With 58 seconds left in the third quarter of Saturday’s River Rouge/Chelsea game, the officials decided to send both teams off the Wayne State field and suspended the game.
Lightning had been spotted in the area.
What took them so long?
If they had been paying attention, they would have noticed that lighting had been there since the opening kickoff.
This lightning came in the form of River Rouge senior quarterback Jairus Grissom.
Grissom, a senior transfer from Dearborn Heights Robichaud, passed for 209 yards and ran for 106 to lead the Panthers to a 34-16 victory over Chelsea in the Prep Kickoff Classic.
The game was not resumed after a 21/2-hour delay to permit the Detroit King/Southfield game to begin at a reasonable time.
The Detroit Cass Tech/Oak Park game, which was scheduled to be Saturday’s third game, will be played today at 1 p.m., and Saturday tickets will be honored.
A three-star recruit, Grissom had some highlight reel plays, but none better than when he broke free and raced 35 yards for a touchdown. The play was special because he put a spectacular move on a defender that left the youngster grasping for air.
“The move was great,” Grissom said. “I knew I could make the move. I’ve been practicing it a lot, so I was really happy I made the move. I’m just glad I finished it. Usually, when people make the move, they finish at the 1-yard line. I finished with a touchdown.”
It was an exceptional opening-game performance by a player capable of being a difference-maker on a team that was the Division 5 runner-up a year ago.
“I thought Jairus did some special things today,” coach Corey Parker said. “Obviously, he’s got some things to work on, still has some things to learn. But I think he does things sometimes that’s not coached. That’s just something that he can naturally do.”
There are some other special players on the Rouge team, players like defensive back Reggie Pearson, who had one of the Panthers’ three interceptions.
“I would say, No. 1, they made a couple of unreal plays in the secondary,” Chelsea coach Brad Bush said. “Those are run-read plays on those interceptions. We probably can’t simulate Reggie Pearson very well.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Cameron Cooper returned a Rouge punt 75 yards for a touchdown five plays into the second quarter.
Rouge’s Eric Chenault picked off a pass and returned it to the Chelsea 2-yard line, from where Alexander Carter scored on the next play.
Four plays later, linebacker Savion Thomas batted a ball out of the air and made a one-handed interception to get the Rouge offense going in Chelsea territory. A 29-yard pass from Grissom to Sekou Doukoure set up Grissom’s sneak for a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter.
Rouge led, 20-10, at halftime, and Grissom scored two touchdowns in the third quarter.
Chelsea quarterback Jack Bush scored on a 2-yard sneak just moments before the game was halted.
“I really wanted to come back and play,” coach Bush said. “But at the end of the day — if we’re playing at 6 p.m., we ate pregame meal at 7:30 a.m. We brought oranges. Every kid had one orange. That was really, for me, the defining factor. At some point you have think what’s best for the kids.”
With an increase in the enrollment of about 150 students, Rouge likely will play in Division 4 this season. Grissom will help against tougher competition and so will a dynamic defense.
“We did some great stuff,” Parker said. “I thought we challenged them to get the ball out of their hands early, and we put a stunt in their run game. It was a tough system to defend, but I think my guys competed, fought off blocks and made good tackles.”
Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1.