In the last 60 years, Lima Senior has played 20 different opponents on the first night of its football season.
There have been openers against Middletown, Marion Harding, Dayton Thurgood Marshall, Cleveland Glenville, Parma Padua Franciscan and Troy. But never against Lima Central Catholic.
There have been openers against nearby schools like Wapakoneta and Celina. There have been openers against schools that don’t exist anymore, like Toledo Macomber, Lorain Admiral King and. But never against Lima Central Catholic.
The Spartans’ most frequent opening night opponent has been Toledo St. Francis, which was the team Lima Senior played first every year from 1987 to 2002.
In the last 60 years, Lima Central Catholic has played 17 different opponents on opening night.
There have been openers against Bath, Elida, Shawnee, Delphos St. John’s and Delphos Jefferson. But never against Lima Senior.
So in that way Thursday night’s opening night match-up between Lima Senior and LCC at Spartan Stadium was one of a kind.
Did the first match-up on the football field between Division VI LCC and Division II Lima Senior, which ended as a 49-45 win by the Spartans, live up to the build up?
Was the game, played in front of almost a sellout crowd, also one of a kind? It was close. Very close.
It was a high scoring, action-filled game with both teams jumping out to big leads and seeing their opponent regain the lead
It was a fun game to watch. Unless maybe you were one of the defensive coordinators of the two teams.
There were big plays for both teams – a 76-yard touchdown run by Lima Senior’s Jawan Anderson, touchdown passes of 61 yards and 60 yards by E.J. Cameron, a 49-yard interception return for a touchdown by LCC’s Quintel Peoples, a 46-yard run by the Thundebirds’ Shaun Thomas on the first play of the second half and more.
Lima Senior quarterback Cameron was 19 of 23 passing for 301 yards and four touchdowns. Anderson had 181 yards rushing on 21 carries. LCC’s Thomas rushed for 190 yards on 19 carries and scored twice and Rossy Moore gained 118 yards on 16 carries and scored three touchdowns.
Lima Central Catholic had 14-point lead barely six minutes into the game. Lima Senior responded with 21 unanswered points in a span of 6 minutes, 37 seconds to go up 21-14 with 5:40 left in the first half.
Then LCC ran off 19 unanswered point for a 33-21 lead midway through the third quarter, which was quickly followed by two Lima Senior touchdowns in 3 ½ minutes to put the Spartans ahead 35-33. Then LCC had its longest drive of the night, 71 yards on 11 plays, to regain the lead at 39-35 with 8:17 left in the game.
Lima Senior answered with a long drive of its own that ended with Jawan Anderson’s 3-yard touchdown run to put the Spartans ahead 42-39 with 3:56 left in the game
And then, on a night when the offenses dominated, Lima Senior got a defensive stop and took over Lima Central Catholic’s 20-yard line with 2:32 to play, which led to a 25-yard touchdown run by Cameron to make it 49-39.
LCC answered with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Nevan Stolly to Thomas with 25 seconds left on the clock to cut the lead to 49-45.
What a game to watch. Here’s a suggestion: Both schools need to find a way to make this game happen again.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.