By Jon Moffett
And at the 20th hour, Wayne Allegretto said, “Let there be light.”
An hour after kickoff, Allegretto, the athletic director of South Range, breathed a sigh of relief as the lights and scoreboard of Memorial Field flickered on just before halftime of Friday’s game between South Range and Campbell Memorial. But the home team probably wished the lights had remained dim.
The visitors didn’t need lights. They were on from the start.
And while the wooded backdrop behind the old South Range High looks fitting for a “Greetings from Maine” postcard, there were legitimate concerns the game would be postponed due to darkness.
But the visiting Red Devils showed their own electricity in a 41-20 victory. At the end of the game, the name of the field was fitting.
“It was kind of odd playing like that at first,” said Campbell coach Mickey Sikora. “I’m just glad they got the lights on. I really didn’t want to have to come back here tomorrow.”
The Raiders (0-2) probably didn’t want the Red Devils (2-0) there at all. The visitors showed the explosiveness and big-play ability that made them the champions of the All-American Conference’s Blue Tier last season. And that’s something Sikora hopes for again.
“We just want to do a better job of doing the little things, and we still have a long way to go,” said Sikora, last year’s Northeast Ohio Coach of the Year in Division IV. “We have a lot of talent here, but we have our work cut out for us. We have to work on the little things because those little things lead to the big things.”
One of those little things that led to big things was senior running back Ja’les Hughes. The 5-foot-10, 150-pound running back had the power and voltage to light up all of North Lima. The speedster amassed 195 yards on just 11 carries. Three of those carries went for touchdowns of 52, 49 and 59 yards.
Sikora rested Huges for most of the second half.
Even without Hughes, the Red Devils ran wild. Quarterback Brandon Reyes added another 86 yards on the ground, including a 77-yard touchdown run. Shawndale Ray, a senior, added another 41 yards on 11 carries. In all, Campbell racked up 362 rushing yards on 28 carries.
And when the yards weren’t there on the ground, the Red Devils took to the skies.
Reyes threw a pair of long touchdown passes. The first was a 55-yard strike to senior Anthony Rushton. The other was a 54-yard score to Dom Patton, which was tipped by a Raider defender but hauled in by the senior and taken the distance.
Sikora said it is the ability to diversify the offense that keeps opponents on their heels.
“We feel good about our ability to be an inside-outside team,” Sikora said. “Plus we can throw it, which makes us complicated to defend.”
Just a little.
The Raiders were shut out in the first half, and trailed 41-0 before rattling off 20 unanswered points.