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Coal City's opener pushed back to Saturday night

Published: Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
(Mark Johnson -
The home bleachers stand empty shortly before the scheduled start time of Coal City's season-opening varsity football game against Wilmington. The sophomore game was called in the third quarter because of weather, and the varsity is postponed until 7 p.m. Saturday.

COAL CITY – According to an old saying, something worth having is something worth waiting for.

Waiting took the place of scheduled football for most of Friday night in Coal City and will extend until tonight. The sophomore game between the Coalers and Wilmington made it into the third quarter before lightning stopped the game shortly before 7 p.m. Over an hour passed before the varsity game was officially postponed to 7 p.m. today. Only the varsity will play.

Coal City coach Lenny Onsen held out hope throughout the delay that the game would be played. Since the weather continued to look ominous, he had an idea what he would tell his team in the event of a postponement.

“Go home. Get a good night’s sleep and we’ll come in and just get focused,” Onsen said. “It’s the same for both teams. We’ll come in, the preparation’s been done. We can’t do anything different. Try to bring them back and get going through a pregame just like we did today and get ready to go.”

The Coal City players spent the delay in a weight room, trying to balance between staying ready and conserving energy.

“Just trying to stay loose, not burn anything up, get too excited,” quarterback Brennen Shetina said. “Trying to stay calm, even-keeled, trying to keep everybody loose, joking around with people.”

With lightning striking nearby without heavy rainfall for most of the delay, many fans lined the hallways of the school, but some stood outside and others sat in their cars. Coal City athletic director Dan Hutchings was put in the position of trying to make decisions that would be in the best interest of everyone.

“As administrators, we got to look at safety. That’s the No. 1 thing. We gotta make sure these people are safe,” Hutchings said. “We’re looking at how late people get home after driving after a later start.”

Shetina was asked whether a postponement until today would have any kind of negative impact on the Coalers.

“I don’t think so,” Shetina said. “Just push back our goals that we set up for [Friday] another 12 hours or whatever it is.”

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