Working overtime paid off handsomely for the Port Washington football team against New Berlin West on Aug. 19.
The game was delayed by lightning for about 90 minutes, and on top of that, it went into overtime, so it was about 11:45 p.m. before the Pirates claimed a hard-won 28-21 victory.
Running back Matt Ruppel tallied from 5 yards out in the extra session to give the Pirates the triumph in their season opener.
"We kept alternating scores throughout the game, but our kids finished off the game," head coach John Bunyan said. "We didn't do that last season."
In overtime, Port took the ball at the West 25-yard line, according to rules, and faced a fourth-and-4 at the 19. A counter play to Jacob Lippe gained 14 yards to the 5, and Ruppel scored on the next play.
Ruppel was also responsible for sending the game into overtime, scoring on a 69-yard run with 8 minutes, 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Caleb Tydrick's extra point tied the contest at 21-21.
Ruppel finished with 152 yards for the game, averaging 7.6 per carry, and scored the two touchdowns. Lippe also had a good night on the ground with 91 yards (8.3 average) and one touchdown.
The Vikings held the lead for much of the game. They went up 7-0 on a 77-yard run by Max Meleski with just 36 seconds elapsed in the contest, but Port tied it on a 50-yard scoring burst by Lippe and kick from Tydrick with 8:01 left in the first half.
West regained the lead on a 50-yard run from Meleski, but Port answered on a 1-yard touchdown by Deron Spicer to tie it at 14-14 with 56 seconds left in the half.
West once again grabbed the advantage on a 24-yard pass from Meleski to Nate Egofski late in the third quarter, and the score stayed at 21-14 until Ruppel's big run in the fourth.
The Pirates overcame another obstacle when they were forced to wait out the lightning delay.
"The kids stayed focused after we returned to play," Bunyan said. "In the lockerroom, we just talked. The kids were relaxing, waiting for the game to resume. They joked around and hung out."
Quarterback Tanner Orten completed 3 of 9 passes for 50 yards, with Graeme Biskobing catching two for 37 yards and Patrick Knowski one for 13 yards.
"We got the season off to a good start," Bunyan said. "We were down the whole game but kept coming back. Give credit to New Berlin West; they (the Vikings) are a good team. We played well enough to win."
Port next takes on Kewaskum at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, at home.