BASCOM - Hopewell-Loudon's Mark Bouillon provided the thunder. The lightning, to everyone's disappointment, came later.
Bouillon occasionally sloshed and mostly rumbled for 220 yards on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns to lead the Chieftains to a 25-14 Midland Athletic League win over Lakota Friday night.
The game was stopped at 9:16 p.m. with 5:10 to play when lightning flashed. About 45 minutes later, conditions were unchanged and the game was ruled completed at Raider coach David Vodika's suggestion.
"There's lightning everywhere. You know what? I'm 61-years-old and I'm not going to sit here and have someone endangered with lightning," Vodika said after his club fell to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the league.
"We played a good game," he said. "We should have played better but you've got to be pretty pleased with our attitude and our effort. It ain't worth somebody getting hurt."
Indeed, the Raiders, crushed on the board and in spirit last week when Calvert romped 53-7, took the opening kick and zipped 61 yards in four plays to grab the early lead.
Tiger Jaso sprinted 21 yards for a first down and then quarterback Kody Brewer raced the final 35 yards on the next snap for a 7-0 edge with 10:10 still to play in the first period.
"They got us on a little play that we didn't react well enough to," said H-L coach Jeremy Nutter, whose team stands 3-2 overall and 2-0 the MAL. "When (Brewer) gets out in the open, he's going to take it to the house. We knew that coming in.
"But I felt good about the way the offense came back and reacted," he said. "They drove that ball right back down and scored. Listen, we're inexperienced and we're learning every time we take the field."
Actually, the Chieftains responded by scoring on each other their first three possessions.
Bouillon established himself early with 35 yards on four tries in the opening trek, including an 8-yard touchdown smash that drew H-L within 7-6 with 7:15 left in the quarter.
Jordan Stewart's 36-yard punt return set up the next score, a 5-yard quarterback keeper by Alec Gregg to make it 13-7.
The third score featured Bouillon again as he carried for 27 yards before taking an option pitch for a 20-yard score and a 19-7 halftime lead.
While the Chieftains had the edge, the Raiders had an opportunity early in the second half when Ed Racheter recovered a fumble on the H-L 22.
But after getting a first down, the visitors were unable to get a score. On fourth-and-2 from the 3, Tiger Jaso was tackled for a 3-yard loss by Brandon Molotla.
Bouillon got the Chieftains out of the hole with a 42-yard burst. Then they crossed the defense as Stewart went deep and Gregg hit him in stride for a 51-yard touchdown.
"I thought that touchdown was a product of the fact that Mark Bouillon is a darned good running back," Nutter said. "I don't think it's a secret anymore. He's a pretty good player.
"Defenses start to really kind of pack the box in on us, we feel like Jordan Stewart can slip behind you and Alec Gregg can put the ball where it needs to be. That play was huge and absolutely was a momentum turner."
The Raiders tried to regain the edge early in the fourth when Albert Guerra picked a fumble out of the air near his goal line and carried to the 10. On the first snap, Jaso (19 carries, 139 yards) broke through on a 90-yard touchdown run to trim the margin to 25-14 with 10:10 to play.
The Raiders had one more possession but had to punt and lightning struck before the Chieftains could run a play.
"This needs to be a catalyst for future change and not an excuse to say 'That was OK,' and then we're back slumping, doing nothing," Vodika said. "I'm anxious to get back to practice."
Gregg hit all five of his passes for 101 yards, four of them to Stewart for all but 13 of those yards.
But Bouillon was the ringleader. His rushing total included seven carries of 11 or more yards and he had a 37-yard touchdown called back on a holding penalty.
"There have been some good running backs here. I put him up with the best," Nutter said. "The kid's an iron man. He really is. He's a great example of what happens when you dedicate yourself in the weight room and make up your mind you're going to make a difference for your team.
"You'll never hear him talk about himself," Nutter said. "You'll never hear him ask for the football. He just does what we ask him to do. He's the model football player for Hopewell-Loudon."
On this night, he was the thunder before the lightning.