High school football: LCC opens playoffs with victory against Ayersville

SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — The first weekend of high school playoff football for Lima Central Catholic saw a match between the Thunderbirds and the Ayersville Pilots at Shawnee since Lima Senior was playing host to Xenia at Spartan Stadium.

The Thunderbirds looked to repeat the success they’ve had in the past three years with three regional finals appearances and two final four appearances. According to Thunderbirds head coach Scott Palte, “they know what it’s all about. They know you got to play hard, you better show up each week because you don’t get a second chance if you don’t come out and execute.”

Like the past few seasons, LCC started off with a 42-20 victory.

LCC started the game out quickly from the get go. In the first quarter, the Thunderbirds started with the ball first and took advantage. Quarterback Carson Parker gave LCC the lead on the very first play of the game with a 67 yard rushing touchdown. LCC was up seven to nothing 10 seconds into the game.

After a failed drive from both teams, LCC got into the end zone once again to give the Thunderbirds a 14 -0 lead after halfback/wide receiver Matthew Quatman took the ball across the goal line on a 4 yard rush with just under six minutes left in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, LCC scored on the first play of the quarter once again after Parker and Quatman both achieved their second touchdowns of the night on a 9 yard pass to Quatman to give the Thunderbirds a 21 point lead with 11:56 left in the second quarter.

After a touchdown and 2 point conversion, the Pilots trailed 21-8 with a few minutes left in the first half. However, LCC made its way down the field, and with 11 seconds left in the half, punched it in from 1 yard out for Parker’s third touchdown of the game that gave the Thunderbirds a 28-8 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Pilots fought back. Ayersville moved down the field with a calculated drive that ended in a score from short that made the game 28-14.

On the next drive, LCC went for it on fourth and short midfield, but lost yardage, turning the ball over on downs. LCC forced a punt on the next Ayersville drive, but the Thunderbirds fumbled the punt return and gave the ball to Ayersville in the red zone with three minutes left in the third quarter.

The Pilots took advantage and scored again on a short pass into the end zone with 36 seconds left to trail by eight, 28-20.

In the fourth quarter, on the second play of the drive, LCC showed its resilience when Parker threw a deep pass down the right sideline that immediately went out at the 1 yard line for a 50 yard pass. Two plays later, Parker ran it in for the fifth touchdown of the game for the Thunderbirds, his fourth score, to give LCC a 35-20 lead with 10:36 left in the game.

Then with 9:41 left, the Pilots moved the ball down the field on two big plays. However, LCC recorded an interception on a deep pass to the right side of the field on third down. LCC looked to put this game away after the turnover.

On the very next play, Parker launched a deep pass down the middle to Billy Bourk on a crossing route. Bourk out ran his opponent to the end zone for LCC’s sixth touchdown of the game and Parker’s fifth total touchdown. The Thunderbirds led 42-20.

The Pilots moved down the field with two big pass plays on the next drive, but Parker ended the game with a one-handed interception over the middle to give the ball to the Thunderbirds with 4 minutes left. LCC was able to run the clock out to advance to the next round.

Palte gave credit to the Pilots for the competitiveness they showed throughout the game.

“I give Ayersville a lot of credit. They kept fighting … great job by their coaching staff and their kids to keep coming at us and we had to make plays to win it … we had two really big playmakers in Carson Parker and Billy Bourk, and they made some huge plays in the second half and we were able to pull away in the end. It was a really good football game with two teams really playing hard … their team is really good; They were 8-2 and we knew we had to come out here and play a really good football team. Our kids made some really good plays at the end and I’m really proud of them … we just want to keep playing hard; one game at a time … our kids play hard, they look forward to playoff time, and we are excited for whoever we play next week because we are going to need our best effort and it’s going to take really good football to advance next week.“

Their next opponent Crestview next Friday at a neutral site.

Justin Dierkes wrote this story for LimaScores.com. Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.