Lightning causes long game delay
by Randy Parks
After a scoreless first half and a lengthy delay because of lightning, the West team scored twice in the second half, leading to a 15-6 win over the East in the 62nd annual East-West Shrine All-Star Football Game Saturday, Aug. 2, in Baker City.
Neither team could get much going in the first quarter, as the West’s two drives ended with interceptions by Rayce Houser of Grant Union and Ontario’s Jason Hauter, and the two drives by the East resulted in punts.
The East started their third drive of the game at their own 8-yard line. After picking up two first downs, Seth Nonnenmacher of Burns broke free for a 37-yard run, giving the East a first-and-10 at the West 32. The West defense held however, and the East went out on downs at the West 26.
Hauter stopped the West’s next drive with his second interception of the game, and the East took over at their own 45.
The East ended up punting once again, and a 49-yard return by Gladstone’s Austin Galvin gave the west a first down at the East 46. With little time left on the clock, the West drove to the East 8-yard line, but a missed a 25-yard field goal attempt, keeping the game scoreless at half.
Following various halftime activities, a thunderstorm moved in over the stadium, prompting officials to delay the game for 20 minutes because of lightning in the area.
Several more lightning strikes, including one just outside Bulldog Stadium, forced more delays, making the halftime break more than two hours long.
The East’s first drive of the second half resulted in a punt once again, and more lightning forced another delay in the action.
Around 8:30 p.m., officials allowed the teams back on the field.
The West ended their drive with a punt, but the East could do no better, and ended up punting right back to the West after failing to pick up a first down.
The West finally put together a scoring drive, with Boomer Fleming of Ridgeview scoring from eight yards out with 12.9 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Dax Wilson of Harrisburg added the extra point and the West was up 7-0.
The East once again drove into West territory, only to turn the ball over on downs at the West 25.
The West drove inside the East’s 20-yard line on their next possession, but the East defense rose to the occasion and kept the West from adding to their lead.
The East’s drive ended with an interception by Ridgeview’s Coleman Aamodt, giving the West a first down at the East 37.
Fleming’s 32-yard run gave the West a first down at the 5-yard line, and Fleming then scored his second touchdown of the game with less than two minutes showing on the game clock.
Aaron Tedei of Seaside ran in the two-point conversion after a bad snap, and the West led 15-0.
The East showed they weren’t ready to call it a game, and came back with their own scoring drive, capped of by a 9-yard touchdown pass from Central’s Ben Finnegan to Michael Hussey of Ontario.
The East’s onside kick attempt was covered by the West, who then ran out the clock for the victory.
It was the fifth consecutive win for the West team, and gave them a 30-29-3 lead in the series.
Along with Nonnenmacher, Harney County was also represented in the game by Tyler Opie of Crane.