LIMA – There would be no postseason hoopla for Lima Senior.
Instead, it was Toledo Whitmer which kept its playoff hopes alive.
Whitmer ran all over Lima Senior 83-28 on a record-setting Friday at Lima Stadium.
It marked the most points Whitmer had scored in a game. It was also the most points the Spartans had allowed in a game. The 83 points given up eclipsed the 72 points Toledo St. Francis scored against Lima Senior earlier this year.
“It was a struggle out there tonight,” Lima Senior coach Mike Fell said. “The kids worked so hard all year, then they get to the last couple of weeks (against Toledo Central Catholic and Whitmer) and we lost what we had, lost what we built up throughout the year.”
Lima Senior ended the year 5-5, 4-3 in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference. The five wins marked the most for the Spartans since Lima Senior went 5-5 in 2000. The Spartans came back from going 0-10 last year.
“I’m real proud of the way these young men have carried themselves all year,” Fell said. “Even tonight, when it was bad, they were still playing hard and still trying to do things the right way.”
Whitmer, which came in one spot away from a playoff spot, is 6-4, 5-2 in the TRAC.
“We challenged our guys,” Whitmer coach Jerry Bell said. “We had to get after them early and set the tone and be physical. Obviously, I thought we were.”
Lima Senior turned the ball over four times, including three on fumbles. The Spartans also had one punt for zero yards.
But the biggest problem the Spartans had was they could never slow down the high-powered Whitmer offense. Whitmer ended up with 685 total yards, including a school-record 558 yards rushing.
Whitmer quarterback Chase Bodeman finished with 203 yards rushing on 15 carries with two TDs. He had TD runs of 32 and 18 yards. Backup tailback Keenan Baker ended up with 123 yards on eight carries. He had TD runs of 4 and 62 yards.
“We have to get better, defensively,” Fell said. “We haven’t tackled anybody the last couple of weeks.”
The Spartans’ offense looked a little out of sync early and Whitmer took full advantage of the situation.
Lima Senior quarterback Justice Graham was picked off on the fourth play from scrimmage by Tylor Schneider at the Whitmer 47 and returned it to the Spartans’ 45.
One play later, Whitmer’s Jamal Bell took off for a 45-yard TD around the right side and Whitmer had the lead to stay 7-0.
“We mixed up coverages and he (Graham) looked a little bit confused,” Bell said. “But hats off to coach Fell. He and Lima had a great season.”
Later in the quarter, Lima Senior shanked a punt for zero yards and Whitmer took over at the Lima Senior 8.
It took Whitmer three plays to score. Schneider ran it in from the 3-yard line for the TD. That gave the Panthers a 14-0 lead with 5:29 left in the first quarter.
Whitmer then scored five TDs in the second quarter to grab a 49-15 lead at the half.
By halftime, the Spartans had lost two fumbles and had one pass picked off.
On top of that, Whitmer’s offense was both running and throwing the ball at will. Whitmer used two quarterbacks and more were effective.
Whitmer running quarterback Bodeman ran for 150 yards and two TDs by the half.
“They were biting pretty hard (on the read option fake) and we had really good blocking,” Bodeman said.
Whitmer passing TD Matt Winzeler threw for 127 yards and one TD at the break. That’s where he finished the night.
One bright spot at the half for the Spartans was an 87-yard kickoff return for a TD by Demontay Liles. But that only brought Lima Senior within 35-15 with 3:26 left in the half.
Whitmer added 20 points in the third quarter and 14 in the final frame to finish with the record 83.
“Eighty-three is pretty impressive,” Bodeman said. “I don’t think anyone saw that coming.”