PARIS — In a game plagued by a two-hour lightning delay, Chris DeLaCruz and the Pottsboro Cardinals’ defense made the stop that counted on Thursday night.

PARIS — In a game plagued by a two-hour lightning delay, Chris DeLaCruz and the Pottsboro Cardinals’ defense made the stop that counted on Thursday night.


As Redwater went for two points and the lead with 5:05 left, DeLaCruz got a hand on Redwater running back Neo Hudson in the backfield, and teammates Brendin George and Preston Lawrence finished him off. That was enough to give the Cardinals a hard-fought 14-13 win over the scrappy Dragons in Class 2A Division I playoff action at Wildcat Stadium.


The Cardinals (11-1) advance to the Region II semifinals and will play the winner of tonight’s Daingerfield-Farmersville game. If Daingerfield advances, the Cards would return to Paris next Friday night. If Farmersville wins, the game would be at Ron Poe Stadium in McKinney, the stadium named for Pottsboro head coach Matt Poe’s father.


The game was stopped for two hours and 17 minutes as a strong cold front knifing through North Texas with storms in advance brought a halt to the proceedings at 8:59 p.m. The metal seating area was evacuated and both teams retreated to their respective locker rooms.


Once the game resumed, however, it was looking as though Redwater would be the beneficiary. The Dragons picked up where they left off, completing a 76-yard drive and capping it with Hudson’s one-yard run.


The Dragons, following a timeout, elected to go for two and the lead, but DeLaCruz slowed Hudson on a buck sweep to the left just enough for his teammates to plow him under.


The Cardinals ran out the clock the rest of the way, with two big first-down runs by Zane Pritchett. Pottsboro took a knee three times after getting as close as the Redwater five-yard line.


Just minutes before lightning stopped the game, Pritchett’s second touchdown run of the night on the first play of the fourth quarter gave the Cardinals a 14-7 lead.


Pritchett had 12 carries for 122 yards to go with his two scores, and big sophomore Patton Lyons added 14 carries for 51 yards as neither team could get much traction on the slick turf.


Before that, though, the Cardinals controlled the third quarter.


With the score level at 7-7, Redwater (6-6) punted to the Pottsboro 38 with 6:04 remaining in the quarter, and Cardinal quarterbacks Pritchett and Hunter Mullenix alternated on a 12-play drive, with a personal-foul penalty and a fourth-down conversion keeping it going.


Finally, as the fourth quarter began, Pritchett kept from the 3 for the go-ahead score, and Kory Waller’s extra point made it 14-7.


The Dragons ran four plays and had a third-and-1 at their own 45 when a lightning alarm sounded, bringing the game to a screeching halt.


Mullenix added 63 rushing yards on 14 carries for Pottsboro, including a 34-yard run on the first play of the second half.


Pottsboro seemed to have an edge on both sides of the ball, but shot itself in the foot in the first half. The Cardinals lost three turnovers and had a pair of fumble recoveries negated by offside penalties.


In misty, muggy conditions in the first half, neither offense could establish much, totaling only 183 yards between the two. Each touchdown in the first resulted from a turnover.


Redwater’s Hudson stepped in front of a slant from Pritchett at Pottsboro 42 at the end of the first quarter, setting up a 12-yard keeper by quarterback Michael Cochran to put the Dragons on top, 7-0.


But Pritchett atoned in a big way to help Pottsboro pull even before halftime.


Pritchett intercepted a Cochran pass at his own 24 and returned it across midfield, with a late-hit penalty tacking on 15 more yards. Four plays later, Pritchett called his own number and took it 19 yards with 1:51 remaining, and Waller’s PAT knotted the score.