Laurel beats California in matchup called at halftime because of lightning

Friday, September 13, 2019 | 10:49 PM

A clash of unbeaten Class A teams failed to produce the exciting results fans wanted, mostly because after a 45-minute lightning delay, the game between Laurel and California ended at halftime.

And Laurel moved to 4-0 after a 15-0 victory.

Laurel used a six-play sequence to open the scoring after forcing a three-and-out on the opening possession. Facing fourth-and-4 from the Trojans’ 32-yard line, the Spartans kept the drive alive with a fake punt. Senior quarterback Will Shaffer hit a wide open Logan Ayres for 22 yards.

Two plays later, sophomore running back Luke McCoy scored for a 6-0 lead. A low snap on the point after attempt landed in the hands of kicker Jamie McVicker, and he ran it in for a two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.

Laurel added to its lead in the second quarter with a nine-play drive.

The Trojans (3-1) couldn’t stop a balanced Spartans attack. Shaffer completed a pair of drive-moving nine-yard passes to Landin Esposito. Senior running back Dom Wade scored on a two-yard run. McVicker kicked the extra point, and Laurel took a 15-0 lead with 8:29 to play in the half.

On the next drive, California picked up 14 yards on a pair of rushes by junior running back Jaedan Zuzak. On a rush for short gain by senior Lucas Qualk, Laurel drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that moved the ball to the 22. In prime scoring position, a handoff to Zuzak was fumbled and Laurel lineman Rylan Collier recovered to end the Trojans scoring threat.

Shaffer passed for 94 yards, and the Spartans were led in receiving yards by Dylan Aquaro, who had three catches for 49 yards. Wade rushed 10 times for 31 yards and a touchdown for the Spartans, who finished with 151 yards. Laurel dominated time of possession, holding the ball for more than 25 minutes.

The Trojans were held to 61 yards. Cochise Ryan was 3 for 12 passing for 4 yards. Zuzak rushed eight times for 34 yards.

Laurel lineman and Division I prospect Mitch Miles led the Spartans with 3 1/2 tackles. California was led by Malik Ramsey with 5 tackles.

California plays at Washington next week. Laurel is at Clairton.

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