Lightning struck more than twice for the Coachella Valley Arabs football team on a Friday night.
In a Desert Valley League matchup with key playoff implications against visiting Xavier Prep (3-4, 2-1 DVL) the unfinished contest saw the host Arabs (3-3, 1-1 DVL) take a 22-7 lead to the 8:02 mark of the third quarter before the game was suspended for a third and final time due to area lightning storms. After a 33-minute delay at the 8:45 mark of the opening quarter and a 45-minute delay nearly three-minutes into the second period, the final view of inclement weather saw the conclusion of the game postponed.
With the ball on the Xavier 40 yard line and the Saints holding possession, the two teams will conclude the contest at Noon on Saturday.
“We saw lightning over in the eastern part of the valley, so we decided to call the game,” said Coachella Valley athletic director Jerry Tripp. “(The decision was made) with Mark Campbell, the AD at Xavier, along with the coaches and the officials.”
With the eventual winner of the game inching decidedly closer to a playoff berth, this was one the Arabs may have wanted to get in the books.
After a Xavier Prep turnover on its opening possession, the Arabs promptly grabbed an 8-0 lead via a 3-yard touchdown run by shifty senior back Endrey Aranda and an ensuing two-point conversion by Marvin Martinez. The game’s first delay would immediately follow before the teams returned to the field and Coachella tacked on a safety to take a 10-0 edge.
Following the second delay, Xavier Prep stormed back to cut the deficit to 10-7, compliments of a 35-yard interception return for score by linebacker Isaac Ortega.
After an abbreviated halftime, the Arabs extended their lead to 16-7 with a fine 33-yard connection from quarterback Darius Hulsey to Carl Ortiz. With skies threatening overhead, Coachella extended its lead to 22-7 with a two-yard fumble return for score by linebacker Jonathan Hamilton.
“I think it will work out well tomorrow,” added Tripp after the lengthy night. “And we heard thunder too, so rain isn’t far behind. So I think it’s a good, safe decision.”