LIMA — In the first half, Lima Central Catholic’s running backs kept pounding the gaps. And Fairview went to the air more times than not.
However, in the second half, it was the balanced attack of Fairview that won out, as the Apaches slipped out with a hard-fought 29-27 victory over LCC in a Division VI, Region 23 quarterfinal football game Friday night at Spartan Stadium.
Fairview (10-1) plays Anna, a 47-21 winner against Minster, next Friday at a site to be determined later.
It was LCC that jumped out to an early lead Friday night.
However, Fairview clawed back, claimed the lead in the second half and held on for the win.
“They played a good football game, give them credit,” LCC head coach Scott Palte said. “They did all the things you need to do to win. We didn’t execute and play as well as we need to play in the playoffs. … And that’s what is going to happen.”
However, LCC (9-2) did not take long to find the end zone Friday night.
On the first drive of the game, LCC marched 53 yards on seven plays to hit pay dirt.
LCC running back Rossy Moore capped off the scoring drive with a 6-yard run. The point after by Nathan Davisson gave the T-Birds an early 7-0 lead, less than three minutes into the contest.
On LCC’s next possession, the T-Birds found the end zone in quick fashion.
Shaun Thomas accounted for all 35 yards in LCC’s scoring drive. The junior Thomas capped off the scoring drive with a 14-yard touchdown run. With the extra point, the T-Birds led 14-0 with 6:02 left in the opening quarter. That 14-point lead for LCC held up to the end of the first quarter.
However, the Apaches finally found pay dirt.
In the early moments of the second quarter, Fairview quarterback Cade Polter found Riley Lucas open for a 35-yard scoring strike to cut the deficit to 14-6, less than a minute into the second quarter.
Fairview struck again.
With less than a minute left to play in the first half, Polter found Luke Timbrook for a 20-yard TD pass. The two-point conversion attempt by the Apaches failed. LCC took the 2-point lead into the halftime break.
LCC rushed for 159 yards in the first half. Thomas rushed for 88 yards on 15 carries. Moore rushed for 58 yards on nine touches.
For the game, LCC rushed for 292 yards. Thomas led all rushers with 159 yards on 30 carries. Moore ended the night with 107 yards on 19 touches.
For Fairview, Polter was 11-of-17 passing for 148 yards in the first half. Polter ended the night, 17-of-25 passing for 260 yards.
The Apaches wasted little time to start the second half as they had the football to start.
On the opening drive of the second half, Fairview drove 77 yards on just four plays to cash in. Luke Timbrook broke loose for a 43-yard TD run. With the 2-point conversion, the Apaches took a 20-14 lead, just a minute-and-a-half into the second half.
But, LCC answered.
On their ensuing possession, the T-Birds covered 68 yards on 14 plays to knot the game at 20. Moore ran it in from a yard out. The extra point by Davisson gave LCC a 21-20 lead.
However, LCC’s lead was short-lived.
On the ensuing kick-off to Fairview, Riley Lucas ran the ball back 86 yards for the go-ahead TD for Fairview, to make it 26-21 with 4:55 left to play in the third quarter. That lead for Fairview held up to the third stop.
With 7:09 left to play in the game, Fairview capped off a long drive with a 21-yard field goal by Caleb Frank, pushing its lead to 29-21.
The T-Birds would answer.
With 3:25 left in regulation, LCC cashed in with a 5-yard TD run by Moore to cut the Fairview lead to 29-27. The T-Birds marched 70 yards on nine plays.
However, on the 2-point conversion attempt, the pass failed and the Apaches were now clinging to a 2-point lead.
Fairview was able to get the ball back a little later and hold on for the victory.
“I give them (Fairview) credit. They got a couple stops,” Palte said. “They did what they had to do and we just didn’t make enough plays. … That’s plain and simple. So, good luck to them next week.”
Added Fairview head coach Doug Rakes, “Tonight, we were able to run and do some of those things to keep the clock going there in the end. I just can’t say enough about the kids, tonight. It was a great effort.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.