TOLEDO — Toledo St. Francis’ Lamar Carswell wasn’t going to be stopped.
But someone on Lima Senior had to slow him down.
The Spartans’ defense, led by Terrill Minor, finally did slow down Carswell’s rocket-like speed in the second quarter just enough for Lima Senior to go on to post a 56-28 victory over St. Francis on Friday at the University of Toledo’s Glass Bowl.
Lima Senior is 5-0, 2-0 in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference. St. Francis is 1-4, 0-2 in the TRAC. The last time Lima Senior started the year 5-0 was in 1989 when it finished 10-3.
“It feels great,” Lima Senior defensive end Terrill Minor said. “We said since eighth grade we would do this, we would change this program around and I believe that’s what we’re going to do.”
Last year against the Spartans, Carswell had 45 carries for a school-record 411 yards and six TDs. The 5-foot-8, 180-pound Carswell finished with 26 carries for 167 yards and one TD, all in the first half. He didn’t play in the second half because of an undisclosed injury.
“It was a challenge,” Minor said. “I felt he would be the best running back we would face all year. This year we’re becoming more students of the game. We analyzing what they’re doing and we’re shutting it down. They were scoring off the same play.”
After slowing down Carswell in the second quarter, the Lima Senior offense took flight.
Lima Senior quarterback Darius Gordon completed 18 of 30 for 369 yards and four TDs. Ruben Flowers had seven catches for 145 yards and two TDs.
Lima Senior tailback Juniel Liles was held to 19 yards in the first half, but ended up with 179 yards on 16 carries. He had TD runs of 2 and 84 yards.
In the first half, St. Francis spent very little time with a quarterback behind the center. Instead, Carswell took the majority of the snaps out of the shotgun. From there, it was just a matter of whether he was going to run right, left or up the middle.
On his first 13 carries, Carswell rolled for 111 yards. But on his final 13 carries, he had only 56 yards.
“We prepared for him all week and we knew that’s what they were going to do (with Carswell taking the direct snaps),” Fell said. “It took us a quarter and we finally were catching up to him. He wasn’t getting 12, 15 yards before we got a hand on him. We started to get him in the backfield and we got some confidence.”
Carswell ran it over from the 9 to give St. Francis a 7-0 lead.
Lima Senior then went to the air and went 58 yards in eight plays for a score. Gordon ran it over from the 3 for the TD. That tied the game at 7 with 9:46 left in the first quarter.
Looking at a third-and-6 from the Lima Senior 35, Carswell took the snap, ran to the line, then fired a 35-yard TD pass to Dontey Ellis. That gave St. Francis a 14-7 lead.
After getting a key stop on Carswell, the Spartans came back and tied the game at 14 on a 52-yard TD pass from Gordon to Flowers.
Lima Senior took the lead to stay 21-14 lead with 5:26 left before the half when Gordon hit a leaping Flowers in the left corner of the end zone.
Carswell fumbled the snap out of the shotgun and Lima Senior’s Marquis Miller recovered at the Lima Senior 20 with 50 seconds left before the half.
One play later, Gordon hit a wide-open Jaylin Thomas at the 40 and he flew all the way down the field for an 80-yard TD. That gave the Spartans a 28-14 lead with 35 seconds left in the half.