STARKVILLE – A sudden campus-wide power outage, followed by a severe thunderstorm, forced a postponement of the Class 6A state championship game between Oak Grove and South Panola at Davis-Wade Stadium on the Mississippi State University campus.
The game will resume at 4 p.m. Sunday with South Panola leading 7-0.
“We’re going to start at nothing-nothing again? That’d be great,” said Oak Grove coach Nevil Barr. “You don’t want to come back this far to play again, but you also don’t want to be starting at 11 (p.m.), and I don’t know if we could have even started at 11.
“And it’s not just the teams. We had students who drove up here to watch us, so you have to think about them as well.”
The Tigers had just scored a touchdown with 7:27 to play in the first quarter and was preparing to kick off to the Warriors, when the stadium was plunged into darkness.
At first a festive mood ensued among the fans on both sides of the stadium, and the Oak Grove band played a number of songs to entertain the crowd.
But as the delay lengthened, and the threat of severe weather became greater, the stands were cleared.
MSU director of communications Sid Salter said in a Twitter feed that a power transformer on the southern end of the campus exploded, cutting off power to most of the campus.
Several scenarios were discussed about what could happen if power could not be brought back in a timely manner.
Playing the game today was not an option since there would have been no way to house and feed players, coaches and staff for both teams.
Power was finally restored after an hour, but by that time lightning and heavy rains had moved into the area, forcing another long delay.
At 9:55 p.m., with rain still coming down and lightning in the area, MSU officials made the decision to postpone the game until Sunday.
Play is expected to resume as scheduled at 11 a.m. today with three games, beginning with the Class 3A final between Collins and Charleston. Also on tap are the 4A championship at 3 p.m. between St. Stanislaus and Noxubee County and the finale at 7 p.m., with the 5A title game matching Laurel and Oxford.