Friday Four: Week 1 features interesting matchups


By Mark Altstaetter -

Lima Central Catholic at Elida

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last meeting: August 25, 2006 – LCC 38-4

When LCC has the ball: The T-Birds return just five starters on offense. Senior quarterback Ethan O’Connor brings back valuable experience for LCC’s offense. O’Connor has proven that he can be a threat both with the pass and with the run.

Elida’s defense is young, but experienced. Last season, the Bulldogs forced 14 turnovers.

Edge: Even

When Elida has the ball: Senior quarterback Logan Alexander looks to be the focal point for the Elida offense. Last season, Alexander passed for 1,545 yards, 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,102 yards and 14 TDs (second in the WBL).

LCC’s defense returns five starters from a year ago. The T-Birds are hoping to get some consistent play from some of their new players.

Edge: Even

Odds and ends: Both teams lost some playmakers from last season. Week 1 will be a good test for both squads.

The Brass Tacks: This has all the makings of a very hard-fought, competitive game. Both schools have a lot of pride and with the proximity of both schools, players on both teams know each other quite well. These two schools have long-standing rivalries in other sports.

Columbus Grove at Pandora-Gilboa

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Last meeting: August 29, 2014 – Columbus Grove 30-28

When Columbus Grove has the ball: Junior quarterback Reid Stechschulte returns. Last season, Stechschulte rushed for 700 yards, seven touchdowns, while passing for 15 TDs. After the loss of standout running back Joey Warnecke from graduation, the Bulldogs will be relying on a few different running backs this season. Look for Grove to be balanced in its spread attack.

With only three defensive starters back from last season, Pandora-Gilboa’s defense is an unknown at this point.

Edge: Columbus Grove

When P-G has the ball: The Rockets have several voids to fill with the loss of several key starters from last season’s squad. Senior Josiah Basinger will lead the way for the Rockets. Last season, Basinger was not the feature back, rushing for 329 yards and four TDs.

Columbus Grove’s 4-3 defense will be keying on the run. The Bulldogs’ front seven could be one of the best in the area.

Edge: Columbus Grove

Odds and ends: Columbus Grove has won four of the past five regular-season meetings with P-G. The Bulldogs also ousted P-G in the first round of last season’s playoffs, 21-6.

The Brass Tacks: These two football programs have met the past 45 seasons.

Delphos St. John’s at Bath

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last meeting: August 29, 1986 – Bath 20-6

When St. John’s has the ball: The Blue Jays have six starters back from last season. However, Nick Martz (last season’s quarterback) has graduated. In 2014, Martz threw for 760 yards and rushed for 744 yards with seven TDs. Junior Jacob Youngpeter will take over the signal-calling duties for St. John’s. Look for the Blue Jays to continue to run the option.

Defensively, Bath’s strength should lie with its front seven. However, there could be some questions in the secondary.

Edge: Even

When Bath has the ball: Bath’s offensive line should lead the way. Look for the Wildcats to run the football often and effectively. Chase Clark and Kaden Sullivan could give opposing defenses fits.

St. John’s has some question marks on defense. All three linebackers from last season had to be replaced.

Edge: Bath

Odds and ends: This game will be a good test for both squads. Both teams lost key playmakers from last year, and both will be looking for young players to step up.

Delphos Jefferson at Shawnee

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Last meeting: First meeting in the modern era

When Jefferson has the ball: The Wildcats return a lot of experience. The run-happy Jefferson offense has plenty of running backs that can run the football. Leading the way is first-team Northwest Conference running back Hunter Binkley.

Shawnee has several question marks on defense. This could be a tough match-up for Shawnee’s defense.

Edge: Delphos Jefferson

When Shawnee has the ball: Quarterback Griffin Hites returns for Shawnee. However, first-year coach Jon Carpenter will be searching for the right combination in the backfield.

Jefferson’s defense is experienced and proven. The Wildcats should be solid on the defensive side of the football.

Edge: Delphos Jefferson

Odds and ends: This non-league match-up features two programs that are in different situations. Jefferson is very experienced and proven, while Shawnee will be a work in progress.

The Brass Tacks: The excitement is in the air at Shawnee. A win for the Indians would be a huge springboard for the program.


By Mark Altstaetter

The Lima News sports department can be contacted at 567-242-0451.

The Lima News sports department can be contacted at 567-242-0451.

Post navigation