The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022

Knights lose 13-7 heartbreaker to Lima CC

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

LIMA — So close. So very close.

Lima Central Catholic stopped Crestview’s Isaac Kline at the two-yard line as time expired, preserving a 13-7 victory over the Knights in the opening round of the Division VII, Region 26 playoffs at Spartan Stadium on Saturday.

Crestview running back Isaac Kline sprints away from a Lima Central Catholic defender during Saturday night’s playoff game. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent sports

The heartbreaking loss ended Crestview’s season at 6-5 while Lima Central Catholic improved to 9-2.

It appeared as thought the Thunderbirds were going to going to ice the game in the fourth quarter. Already leading 13-0, Lima Central Catholic had reached the Crestview 16 but a high snap resulted in a loss of 11, then on the next play Mason Penix recovered a fumble by Quinton Peoples.

That set the stage for a 19-play drive that began at the Crestview 23 with 7:06 left in the game. The drive featured 10 Kline runs for 61 yards, including a 22-yard burst on third and six and a two-yard run on fourth and one. It also included a holding call on the Knights with seven seconds left and a pass interference call on Lima Central Catholic with two seconds remaining. On the final play of the game, Kline charged four yards up the middle but was stopped at the two yard line. He finished with 23 carries for 138 yards and a touchdown.

“Ike Kline willed himself for the team to get some extra yards and pick up some first downs on that drive specifically,” Crestview head coach James Lautzenheiser said. “Our line switched into another gear but credit LCC’s defense, they mixed up their look a couple of times on that drive. No. 51 (Connor Gephart) is one heck of a player for them and he’s a heck of a leader for him.”

“They moved him from end to linebacker to defensive tackle so it was a game of cat and mouse and we thought on that last play that they would be defending the edges for either a hitch or a slant,” Lautzenheiser continued. “We thought we’d have an opportunity to knife one in short.”

“We wanted to be in a position to compete to win in the fourth quarter and never in your wildest dreams do you think that it’s literally going to be the last play of the game. I’m proud of these kids, I’m proud of our coaches and of the work they put in all season. This is a tough one.”

After trading punts for much of the first quarter Lima Central Catholic scored on a two-yard run by Keiron Bailey with just 25 seconds left in the opening period.

Defensive back Carson Hunter halts a Lima Central Catholic drive by intercepting a T-bird pass. Bob Barnes photo

The Thunderbirds got on the scoreboard again early in the second quarter. Gabe Circa intercepted Carson Hunter on Crestview’s next possession, which led to a 40-yard touchdown pass from Carson Parker to Traves Hoyles Jr. on the very next play, giving Lima Central Catholic a 13-0 lead with 11:48 left in the period.

The Thunderbirds threatened once more before halftime but a late 41-yard field goal attempt was no good. Meanwhile, the Knights had just 25 yards of offense and one first down at half.

“We had some moments in the first half where things could have unraveled and gotten pretty nasty,” Lautzenheiser said. “It took us a while to get our offense going but our defense played one heck of a game, by far the best game of the year for our defense. We had some kids step up and make some big plays for us.”

Hunter helped set up Crestview’s first touchdown by intercepting a deep pass at the Lima Central Catholic 11. On the ensuing drive, he uncorked a 42-yard pass to Hunter Rothgeb then two plays later, Kline sprinted 35 yards up the middle for a touchdown, followed by a Kaden Kreischer PAT to draw Crestview to within six, 13-7 with 11:53 left in the game.

Crestview finished with 219 yards of total offense. Hunter completed 6-of-18 passes for 65 yards and two interceptions and Kline had three receptions for 21 yards.

After the game, Lautzenheiser praised his senior class.

“I’m really glad that we could see leadership of our seniors pay off tonight,” Lautzenheiser added. “I told them it’s never a good time to wear your jersey for the last time but they can be proud of the effort they put in tonight. What a great game of football to be a part of.”

Lima Central Catholic finished with 274 yards, including 100 on 15 carries by Parker and 61 on 13 carries by Bailey. Parker completed 9-of-20 passes for 93 yards.

Scoring summary

First quarter

:25 – Keiron Bailey 2-yard run (Micheal Taflinger kick) 7-0 LCC

Second quarter

11:48 – Carson Parker 40-yard pass to Traves Hoyle Jr. (kick failed) 13-0 LCC

Fourth quarter

11:53 – Isaac Kline 35-yard run (Kaden Kreischer kick) 13-7 LCC

POSTED: 10/31/21 at 2:06 pm. FILED UNDER: Sports