It was a wild Friday night for the Edmond Memorial football team in Enid and on the way to Enid.
The Bulldogs had an adventurous bus ride on the way to play the Plainsmen. The Bulldogs had to switch buses twice, and the game was delayed for 20 minutes because of Edmond Memorial's late arrival.
Driving into the 40 mph wind gusts that brought a cold front into Oklahoma late Friday afternoon, the Edmond Memorial bus carrying the varsity team had to stop when its windshield was shattered near Perry on Interstate 35.
“Something hit the windshield and it just spider-webbed,” said Lucas Gerdes, a senior offensive tackle for the Bulldogs. “It just spread over the whole windshield. Glass pieces flew into the bus.”
Coach Justin Merideth said the bus driver, assistant coach Dan Pendergrass, had cuts on his face from the flying pieces of glass.
“He did just an unbelievable job of keeping his composure and getting off the road and keeping the kids safe,” Merideth said. “That is a scary, scary deal.”
Merideth and the team waited for the bus carrying the junior varsity to arrive. The two squads then changed buses, and the varsity traveled on to Enid while the junior varsity stayed on the side of the road and waited on another bus to arrive from Edmond.
However, the new bus carrying the varsity team couldn't make it to Enid either because of more windshield problems.
“Because of the wind, the windshield popped out of its socket,” Merideth said.
The driver had to pull the bus over on U.S. Highway 412.
“Water started pouring in on our bus driver,” Gerdes said.
The bus that was called to pick up the junior varsity was redirected to pick up the varsity squad. The bus carrying cheerleaders gave the junior varsity team a ride to Enid.
Gerdes said the team had to wait on the side of the road about 30 to 45 minutes each time. The players kept making jokes to pass the time, he said.
“Half of us were asleep when it all happened,” he said. “Everyone just woke up and started making jokes. It was pretty funny.”
By the time Edmond Memorial finally arrived in Enid, the players had to hurry to take the field.
“It was really rushed,” Gerdes said. “We didn't have any of our meetings or anything. We got dressed and we took the field.”
The game turned out to be a barnburner. Edmond Memorial jumped to a 14-0 lead, but Enid rallied and scored late in the fourth quarter to take a 19-14 lead.
The Bulldogs stormed back as quarterback Warren Wand hit Sam Kreutzer with what would have been the game-winning touchdown pass in the waning seconds only to have it nullified by a holding penalty.
Enid won 19-14 to end what had been a frustrating night on and off the field for the Bulldogs.
“It was the craziest 24 hours I have ever experienced as a coach,” Merideth said. “It was frustrating but I was so proud how the kids dealt with all the adversity and all the wild things that went on before the game and during the game. They never stopped competing.”