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The Friday night lights at Burlington Central were pre-empted by Mother Nature's Friday night light show.
As football-hungry fans huddled in cars or took refuge in the gymnasium in hopes of seeing the season opener, lightning bolts peppered the landscape surrounding a school located on the highest elevated point in Kane County.
The heavy rains and harsh conditions eventually lessened, but lightning continued to crisscross the sky approaching 8:30 p.m., forcing the postponement of the scheduled meeting between rivals Hampshire and Burlington Central.
"It is very frustrating and I feel bad for both teams," veteran Hampshire coach Dan Cavanaugh said. "The kids were all fired up for Friday night. But what are you going to do? It is what it is."
A rivalry that waited almost a year to be renewed will have to wait another 24 hours. The varsity teams will square off on Rocket Hill on Saturday at 7 p.m. Central has won the last 3 meetings in the series and 7 of the last 10.
"We were so ready to go on the bus ride here," said Hampshire senior lineman Mike Gibas, his unused helmet and shoulder pads in hand. "We were putting our pads on and getting ready to go kick some butt. That's what we were looking forward to doing. I don't know, you can't control the weather."
Central coach Rich Crabel met with his team in a classroom until approximately 8:20 p.m. before the Rockets were dismissed for the evening.
"We were all ready for it and then you have to wait another day," Central senior running back Reilly Marino said. "It's kind of frustrating. We were all prepared and ready to play, but we'll be ready for it again. This isn't going to hold us back at all."
They also waited as long as possible at Greg True Field in Elgin before postponing the Genoa-Kingston at St. Edward game to 7 p.m. Saturday.
''I feel bad for the kids," said Green Wave coach Mike Rolando. "They're so excited. You've been looking forward to this for nine months and working so hard all summer, this just gets the wind let out a little. We'll get to come out tomorrow and play Saturday night. It will be business as usual. Not much you can do about the weather. It's out of our hands and we'll just come out tomorrow and hope to see everyone tomorrow.''
Brian Schaumburg contributed to this report