SIDNEY —The artificial turf wasn’t the only thing that was new at Sidney Memorial Stadium Friday night on the opening night of high school football.
The new “mercy rule” also made its first appearance after Anna built up a 35-0 lead at the half. The new rule states that if one team holds a lead of 30 or more in the second half, the clock will run continuously.
Anna remained unbeaten against Lehman in football, beating the Cavaliers for the ninth year in a row, this one at Sidney Memorial Stadium by a 41-7 final.
The game was the last between the two for the foreseeable future, each taking on different opponents next season.
Each team tried to catch the other napping to start the game, and only one — Anna — was successful.
After Lehman tried an onside kick to open the game, setting the Rockets up on their own 48, it took Anna just two plays to find the endzone, thanks to some “trickeration.” With the Cavalier defense honed in on Anna star running back Christiaan Williams, the Rockets went with a halfback pass. Williams took the ball on a sweep, but pulled up and hit a wide open Grant Glover, who took it down to the one-yard line. Williams then took it in from there, just 29 seconds into the game.
Lehman, playing without starting quarterback Nick Rourke due to an ankle injury, went nowhere and was forced to punt. And the Rockets again hit paydirt in no time. A good Lehman punt started the Rockets around their own 35, and a couple plays into the possession, Matthew Bruce broke one 63 yards down to the two.
However, the Rockets were called for holding and the ball was backed up up to the 15-yard line.
After an incomplete pass, Bruce ran down to the nine, where it was third-and-goal. Anna quarterback Ryan Counts looked for Glover again, but tossed it to Williams at the two and he reached the endzone.
Lehman got a first down on a pass to Selsor to near midfield but the drive stalled at the Anna 46.
The Rockets got a 24-yard run by Williams to the Lehman 27, and a 12-yard run by Bruce to the 15. They then got a huge break when Counts kept the ball after finding no one open, fumbled it at the 11, but it was kicked forward and recovered at the one by Anna. Williams went in on the next play for a 21-0 lead in the opening quarter.
The Rockets weren’t finished in the quarter, however, using a 30-yard run by Bruce on a 4th-and-2 at the Cavalier 39 late in the period to set up a 9-yard run by Williams for his third score of the night and a 28-0 lead with 1:30 still left in the opening period. It ended that way.
Anna picked off a pass on Lehman’s next possession, and it led to yet another touchdown. Williams broke another long run down to the 15, Bruce then took it to the seven, and Counts then found Connor Rioch with 10 minutes left in the second quarter of a slow-moving game. That made it 35-0, and the new mercy rule would be in effect in the second half if the Cavs failed to score. And that’s how the second period ended.
As the score shows, it was all Anna in the first half, the Rockets compiling over 300 yards rushing en route to the huge halftime lead.
Williams then added a 14-yard run early in the second half to complete the Anna scoring.
Lehman got a final chance to score when Anna fumbled the ball away with under three minutes left. Quarterback Stephen Monnin broke loose for a 30-yard touchdown run for the Cavs.