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Montgomery 4A

Quince Orchard Game Is Reset for Tonight

By Jeff Nelson
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, October 18, 2008

As top-ranked Quince Orchard and 18th-ranked Sherwood warmed up on the Warriors' field last night, the atmosphere was electric.

The same could not be said for the stadium.

A power outage in Sandy Spring caused one of the season's most highly anticipated games to be postponed until tonight, when the Cougars will return to Sherwood for a 6:30 p.m. start.

Pepco was attempting to resolve the problem last night, but at 6:30 p.m. -- the time of the originally scheduled kickoff -- Montgomery County officials decided they couldn't wait any longer with 3,000 people in the stands and the sun rapidly setting.

"We decided to wait until 6:30, figuring that would give us time to get the people out before it turned dark," said Duke Beattie, the Montgomery County director of athletics. "I figured we had 20 minutes until it got really dark, but we didn't want them in a dark parking lot. And the [traffic] lights weren't working in the area."

Pepco spokeswoman Mary Beth Hutchinson said her company wasn't sure exactly what caused the outage -- "It could be a squirrel or a tree branch or anything," she said -- but something triggered the automatic shutdown of two feeders that supplied power to Sherwood High and the surrounding area.

Hutchinson said she didn't know what time the shutdown happened, but several fans estimated the outage to start between 4 and 4:30 p.m.

By 6:15, Hutchinson said a Pepco crew had fixed one of the feeders, but the one connected to Sherwood did not get fixed until it was too late. At 6:50, lights returned to the school and parking lot, causing a great deal of grumbling from many of the fans still getting in their cars.

Before the game, fans congregated outside of the closed stadium gates in a chaotic scene as they waited to hear updates on the power. At 6 p.m., school officials decided to let them inside the stadium, just in case the power returned.

The crowd cheered -- and jeered -- as the two teams took the field for warm-ups, but less than a half-hour later, they fell silent as coaches and officials waved them toward the exits.

All fans were told to keep their ticket stubs, which can be used to get into tonight's game, and Beattie said more tickets would be available for purchase tonight.

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