WILKES-BARRE — Shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday, Holy Redeemer tried an two-point conversion pass and failed.
And there were still nearly 10 minutes left to play in the Wyoming Valley Conference football game with Northwest. And some wild moments to follow as Northwest held on to defeat Redeemer 28-24 in a game that ended about 25 minutes to midnight.
The reason for the 4 1/2-hour marathon was an 80-minute lightning delay that was called at 9:40 p.m. Redeemer had just scored on a 1-yard run by Jimmy Strickland to cut the Northwest advantage to 28-24 with 9:56 left in the fourth quarter. As the teams were lining up for the point-after try, they were called off the field.
The players mulled around in the locker rooms or the tunnel leading to them, awaiting word on when the game would resume or whether it would conclude on Monday afternoon.
“We were just trying to get ourselves prepared mentally,” said Northwest running back Tyler Burger, who finished with 136 yards on 19 carries.
Nothing could prepare either team for Redeemer’s final drive that started at its 35-yard line with 4:48 remaining.
On the third play of the possession, Strickland hit Jason Hoggarth with a short pass, and Hoggarth turned up field and scored — only to have the touchdown negated by a penalty. Later, on a third-and-22 play, Strickland connected with Eric Kerr for 32 yards. But another penalty wiped out the first down.
The possession also featured two pass interference penalties on Northwest.
“I thought the delay would favor us because of the cramping and the number of players we have to get a much-needed rest,” Redeemer coach Pat Reece said. “They had their one running back out and a couple other guys out. So we thought we had a chance of playing the rest of game tonight and getting the win.”
The Royals never got another chance after turning the ball over on downs with 2:58 left. Burger powered for one first down and quarterback Logan Womelsdorf burrowed for another on a fourth-and-inches to preserve the win.
“I knew I had to get a foot,” Womelsdorf said. “That foot could the the difference before a win and a loss. The line did absolutely incredible. They got me the foot we needed.”
That foot was a pleasing sight for Northwest, which hurt itself with 144 yards worth of penalties.
“I’ll tell ya, it was a long, ugly game,” said Northwest assistant coach Matt Zlotek, who ran the team while head coach Carl Majer serves a two-game suspension. “We have a lot of room for improvement, but they’re kids and that will happen.”
Strickland, who led the WVC in passing yardage in 2012, finished 12-of-32 for 166 yards and three touchdowns. His numbers were tainted by the penalties wiping out two long gainers and having two passes dropped in the end zone.
Northwest 28, Holy Redeemer 24
NWT — Austin Mazonkey 1 run (kick failed), 6:37
HR — Eric Kerr 8 pass from Jimmy Strickland (kick blocked), 7:44
NWT — Tyler Burger 13 run (Burger run), 6:18
NWT — Safety, punt snap goes out of end zone, 5:03
HR — Kerr 65 pass from Strickland (kick failed), 3:16
NWT — Matt Mitchell 27 pass from Logan Womelsdorf (kick failed), 1:33
HR — Darius Washington 18 pass from Strickland (pass failed), 3:23
NWT — Burger 38 run (run failed), 10:53
HR — Strickland 1 run (pass failed), 9:56
RUSHING — Northwest, Austin Mazonkey 14-86, Adam Schechterly 5-34, Dakota Bowman 5-25, Tyler Burger 19-136, Logan Womseldorf 6-9. Redeemer, Strickland 14-46, Pat Villani 6-51, Vince Villani 3-4, Washington 1-1, team 1-(minus-27).
PASSING — Northwest, Womseldorf 3-11-0-63. Redeemer, Strickland 12-32-0-166.
RECEIVING — Northwest, Eric Gurzynski 1-13, Mazonkey 1-23, Mitchl 1-27. Redeemer, Kerr 5-95, Eric Shorts 2-10, Vince Villani 1-14, Washington 3-39, Jason Hoggarth 2-8.
INTERCEPTIONS — none.
MISSED FGs — none.