High school football: Lima Senior outlasts Xenia

LIMA — The year was 2015.

That was the last time Lima Senior won a football playoff game.

Friday night, Lima Senior broke the string.

Lima Senior kept answering the bell Friday against Xenia in a Division II Region 8 first-round playoff game at Spartan Stadium. After seven lead changes, Lima Senior finally came away with a hard-fought 42-32 victory over the Buccaneers.

No. 7 seed Lima Senior (9-2) plays No. 2 seed Troy (10-1) next Friday in a regional quarterfinal at 7 p.m. at a site to be determined. Friday night, Troy defeated Riverside Stebbins 26-7.

Lima Senior notched the Toledo City League title last week, when it defeated Toledo Start, 26-14.

Lima Senior’s offense was clicking on all cylinders Friday night.

Lima Senior sophomore quarterback Ja’niaus Hall ended the night 23 of 42 passing for 420 yards with three touchdown passes and had one interception.

The Spartans got the job done on the ground as well. As a team, Lima Senior rushed for 121 yards.

Boog Wilson led the way for Lima Senior with three rushes for 65 yards, including a 69-yard scamper late in the fourth quarter that put the game away. Hall rushed for 48 yards on eight carries and had one TD run.

Chance Sanders was Hall’s favorite receiver Friday night. Sanders had nine catches for 149 yards and had a 65-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter that gave Lima Senior a 35-32 lead.

Zaveon Garner hauled in five passes for 129 yards and had two TD receptions (78, 18 yards). Jalen Jones had a 2-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter that gave the Spartans a 28-25 lead.

“We made some adjustments at halftime,” Lima Senior head coach Bill Lawrence said. “We have really good coaches. … We study a lot of film. We came out (after halftime) and ran the ball a little bit. … We mixed it up. We have some pretty good players. We have guys who can just make plays.”

Lima Senior led 14-6 at the end of the first quarter and went into the halftime break with a 14-12 advantage.

In the second half, there were six lead changes. At the end of three quarters of action, Xenia was leading 25-21.

The key play of the game came late in the fourth quarter, when Xenia quarterback Gavin McManus fumbled the football near Lima Senior’s goal line, which negated what first appeared to be a TD run by McManus.

“Our defense, once again, bent but did not break,” Lawrence said. “I’m very proud of them.”

Xenia rushed for 277 yards. Elijah Johnson led the Buccaneers with 115 rushing yards on 21 carries with two TD runs. Teammate Jace Jones rushed for 107 yards on 18 carries and had three TD runs.

McManus ended the game 15 of 20 passing for 185 yards.

Lawrence said his goal is to get as many players involved as possible, especially on the offensive side of the football.

“That’s what we try to do – spread it around. You can’t focus on one or two players. Once again, you have to come back to that O-line. They did a great job all night,” Lawrence said.

“That sophomore quarterback (Hall) is pretty special. I don’t know what he finished with tonight, but he was pretty good.”

Xenia had 22 first downs, while Lima Senior moved the chains 14 times.

Lawrence points to his team’s confidence as a main ingredient to this year’s success.

“They believe,” Lawrence said. “When you believe, it’s a very powerful thing. I’ve got to take time to thank my Savior, my Lord Jesus Christ, and his blessings. I’m right where I’m supposed to be – right here at Lima Senior.”

Game summary

Score by quarters:

Xenia 6 6 13 7 – 32

Lima Senior 14 0 7 21 – 42


Xenia–Elijah Johnson 1 run (kick failed)

Lima Senior–Zaveon Garner 8 pass from Ja’niaus Hall (run failed)

Lima Senior – Ja’niaus Hall 4 run (run failed)

Xenia – Jace Jones 10 run (kick failed)

Xenia – Jace Jones 7 run (run failed)

Lima Senior – Zaveon Garner 18 pass from Ja’niaus Hall (Emmauel Jokinen-Rutz kick)

Xenia – Jace Jones 14 run (Mason Rubio kick)

Lima Senior – Jalen Jones 2 run (Emmanuel Jokinen-Rutz kick)

Xenia – Elijah Johnson 7 run (Mason Rubio kick)

Lima Senior – Chance Sanders 65 pass from Ja’niaus Hall (Emmanuel Jokinen-Rutz)

Lima Senior – Boog Wilson 69 run (Emmanuel Jokinen-Rutz kick)

Xenia Lima Senior

22 First downs 14

462 Total yardage 541

277 Rushing yardage 121

185 Passing yardage 420

15-20-x1 Passing (Com-Att-Int) 23-42-1

2-2 Fumbles-Lost 0-0

0-00.0 Punts-Average 0-00.0

4-30 Penalties-Yards 11-86

Individual leaders:

Passing: Xenia-Gavin McManus 15-20-185; Lima Senior-Ja’niaus Hall 23-42-420.

Rushing: Xenia-Elijah Johnson 21-115; Lima Senior-Boog Wilson 3-65.

Receiving: Xenia-Aiden Solis 3-71; Lima Senior-Chance Sanders 9-149.

Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.