LIMA — It didn’t take long for Lima Central Catholic to find its rhythm in Friday’s football season opener with visiting Spencerville.
After getting down 7-3 by the end of the first quarter, LCC scored 27 unanswered points in the second quarter and went on for a 36-21 victory at Spartan Stadium.
However, Spencerville did not go away that easily. The Bearcats cut a 30-7 halftime deficit to as little as nine points, but that was as close as they would get.
“Our kids really dug in,” LCC coach Scott Palte said. “I’m really proud of them. We said at halftime that Spencerville is a program with a lot of pride, and they’re not going away.”
LCC took advantage of excellent field position early on.
After a muffed punt by Spencerville, the T-Birds took over on Spencerville’s 14-yard line. A few plays later, Ron Banks kicked a 27-yard field goal, giving LCC the early 3-0 lead.
However, on the next possession for Spencerville, the Bearcats marched 66 yards on 14 plays, and Chris Picker capped off the scoring drive with an 8-yard touchdown run, giving Spencerville a 7-3 lead with 26 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
On LCC’s first possession of the second quarter, the T-Birds went 28 yards on four plays, capping the drive off with a 10-yard run by quarterback Brendan Stolly. With the extra point by Banks, the T-Birds led 10-7 at the 11:48 mark of the second stanza.
LCC extended its lead to 16-7 with 8:16 left to play in the half, when Stolly connected with Brayden O’Dell for a 46-yard TD pass. The ensuing extra-point attempt by Banks was blocked.
LCC scored again, just four minutes later, on a 30-yard scoring strike from Stolly to O’Dell, pushing the lead to 22-7. O’Dell made a spectacular catch, turning his body completely around to snag the pass from Stolly.
“Brayden O’Dell may have made the best high school catch I’ve ever seen,” Palte said. “The ball was over his wrong shoulder, and he turns around and catches it with one hand. I don’t know how he even found it. What a great game by him.”
O’Dell ended the night with three receptions for 106 yards and three TDs. Stolly completed 4 of 10 passes for 109 yards and three TDs.
The T-Birds added one more score with 3:16 left in the half, off a fumble by Spencerville running back Chris Picker. Picker fumbled at his own 35-yard line. LCC defensive lineman Micah Pearson picked up the loose football and ran it in for the score. With the two-point conversion, LCC led 30-7, which held until the halftime break.
Spencerville scored a TD midway through third quarter, set up by a fumble by Stolly at LCC’s 4-yard line. Picker (28 carries, 105 yards, 2 TDs) ran it in from one yard out, cutting the deficit to 30-13. With a successful two-point conversion, LCC’s lead was 30-15.
Spencerville added a score late in the third quarter, on an 8-yard TD scamper by Joel Lotz, cutting the deficit to 30-21.
However, LCC added another score late in the fourth quarter on another TD pass from Stolly to O’Dell to round out the scoring.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.