A little momentum can go a long way.
Down 7-6 with less than a minute to go in the first half to Huron, Lima Central Catholic was set to punt from its own 40 yard line after another inconsistent series on offense. On the punt, Huron fumbled the catch and Thunderbird Payne Cutlip pounced on the loose pigskin to regain possession for LCC at the 45 yard line with 48 seconds left in the second quarter.
From there LCC marched down the field in 33 seconds to score its second touchdown and grabbed the lead and then carried that momentum by scoring on its first two possessions of the second half to help propel the Thunderbirds to a 41-28 win Saturday against the Tigers.
LCC, wins its third straight game and improves to 3-1. Huron falls to 2-2 overall.
This marked Scott Palte’s 100th win as a head coach.
“We got a break there,’ Palte said. “They muffed the punt and we took advantage of the mistake and got a halftime lead which we probably didn’t deserve there in the first half and then our kids came out in the second half and just played an outstanding half of football. We really got after it on both sides and took over the line of scrimmage on offense, and I am really proud of our kids’ effort.”
The Thunderbird offense, which struggled for the majority of the first half, put things together in second half with quarterback Evan Unruh showing off his versatility coupled with the running combo of Quintel Peoples and Keiron Bailey.
Unruh ran for 214 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries and was 6 of 10 for 134 yards passing. Unruh had touchdown runs of 10, 8, 42 and 14 yards. Unruh might have tacked on a couple of more touchdowns but was replaced by Carson Parker in the wildcat formation when LCC got within the 10 yard line and the sophomore scored from 1 and 4 yards out.
Receiver Travis Hoyle Jr. had three catches for 100 yards and had catches for 29 and 54 yards that were key receptions in LCC’s scoring drives.
Bailey doing most of his hard running inside had 97 yards on 19 carries and Peoples, utilizing his speed, produced 61 yards on 13 carries.
Coming into the game, Huron had yielded just 19 points in its first three games.
“We had a lot of good things going,” Palte said. “We had some big pass plays and a couple of different guys running the ball well.”
Despite giving up some late scores, the Thunderbird defense proved effective early when the offense was trying to find its footing and in the third quarter when LCC was making its run.
The Thunderbirds, pressuring Huron quarterback Dylan Hohler all day, recorded five sacks and notched an interception by Quintel Peoples that led to a touchdown. Hohler rushed for 68 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries and had just 27 yards on the ground and 37 yards passing in the first half. He finished with 160 yards passing with one touchdown and one interception on 12 of 20 attempts.
“We let up a little bit at the end but I thought our kids did a great job in the first half when the offense was sputtering and making some plays and slowing them down and its a really good win for our kids,” Palte said.