ELIDA — Elida jumped out to an early lead in Friday’s Western Buckeye League football clash with Shawnee.
That early lead helped pave the way for a 21-16 victory for Elida at Kraft Memorial Stadium.
The Bulldogs jumped out on Shawnee, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter, and was able to stave off a second-half charge by the Indians.
With the win, Elida improves to 4-2. Shawnee slips to 3-3.
Elida quarterback Larkin Henderson burned the Shawnee secondary twice in the first quarter, to help lead the Bulldogs to a 14-3 halftime lead.
Henderson, a sophomore, ended the night 7of 9 passing for 177 yards and three TD passes. He also ran for a touchdown.
“He (Henderson) has grown up as a quarterback,” Elida head coach Kyle Harmon said. “He’s doing some really good things for us. He’s putting the ball where he needs to. He’s playing great.”
After a three-and-out by Shawnee to start the game, Elida’s offense took over and promptly traveled 73 yards on five plays to hit pay dirt.
Henderson found Andrew Etzkorn open for a 41-yard touchdown pass. With the point after by Tyler Long, the Bulldogs quickly led 7-0 with 7:43 left to play in the first quarter.
It didn’t take long for Elida to strike again.
With 3:44 left to play in the first quarter, Henderson connected with Jayden Irons for a 63-yard TD pass. With the point after by Long, Elida led 14-0.
That 14-point lead for Elida held up to the end of the first quarter.
Elida rolled up 137 yards of total offense in the first 12 minutes of action.
Shawnee got on the scoreboard with 10:04 left to play in the first half.
Dylan Ramsdail booted a 29-yard field goal for Shawnee to cut the Elida lead to 14-3.
In the first half, Elida rolled up 183 offensive yards.
Henderson was 4 of 4 passing for 124 yards and two TDs.
Shawnee recorded 114 offensive yards.
Shawnee got a huge break to start the second half.
On the opening drive, Henderson mishandled a snap from center and fumbled the football. Shawnee recovered the pigskin on Elida’s 22-yard line.
The Indians cashed in, with a quick 6-play, 22-yard scoring drive. Shawnee quarterback Tyler Windau found Alec Robertson open for a 13-yard scoring strike.
With the point after by Ramsdail, Elida’s lead was cut to 4, 14-10 with 8:16 left in the third quarter. That 4-point lead for the Bulldogs held up to the third stop.
Elida added another score, with 8:51 left to play in the game.
Henderson ran it in from four yards out to make it a two-score game. With the extra point, Elida led 21-10.
Shawnee was not done.
The Indians mounted a drive in the last half of the fourth quarter.
Shawnee went on an 11-play, 79-yard scoring drive to cut it to 21-16. Tommy Spyker (16 carries, 81 yards) ran it in from 10 yards out for the Indians. Shawnee opted to go for the 2-point conversion, but Elida’s defense stuffed its running attempt.
“Defensively, we did a little bit of ‘bend, but don’t break’,” Harmon said. “We stepped up at some big times. Give credit to Shawnee. Their kids played their butts off. That was a good football game.”
For the game, Elida rushed for 87 yards.
Shawnee rushed for 133 yards on the night.
Elida will host its playoff game next Friday against Monroe.
“Our guys are excited,” Harmon said. “We’re going to get back to work, starting tomorrow. We’re going to come in, ice up, watch some film and make some corrections, and be ready to roll for Monroe.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.