LIMA — Toledo Central Catholic showed no mercy against Lima Senior on Friday night.
The Irish, the No. 2 team in Division II, dominated play on both sides of the ball to post a 56-7 in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference opener for both squads.
Lima Senior falls to 1-3 for the season, and TCC improves to 4-0.
Behind a massive front line, the Irish had little trouble moving the ball. Utilizing an assortment of backs, the Irish produced 284 yards on the ground. That is not to say TCC couldn’t pass, as dual-threat quarterback Troy Durben, who rushed for 56 yards, was a crisp 7 of 11 for 127 yards.
Defensively, the Irish smothered anything the Spartans attempted.
The Spartans’ ground game was held to 89 yards. Lima Senior quarterback Rashad Wallace endured a tough outing through the air, going 5 of 11 for 55 yards and two interceptions. Wallace would be replaced at halftime by sophomore quarterback EJ Cameron.
It was those two pickoffs that would tilt the game in TCC’s favor.
“We make it tough on ourselves,” said Lima Senior coach Andre Griffin, who once again watched turnovers hurt the Spartans. “They were bad turnovers, and the bottom line is we cannot have that against a good team like them. We talked about that all week.”
Toledo Central Catholic got up early by manufacturing two clock-eating drives to grab a 14-0 lead at the 11:02 mark of the second quarter. The Spartans offense had one drive in the first quarter that went nowhere.
Down 14-0, it appeared the Spartans found their rhythm and drove the ball down to the Irish 28. However, Wallace was intercepted by Irish’s Jardin Swain, who raced 82 yards for paydirt. After the successful extra point, Toledo Central Catholic led 21-0.
It went from bad to worse on the Spartans’ next possession, when Wallace was once again intercepted. This time, it was Victor Copeland picking off the ball at the 46-yard line, scampering into the end zone. After kicking the extra point, the Irish led 28-0.
“They were a good football team, and we say that every week,” Griffin said. “We can drive the ball on anybody if we don’t have turnovers, and those were bad turnovers.”
The Irish would tack on three more scores before the half to force a running clock going into the second half. The exclamation point in the third quarter came when the Irish returned a punt for a score. With 9:05 left in the third quarter, TCC led 49-0.
“We missed tackles,” Griffin said. “We were in the right spots at the right time but couldn’t tackle. Sometimes we have to make some plays.”
Lima Senior’s lone score came late in the fourth quarter, when Ahmir Curtis returned a touchdown 78 yards for the score with 5:18 left in the game.
The road does not get any easier next game, when the Spartans travel to Toledo to take on state-ranked and unbeaten Whitmer. Griffin said it is time for his team to be accountable and to start producing.
“They just have to focus up and look at themselves in the mirror,” Griffin said. “They have to learn from it. We still have a lot of season to go. Obviously we beat ourselves a lot. I say this a lot, but if we don’t beat ourselves, we will be in every game. Nobody is that much better than us in this league. Period.”