One of the stranger and more troubling game delays in recent memory is unfolding in Memphis, where two teams had to postpone the conclusion of their game on Friday after shots rang out at a nearby apartment complex.
According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal and MyFoxMemphis.com, Memphis (Tenn.) East High and Craigmont (Tenn.) High were locked in a tight, 34-28, contest with 4:38 remaining in the first half when the crowd and teams at the game heard gunshots coming from the Ashton Hills Apartment complex just outside Raleigh Egypt High School, where the game was being played.
As you can see in the video above from MyFoxMemphis.com, as soon as they heard the shots, players and coaches on the field hit the ground to avoid being struck by a stray bullet, creating a surreally scary scene for all in attendance.
The remainder of the game was immediately postponed, and resumed Monday night at Halles Stadium, which is also in Memphis. After things kicked back off, Craigmont eventually held off East, 49-48, to escape with a huge win and send East into a possible unexpected late season tailspin.
It's bad enough that any football game would be interrupted by gun shots, but the Memphis East-Craigmont game could also have significant spillover effects on the forthcoming Tennessee state playoffs. According to the Commercial Appeal, East has a highly hyped matchup against Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven High on Friday, but now only has half a week to prepare for a game which could change the playoff course of two different teams.
"It is a hindrance as far as preparation," Memphis East football coach Marcus Wimberly told the Commercial Appeal. "Monday is a major preparation day and we have to get ready for the number 1 team in the [Commercial Appeal] Dandy Dozen.
"I've never been in a situation like this and I don't want to [be] again."
While the game delay is not completely dissimilar to delays caused by weather conditions, the difference in Friday's delay was that there was no possibility of the game re-starting that night.
Still, no one questioned that the rare decision made on Friday was the right one, even if it created a series of distractions and delays for all involved.
"Friday night was scary," Craigmont defensive back Aaron White, who made a game-saving stop in the final 10 seconds, told the Commercial Appeal. "The shooter was arm's length from the stadium. Today we had to concentrate on school, then getting focused again. But with so many great athletes, you had to just hope to make a play."
- Raleigh Egypt High School
- Commercial Appeal