Stop Carson Parker.
Coming into Saturday’s matinee against Lima Central Catholic, Tinora knew it had to neutralize the T-Bird standout signal caller if they were going to have a chance at a win.
The Rams defense responded by containing Parker and the rest of the LCC offense to notch a 20-7 victory.
Tinora improves to 2-1 and LCC falls to 2-1.
“They did a great job tackling us and we really struggled to block all day,” LCC head coach Scott Palte said. “We were just getting beat in the holes and not getting blocks and we just couldn’t get things the we way wanted all day. Give them credit. They have some great players and a great game plan. I give coach (Kenny) Krouse and his staff all the coach the credit.”
The Rams limited Parker, who had rushed for more than 350 yards in the first two games, to 44 yards on 19 carries and made three interceptions with two of them going for touchdowns. Overall, Parker finished the game 15 of 32 for 130 yards and one touchdown with the three interceptions.
“We watched a lot of film on him last night,” Tinora head coach Kenny Krouse said. “That was the No.1 focus and it was Grady (Gustwiller) No. 1 job the entire game. That was to watch and spy on him. He is one of our best defensive players. We just let him play.”
The bulk of Parker’s completions came primarily in the second half and more specifically in the four quarter when the T-Birds looked for a winning comeback that came up short. At halftime, LCC had been held to 35 total yards and one first down. Of the team’seven first half drives, only one went more than four plays and twice the T-Birds were stopped on fourth down situations and were one for eight on third downs in the first half.
Despite the T-Bird offense struggling to find consistency throughout the contest, the LCC defense kept them close and even with two minutes left in the game, LCC had the ball with a chance to possibly tie and/or get the win as they took over on downs after the defense made a crucial fourth down stop at their own 15 yard line.
Parker drove LCC down to 26 yard line before the Rams came up with the third interception and raced it in for the score.
“We have a good defense,” Tinora head coach Kenny Krouse said. “We have the best linebackers in northwest ohio in No. 4 (Grady Gustwiller), No. 34 (Joey Gusinger) and No. 12 (Brayden Roesti). There is no secret about that. They are well advertised and very good. We ride it.”
Krouse added that the offense is still a work in progress and they need the defense to produce as the offense continues to develop.
Tinora utilized a stable of running backs to churn out yards. Tailback Brandon Edwards led the team with 63 yards on 15 carries and Austin Dalton added 53 yards on 11 carries. Through the air, quarterback Gavin Eckert was 3 of 8 for 35 yards and two interceptions.
“You can’t have two pick sixes and usually win,” Palte said. “That is not a good strategy. Our defense played well and gave up seven points all day. Offensively we just didn’t have it. But, again, give them credit.”