LIMA — Lima Senior’s Jermaine Daniel had one flashy play.
But the key to the game was Daniel’s interception which looked like a power rebound off the glass.
Daniel had a kick return for a TD and a critical late interception to help the Spartans post a 17-14 victory Friday night against Piqua at Spartan Stadium.
Daniel didn’t play last week because of a shoulder injury.
But he made his presence known in the first half when he returned a kickoff 97 yards for a TD.
The key play to his night came with 2:23 to play.
Lima Senior led 17-14, but Piqua was on the move and had the ball fourth-and-6 at the Lima Senior 29.
Piqua quarterback Blane Ouhl rolled right and fired the ball down the sideline to Garrett Schrubb, who seemed to grab it with one hand.
But Daniel came in, jumped and took the ball away for an interception at the Lima Senior 10 with 2:29 to go.
“I read the quarterback’s eyes and I saw him look over there two times,” Daniel said. “I just played man defense and came up with the interception.’’
Lima Senior coach Andre Griffin said, “He had to intercept that ball, not just knock it down, because their guy make a great attempt at it.’’
Lima Senior stands 2-0. Piqua is 0-2.
“This was a big win,” Daniel said.
Said Griffin, “2-0 is always great. This team is different and they have to keep growing together.’’
Lima Senior quarterback E.J. Cameron had a nice second half. He finished the night completing 17 of 25 for 174 yards. He threw one TD and had one interception.
Lima Senior running back Jawan Anderson had 59 yards on 14 carries.
Lima Senior ran and passed up and down the field last week in its 49-45 victory over Lima Central Catholic.
But on Friday in the first half, the Spartans’ offense had trouble getting a consistent passing or running game going against the Indians.
The game was tied at 7 at the half.
Lima Senior took a 10-7 lead with a 30-yard field goal by Andrew Zell with 1:39 left in the third quarter.
That capped an 11-play, 50-yard drive.
The Spartans took that 10-7 lead into the final quarter.
Lima Senior expanded its lead to 17-7 on a 25-yard TD catch by Cecil Benton Jr. in the heart of the end zone with 10:09 left in the game.
Cameron made a laser throw between two defenders and Benton had a one-hand grab.
“It was similar to last week’s fourth-down play,” Griffin said. “Cecil has a great heart and he has confidence in everything he does. That was a Sports Center play of the game and it was a crucial play of the game.’’
Piqua’s Hudson Hall then came up with an interception at the Lima Senior 36 and returned it to the Lima 26.
On the next play, Piqua’s Ouhl hit Schrubb with a 26-yard TD pass.
That brought the Indians within 17-14 with 6:38 to go.
Piqua had trouble running to the outside, but found room in the first half by pounding the ball straight up the middle with a variety of running backs.
The second time Piqua had the ball the Indians went 61 yards in five plays for a score, all on the ground with three different running backs.
Tanner Kemp plowed his way up the middle for a 28-yard TD to give Piqua a 7-0 lead with 2:50 left in the first quarter.
The Spartans wasted zero time answering the score.
Lima Senior’s Daniel took the next kickoff and hit a jet stream for a 97-yard kickoff return for a TD.
“I followed Cecil Benton on the block,” Daniel said. “It opened up and there was a big convoy down the sideline.’’
That tied the game at 7 with 2:31 left in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Piqua moved the ball from its own 13 to the Lima Senior 41 before Caron Coleman lost a fumble on a 6-yard run up the gut.
The Spartans’ Isaiah Funches-Foster recovered at the Spartans’ 41.
For Piqua, Tanner Kemp ran for 62 yards on eight carries.
Caron Coleman ran for 79 yards on 12 carries.
Griffin said a key to his defense slowing down Piqua’s running game in the second half was moving Caymien Durr from end to middle linebacker.
Ouhl completed 4 of 9 passes for 47 yards. He had one TD pass and one picked off.
Piqua had four fumbles and lost two.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.