Jonesboro players ran onto the field at John McConnell Stadium on Friday carrying two Hurricane banners.
It turned out to be an ominous sign of what was to come.
The game with Conway High, which began with players warming up in 100-degree-plus temperatures, was halted in the first quarter because of thunderstorms with severe lightning moving into the area. D.J. Anderson had just scored for the Hurricane on a 4-yard touchdown run with 6:54 left in the first quarter.
Conway officials then announced a lightning delay and assisted the thousands of fans in leaving stadium in an orderly fashion. Some went to their cars. Some headed to Buzz Bolding Arena, which was opened as a shelter. Others headed home.
As the weather got more intense, the game was cancelled.
“Every indication we got was there was more stuff behind what initially came through and there’s some ACT testing tomorrow, so, even though we needed to play, I didn’t think we had a choice but to cancel,” said Steve Daniels, Conway’s athletic director. “Jonesboro faced a long ride home and if we had gotten on the field and warmed up, and then there was another lightning strike, it’s another 30-minute delay, at least. We didn’t get to play a game, but nobody got hurt, there was no incident that people would be talking about and nobody had to be taken to the hospital. Safety for everyone has to be our main concern.”
It marked the second straight week that Conway’s game could not be completed because of storms and lightning, something longtime Conway officials don’t remember ever happening. The Wampus Cats’ game at Bryant last week was halted in the fourth quarter and Conway was awarded a victory. Friday night’s non-conference game will go in the books as a cancellation with no winner.
The Cats weren’t the only county team affected again by weather. At Phillip Weaver Stadium at Vilonia, the Eagles’ game with Wynne was also halted after the first quarter with Wynne leading 14-0.
Three other Faulkner County teams completed their games.
At Texarkana, Seth Peters’ 22-yard touchdown run with 13 seconds left in the first half gave the Class 5A Panthers the lead for good in a 42-24 victory over Class 6A Texarkana.
That run gave the Panthers a 21-18 lead.
They poured it on the second half, outscoring the Razorbacks, 21-0 in the third quarter.
In the third quarter, Peters passed 2 yards to Gerrell Williams and 17 yards to Jacob Colbert. Austin Fischer, who rushed for 91 yards and had 67 in receptions, scored on a 2-yard run to put the Panthers (2-0) up 42-18.
The Panthers scored in the first half on a 55-yard fumble return by Fischer, a 7-yard run by Fischer and Peters’ 22-yard TD run.
In the rain at Cedarville, Conway Christian surged to a 42-30 victory over Cedarville.
The Eagles 92-0) amassed 202 yards rushing and 216 passing, outscoring Cedarville, 21-8 the second half.
Ancil Lea rushed for 112 yards on 24 carries while quarterback Tanner Stevenson added 81 more yards rushing. Stevenson completed 16 of 23 passes for 226 yards.
Lea ran for a score from 2 yards out to begin the scoring. Stevenson added a 4-yard run and passed 17 yards to Josiah Smith for touchdowns in the second quarter. A safety just before halftime gave Cedarville a 22-21 lead.
Then, Stevenson passed 22 yards to Chandler Ferrand to give the Eagles the lead for good. He ran 1 yard for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, then passed 48 yards to Ferrand to help CCS pull away.
Smith booted six extra points.
CCS held Cedarville to 94 yards rushing.
At Dardanelle, the Sand Lizards (2-0), with potentially one of their best teams in years, dominated the Eagles of the way to a 47-13 victory.
The Eagles (1-1) host Salem next week.