LIMA — You could only contain Whitmer running back Jared Banks for so long.
Sooner or later, he was going to get his yards.
Whitmer pulled away with a 31-0 victory over Lima Senior Friday at Spartan Stadium.
Banks finished with 182 yards on 31 carries. He had TD runs of 21 and 1 yards and a TD reception for 38 yards.
And consider the Spartans held him to 57 yards rushing at the half.
On the other side, Whitmer was a defensive wall and held Lima Senior to -16 yards rushing.
“Going in, that was the first thing we wanted to do was take away the run,” Whitmer coach Ken Winters said. “We wanted them to beat us passing. So mission accomplished there.’’
Added Lima Senior coach Andre Griffin said, “They did (take our run away).’’
Whitmer stands 6-0, 3-0 in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference.
Lima Senior is 2-4, 0-3 in the TRAC.
Whitmer came in with the spotlight on its running back Banks, who entered the night with 865 yards rushing and 15 TDs. Last week in a victory over Toledo St. John’s, he ran for 289 yards and three TDs.
“We’ve leaned on him all year and especially with (quarterback) Riley (Keller) out (in the second half), Jared had to carry a little bit of the load,” Winters said.
But in the first half, the Spartans bottled him well, holding him
held him to 57 yards on 15 carries, including stopping him near the goal line late in the half.
“They’ve played everybody tough in the first half,” Winters said. “We didn’t play bad. We just couldn’t get out of our own way. We wanted to stick to the game plan and wear them down in the second half.’’
For Lima Senior, running back Jawan Anderson had seven carries for -16 yards.
Spartans quarterback E.J. Cameron completed 15 of 35 for 177 yards. He had four interceptions, two by Whitmer linebacker Kameron Vargas.
“The defense played well the whole game,’’ Griffin said. “But we made too many turnovers.’’
Whitmer led 7-0 after the first quarter and 10-0 at the half.
It pushed the lead to 17-0 after three quarters.
The first time Whitmer had the ball it went 73 yards in six plays for a score.
The big play on the drive was a 40-yard pass from Riley Keller to D’Andre Cartlidge to take the ball the Lima Senior 38.
Three plays later, Keller flipped a screen to Banks going to the right. He cut back all the way across the field for a 38-yard TD.
That gave Whitmer a 7-0 lead with 5:44 left in the first quarter.
Whitmer made it 10-0 on a 22-yard field goal by Austin Gibbons with 10:25 left in the first half.
Lima Senior wasn’t able to move the ball on the ground in the first half, as Whitmer was flying at Anderson as soon as he touched the ball.
However, Spartans quarterback Cameron had his team moving with his slant passes.
In the first half, Cameron completed 9 of 20 passes for 124 yards.
But the Spartans couldn’t find the end zone.
Both teams had a huge interception in the opening half.
Cameron’s interception came with the Spartans at their own 20. The pass was tipped and picked off by Whitmer’s Kameron Vargas at the Spartans 15. He returned to the Lima 10.
Four plays later, Whitmer’s Gibbons kicked a 22-yard field goal.
Whitmer quarterback Keller was picked off in the end zone by the Spartans Cecil Benton Jr. with Whitmer leading 7-0 on the first play of the second quarter.
Keller was shaken up on the play and exited later in the second quarter in favor of Kevin Hornbeak.
“I think he banged his hand a little bit,” Winters said of Keller.
Hornbeak proved to be a running threat, as he had 92 yards on eight carries.
The first half ended when Lima Senior stopped Whitmer’s Banks on a fourth-and-goal play at the Lima Senior 3.
Banks went into the teeth of the Spartans’ line and the ball popped up. Lima Senior’s Brandon Taylor recovered it at the 5.
Banks started rolling in the second half, gobbling up 7 and 8-yard runs at a pop.
Banks did a 360-spin at the line of scrimmage, and blitzed for a 22-yard TD.
That gave Whitmer a 17-0 lead with 6:41 left in the third quarter.
Banks’ 23-yard carry helped set up his 1-yard TD with 9:51 to play.
That pushed the Whitmer lead to 24-0.
“We have to finish,” Griffin said. “We drove this week, now we have to finish.’’
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.