(11-11-20) Friday night two D VII football teams, Lima Central Catholic (LCC) and New Bremen, will match-up in Wapakoneta in a State Semifinal game and a chance to play for a State Title.
Neither team has won a State Title, for both teams they have good reasons why they want to win this one.
2020 is the first time New Bremen has ever participated in the State Final Four in football…this is only the fourth time they have ever competed in the playoffs since they started in 1972. The Cardinals want a win to join the other MAC members (Anna, Coldwater, Delphos St. John’s, Ft. Recovery, Marion Local, Minster and Versailles) who all have State Football trophies in their buildings. If you are keeping track the MAC has won 35 state championships, the Cardinals would like to make it 36.
Coach Chris Schmidt took over the program in 2015, his first year they went 1-9, but that 1 win was the first in three years for the Cardinals. At one time, during a long run of losing seasons, New Bremen considered leaving the MAC…but the last two years New Bremen has turned it around in a BIG way.
The only two losses they suffered this year were to two teams ranked #1 in the state, Coldwater (D VI) and Marion Local (D VII).
Last week in the regional final the Cardinals found a way to avenge their regular season loss to Marion Local in a gritty and hard fought win thanks to two key special team plays.
Marion Local Head Coach Tim Goodwin had high praise for New Bremen and told www.pressprosmagazine.com –
“Those two plays on special teams were the difference. That’s 14 of their 24 points right there. And that kid (Dan Homan) made a heckuva’ play on that blocked punt – a heckuva’ play. It wasn’t a bad snap. It seemed like it took a little longer to get it off, but the kid just made a heckuva’ individual play.
“We had our chances. The blocked field goal (by Dave Homan)? We had a chance to go up by ten points again, they make another special teams play, and we were fortunate they didn’t pick it up and return it for a score. They’ve got seventeen seniors, they made some plays, and they played well.”
Leading the way for New Bremen this season has been QB Mitchell Hays, against the Flyers he finished with 90 yards rushing on 23 carries and completed 11 of 18 pass attempts for 118 yards.
Hays was an All-MAC 1st team Safety on defense, joining him on the 1st team was LB Zach Bertke. The only two players New Bremen had named to the 1st team.
For LCC 2020 has been a real ‘nightmare’ journey, being an independent was more challenging this year then in the past. Most area athletic conferences decided to play members only in the six regular season games. Luckily the Blanchard Valley Conference stepped in an offered them to fill in their schedule for this season…but after the agreement two BVC members decided they did not want to play the Thunderbirds. LCC did find games with Licking Valley and Cambridge, both on the road.
After week 6, the playoffs started…LCC’s first game turned out to be a forfeit win over rival Delphos St. John’s due to COVID 19. In Week 2 against Mohawk…an apparent season ending injury to Senior RB Shaun Thomas put a damper on that win.
Before his injury Thomas had broke the LCC school career rushing record with almost 5,000 yards, career TD record with over 100 and a school record 98 TD run.
Although a big loss for the T-Birds, LCC used the next man up procedure, that would be Rossy Moore (6’2 205lb Sr), who gained 193 yards in the first half, had TD runs of runs of 66, 51 and 9 yards in the regional final win over Hopewell-Loudon.
You add Quintel Peoples, who had 85 yards, and 3 TD runs of 18, 34 and 3 yards.
The two running backs help with the loss of Shaun Thomas.
Elida transfer and current LCC Junior QB Evan Unruh was 8 for 8 passing for 192 yards (all in the first half) and 2 TD passes 52 and 29 yards in the Regional Final..
As a freshman QB at Elida Unruh completed 179 of 331 passing for 2,280 yards with 24 TDs and 16 interceptions. Unruh finished 2nd in the WBL in individual total offense (2,749 yards)
LCC Coach Scott Palte told limaohio.com that he gives his offensive line (Zac Jacobs, Gavin Laird, Liam Stevik, Kaelan Howard and Jacob Lauck) a lot of credit for their success this year –
“We have really good skilled players but I don’t care how good your skilled players are if your don’t have the blocking up front and they have done a great job. There has been a lot of holes I think I could have got five yards running through. They have done an excellent job and it is just not all our backs making people miss everyone. They do a great job of making the holes and our backs attacking the holes.”
How good is LCC?
Hopewell-Loudon Coach Brian Colatruglio told the reviewtimes.com after their regional final loss to LCC-
“We played in a couple of state championship games (2007, 2008) and they are one of the best Division VII teams I have ever seen.”
“They’ve got speed, they’ve got size, they’re physical, they can run, throw, everything … they’ve got it all.”
This is the third time LCC has been in the Final Four, they lost both years (1973 and 2010) in the semifinals. They hope the 3rd time is a charm.
Aug 28 – Van Buren 46-7
Sept 4 – Licking Valley 35-13
Sept 12 – Liberty-Benton 47-28 (L)
Sept 19 – Cambridge 56-41
Sept 26 – Leipsic 51-0
Oct 2 – Arlington 49-26
Oct. 16 – Delphos St. John’s (forfeit)
Oct. 23 – Mohawk 53-20
Oct. 30 – Crestview 41-14
Nov. 6 – Hopewell-Loudon 62-20
New Bremen (8-2)
Aug 28 – Minster 20-0
Sept 4 – Marion Local 21-13 (L)
Sept 11 – Delphos St. John’s 38-6
Sept 18 – Coldwater 24-7 (L)
Sept 25 – Anna 38-7
Oct 2 – Versailles 36-7
Oct. 16 – Southeastern 52-7
Oct. 23 – St. Henry 28-13
Oct. 30 – Ft. Loramie 16-8
Nov. 6 – Marion Local 24-17
Division VII State Semifinals
Friday, November 13, 7 p.m. Home team listed first.
Warren John F. Kennedy vs. Newark Catholic at Massillon Washington Paul Brown Tiger Stadium
Lima Central Catholic vs. New Bremen Wapakoneta Harmon Field
D VII Final Four Teams
New Bremen #3 seed in Region 28, AP Poll ranked #14
LCC #1 seed in Region 26, AP Poll ranked #4
Newark Catholic #5 seed in Region 27, AP Poll not ranked
Warren JFK #1 seed in Region 25, AP Poll ranked #5