BROOKLYN – Two old rivals reunited Saturday as Cleveland Benedictine traveled to Brooklyn to battle Parma Heights Holy Name. In a series that dates back to 1929, these two Cleveland Area parochial powers met for the first time since 1994. Although Benedictine jumped out to a 16-0 lead before halftime, the winner of the latest edition of the rivalry was Mother Nature. After two lightning delays that totaled nearly three hours, the two schools called it a night and will wait one more day to determine a winner.
The teams will resume play at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Although not pleased with having to wait, Benedictine head coach Art Bortnick understood what had to be done.
“It’s the law, there’s nothing we can do,” Bortnick said. “We’ve done it in the past. It’s just something we have to deal with.”
With his team playing so well, Bortnick isn’t sure how his team will react to the delay.
“I don’t know how this will affect us,” Bortnick said. “It’s hard that’s for sure. It’s hard having to sit in the locker room, come out and have to sit back down again.”
The game was clearly going in his team’s favor prior to the stoppage. From the opening kickoff, the Bengals seized control. Anthony Urbania gathered the opening kickoff at his three yard line and ran through the entire Green Wave kick coverage team for a 97 yard kick return for a touchdown.
Both team’s defenses stepped up the rest of the quarter, until Benedictine began a drive into Holy Name territory when the rain began to fall. Lightning followed shortly there after and both teams were sent to the locker rooms.
The OHSAA mandates that the game be delayed 30 minutes from the last lightning strike.
Several lightning strikes and 1 hour and 51 minutes later play finally resumed.
Benedictine picked up right where it left off, using the rushing abilities of Urbania and Romel Dismuke to extend its lead. As play stretched into the second quarter, Urbania, on a fourth and 5 from the 8 yard line, rushed in for the score, capping off a 14-play, 66-yard drive that took over 2 hours.
Later in the quarter, Benedictine added a safety to its total when Holy Name running back Alex Gnezda tried too hard to make a play happen. Instead of settling for a short loss, Gnezda ran backwards 14 yards and was tackled in the end zone by Marty Sweeney pushing the Bengal lead out to 16-0.
Right after the safety, the lightning returned and for the second time, teams were headed to the locker rooms. When lightning struck again a little past 10:30 p.m., it was decided they game would be called off and both teams would return to Byers Field on Sunday.