MADISONVILLE — Madisonville-North Hopkins' football opener Friday night was anything but ordinary.
And although the record books will show a 20-0 loss to Christian County for the Maroons, that hardly tells the whole story.
The game was declared final three plays into the third quarter, when a string of medical emergencies forced the game into a 30-minute delay.
"I think we all learned something about life tonight," Christian Coach Steve Lovelace said. "Games are important, but life's more important. We told our kids that this is a time that you need to go back and treasure every second you have. We don't know when our time's going to be called."
Fortunately, no one died Friday night, although the circumstances did leave the crowd at the Badgett Athletic Complex confused and concerned.
The chaos began when North offensive lineman Austin Crook went down with what Coach Will Weaver called an "extreme" leg break. The injury drew gasps from the crowd, and then suddenly, a fan collapsed just in front of the press box.
Moments later, a second man went down in the stands, although he left minutes later under his own power. The first fan was taken out on a stretcher, and North Athletics Director Mike Quinn said Friday night that emergency medical technicians had told him that man was stable.
"To be honest, I don't know the other people that were involved," Quinn said. "I know there were several medics and EMTs, and to have something as crazy as this and have those people respond, it shows the kind of people you have here in Madisonville."
The series of events halted the game long enough — and sent a big enough jolt through both teams — that the coaches decided to call the game with the Maroons down by three touchdowns and nearly an entire half left to be played.
"We talked about it, and there's really no time to play it," Lovelace said. "Everyone has games next week, and it's going to go in the books. It's a rough night, but both teams brought everything they could."
Weaver said he was shaken after the game, by the fans in the stands and by Crook's gruesome injury. That followed an injury to offensive lineman Skyler Ipock, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his knee two weeks ago.
"This makes you realize what's important," Weaver said. "There's so many things more important than a football game. With Ipock blowing his ACL last week, and Crook — that was an extreme break. That's all I can think about."