The rain may never have fallen in a deluge, but Cal-Mum was certainly swamped by a relentless Oaktan Knight offense and an immovable defense in a game that took consecutive days to complete because of stormy weather.
Final: Le Roy 40, Cal-Mum 0.
The win assured Head Coach Brian Moran with a career record on the plus side against Le Roy's biggest rival, at 17-15.
Moran said, yes, the winning record against the Red Raiders is important to him.
"I'm proud of that because that (Caledonia) is a great community and great football program," Moran said. "You forget sometimes that Caledonia makes Le Roy better and Le Roy makes Caledonia better. That's been evident over the last 25 years."
The game started on time at 7:30 Friday night under the lights of Hartwood Park, but after the halftime show, officials spotted flashes of lightning to the northeast.
The game was delayed and about a half hour later, it was postponed (along with 11 other Section V games). Play resumed at 9 a.m. today, and by 10, Le Roy officially had a 1-0 record on the season.
The split game didn't bother the players much, said QB Mike McMullen.
"It wasn't a distraction, but it was definitely different," McMullen said. "I don't think anybody on the team has ever done anything like this. I don't think any of the coaches have ever done anything like this, so it is different, but you've got to play through it. So we did and came out and played hard."
To start the half, Cal-Mum tried an onside kick, but the Knights were ready and covered the ball.
Moran thought it was the right call by John Walther. If it had worked, it could have given the Red Raider's a spark.
"That's the way you should start the second half," Moran said. "You're down 21-0 and who knows what the weather is going to do. I give them credit for doing that."
Rather than Red Raider ball, the Knights had possession on about the 50-yard line. Soon, the Cal-Mum defense was looking at the back of #16, Jon Pierce, sprinting toward the goal line for a score that all but sealed the visiting team's fate.
"That was huge," McMullen said. "I told them when we came out there, 'hey guys, we've gotta score first drive. We've got to show them what we're about, make a point.' "
Pierce was the star of the game, always around the ball on defense and racking up more than 100 yards of total offense.
He's emerged, at least in the first game, as the running back Le Roy's coaches always thought he could be. He charges at the line with exceptional lower body strength, quickness and speed.
"We've been expecting this from Jon for quite a while," Moran said. "I'll be honest with you. Jon is a great kid and he has a great ability to move in the hole and then accelerate. Last night we saw it and today, again, we saw it and we're proud of him."
To open the game, Cal-Mum keyed on the McMullen to Ryan McQuillen combination, which isn't a bad strategy. A more mature player in Pierce gives an already powerful offense another weapon.
"He does have great hips," Moran said. "If you just stand behind him at practice you see it. That's what makes a good running back, somebody who can get up into those little small holes and make that cut inside and out. Jon has the capability to do that."
Before the start of the season, Moran and other coaches expressed some concern about an inexperienced offensive line. Friday and Saturday, the line showed it had the ability to move the pile and open holes.
That doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement, even after a 40-0 win against a good team.
"There's a lot of things you can do better," Moran said. "You sit back and start to evaluate tape. This is only week one. As we're sitting there and looking at it a little differently on the film, you know there are people who need to read their keys a little better and their footwork needs to be better and the offensive line has to communicate better. We're always thinking about improvement. That's the name of the game."
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