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Story and photo by Ryan Isley

BERLIN, Ohio — With sporting events being changed or canceled by COVID-19 this winter, we almost forgot about weather.

Mother Nature made sure we wouldn’t forget about her again any time soon Sunday night and Monday morning.

The Classic in the Country quickly became Scramble in the Country on Monday, as the area was hit overnight with a major snowstorm that dropped a foot or more of snow in some areas.

The original schedule for the final day of the three-day event at the Reese Center and Berlin Hiland High School included nine games:

New Lexington vs. Northwest, Waterford vs. Tri-Village, Warrensville Heights vs. Mason, Laurel vs. Regis Jesuit (Colorado), South Bend Washington (Indiana) vs. Reynoldsburg, Fremont Ross vs. Archbishop Hoban, Toledo Notre Dame vs. Massillon Jackson, Wadsworth vs. CVCA and Hiland vs. Sheridan.

As of Sunday, one game had already been changed. With New Lexington unable to participate, Hathaway Brown stepped in as the new opponent for Northwest.

“In the morning (on Sunday), New Lexington canceled, so they probably weren’t going to be able to make it for the 9 a.m. game (Monday),” event director Brady Schlabach said. “We had Hathaway Brown come in Sunday night and stay in a hotel and Northwest did also. We had Tri-Village and Waterford in town too, so we knew the first two games were good for sure.”

And then on Monday morning, a major shift took place, with multiple games being adjusted.

The new schedule looked like this:

Hathaway Brown vs. Northwest, Waterford vs. Tri-Village, South Bend Washington (Indiana) vs. Mason, Laurel vs Regis Jesuit (Colorado), Warrensville Heights vs. Toledo Notre Dame, Fremont Ross vs. Archbishop Hoban, Reynoldsburg vs. Massillon Jackson, Wadsworth vs. CVCA and Hiland vs. Sheridan.

“A lot of brainstorming went into it,” Schlabach said. “We were up here early and able to get ahead of things.”

Of the nine scheduled games, only five were still intact as originally scheduled.

“We did the best we could moving stuff around,” Schlabach said. “And we also had to let the college coaches know as well because they are all coming in to watch certain kids and teams are canceling.”

And then as the day went on Monday, Massillon Jackson was forced to pull out which canceled the game between Jackson and Reynoldsburg altogether. It was the second time on Monday that Reynoldsburg had its schedule changed.

A short time later, Wadsworth pulled out of its game because of a level 2 snow emergency in the city of Wadsworth.

The cancellations also forced a change in times for the other games to be played, as the organizers were able to add extra time between games so the last games would still be played close to schedule.

One thing that made it easier for the changes to take place was that the Classic in the Country had a good team in place to make the decisions and had been doing so for a while. They took everything into consideration, right down to the volunteers.

“We have put so much work into it since last summer into making the event what it is and getting everything down pat,” Schlabach said. “Volunteers, concession stands and ticket takers — all of that comes into play too.”

At the end of the day, players, coaches, parents and fans were still able to enjoy three days of high-level competition.

“I would say we made the best out of the situation that we could,” Schlabach said.