HAZLETON - The lightning flashed at Harman Geist Stadiumn just after 9 p.m., halting the game for nearly an hour.
Wyoming Valley West made sure thunder came just before that, putting a stop to Hazleton Area's comeback hopes.
Derrick Simms ran for one touchdown and Michael Baur threw for another during a 13-second span of the fourth quarter to crack open a two-point game and send Valley West to a 42-12 victory.
We knew what had to get done, said Baur, who threw for 259 yards and four touchdowns.
The scoring outburst came after the Cougars pulled within 14-12 on Julius Ward's eight-yard touchdown pass to Nick George with 67 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
But Simms took off on a 17-yard scoring dash on the first play of the fourth quarter. After Josh Ortiz picked off Hazleton Area's next offensive play, Baur went straight to the end zone and found Allan Sakosky with a 32-touchdown pass.
Suddenly, a tight, two-point battle turned into a 28-12 Spartans lead.
It was just execution, Valley West coach Pat Keating said. We had some mistakes early on. Our kids responded.
Shortly after Valley West's two-touchdown spree, the skies opened with a heavy downpour and lightning flashed a couple times - forcing the teams to their locker rooms for a 56-minute delay.
That's a first, Spartans third-year coach Keating said.
When they returned, Harman Geist Stadium was practically empty - save for a few handfuls of fans on both sides.
It was pretty neat, coming out to no fans, Baur said. It was like a ghost town out there.
Whether people were cheering or not didn't seem to matter to Baur.
After watching Hazleton Area's Henderson Concepcion return a fumble 89 yards for the game's first score, Baur tossed a 39-yard catch-and-run touchdown to Simms and hit Brett Good with a shovel pass for an eight-yard score that left the Spartans with a 14-6 halftime lead.
Then Baur hooked up with Sakosky for a 32-yard touchdown strike and added a 33-yard scoring bomb to Lucky Williams - who snagged 144 yards worth of passes - after the storm delay.
Brett Good had enough waiting around, too, polishing off the scoring with a 27-yard touchdown run during the game's final minute.
I give credit to our kids, Keating said. They stayed up the entire time.
HAZ -- Henderson Concepcion 89 fumble recovery (kick failed), 11:05
WVW -- Derrick Simms 39 pass from Michael Baur (Ian Ultsh kick), 3:36
WVW -- Brett Good 8 pass from Baur (Ultsh kick), 0:20
HAZ -- Nick George 8 pass from Julius Ward (pass failed), 1:17
WVW -- Simms 17 run (Ultsh kick), 11:52
WVW -- Allan Sakosky 32 pass from Baur (Ultsh kick), 11:39
WVW -- Lucky Williams 33 pass from Baur (Ultsh kick), 5:27
WVW -- Good 27 run (Ultsh kick), 0:42
|Team Statistics||WVW||Haz Area|
RUSHING -- WVW, Derrick Simms 17-130, Brett Good 9-57, Michael Baur 10-22, Eric Acosta 4-17; HAZ, Jeff Fendrick 18-60, Zach Zakoski 8-50, Nick George 6-40, Lisnock 2-3, TEAM 1- (minus 1), Julius Ward 6- (minus 11).
PASSING -- WVW, Baur 14-22-0-259; HAZ, Ward 5-8-1-40
RECEIVING -- WVW, Lucky Williams 8-144, Simms 2-43, Good 2-34, Allan Sakosky 1-32, Chris Bromsky 1-6; HAZ, Jeff Ochs 2-20, George 2-10, Fendrick 1-10.
INTS -- WVW, Josh Ortiz.
MISSED FGS – none.