LIMA — Lima Central Catholic’s Shaun Thomas wasn’t taking any chances with cramps this week.
Thomas filled himself with water and even gulped down some pickle juice.
Thomas responded with a 121 yards and three TDs to help the T-Birds post a 67-20 victory over Toledo Waite on a steamy Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium.
LCC is 4-0, while Waite is 3-1.
“I didn’t have any cramps today,” Thomas said. “I was drinking pickle juice all week and eating pickles. I had some today, too. It helped a lot.’’
LCC totally dominated in every facet of the game, as its defense and special teams combined for two TDs.
“That’s the best game we’ve played,” LCC coach Scott Palte said.
The T-Birds led 33-0 after the first quarter.
It was never close after that.
LCC pulled out to a 61-12 at the half.
Thomas, who has had problems with dehydration and cramps this year, led the way with seven carries for 121 yards. He had TD runs of 56, 2 and 27 yards.
LCC’s Ron Banks had nine carries for 60 yards and two TDs. He had TD runs of 33 and 4 yards.
The defense was powered by senior end Micah Pearson, who manhandled the Waite offensive line.
Pearson had eight tackles, two sacks and five tackles for loss.
On one play, Pearson had a strip sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a touchdown.
Pearson and his defensive teammates held Waite to 14 yards rushing and 93 total yards. The bulk of those yards came against the LCC backups.
On the first play from scrimmage, Thomas came around from his right wingback slot, took the handoff and took a hard right turn right up the gut untouched for a 56-yard TD.
That gave LCC a 7-0 lead.
“We thought they would really play us wide and we have some blocking schemes that allow us to take the ball and cut it up right away,” Palte said. “Our kids did a great job. There was a big hole there and Shaun cut it.’’
Thomas said, “The tackles and Rossi (Moore) gave me good blocks (on the TD run). I went from there.’’
LCC then went for an onside kick and Rossi Moore recovered it at the Waite 44.
Five plays later, Banks swept the right side for a 33-yard TD.
“They were a team with a lot of confidence (at 3-0) and wanted to come out right from the start and get them on their heels,” Palte said of going for the on-side kick.
Just like that, LCC led 14-0 with 9:42 left in the first quarter.
On Waite’s next possession, its quarterback Javon Pratt didn’t see the snap flying back to him out of the shotgun. The snap hit him in the facemask, bounced away and LCC’s Keegan Zupan recovered at the Waite 25.
On LCC’s first play, Nevan Stolly hit Michael Riepenhoff on a slant pattern for a 25-yard TD.
LCC had only run seven offensive plays and it had a 20-0 lead with 8:58 left in the first quarter.
LCC needed only three plays on its next drive.
Banks powered his way in for a 4-yard TD and the LCC lead grew to 27-0 with 6:09 left in the first quarter.
LCC made it 33-0 on Thomas’ 2-yard TD run with 30 seconds left in the first quarter.
The signature play of the T-Birds’ defense came midway through the second quarter.
At this point, Pearson was feasting away in the Indians’ backfield.
With the ball on the Waite 8, Waite’s Pratt went back to pass out of his own end zone.
That was a huge mistake.
Pearson grabbed Pratt’s right arm, stripped the ball away, then fell on the loose ball in the heart of the end zone for a touchdown.
“He went back and turned the opposite way,” Pearson said. “My arms went for it and I got the ball. I saw the ball hit the ground and just jumped on it. It was impulse. It was instinct I guess.’’
Palte said, “We played really good defense today and I was proud of their effort.’’
That gave LCC a 54-6 lead with 5:41 left in the half.
It was Pearson’s second TD of his career, with the other coming against Spencerville last season.
“It’s basically what we try to strive on,” Pearson said. “We want everyone to get touchdowns.’’
On the next kickoff, Waite tried a lateral, but the ball hit the ground and bounced around inside the 10.
LCC’s Nathan Stolly gobbled up the loose ball and took it 6 yards for the TD.
That made it 61-6 with 5:29 left in the half.
All in all, it was a complete win for the T-Birds.
“Every guy on our roster was ready to play football today,” Palte said. “They were all excited.’’
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