There certainly is more wrong with the Warren G. Harding football team than one 90-minute lightning delay could have caused, but that's what started the Raiders' downfall.
Harding hasn't scored more than 15 points in a game all season. That high mark came in a 16-15 loss to Howland in Week 3. It also was the first of five consecutive losses that has dropped the Raiders to 1-6.
Injuries, poor execution, penalties and off-the-field unrest have combined to torpedo Harding in Rick Rios' first season as coach, but the Raiders' luck seemed to disappear all at once with an ill-timed lightning delay late in the game against Howland at Mollenkopf Stadium. Harding seemed to have all the momentum in that grudge match, but Howland and De'Veon Smith took over after the 90-minute delay, scored a late touchdown and stopped the Raiders at the end.
It has been all downhill for Harding ever since. Jalyn Powell hurt his shoulder the next week in a 14-7 loss at Shaw and the Raiders produced just a single score in that game and only one touchdown the next week in a 12-7 home loss to Bedford.
Lorain then crushed visiting Harding, 41-14, in Week 6. The Raiders were flagged 11 times for 131 yards in penalties in the first half alone and fell behind, 28-0. They had five unsportsmanlike penalties in the second quarter alone.
On Friday night, LeShun Daniels ran the opening kickoff back 82 yards for a touchdown against Euclid and broke a 65-yard touchdown run moments later to stake Harding to a quick 13-0 lead.
The Raiders' offense did little the rest of the night and the Panthers won the game with 5:31 to play in the second by returning a Harding interception 58 yards for a touchdown.
And that's just what has happened on the field. Off the field, the Raiders fired assistant coach Alex Engram.
Rios told Tribune Chronicle news partner WYTV that Engram had been warned about "disruptive behavior in the locker room" and disruptive behavior within the coaching staff. Apparently, Engram was involved in another incident last week which resulted in his dismissal.
Now Harding is 1-6 and must play at Massillon (6-1) on Thursday night. Until the loss to Euclid, Harding hadn't started a season 1-6 since 1985, when its football team was known as the Panthers.
Harding finished 1-9 that season, with its only victory coming against Howland. Its only victory this season came against East - an ugly 9-2 win - in Week 2.
This was a team I expected to have to contend with a bit of a rebuilding season. I thought the Raiders could finish 5-5 or 4-6, based on the combination of the holes they had to fill, the transition from the coaching staff of the fired D.J. Dota to that of Rios and the overall difficulty of the schedule.
But I didn't quite expect to get to Week 8 with Harding still looking to score more than two touchdowns in a game.
And judging from the tone of some fans filing out of Mollenkopf Stadium on Friday night and those of the emails beginning to arrive in our offices, this 1-6 start has been a very unpleasant surprise to WGH followers.
If it hasn't happened yet, Rios is about to find out just how tough it can be to coach in this town.