extra points.
It didn't take the quick-strike Crusaders long to answer. They went 63 yards in just three plays, the touchdown coming on a Colabella pass to Laukert covering 43 stripes. Colabella hit Fletcher for 11 and Herrington for nine before finding Laukert. Romano added the conversion kick.
On its next possession, Frontier was facing a second and 14 from its 23 when the storm hit. The second quarter still had 8:39 remaining.
"It's kind of a shame for both sides," Daley admitted. "The Frontier kids up front were physical. They have a nice ball team and they'll definitely win some games this year.
"You'd like to see your kids play in a game situation. It obviously continues your game-type conditioning. We'll bring them in Monday and work them a little harder than we normally would on a Monday. They'll certainly be a lot fresher."
Colabella had an outstanding performance for Central. He completed 10 of 13 attempts for 193 yards and three scores.
"We were in a pretty good rhythm," Daley said. "There were some things we saw they were giving us coverage wise. We wanted to get them out of their five-man front but we never saw what might have happened."
Central, now 1-1 will remain at home this week, hosting always-tough Columbiana on Saturday. Frontier also stands at 1-1.