Inclement weather puts first ever Ypsilanti Community game on hold with Milan up 7-6
Patrick Record | AnnArbor.com
Officials suspended the game after lightning was seen a little more than halfway through the third quarter. When the lightning didn’t let up, the decision to postpone the game was made. The two teams will resume play Saturday at 2 p.m. with 4:47 to play in the third quarter and Milan leading 7-6.
“This is just going to have to be a transition we get through,” said Ypsilanti coach Rufus Pipkins. “I told them that we’re just going to have to do this in two halves. Instead of calling it a third-quarter delay, we’ll call it the second half.”
The delay could benefit both teams as the emotional high of the Grizzlies’ first game as a team may have contributed to some sloppy play through the first two-and-a-half quarters. The Grizzlies racked up 140 yards in penalties including 105 yards worth in the first half to go along with two interceptions and a fumble.
For Milan, the break should help quarterback Steven Phifer who was thrust into the game when Milan lost starter Robert Kanitz to a leg injury on its first play of the game. Kanitz fumbled on the play he was injured on and limped to the sidelines where he immediately went to the bench.
After being looked at by trainers, Kanitz eventually could be seen on crutches in the second half wearing street clothes.
Things looked to run smoothly when Phifer took over for Kanitz as he engineered a scoring drive on his first possession, capped off by a trick play. After Austin Hoover took the snap for the Big Reds, he handed it to Phifer on a sweep, who then stopped behind the line of scrimmage and found Devin Miller wide open in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown pass. However, it would be the only score of the half for Milan.
Ypsilanti showed some signs of life on its next drive as the Grizzlies rotated quarterbacks Marquis Smith and Mike Caldwell throughout the game. Smith and Caldwell led the Grizzlies on a 66-yard drive that ended with Caldwell hitting a wide open Jalen Maxwell for a 32-yard touchdown pass. A penalty after the touchdown forced Ypsilanti to attempt an extra point from 28 yards out which was blocked.
Neither team was crisp for the majority of the game as the two teams combined for five turnovers and 22 penalties, many of which were personal fouls. Both offenses struggled as well, with Ypsilanti gaining 135 total yards and Milan 112.
The Grizzlies had a touchdown run by Caldwell called back in the second quarter after a holding penalty negated the run which would have given Ypsilanti the lead. Three plays later the Grizzlies punted.
While the delay is an inconvenience, Pipkins said his team is going to have to be ready to play tomorrow as if it were just another game.
“I’m not going to make excuses, the better team is going to win tomorrow,” Pipkins said. “It’s like being 0-0, because someone else is going to score. Both teams are going to be playing under the same circumstances.”
The game is scheduled to restart at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Ypsilanti Community High School.
Matt Durr is a freelance journalist for AnnArbor.com.