Postgame article brought to you by Clubhouse Pizza in Ney.
LIMA – In a matchup of Northwest Ohio power programs, the Tinora Rams loaded the buses and took the hour trip down south to Spartan Stadium to take on the Lima Central Catholic Thunderbirds in a scarcely played Saturday afternoon contest.
The Rams were closing out a rugged non-conference schedule that included games against Liberty Center, Wauseon, and the LCC T-Birds. Tinora entered at 1-1 while the high-flying Thunderbirds entered at 2-0.
After their first drive, the Thunderbirds knew they were in for a battle. Faced with a fourth and one from their own 29 with just under two minutes played in the opening quarter. , LCC rolled the dice and called a QB keeper, T-Birds QB Carson Parker was knocked short of the markers, giving the ball to the Rams on a change of downs.
From this moment onward, the Thunderbirds had their hands full of the Tinora defense.
The Rams offense, who struggled most of the afternoon, was unable to capitalize as sophomore Jacob Bishop’s 43-yard field goal attempt hit the crossbar, bouncing back into the LCC end zone, ending the Tinora threat.
Right before the half, Tinora’s Cole Anders returned a put down to the LCC 40-yard line, again, setting up the Rams offense in LCC territory. On a huge third down and five with just under four minutes in the second quarter, senior Gavin Eckert took a QB keeper off the left side of the Tinora offensive line in for an 11 yard touchdown, the Jacob Bishop XP gave the Rams a 7-0 with 3:55 remaining in the initial half.
Throughout the first half, the Rams defense applied pressure to LCC QB Carson Parker. Parker, coming in off a 250 yard rushing performance, was held in check by the aggressive Rams defense in the half. Tinora limited the high-powered T-Birds to just six first half first downs, and 34 total yards on 26 plays.
The Rams attack was limited to just 83 yards on 29 first half plays.
The third quarter came and went with both teams trading a few possessions, the teams went to the forth with the Rams still clinking to a 7-0 lead.
Still struggling to move the ball, the Tinora defense stepped up with a big play to start the final quarter.
With the Thunderbirds driving into Rams territory at the Tinora 28, Junior linebacker Grady Gustwiller stepped in front of an LCC pass by Carson Parker and took it untouched for a 75 yard TD return, putting the Rams up 13-0. The XP was blocked at the line by LCC.
Trailing for just the second time this season, the T-Birds offense was looking to get kick-started. LCC took over on their own 21-yard line with 11:30 remaining. Using a short underneath passing game, Carson Parker marched his Thunderbirds 79 yards for a touchdown, capped by a 31 yard TD by Mathew Quatman, the XP cut the Tinora lead to 13-7 with 8:55 remaining in the game.
Using good old fashion Tinora Rams smash mouth football, the Tinora offense marched methodically downfield, taking six minutes off the clock. Senior Dallas Dachenhaus’s number was called frequently on the drive, Dachenhaus responded with six tough carries for 30 yards on the drive.
Faced with a fourth and one from the LCC 16 yards line, the Rams tried to close the game out with a run. Unfortunately, after a measurement, Tinora was one inch short of a first down, giving the ball back to LL with 2:16 left in the game, Tinora was nursing the 13-7 lead.
The Thunderbirds, averaging 40 points per game, took over possession at their own 16-yard line at the 2:16 mark Trying to use the short passing game that was successful in their last scoring drive, Carson Parker drove the T-Birds to the Tinora 25-yard line with 30 seconds remaining.
On a first and ten play at the 25, LCC’s parker was under pressure from the Rams Dallas Dachenhaus. As Parker was headed to the ground due to the pressure, he flung the ball underhanded in the direction of a T-Birds receiver.
Tinora junior linebacker Braydon Roesti stepped in from of the Parker pass and raced 78 yards in the other direction for a game clinching touchdown for the Rams.
Bishop added the XP, Tinora led 20-7 with just 13 seconds remaining.
LCC ran a play for minimal yardage to end the game, the Rams came away with their second consecutive win, 20-7.
With the win, the Rams are 2-1 and will start GMC play next week, hosting Fairview.
LCC falls to 2-1 and will play at Huron.
The Higbea Embroidery Player of the game went to Tinora linebacker Grady Gustwiller. Gustwiller and the Rams applied pressure all game to the Thunderbirds offense. Congratulations Grady.
Tinora 0 7 0 13 20
LCC 0 0 0 7 7
Rams 50 plays for 159 yards, 122 rushing yards, 37 passing yards
LCC 56 plays for 214 yards, 57 rushing yards, 147 passing yards
Eckert 3-8/0 TD/2 INT /37 yards passing
Edwards 17 carries for 77 yards, 3 catches for 37 yards
Dachenhaus 9 carries for 39 yards
Parker 19 carries 38 yards
Parker 16-28/1 TD/2 INT 157 yards
Quatman 7 catches for 107 yards, 1 TD