The referee blew his whistle and turned toward the scorer's table. A sideline device detected a lightning strike near West Chester Henderson's stadium. The scorer sounded an air horn. The District 1 boys' lacrosse final between Avon Grove and Bishop Shanahan would be delayed for 52 minutes.
The fans in West Chester Henderson's stadium were told to take cover in their cars. Avon Grove, which went on to a 9-3 win Thursday, waited out the storm in a locker room under the bleachers.
Ryan Cook stretched. Stephen Cyron waited for weather updates. Beau Kush controlled the music. First, it was rap to fire up the players. Tanner Peck grabbed his teammates' face masks. With five minutes left in the delay, they switched to acoustic tunes. Will Schreiner thought that would calm the players.
Whatever it was, it worked. Avon Grove's Cook scored just 29 seconds after play resumed. Any thought that a break would help Shanahan quickly diminished. It was the seventh straight Red Devils goal. The five-goal lead they held in the locker room increased to six.
"We're going to enjoy the heck out of it for sure," Peck said of the championship. "It's a big accomplishment. But we have further goals."
It is the second straight district title for Avon Grove and second in school history. Schreiner said his team set out before the season to win three titles: Ches-Mont League, District 1, PIAA. The league title was snatched by Shanahan.
"We circled that game on the calendar at the first day of practice," said Schreiner, the team's goalie. "To go in there, lose that game and lose the Ches-Mont championship, it killed. We said, 'Remember this game, boys. Remember this game.' "
Schreiner, a senior, recorded 10 saves. He held Shanahan scoreless for 16 minutes after allowing a goal midway through the first quarter. Cook scored four times. He craftily fired a low goal in the second quarter after grabbing a line-drive pass from Bryce Reid. Reid and Cyron each scored twice.
Peck snatched the ball with seconds remaining and tossed it toward midfield when the horn sounded. Avon Grove students had crowded the sideline fence, ready to rush the field. They waited through the first-half delay and weathered a second-half downpour.
But West Chester police officers told them not to cross the fence. So Peck and his teammates rushed toward them. The students roared. Avon Grove's reign had been delayed, but it was not called off.
Bishop Shanahan 1 0 2 0 3
Avon Grove 4 3 2 0 9
Goals: BS-Dylan Alderman, Jacob Guinan, Eric Giannetti; AG-Ryan Cook 4, Bryce Reid 2, Stephen Cyron 2, Tanner Peck.
Saves: BS-Jason Yoquinto 7; AG-Will Schreiner 10.