By BRIAN CUNNIFF
They had to wait three days and were forced to play on two different fields to do it, but the Lower Cape May Regional High School football team finally finished off its first victory in a season opener since the 2011 season early Monday evening.
Lower had led Riverside, 14-8, when Friday’s game at Lower Cape May was suspended with 3:45 left in the second quarter due to lightning flashes. That came after the start of the contest was delayed nearly 1 hour, 45 minutes, also due to lightning.
The teams agreed to finish the game Monday at Riverside, and Lower Cape May’s offense exploded for 40 more points over the final almost 28 minutes of the game to win, 54-38.
The final score was closer than the game played out, the Caper Tigers leading 41-16 at one point late in the third quarter.
“It was really interesting, kind of like having a huge halftime,” Lower coach Brian Hindle said of the teams having to complete the contest three days after it began. “But we were able to do some interesting things on offense and we were able to take advantage of some things. We saw some good things. A lot of growth.”
Among those good things was the scoring production of sophomore quarterback Connor Eckel and senior backs Darion Lamar and Pat Moore.
Eckel tossed two touchdown passes and ran for another and Lamar rushed for two scores and caught one of Eckel’s scoring strikes. Moore, after scoring twice before the game was suspended Friday, added a touchdown reception on Monday.
“It was a weird day. We had to leave school at 1 o’clock and drive two hours to play on a day we normally don’t play on (with the varsity) and I think the kids got a little tired at the end,” Hindle said. “But I was real happy with us as a unit. The kids were communicating really well.”
Hindle, in his third year as coach, and his players experienced their first-ever win in a season opener.
“My first year, I think we got outscored 155-12 in the first three games,” Hindle said. “So to go out and put up 54 points the first game, it kind of proves what we’re trying to do is working and the kids are buying in.”
Lower Cape May has a quick turnaround against a tough opponent later this week, traveling to Pleasantville on Friday.