LIZTON — A 30-minute lightning delay did not disrupt Tri-West’s defense against South Putnam Friday night.
With 10 minutes to go in the third quarter, officials halted play due to lightning spotted west of the stadium. When play resumed, Tri-West’s defense kept South Putnam off the scoreboard, and the Bruins went on to a 22-7 victory.
Junior quarterback Jake Hendershot rushed for 92 yards — including 85 in the first half — and two touchdowns as Tri-West took a 13-0 lead, before South Putnam countered with a touchdown on its next possession.
Excluding a kneel-down with 12 seconds remaining, Tri-West had four possessions in the first half, three of which ended in points. The fourth ended abruptly in Bruins territory as Hendershot fumbled away the football.
Tri-West’s defense picked him up, as sophomore defensive lineman Drake Stahl blocked South Putnam’s 26-yard field goal attempt from the right hash. The play preserved Tri-West’s 16-7 lead at the break.
“I was just trying to make a play,” Stahl said. “It seemed kind of important at the time because it was a close game.”
The Bruins’ defense was even better in the second half. With 4:31 to go in the third quarter, junior linebacker Nick Sprecher intercepted South Putnam quarterback Sawyer Arnold to halt an Eagles’ drive. A couple plays later, sophomore Wesley Cook caught a screen pass from Hendershot and raced 69 yards for the score.
Hendershot called Cook the biggest playmaker on the Tri-West roster, and Bruins coach Chris Coll said he’s a big part of the game plan.
“Obviously, you gotta try to figure out some ways to get him the ball,” Coll said. “He’s fast, he’s explosive and he’s one of the weapons that we gotta take advantage of. Getting him in space is a big part of it.”
With 6:30 to go in the final quarter, Tri-West again played opportunistic defense inside the red zone. Arnold attempted to score on a quarterback keeper, but before he crossed the goal line, the Bruins forced a fumble. Sophomore Arron Rose recovered the ball in the end zone.
“I felt happy for (Rose),” Stahl said. “He made a good play, and we really needed it at that time. Our defense stepped it up a little bit this time.”
The Bruins’ offense drove 67 yards before taking a couple of knees to run out the clock.