MCCOMB — McComb resembled it defending state championship team in the first half Friday night.
But that was the first half.
Leipsic played power football in the second half and went on to post a 29-25 victory over top-ranked McComb.
McComb led Leipsic 19-14 at the half, but the Vikings’ offensive and defensive lines controlled play in the second half.
McComb (8-1, 6-1 Blanchard Valley Conference) was ranked first in Division VII, region 26 of the computer rankings.
Leipsic (8-1, 6-1 BVC) came in ranked fourth in the same region.
The top eight in each region qualify for the playoffs, while the top four are rewarded with a first-round home game.
Leipsic took the lead to stay 29-25 on a 15-yard TD run by Cole Williamson with 4:50 to play in the third quarter.
The four-play, 67-yard drive was set up on a 45-yard option-pitch run by Fabian Pena.
McComb had just taken the lead 25-22 on a 60-yard TD pass from Aaron Davis to Ka’Von Bailey.
That came with 3:28 left in the third quarter.
Leipsic came out throwing and was 2 of 11 for 36 yards passing in the first half.
So in the second half Leipsic turned to Cole Williamson, who grew up as a youngster in McComb.
Williamson finished with 72 yards on 11 carries.
Fabian Pena had 111 yards on seven carries, including two 45-yard runs.
Davis led McComb’s running game with 103 yards on 22 carries.
In the air, Davis competed 16 of 23 for 180 yards.
Bailey had six catches for 97 yards.
Jared Dillon had seven catches for 70 yards before he left with a shoulder injury in the second half.
McComb led 19-14 at the half, but started the third quarter with a 1-2-3-punt series.
Leipsic responded with an eight-play, 55-yard drive for a TD.
Lorenzo Walther’s 2-yard TD gave the Vikings a 22-19 lead.
McComb was also hurt by penalties, racking up six 15-yard penalties, including having a player ejected.
Gone to the University of Findlay is last year’s running/passing McComb quarterback Tanner Schroeder, who ran for over 100 yards in the state title game.
But in the first half new McComb quarterback Davis had 88 yards rushing and 87 yards passing.
Leipsic scored on its first drive when it took advantage of two pass interference penalties by McComb.
The Vikings put together a nine-play, 65-yard drive for a score.
Juan Pena’s 1-yard TD run off right tackle gave the Vikings a 7-0 lead with 7:47 left in the first quarter.
McComb came right back with a 10-play, 84-drive of its own.
This time the Panthers sprinkled in some passing. Davis hit Jared Dillon for 16 and 21 yard-passes on the drive.
Davis bulled it over from the 1 to cap the drive for the TD.
That tied the game at 7 with 3:17 left in the first quarter.
McComb took a 9-7 lead when Leipsic lined up for a punt at Vikings’ 5 and the punt flew over the punter Pena’s head and out of the end zone for a safety.
That came with 1:15 left in the first quarter.
McComb pushed its lead to 12-7 on a 26-yard field goal by Logan Kepling with 9:44 left before halftime.
McComb then assembled a 10-play, 55-yard scoring drive.
Davis again scored on a 1-yard sneak and it was 19-7 McComb with 5:11 left before halftime.
Leipsic rallied back when Fabian Pena ripped off a reverse around the left side for 45 yards to the McComb 21.
Three plays later, on a fourth-and-22, Leipsic quarterback Drew Liffick hit Cole Williamson on a screen around the left side for a 13-yard TD.
That brought the Vikings within 19-14 with 1:33 left before the half.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.