LIMA – Lima Central Catholic’s Shaun Thomas outran everything but the lightning.
Once the lightning show passed through, it was Thomas’ night to take over.
Thomas broke three long runs and scored four TDs to power LCC to a 41-27 victory over Spencerville Friday at Spartan Stadium.
The lightning lit up the night first and the kickoff was pushed back to 8:28 p.m.
Then, it was Thomas’ turn.
Thomas had eight carries for 212 yards and four TDs. He had TD runs of 61, 70 and 53 yards.
Thomas also had three receptions for 110 yards, including a 78-yard screen pass he turned into a TD.
“My teammates were blocking great, I saw the hole and I took off,” Thomas said. “I give all the credit to them. I would never got those touchdowns if it was not for them.’’
LCC’s Rossy Moore chipped in with 122 yards on 12 carries, with a 30-yard TD.
That helped the T-Birds rush for 356 yards.
LCC stands 2-1. Spencerville is 1-2.
“I was really impressed with them and they have two very dynamic players in Thomas and Rossy Moore,” Spencerville coach Chris Sommers said. “They are fantastic football players and have a great team, too. But I’m proud of our guys. We played hard.’’
But the night wasn’t all Thomas and the T-Birds.
Spencerville pounded the ball straight ahead in its Wing-T attack and ran for 349 yards.
The Bearcats’ Joel Lotz had 27 carries for 182 yards. He had two TDs for 1 and 27 yards.
Spencerville’s Gunner Grigsby ran for 92 yards on 24 carries.
Braden Bowers ran for 68 yards on 12 carries.
“Our line up front was physical tonight,” Sommers said. “But we’re not satisfied with that. We want to win games.’’
Added LCC coach Scott Palte, “We knew they’d come out and play hard and not back down and that’s exactly what we expected. Their running backs were hard-nosed.’’
Thomas, who also plays defensive back, said it was a physical night trying to slow down the Bearcats’ running game.
“It was real tough because they had about four lead blockers on almost every run they had,” Thomas said. “They played hard and played really well.’’
LCC led 21-19 at the half, as both run-happy offenses were running full-throttle by that time.
Spencerville got the ball to start the third quarter and came across midfield.
But Bearcats quarterback Josh Henline was picked off by LCC’s Nathan Stolly at the LCC 40.
That proved to be the key stop the T-Birds needed.
Three plays later, Thomas took a handoff, collided with his fellow back Moore, then found a hole and went 53 yards for a TD.
That gave LCC a 28-19 lead with 7:29 left in the third quarter.
“We did not want to give up the big play,” Sommers said. “We had guys there, but we just couldn’t tackle him (Thomas) in space. He’s a phenomenal football player. He plays really hard, too. He’s fun to watch.’’
Next, LCC quarterback Nevan Stolly flipped a screen pass to Thomas, who blew down the left sideline for a 78-yard TD.
“I had one man to beat and I saw him go inside, so I cut back outside,’’ Thomas said.
Thomas’ receiving TD gave the T-Birds a 35-19 lead with 4:21 left in the third quarter.
“He’s (Thomas) a special kid. He’s really fast and he has great vision,” Palte said. “He sees the hole so well and makes the cut. And the line did a great job opening seams for him.’’
Lotz swept the left side for a 27-yard TD to bring the Bearcats within 35-27 with 11:52 to go.
This time it was Moore’s turn for a big play, as he broke one 50 yards to the Spencerville 4.
LCC’s Dylan Wilson powered it over from the 4 to give LCC a 41-27 lead with 10:12 to go.
Spencerville went out to a 7-0 lead with a 12-play, 80-yard drive the first time the Bearcats had the ball.
Bearcats quarterback Henline ran it over from the 1 on a sneak and Spencerville had a 7-0 lead with 3:43 left in the first quarter.
LCC came back with a five-play, 74-yard TD drive.
Moore took a pitch left and went for a 30-yard TD to tie the game at 7. That came with 1:51 left in the first quarter.
Spencerville again went to its power Wing-T and ground out a 13-play, 65-yard drive.
Lotz took a sweep to the left side for a 1-yard TD and Spencerville pulled out to a 13-7 lead.
That came with 8:09 left in the second quarter.
The T-Birds then needed only one play to pull ahead.
Thomas took a pitch right, turned the corner and blazed his way to a 61-yard TD run.
That gave the T-Birds a 14-13 lead with 7:52 left before halftime.
Next, Spencerville pounded out an 11-play, 60-yard TD drive.
This time, the Bearcats shocked the T-Birds with a pass, as Henline hit Eli Harter on a 21-yard TD pass. Harter was wide open in the left corner of the end zone.
That gave Spencerville a 19-14 lead with 2:00 left before the half.
Once again, the T-Birds scored on a one-play drive.
Again, Thomas turned the right side on a sweep and flew down the right sideline for a 70-yard TD.
“I saw the opening and I hit that second gear,” Thomas said.
That gave LCC the lead to stay, 21-19, with 1:42 left before halftime.
At halftime, LCC’s Thomas had four carries for 146 yards.
Spencerville was led by Lotz, who by halftime had 14 carries for 92 yards.