Brown County’s defense put it in position to be successful in Friday night’s Western Indiana Conference East Division opener.

A few of big plays, however, doomed the Eagles in 37-18 loss to Cascade in a game that was delayed about an hour-and-a-half by lightning at the end of the first half.

Twice in the second quarter, the Cadets threw touchdown passes out of third-and-long situations. Then, a fumble return for a score at the end of the first half gave Cascade a two-touchdown lead before the lightning came.

“They only had three plays in the first half, but those three plays go for scores,” Brown County coach Ethan Schreiber said. “If we do things a little different on offense and things kind of change, we should be up by two scores probably. It should be 14-0 or something like that going into halftime.”

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The Eagles (1-2, 0-1) held Cascade (1-2, 1-0) to 15 total yards on two first-quarter series. Then on the Cadets’ first second-quarter possession, the Eagles had them backed up into a third-and-21 from the Brown County 46. Cascade’s Chase Edwards lofted a deep pass that Isaac Guerendo caught over a defender at the 5, turned and ran into the end zone for the game’s first score.

The Eagles answered right back, however. On their next play from scrimmage, Phillip Palmer took a handoff, broke through the line and sprinted 59 yards for a touchdown to put Brown County on the board with 8:31 remaining in the first half. A botched extra point snap left the Eagles trailing 7-6.

The score stayed that way until the Cadets scored twice in the final 1:05 of the first half. Facing a third-and-17 from the Brown County 33, Edwards hit Guerendo on nearly the same type of pass play as their first touchdown connection, only to the opposite side of the field, for a 13-6 lead.

The Eagles were looking to answer before the end of the half, but quarterback Jered Claburn was hit and fumbled at his own 39. Cascade’s Jesse VanNess picked up the ball and scampered to the end zone with just 10 seconds left in the first half.

The game was called with 1.9 seconds left in the half.

The first half had already lasted about an hour-and-a-half, thanks to 17 penalties between the two teams. The Cadets were whistled for 12 of those penalties for 110 yards in the opening 24 minutes.

Cascade broke the game open when Guerendo returned the second-half kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown and a 27-7 lead.

“We went into halftime really wanting to come back out and get these guys,” Schreiber said. “But that kickoff return was a rough way to start. We played them even from there, but just ran out of time.”

Brown County closed the margin to 27-12 after recovering a fumble at the Cadets 5. Claburn took it the final yard for the score.

Cascade answered with a 19-yard field goal by Mourey to make it 30-12 with 3:09 left in the third quarter and added a 9-yard run by Zac Butler to take a 27-12 lead. The Eagles’ backups scored the game’s final touchdown, with Alex Carney hitting Luke Getts for a 56-yard score with 1:34 remaining.

“These kids are fighters,” Schreiber said. “That’s one thing that’s nice right now with this group. The kids we have are committed, and the kids we have will fight.

“We just have kids that have never played before. We’re starting a lot of sophomores, and we’re even looking at starting a freshman or two. It’s kind of growing pains to an extent. We do have a group of seniors, though, that it would be really nice to win a lot of games for that we’re not getting it done right now for.”