It was one of the most anticipated games of the opening week of Class B football contests. And it never even happened.
But Loyola Sacred Heart’s late start to the football season hasn’t hampered the Rams at all. They’re undefeated with just three games left in the regular season already — even if they were late to the party.
The Rams (4-0) have won all four games by an increasingly lopsided total, quickly verging on blowouts by the midpoint of the season. The only thing that’s been able to keep them down this year hasn’t been on the football field in fact.
“I really wanted to see us play, but that lightning came in and delayed us,” wide receiver Forestt Cooper said of the Rams’ Sept. 6 road trip to Fairfield, a matchup of perennial playoff contenders to open the season that was canceled. “Our next game we came out even more excited than before.
“Four weeks of practice, that’s a long time for high school to be practicing for sure.”
Loyola beat Manhattan in a close one the next week in what was supposed to be the home opener at Rollin Field in Missoula but ended up being the season opener altogether.
It was such a strange way to open the season. The same lightning storm that ran through central Montana and put the delay on the Kalispell Glacier/Great Falls CMR game, a contest that would resume and finish after 1 a.m. that night, delayed the start of the Loyola/Fairfield bout — four times.
It was like nature teasing the boys, who’d have to wait another week to start their football season.
“The hardest part once we got over there, we got completely warmed up, went through the national anthem, had both teams introduced and then they put the K.O. on it,” Loyola coach Dan Weber said.
The teams would warm up again on three separate occasions, each time with lightning returning and chasing them from the field.
The Rams, ranked first in the state for B football, take on St. Ignatius at home this Friday night at 7 p.m. Forecasts call for a chilly night in the 30s with a slight chance of rain.
But no lightning.