Lightning struck more than once, when Great Bend and Wichita Heights did battle during the 2009 season in Wichita.
The first lightning strike and subsequent storm halted action for more than three hours on that late September Friday night. Other games within the city limits, mostly Wichita City League games were made up the following day.
But the two-hour drive for Great Bend, plus a return trip the next day, was deemed a little much for the Panthers.
So the two teams waited it out until around 11:30 p.m., when the game was resumed from where it was suspended — late in the second quarter.
Lightning later struck again, in the guise of the Panthers mounting a comeback and punching the victory ticket with 0:05 left on the clock, getting a 3-yard scoring toss from Greg Hildebrand to Allan Holt on fourth-and-goal to jolt the Falcons, 28-26.
“We had some big plays early, and their kids adjusted well late in the game defensively,” Wichita Heights head coach Rick Wheeler said. “They really stopped us from moving the ball successfully in the second half and they got the momentum and kept chugging back and stayed in the ballgame.
“If we learned anything, we learned that those coaches and players from Great Bend will never quit, ever. They’re going to fight to the very last second, and that’s when they scored the last touchdown, with five seconds to go to take the lead for the first time We stayed in the game, too. We fought hard. We just didn’t make plays.”
Great Bend’s Bo Black called the last-second win the biggest in his decade as head coach of the Panthers.
“Basically, there’s a three-hour lightning delay in there,” Black said. “We go back out there at around 11:30 and finished at around 12:45 in the morning.”
Big plays by Hildebrand and the graduated Jordan Bayse and Holt helped the Panthers march downfield on their winning drive.
“Early in the drive, we had fourth-and-15 and we got Jordan Bayse for a 30-yard inside vertical pass play,” Black said. “Allen Holt made big plays the entire game, and so did Jordan Bayse and Greg Hildebrand.
“We had the ball first-and-goal at the 3 with 30 seconds remaining. We had three straight (incompletions) pass attempts to Allen and on fourth down, he caught a slant-out and scored.”
It turned out to be the first of three comeback wins the Panthers pulled out last season. They also rallied from a 27-7 halftime deficit to beat Dodge City, 28-27, after returning two late fourth-quarter punt blocks for touchdowns, plus came back to beat Liberal, 22-19.