BY CORY WOODROOF | PHOTO BY DEB SCALLY
A lightning delay for a storm a way away put a damper on Nolensville’s road clash with Summit.
But right before the fourth quarter expired, lightning struck twice.
Though, in this case, he prefers to be called two-way Knights football star Tim Stayskal.
Stayskal blasted through and stopped the Spartans on a fourth-down red zone attempt to help Nolensville claim the 13-8 win, the team’s third of the season.
A key contributor on both sides the ball, Stayskal talked about how he helped stop Summit QB Destin Wade with the game-ending sack.
“I realized that it was the same boot play that they did on the other side of the field earlier in the game,” Stayskal said. “I just read my keys, and I made the tackle.”
Outside of the game-sealing tackle, Stayskal had two catches for 49 yards on the night.
The first quarter saw Summit break loose early with a George Odimegwu touchdown and successful two-point conversion attempt, soon followed by an option run by Nolensville’s Zach Campbell to get the Knights within one.
But then the weather.
Lightning began to rustle up closer toward Franklin and Brentwood and got just close enough to put the game on a delay. During that time, the players went back to their locker rooms and bided the time.
“Our trainers are great, so they take care of us,” Stayskal said, also noting hydration as a key for weathering a delay.
After the return, only a Knight Luke Jenkins field goal from 34 yards out came for points before the half, with Nolensville ahead 10-8 before the abbreviated rest.
In the second half, it was a game of ping pong between two rocksteady defenses and two struggling offenses. Not until in the fourth did Nolensville get a chance to widen the margin when a costly fumble gave the Knights the ball in Summit’s red zone. Jenkins kicked another one in to give the Knights the lead before the game closed.
Summit made some magic happen on a long return and a drive down to Nolensville territory, but then the storm of Stayskal hit and the Knights escaped with their victory.
It was Nolensville’s defense that won the night at the end, and head coach Paul Derrick expressed his approval of the unit’s performance.
“I was very, very proud of the way they prepared all week and the way they played tonight,” Derrick said of his defense, noting the defense’s togetherness and mentality as keys to its success.
Reserve QB Ryder Galardi threw for 218 yards in his third game of action this season. Derrick describes new Murray State commit Brandon Wharton as day-to-day with an injury, which may leave Galardi in the driver’s seat for the foreseeable future.
“The defense stepped up. It helped me out, and the offensive line, oh my goodness, they’re awesome,” Galardi said. “They’re making holes for our running back, Colton Dooley, and he’s getting through.”
Dooley had 71 ground yards on the night and a catch for four yards.
For Summit, Odimegwu posted up 66 yards and his touchdown. Wade rushed for 32 behind center.
Spartans head coach Brian Coleman said he felt like his teal had a bit of a delay in reaction during its last-second drive, which he feels contributed to not closing it out.
“It just wasn’t enough; just too little, too late,” Coleman said.
The Spartans (2-2) head into region ball at Columbia Central next week, a game that does have distinct playoff ramifications for the team.
“In the grand scheme of things, this game doesn’t [deal] with our region standings, so that’s one positive,” Coleman said. “We’ve got to go to work on Monday, and our region slate starts [next Friday].”
As for Nolensville, they’ll head out to Lawrence County next week.
Derrick said that all things considered (good WillCo opponent, tough environment, lightning delay), his team took his words of motivation to heart and feels this win can build confidence for the stretch ahead.
“A lot of things happened, but we never stopped playing the game” Derrick said. “[We] never stopped believing that we could win the game.”
Photo from the 2017 game.