LEIPSIC – McComb’s game plan was simple, but effective.
It wanted to run right at Leipsic behind its huge offensive line until the Vikings slowed it down.
Leipsic never did.
McComb, the top-ranked team in the Division VII state poll, ran for 380 yards and pounded out a convincing 38-7 victory over No. 5-ranked Leipsic on Friday at John Edwards Field.
“We got whupped, physically, both sides of the ball,” Leipsic coach Joe Kirkendall said. “Defensively, up front, we didn’t hold up.’’
McComb had a one-two running attack, with running back Kheaghan Loe and quarterback Tanner Schroeder.
In the air, McComb’s Schroeder completed 5 of 12 for 38 yards.
Loe used his power and speed to rack up 14 carries for 207 yards with three TDs. He had TD runs of 65, 23 and 43 yards.
“I completely felt confident in my line and that they’d have my back,” Loe said. “They did their jobs and let me run.’’
Schroeder had 19 carries for 137 yards.
“This was real big, but we have a big one next week (against Pandora-Gilboa),” Schroeder said.
McComb is 6-0, 4-0 in the Blanchard Valley Conference. Leipsic is 5-1, 4-1 in the BVC.
“We thought we had excellent blocking,” McComb coach Kris Alge said. “The offensive line, we challenged them this week. We didn’t feel we played very well on the offensive line (last week) against Arlington. But they worked really hard and stayed after practice this week, and I think it paid off.’’
Leipsic was paced by running back Gavin Lomeli, who had 16 carries for 68 yards. Vikings quarterback Dylan Schroeder completed 7 of 16 for 99 yards.
McComb came out early and began pounding the ball behind its huge offensive line. McComb led 10-0 after the first quarter and 17-7 at the half. The Panthers had quarterback Schroeder run the option keeper and quarterback draw early.
On their first drive, the Panthers went 44 yards on eight plays for their first score. It came when Schroeder easily booted a 38-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
“We wanted to keep them on their toes,” Schroeder said of getting the early carries.
Once McComb established Schroeder on the option, it turned to its running back Loe, who came in averaging 120 yards-per-game and 7.7 yards-per-carry.
On Loe’s first carry, the 5-foot-8, 185-pound senior ran up the gut untouched for a 65-yard TD run. That capped a two-play drive, and McComb had a 10-0 lead with 4:17 left in the first quarter.
Leipsic came out and handed the ball to Lomeli. But to continue to march down the field, the Vikings knew they had to go to the air.
Leipsic quarterback Dylan Schroeder sparked the Vikings’ 92-yard drive on eight plays for a score.
On the drive, Schroeder hit Tyler Hiegel for 13, freshman Fabian Pena for 15 and Cole Williamson for 43, which took the ball to the McComb 3.
Lomeli powered it over off left tackle for a 3-yard TD. That brought Leipsic within 10-7 with 9:36 left in the second quarter.
However, there was plenty more of McComb’s Loe.
Loe used his power and speed behind his line featuring tackles 290-pound Eli Franks and 240-pound Kyle Wasson. Loe went off left tackle and broke loose for a 23-yard TD. That capped a three-play, 56-yard drive. It also pushed the McComb lead to 17-7 with 4:50 left before halftime.
Leipsic played its second straight game without standout wide receiver Cole Rieman, who is out after having ankle surgery this week.
Leipsic wide receiver Tyler Hiegel was held to three catches for 37 yards. Schroeder watched him almost the whole way.
Schroeder said, “We wanted to shut him down, limit his catches and keep him under 100 yards, and I think we did.’’
Tyler Durfey’s 1-yard TD pushed the McComb lead to 24-7 at the 8:51 mark in the third.
Loe got loose again, this time for a 43-yard TD at the 4:49 mark in the third, and the Panthers’ lead ballooned to 31-7.
“Whether their physicality was too much for us or the game was too big for us, the fact is they were a lot better than us today,” Kirkendall said.