SPENCERVILLE – Lima Central Catholic added a new little wrinkle to its playbook this week. And the T-Birds decided to pull it out at exactly the right time.
LCC quarterback Nevan Stolly hit Ron Banks out of the backfield on a wheel route for a 48-yard TD to help LCC post a 34-19 football opening-night victory over Spencerville on Friday.
The key TD pass from Stolly to Banks gave LCC a 21-12 lead with 3:29 left in the first half.
“That was something we put in this week,” LCC coach Scott Palte said. “We thought as aggressive as they were, we could sneak Ron out of the backfield. He has some good speed, and Nevan threw that ball on the money. It was a perfect throw. That was a huge play that put us up nine.’’
Stolly added, “Coach set it up and Ronnie Banks set it up for himself, and we dropped it right in, touchdown. We really don’t run that. We just put it this week. That’s what really put fire under us and helped us win the game.’’
Banks had a career-high five TDs, including TD runs of 13, 3 and 1 yards. He caught TD passes of 19 and 48 yards.
Banks led the ground game with 103 yards on 24 carries.
“I thought the pass was going over my head, but I got under it and grabbed it,” Banks said. “I think we got them by surprise.’’
Banks said he can’t ever remember racking up five TDs in a game.
“I used to play for the Shawnee traveling team and had three touchdowns back then, but I can’t remember having five,” Banks said. “It feels good, and I’m glad we got the ‘W.’”
Shaun Thomas, who was bothered by cramping, had 41 yards on nine carries.
Stolly, a first-year starter, was 7 of 7 in the air for 157 yards and two TDs.
The Stolly-to-Banks wheel-route TD down the right sideline came two plays after LCC went for it on fourth-and-1 from the LCC 46 with the T-Birds holding a 14-12 lead. Stolly went straight ahead on a 1-yard sneak to the get the first down.
“They had some momentum going on offense. I thought they were pushing us around pretty good, and I didn’t want them to get the ball back,” Palte said. “I had faith that we could pick up a yard.’’
For Spencerville, Cannan Johnson had 68 yards on nine carries, including a 48-yard run on his first carry. Joel Lotz had 60 yards on nine carries.
Dylan Baughman had 53 yards on 17 carries.
Bearcats quarterback Dalty Prichard completed 1 of 3 for 11 yards and had one interception.
“They are a complete team, and they deserved to win,” Spencerville coach Chris Sommers said. “They beat us in every aspect.
“I’m really proud of our guys. Our guys played hard.’’
Spencerville’s 6-foot-2, 220-pound middle linebacker Eli Yahl finished with 22 tackles, as he clogged up the line of scrimmage and continually slowed down the LCC sweep.
“Eli is a great player, and he plays hard,” Sommers said. “We had a lot of guys play hard. It just didn’t work out.’’
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