By Rob Kiser
LIMA — Lima Central Catholic’s speed was too much for Covington Friday night as the second-seeded Thunderbirds sprinted out to 27 unanswered points to begin en route to a 40-18 win over the No. 7 Buccaneers Friday in a Division VI, Region 24 quarterfinal matchup.
LCC (9-1) advances to play Marion Local on Friday. Covington finishes the season 7-4.
LCC took over on its own 46 after the opening kickoff and went 54 yards in five plays. Shaun Thomas went 15 yards on the first play of the drive and capped it with an 11-yard TD run. Ron Banks’ kick made it 7-0 with 10:38 remaining in the opening quarter.
After a Covington three-and-out and short punt, LCC got the ball at the Covington 35.
Thomas caught a 10-yard pass from quarterback Nevan Stolly on second-and-10 and ran 19 yards for the touchdown three plays later. Banks’ kick made it 14-0 with 7:15 remaining in the first quarter.
On LCC’s next possession, the Covington defense made a play.
Brayden Wiggins took the ball away from Banks after he had run inside Covington’s 25.
Covington picked up two first downs, but on a third-and-five from the LCC 44, Banks picked up a backwards pass by Covington and ran 47 yards for the score. His kick made it 21-0 with 10:04 remaining in the half.
After another Covington three-and-out, Rahsy Moore ran 24 yards to the Covington 35. Stolly completed a 21-yard pass to Thomas to 8-yard line and two plays later, Banks ran it in from three yards out. The kick failed, leaving the score on 27-0.
On Covington’s next possession, Thomas intercepted a pass near midfield, but the Thunderbirds were unable to score.
That seemed to give Covington a spark.
The Buccs put together a seven-play, 71-yard drive. Quarterback Cade Schmelzer was 5 for 6 passing on the drive. Andrew Cates caught a 39-yard pass to the LCC 15, and after a penalty left Covington in a third-and-23 from the 28, Schmelzer found Cates in the end zone for the score. The kick failed and Covington trailed 27-6 with 1:18 remaining in the half.
A failed onside kick gave LCC the ball at the Covington 45 and four plays later, Banks ran it in from 14 yards out and made the kick to make it 34-6 with 49 seconds remaining in the half.
Covington came right back and went 69 yards in four plays.
On the final play of the half from the LCC 45, Schmelzer lobbed the ball towards the end zone. Cates and two LCC defenders went up for the ball and Cates came down with it for the score. The kick failed, making the halftime score 34-12.
Both teams scored once in the second half.
Thomas caught a 37-yard TD pass from Stolly early in the third quarter to make it 40-12.
Covington answered in the fourth quarter with a 49-yard TD pass from Schmelzer to Cates to make the final 40-18.
Schmelzer and Cates put up amazing numbers for Covington.
Unofficially, Schmelzer completed 24 of 40 passes for 350 yards and three touchdown passes and three interceptions.
Cates caught nine passes for 200 yards and scored all three touchdowns.
LCC used a balanced rushing attack.
Thomas, who also intercepted two passes, rushed for 101 yards on 11 carries and caught three passes for 68 yards.
Banks rushed for 141 yards on 19 carries and Moore rushed for 109 yards on 11 carries.
Stolly completed seven of eight passes for 115 yards.
Rob Kiser can be reached at (937) 451-3334.