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West Nassau strikes early, lightning cancels game

Keystone quarterback Blake Valenzuela throws an 18-yard pass to Michael Carroll in the first quarter.

Keystone quarterback Blake Valenzuela throws an 18-yard pass to Michael Carroll in the first quarter.


BY DAN HILDEBRAN

Monitor Editor

West Nassau built a two-touchdown lead late in the first quarter against Keystone Heights in the two teams’ season opener.  Officials stopped play due to lightening with 8:44 remaining in the half.

After a one-hour delay during which lightening continued to strike between two and three miles from the field, officials canceled the contest.

The Indians showed promise on their first possession when quarterback Blake Valenzuela connected with Michael Carroll for an 18-yard pass.  However, the drive fizzled out two plays later.

Anton Noble then pinned the visitors on their own three-yard line with a 47-yard punt.

The Keystone defense bottled up West Nassau for two plays, before quarterback Reagan Wright hit Kyle Aikin for a 15-yard gain to the 18.

After two Jordan Kidd rushes netted eight yards, West Nassau faced third-and-two from its own 26.  Reagan faked a dive to one of his running backs, then sprinted to his left where he found open field and bolted 74 yards for the game’s first score.  Dalton Murph added the point after touchdown and West Nassau had a 7-0 lead with 7:25 remaining in the first quarter.

After the ensuing kickoff sailed through the end zone, the Indians took over on their own 20.  Three rushes netting four yards forced Noble onto the field for his second punt which a Warrior caught, then lost allowing Chase Musselman to pounce on the ball and giving the Indians another four downs starting on their own 47.

Sam Anderson dug out a yard on the series’ first play. Valenzuela then hit Grant McGee for a 12 yard gain, and on the next play Valenzuela scrambled for an additional seven yards, putting the Indians on the West Nassau 33.

However on the next play, Keystone returned West Nassau’s earlier fumble, losing the ball on a run in traffic.

The Warriors took over on their own 30.

After Aikin ran for 12 yards and Reagan tacked on 33 more in a play that looked identical to his earlier touchdown run, the West Nassau signal caller aired out a 22-yard throw to Tyler Woodle which Woodle caught in the end zone for the Warriors’ second score. Murph added the extra point, giving the visitors a 14-0 lead with 1:44 left in the first quarter.

Noble took the following kickoff on his own five-yard line and returned it to the 41. However, the Indians only gained six yards in the next three plays and punted.

Keystone’s defense limited West Nassau to five yards on the following possession. After a punt the Indians took over on their own 10 and drove past midfield when officials stopped the game.

Carroll and Noble led the Indians in rushing with 29 yards a piece, Carroll carried four times and Noble three.  Valenzuela rushed for 16 yards on three carries and completed two passes on four attempts for 30 yards and no interceptions.

Keystone coach Chuck Dickinson said that during the delay coaches and school administrators set a 9:15 deadline to determine whether to call the game.  When lightning continued past that time, they canceled the contest.

Dickinson said he saw some bright spots on offense but is looking for more consistency.

On defense, the coach said missed assignments allowed the Indians to give up big plays.

“Anytime you play option football,” he said.  “if your kid doesn’t carry out his assignment, you give up a big play.”

Keystone travels to Wildwood on Sept. 6.

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