MONROEVILLE – The rain came first Friday night, falling relentlessly from a sky the color of a fresh bruise. The lightning came later, one bright flash off to the south that signaled the beginning of the evenings end with 10:25 to play.
By that time, however, the real storm had long since come and gone.
It began with a bolt of lightning from Wil Knapke, 87 yards untouched up the gut for the Heritage Patriots first touchdown. It continued with a downpour of yards – a little Brenton Lockett, a little more Knapke, a little more Lockett – and after a fair amount of that, the Patriots sloshed off with a waterlogged 35-0 dousing of South Adams.
Game officials called it after two more flashes of lightning extended the initial 30-minute delay another 30 minutes.
But Knapke, Lockett and Co. had already bled the suspense from the night.
Knapkes 87-yard dash with 3:38 to play in the first quarter was the beginning of the end for South Adams, which controlled the ball for 5 1/2 minutes on its first possession, then went silent thereafter.
After Derek Franke intercepted South Adams quarterback Corey Seffernick at the Heritage 13 to end the Starfires first drive, South Adams managed just three first downs the rest of the night. The Starfires deepest penetration after their initial possession was the Heritage 35.
Knapke, meanwhile, immediately cashed in Frankes pick with his 87-yard score, the launch point for an 11-carry, 227-yard night.
Yeah, as soon as they got it blocked, I just went through and they couldnt catch me from there, said Knapke, who also scored on a 29-yard run in the second quarter.
Lockett, meanwhile, ran for three short-yardage touchdowns and 101 yards on 10 carries, giving the Patriots a 1-2 punch that kept South Adams off-balance. The two backs enabled Heritage, on a foul night for fancy stuff, to control the football for all but 14 plays in the abbreviated second half.
(Lockett) runs harder and I hit the holes, and after one makes the play then theyve got to watch out for the other one, Knapke said. They cant just shut down one, theyve got to get us both.
Heritage coach Dean Lehrman, whose team outgained South Adams 352 yards to 84, was not inclined to disagree,
When Wil broke that first one, that just kind of kick-started everything, he said. The kids an athlete. Hes a great college prospect and big-time high character man, too.
And Lockett is the perfect complement to Knapke, because teams cannot just say, We need to stop that one guy. Its nice to have that to be able to spread around. Its hard to defend.