It wasn't Fireworks Night, but there certainly was an impressive light show over Frost-Kalnow Stadium. Unfortunately for those wanting to see football, they had to wait two hours and two minutes while lighting lit up the sky.
Chances are it was the longest four minutes and seven seconds of football anyone who stuck around for the conclusion had seen. It took two hours and 16 minutes for the last 4:07 to tick of the clock, but for the Calvert Senecas, it was well worth the wait.
After trailing Seneca East the whole game, Calvert had just taken its first lead on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Long to Nick Warnement when Mother Nature unleashed her fury. A little over two hours later, the Senecas came back out and finished the job, scoring a 28-21 victory over Seneca East.
"We went in there, we were kind of upset because we had to go in there and stop the game at a critical moment," Calvert's Dan Kwiat said. "But I feel that we definitely rested up in there. We went over everything we needed to and everyone focused on the game. No one was messing around, so I feel like we did the right thing."
Seneca East found the end zone on its very first possession. The lead held all the way until Long and Warnement connected on a fourth down play for a 26-21 Calvert lead. After the break, Long ran in the two point conversion and the Seneca defense stopped the Tigers' final drive to secure the win.
"Those things are the worst thing in football. ... It's difficult," Seneca East coach Ed Phillips said. "It's difficult to sit in the locker room, especially when it's not yours, for two hours. I thought (Calvert) came out, I gave them all the credit in the world because they came out, (Long) makes a play, scores. And then we get the ball and we make a couple plays, we were driving. I really thought we were going to go down and score, I really did. But it didn't pan out."
Calvert coach Todd Fox said the delay came at the best possible time for his team, and was proud of the way his team handled the timeout.
"What I'm, proud of is, we didn't have to do much," Fox said. "Those guys came in, obviously if we were going to have an opportune time to have a break, it was there, because we came in with the right mindset. They did a nice job just staying off their feet, keeping themselves focused, and we were able to talk about some things we needed to do here in the last four minutes."
Back in what seemed like a completely different game, Seneca East came out fast hitting big-play after big-play. The Tigers' opening drive covered 88 yards, 51 of them on a pass from Ethan Caudill to Adam Hall. Jared Walker paid off the drive with a 5-yard scoring run.
After forcing Calvert into a three-and-out, it took just one play for Seneca East to strike once getting the ball back. Caudill lofted a pass through the nighttime sky, over the defensive back's shoulders and into the hands of Kevin Moore for an 84-yard touchdown pass and a 14-0 lead.
After that however, Calvert's defense began to rise up and keep Seneca East in check.
"I think we refocused," Fox said. "Early I think we stopped ourselves a lot with some turnovers and some near turnovers and some penalties. So we felt we just needed to get in our rhythm and keep our selves in a mindset that we were OK, and it worked out."
Calvert got on the scoreboard when Kwiat powered into the end zone from 11 yards out. Seneca East threatened to add to its total before halftime, but Warnement picked off Caudill in the end zone to end the half.
Seneca East struck first in the second half.
A Caudill-to-Hall 52-yard pass set up Caudill scampering in from 12 yards out two plays later to up the score to 21-7.
Momentum was seemingly on the Tiger sideline. At least until Donavon Stith took the ensuing kickoff back to the Tiger 7. Three plays later, Long found the end zone from 4 yards out to get Calvert back in the game at 21-14.
"They key to the game was probably the kick return," Phillips admitted. "We go up 21-7. We're in good shape and we're feeling good about ourselves. And we give up the kick return. That let them get back in, feel good about themselves again and led us to where we are right now."
Kwiat scored on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter, but the extra point was blocked, keeping Seneca East ahead 21-20. However momentum had switched jerseys, now wearing Calvert blue.
"It was a little bit of wearing them down, but I feel that we weren't satisfied with how we were playing," Kwiat said of the adjustments as the game wore on. "We knew we had to pick it up and we showed how we could actually play."
The Calvert defense again shut down Seneca East giving Calvert the ball back for what turned out to be the game-winning drive.
Taking over at their own 8-yard line, the Senecas marched 92 yards in nine plays with the finale coming on Long's scoring toss to Warnement.
Long finished the night 11 of 22 passing for 195 yards. Four of the completions went to Warnement for 107 yards.
After the delay, Caudill led Seneca East down the field to Calvert's 32-yard line, before Calvert made its final defensive stand in a similar manner to the way it played the final three quarters.
The passing numbers for Seneca East were impressive. Caudill went 12 of 23 for 300 yards, and Moore caught three balls for 148 yards. Hall caught four for 124. However the Calvert defensive front shut down the running game, and turned up the pressure to keep Caudill from making another big play late.
"I think we stopped the run game real good," Calvert's Marcus Somers said. "Our D-line had a pretty good pass rush through the whole game. It's very important to get pressure on the quarterback because as you see there were a couple long balls there where the D-line failed to get in. We knew that if we got pressure on Caudill it would mess him up and [he'd] make bad throws."