UNION TWP. | No touchdowns were scored Friday night at Wheeler High School.
The first meeting between the Bearcats and Griffith was postponed due to continuous lightning in the area. The game is now set for 7 p.m. today, 24 hours after the original kickoff time. The junior varsity game scheduled for today will not be played.
“It’s an IHSAA rule, plain and simple,” Wheeler athletics director Randy Stetler said of the decision to postpone. “The clock resets to 30 minutes after every lightning strike. At this point, we wouldn’t have been able to start the game until 9 (p.m.)”
Shortly before 7 p.m. Friday, lightning began flashing across the twilight sky and an announcement was made that the start of the game would be delayed at least 30 minutes. Fans were asked to exit the bleacher area and take cover in the field house.
“We have a lightning detector that will usually pick up the lightning before you see it,” Wheeler superintendent John Hunter said. “Obviously, in this situation where fans are sitting on aluminum bleachers, we either send people into the field house or encourage them to go to their cars.
“We continue to monitor the weather, and in the case that it gets more severe, we move fans into a more secure area.”
As a rule, the delay clock was reset to 30 minutes every time lightning was spotted, which was often. By 7:20 p.m., heavy rain was falling on the playing field. After a couple dozen resets, the game was called and rescheduled.
“In fairness to our opponents, we have to make sure they get home safely,” Stetler said. “We’ll come back out and try to get it in (tonight)."
A win would have been the first of the year for either team, but the Panthers and Bearcats would have to wait another day. Griffith lost 27-13 to Morton last week, while Wheeler fell 27-7 to Boone Grove.