By Jason Herd
For the Pharos-Tribune
There’s an old saying, “Lightning never strikes twice in the same place.”
That may be true. But in Francesville Friday night, lightning struck six times, all in the form of quick scores from the West Central Trojans.
The Trojans hold a 38-13 lead over the Comets when play resumes early in the third quarter at 10:30 a.m. today after lightning caused a postponement.
Caston looked to end a three-game skid against its conference rival but quickly realized that would be a tall order.
After consecutive one-win seasons in 2008 and 2009, Trojan coach Darren Rodriguez has made a name for himself with three straight winning seasons since then. That includes winning 10 games last season and returning 14 seniors to the 2013 roster.
Despite a brief lead in the first quarter, the Comets had no answer for the Trojan offense in the first half, finding themselves in a 38-13 hole at the break. A line of thunderstorms halted the game early in the third period, leaving the two teams to settle the remainder of the contest Saturday morning.
The real storm started on the fourth play from scrimmage, when running back Parker Fritz bolted 49 yards for the early score with 10:51 remaining in the first.
With good field position, Caston used some big plays of its own on their opening drive. Conner Martin burst through the line off right tackle and scored from 30 yards out to tie the score at 6-6 just a minute later.
As mother nature’s fury started to roll in from the northwest, Fritz’ big night was just getting under way. The 5-6, 160 pound junior took the ensuing kickoff back 90 yards for the touchdown, accelerating away from Comet defenders.
But Caston came right back. Facing fourth-and-long, Douglass scrambled to the West Central 30 and picked up a key first down. The drive culminated with a 40-yard strike to sophomore Brayton Jellison for the score. The extra-point kick put the Comets up 13-12 at the 4:22 mark of the first.
On the second play of the Trojans’ next drive, Fritz broke loose again for a 67-yard touchdown around the left side. On the following kick return, a puzzling inadvertent whistle halted the play just as Martin scooped up the ball and headed upfield. With no apparent explanation, the Comets were forced to start their drive where the play was blown dead at their own 30. With momentum lost, the Comets punted and put the ball in the Trojans’ hands one more time in the period.
Senior quarterback Hunter Holiday hit Cody Denton for a big 30-yard pass and followed with a 23-yard score of his own as the second quarter began, giving the Trojans a 26-13 lead.
Denton would get free again on the next drive and hauled in a devastating 57-yard touchdown catch from Holiday.
The senior wideout wasn’t done there. He ended a promising Caston drive by picking off Douglass in West Central territory, setting up West Central for yet another score before half. Fritz found the endzone for a fourth time, this time from 15 yards out.
The Trojans recovered the onside kick to begin the third period, but lightning ended play at that point.