LIMA — Lima Central Catholic was able to overcome five turnovers with plenty of big plays as the T-Birds turned back Collins Western Reserve 42-14 in Division V playoff action Saturday night at Lima Stadium.
But lurking in the collective minds of the T-Birds was Liberty-Benton, which stunned LCC in last years’ postseason opener. This coming Saturday, LCC will play Liberty-Benton at a site to be announced today. Liberty-Benton beat Liberty Center 16-7 on Saturday.
For LCC on Saturday, Colin Stolly overcame four interceptions with three touchdown passes and Ben Stolly and Sam Huffman made big defensive plays to lead the LCC win.
The T-Birds opened the scoring when Stolly connected with Darius West on a 36-yard scoring strike to put LCC up 7-0 midway through the first quarter.
The Roughriders bounced back to tie the game when their quarterback, Will Pritt, went in from 4 yards out early in the second quarter.
Two big defensive stands by the T-Birds kept Western Reserve from scoring in the red zone, the first when Ben Stolly tackled 260 pound Ian Ramos for no gain after the Roughriders inserted him in the backfield in their goal line offense.
“The line must do its job for the linebackers to make tackles,” Ben Stolly said. “Last year (the Liberty-Benton loss) was in our minds, we didn’t come out soft and kept it strong the entire game.”
LCC had taken back the lead when Colin Stolly hit West again with a 52-yard pass that put the T-Birds up 14-7. West made a sparkling one-handed grab and raced untouched to the end zone on the play.
Huffman then made a key interception, one of three for him in the game, as the Roughriders were driving in for the attempted tying score late in the second period.
“We needed a big play,” Huffman said. “Our defense played great and we held them in the red zone, it was a total team effort. Our game preparation was to remember that (LB loss) feeling.”
LCC (11-0) immediately took advantage as they went 64 yards and Stolly connected with Ryan Pitts on an 11-yard scoring pass just a minute before half-time to put the T-Birds up 21-7.
The Roughriders (8-3) OVERSET FOLLOWS:pulled to with-in 21-14 when Nate Good returned an interception 16 yards late in the third quarter.
Western Reserve then tried an on-side kick and touched the ball before it went 10 yards, giving the T-Birds possession on the Roughriders 49-yard line.
Kalito Lasenby, starting in place of the injured Jon Washington, then dashed 49 yards on the first play from scrimmage to put the T-Birds back in front by a 27-14 score.
Sam Huffman connected on a half-back pass to Mykale Rogers for 34 yards that put LCC up 35-14 and Pitts closed out the scoring with a 19-yard run early in the final period of play.
Jerry Cooper saw both pluses and minuses in his team’s performance.
“You normally don’t win with five turnovers but we survived tonight with five turnovers,” Cooper said. “We never punted in the game and that is usually good enough to win. We made some big plays including West’s one-handed catch and Huffman’s interceptions.
“Out guys will be excited (for Liberty-Benton). It will be a test for us to see where we are at.”