LIMA – Lima Central Catholic’s DeAngelo Russell was guarding the end zone.
And that’s why Crestview was stopped 2 yards short.
Russell pulled down Crestview’s Isaac Kline at the 2 on the final play of the game to give Lima Central Catholic a 13-7 victory over Crestview on Saturday night at Spartan Stadium.
It was the opening round of the Division VII, region 26, football playoffs.
LCC (9-2) advances to the second round to face Upper Scioto Valley (10-1) next Saturday. Crestview ends its year 6-5.
“That’s well coached team, had a great plan and probably outplayed us and probably deserved to win, but we were fortunate to make a play at the end of the game to win it,” LCC coach Scott Palte said. “Give our kids credit for digging in.
“The important thing is winning and we get to play next week.’’
LCC led 13-7 when it lost a fumble at the Crestview 23 with 7:06 to play.
The Knights pounded the ball down the field, mostly behind Kline, who finished with 26 carries for 154 yards and one TD.
On the 19th play of the drive, with just two seconds left, Crestview had the ball at the LCC 6.
The ball went up the middle to Kline, who got through the hole, but was pulled down by Russell at the 2 as the gun went off.
“I was just trying my best (to make the tackle),’’ Russell said. “I almost cried when it was over with. I had to dig in deep to get the job done.’’
Added Palte of Russell’s tackle, “That was a clutch play. That was a good call by them on the last play and it almost worked.’’
For LCC, LCC quarterback Carson Parker had 19 carries for 99 yards. Keiron Bailey had 14 carries for 56 yards.
In the air, Parker was 7 of 19 for 86 yards.
LCC opened the scoring on the final drive of the first quarter.
The T-Birds went 66 yards in eight plays for the score. Bailey ran it over from the 3-yard line for the TD.
With a missed extra point, LCC led 6-0 with 25 seconds left in the first quarter.
The next time Crestview had the ball, Crestview quarterback Carson Hunter was intercepted by Gabe Cira at the Crestview 40.
LCC needed just one play to score from the 40 when Parker hit Traves Hoyle down the right sideline for a 40-yard bomb for a TD.
That gave LCC a 13-0 lead with 11:48 left in the first half.
Parker also intercepted Hunter on the Knights’ next possession, but the T-Birds weren’t able to capitalize.
Crestview got within 13-7 on a 35-yard TD run by Kline with 11:53 to go.
Hunter was playing quarterback for the injured J.J. Ward.
Parker continues to play quarterback for LCC, as starter Evan Unruh suffered a broken collarbone in Week 7.
At the half, Parker had 11 carries for 63 yards. In the air, he was 6 of 16 for 81 yards.
Crestview had just 1 yard rushing in the first half, along with 24 passing.
While Kline had 16 yards at the half and he had 138 in the second half to give him 154.
“I think they wanted it a little more in the second half,” Palte said. “Our offense was atrocious. We’ll have to get better or we won’t be playing after next week.’’
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.