LIMA — In its first two games, Lima Senior was unable to overcome penalties and inconsistencies on offense. Thanks to a solid defensive effort, the Spartans sidestepped their miscues and produced a 26-14 win over Christian of Faith Academy on Friday night.
Lima Senior improves to 1-2 on the season, and COFA falls to 0-4 for the year.
“We definitely wanted to get one on the board,” Lima Senior coach Andre Griffin said. “Our defense did a heck of a job tonight.”
The Spartan produced three big turnovers and two huge defensive stops on key downs to secure the victory.
With both teams struggling to move the ball throughout the majority of the first half, it was Lima Senior who struck first, when the Spartans scored first late in the second quarter.
Beginning at their own 41-yard line, Lima Senior marched down for paydirt in eight plays thanks to the talents of senior sensation Jaleel King, who highlighted the drive with a 30-yard catch and then capped it off by making a 13-yard grab on a slant for the touchdown. After a successful extra point, Lima Senior led 7-0 at the 3:37 mark.
About 30 seconds later, the Spartan defense, which had been doing a tremendous job of shutting down COFA’s offense, sacked quarterback Daeann Hooper and forced a fumble that La’Quint Luster pounced on at the 13-yard line.
Three plays later, Spartan QB Rashad Wallace found King in the right corner of the end zone for another Lima Senior score with 1:15 left in the first half and the Spartans owning a 14-0 lead.
With a little less than a minute left, it appeared Lima Senior would hold on to the two-touchdown cushion. On fourth-and-11 from their own 19, Ironmen punter Zyaire Sejour was pressured. The Spartans, who had done this on two previous punt attempts, overran Sejour, who scampered 64 yards to put the Ironmen at the Spartan 16-yard line. One play later, COFA running back Mario Agyen raced in for the tocuhdown. After the failed extra point, Lima Senior was up 14-6 going into halftime.
The Ironmen, like the Spartans, made mistakes that hampered their efforts to get into an offensive rhythm. The Ironmen were tagged 15 times for 197 yards in penalties, while Lima Senior was hit 10 times for 99 yards.
Griffin said the penalties did not hurt the offense as much this week. He said it was the defense being aggressive and getting nailed for late hits.
Even though the Spartan offense never got into a consistent attack, Lima senior did show flashes of progress against the Ironmen defense.
Spartan signal caller Wallace continues to develop into a major weapon. The Lima Senior quarterback rushed for 127 yards on 14 carries and one touchdown. His 21-yard touchdown run came late in the fourth quarter, and that gave the Spartans a 20-6, two-touchdown advantage with less than five minutes left in the game.
Griffin also saw improvement in the running game, as the Spartans racked up 216 yards on the ground. In addition to Wallace’s efforts, Mizhir McMillen rushed for 104 yards on 16 carries as the tailback.
“We got healthy at the running back position, and Mizhir McMillen had a great game,” Griffin said. “He was hurt last week, and we needed that speed factor. He came in on his series and turned the game around.”
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