WEEDSPORT — It was an unusual start to the eight-man football season.
The momentum was squarely in Weedsport’s favor, and then the Friday Night Lights went out — at least some of them.
One of the banks of lights went out early in the third quarter at Weedsport High School, forcing the teams to only play on one half of the field.
Weedsport battled through the unusual circumstances and picked up a 54-22 victory against Morrisville-Eaton.
“If there’s anything that would prepare you for the lights going out, it would be switching to eight man football,” Weedsport head coach Jon Sgarlata said. “We already had a monkey wrench thrown into things. We’ve had heat index issues in camp, so we’ve had to switch practice times.
“We switch to eight man football, the lights go out. It’s good for us. This team looks like it’s going to be resilient.”
Morrisville-Eaton’s Nick Fox opened the scoring by punching the ball in from the 2 on the first play of the second quarter, but Weedsport responded on the next drive when Hunter Morgan scampered 52 yards for a touchdown to tie the score at 8-8.
Weedsport took a 16-8 lead on Owen Mabbett’s 25 yard touchdown pass to Max Horsford with 2:45 left in the first half and Weedsport led 16-8 at the break.
Weedsport stormed out of halftime.
Horsford ran the second half kickoff back 85 yards for a touchdown.
Morrisville-Eaton fumbled the next kickoff, and Weedsport was able to take advantage on an unusual play. Mabbett’s pass was picked off, but the Morrisville-Eaton defender fumbled the ball in the end zone and Jake Maloof fell on it.
“We have a little more depth than them, especially at the skill positions,” Sgarlata said. “We maybe sacrificed in the first half by playing some of our twos in there, but we knew it was probably going to be a four quarter game and its humid. It’s a hot night. I think we just had a little more depth and that was the difference in the second half.”
Then one of the banks of lights went out, creating a 15 minute delay and forcing the teams to start every drive on the 40-yard line.
Morrisville-Eaton scored on a 16-yard passing play, but Horsford rushed 40 yards for a touchdown on the next play and Mabbett connected with Horsford for a 32-yard touchdown pass five minutes later.
With a 46-16 lead heading into the fourth quarter, Weedsport took out most of its starters and Joe Guy ran three yards for a touchdown midway through the frame.
Morrisville-Eaton answered with a touchdown of its own a few minutes later, but Weedsport cruised to the win.
Weedsport (1-0) travels to West Canada Valley on Sept. 22. With only two seniors, Sgarlata is hoping his young players adjust to the varsity level fast.
“It’s the inexperience of not only eight man, but also just a lot of new guys out there,” Sgarlata said. “A lot of sophomores out there that have never played a varsity game. … This team will have a steep learning curve because we’re just so inexperienced.
“We’ll take the wins and any success we can get when we get it. But I think week-to-week, if we stay healthy, we’ll be a much better team by the end of the year.”