Listen live to the HFL Championship Game between a pair of undefeated and nationally ranked teams in the South Champion Columbus Fire and the North Champion Ohio Legends. Kickoff from Green Intermediate School is scheduled for 7:05pm with Michael Hirn and Sherman Tank bringing you the pregame show at 6:45pm.
CANAL WINCHESTER – Four in a row?
Saturday night the Lima Warriors entered their 5th straight conference championship game and 6th in the past 7 years as they traveled to take on the #1 ranked Columbus Fire. Lima entered the game looking to do two things, advance to another league championship game and end the three game winning streak the Fire have posted against the boys from the bean.
After getting the opening kick and returning 30 yards, the Warriors made the first mistake of the game when Kaene Runion was stripped by Chad Woodfork and returned 50 yards to put the Fire on top less than a minute into the game 8-0.
Following a Brandt Huttis interception of the Fire it was the Warriors turn to get into the scoring as Billy Cozad’s 30 yard touchdown pass to Jay Jay Johnson completed an 89 yard drive that spanned 16 plays and 6:30 to make it 8-6 Fire following an incomplete oass on the two point conversion.
Columbus upped their advantage to 11-6 early in the second stanza as JT Kafury booted a 25 yard field goal through the uprights.
In one of the bigger highlight reel plays of the night, Antwaun Gibbs leaped over the Lima defense and into the endzone on the ensuing Fire drive to up the lead to 18-6 at the midway point of the second quarter as the Fire began to roll offensively.
Lima closed the Fire lead to 18-12 with 4:58 to go in the first half as Bobby Huttis, the Warriors all-time leading receiver caught a disputed 35 yard touchdown catch in the endzone that capped off a 73 yard drive that spanned just under three minutes.
Starting at their own 37 yardline it was the Fire who widened the scoring gap in just two plays as Gibbs hooked up with a streaking Mike Tatum for a 47 yard score to make it 25-12 heading to the break following a missed field goal by Kafury and a turnover from each team.
A punt and an interception ended the first possession for each team in the second half, but it was the Fire who ran their lead to 20 at 32-12 when Gibbs tossed touchdown pass number two on the night to Gary Smith with 7:22 remaining in the third.
Columbus would get on the board again one final time in the opening moments of the fourth quarter when Josh Turnbow thundered in from 6 yards out to make the score 38-12 Fire.
Kafury missed his second fieldgoal of the game wide left and the Warriors made the best out of it by using 4:30 to go 75 yards to cap off a drive that included 30 yards worth of unsportsmanlike conduct penalities and an ejection on the Fire’s part. Billy Cozad ran out of the shotgun and straight into the right corner of the endzone for his first rushing touchdown of the day to bring the scoring on the day to a close and.
Brandt Huttis added a second interception on the night in the closing seconds of the game to prevent another Fire touchdown, but it wasn’t enough as time ran out on the game and the Warriors season with the 38-18 loss.
Columbus improves to 15-0 with the win and will advance to the HFL Championship game on Sept 7th in Green, Ohio against the undefeated HFL North Champion Ohio Legends.
Lima will end the season at 7-6 overall and will say goodbye to some key players who are heading off into the sunset. What will next years team look like you ask? That is a question for another day that you can read about right here on limawarriors.com in the future.
On the night Billy Cozad finished as the leading rusher with 18 carries for 65 yards while connecting on 20/40 passes for 216 yards. Jay Jay Johnson finished as the leading receiver with 6 catches for 71 yards and his touchdown.
DUNBAR, WV – Sometimes in life two out of three ain’t bad.
After locking up the 12th playoff berth in the Lima Warriors 13 year history, the team set out to prove itself and boy did they ever do it in a big way.
Jay Jay Johnson opened the game in style for the Warriors as his 38 yard kickoff return opened things up and put the offense inside the Lightning terrority on their first possession. Unable to get anything out of it behind starting quarterback Billy Cozad, the Warriors defense forced a West Virginia three and out.
Special teams again gave the Warriors great starting position as they got a huge return from Cozad off of the Lightning punt. Mike Macklin ran in from 9 yards out with 7:18 left in the 1st quarter to cap off a 5 play 33 yard drive to put the visitors on top 7-0.
At the end of a very successful drive that started at their own 30 yard line, including a 35 yard run, West Virginia’s next drive ended when David Fewell couldn’t connect on a 35 yard field goal.
The defenses flexed their muscles for the rest of the quarter and deep into the second as they forced a handful of punts and turnover on downs. One Lima drive early in the second ended on the 8th play of the drive as Cozad tossed one of his two interceptions on the day in the back of the West Virginia endzone on a ball that sailed high of it’s intended target.
Lima’s second scoring drive began with the Warriors having 2:06 on the clock, three timeouts and the two minute warning in their pocket at their own 30 yard line. Macklin was again the work horse on the drive as he started it with a 6 yard pass reception, and ended it with a 5 yard pass reception from Cozad to put Lima ahead 13-0 when a two point conversion attempt failed with just 9.1 seconds remaining. On the drive, Cozad displayed the ability to let the game come to him and sit in the pocket behind the fantastic blocking provided by his linemen and connect with four different wideouts. Bobby Huttis caught two of the passes on the drive for 24 yards.
Coming out of the break it was the Lightning who had possession first after they deferred to the second half to open the game. Again however it was the Lima defense that spoiled a nice drive as they came away with one of their eight sacks and 3 interceptions, this one the seventh of the season by Jordan Marshall.
Twelve plays and five and a half minutes for the Warriors on their ensuing drive provided no further scoring as Cozad was picked off for the second time in the game by Murrell and returned 48 yards.
West Virginia was again in business of chewing up the field a couple of drives later, but this time as they attempted a screen pass they were victims of Bennie Woods who came away with his first career interception and rumbled 15 yards down to the West Virginia 40 yard line on fourth down following three straight sacks by the Warriors defense, including one by Chris Brooks in which he blew off the ball on the left side before getting to the quarterback.
A turnover on downs on the next Lima possession led to the Lightning getting the ball back at their own 28 yardline. The Warriors defense came away with it’s 4th sack in 5 West Virginia offensive plays before Benny McNeal picked off a halfback pass and returned it 35 yards to the WV 5 yard line with just 38.3 seconds remaining in the game.
The final score of the night came as Glen Frazier, a West Virginia native, playing his last game in his home state and in front of his family for the first time in his career jogged in for a touchdown to run the final score to 19-0.
With the loss the Lightning end their season at 8-4 while the Warriors improve to 7-5 overall and move on to play for the Columbus Fire for the HFL South Championship on Saturday night.
In making it to the South championship game, Lima will become the only team in HFL history to play in a conference championship four straight years, as well as play for both the North and the South conference championships.
This weekend will mark the third meeting between the Warriors and West Virginia Lightning. The last time a Lima squad met an opponent three times in season was last year when they were victorious in all three times against the NEO Predators. Lima won the first meeting at home between the two squads this season 28-16 before losing the rematch in St. Albans, WV by a 27-8 final. The winner will move on to play for the HFL South Conference Championship next Saturday night. If the Columbus War Eagles defeat the Columbus Fire, the winner of this game will host, if the Fire are victorious they will host the winner of this matchup regardless of outcome as the south top seed.
Lima will enter the playoffs on Saturday for the 12th time in their 13 year existence, but with the least amount of wins (6) of any previous playoff squad, a fact not lost on Head Coach Rich Stotts: “We haven’t had the kind of season we would’ve liked to obviously, but we still have a chance to play hard and win the HFL. Everyone is 0-0 right now, don’t count us out”. Two weeks ago in the regular season finale the Warriors fell victim to the Columbus Fire 46-12. Waynesfield Goshen and Ashland University speedster Joe Horn accounted for both Lima scores, first with an 85 yard kickoff return for touchdown to open the second half and later in the third a 49 yard catch and run from Justin Henderson.
West Virginia finished up their 2013 regular with a forfeit win at the hands of the Pataskala Chaos. In their last game on the gridiron however, the Lightning suffered their 3rd loss of the season at the hands of the South leading and #1 ranked Columbus Fire 56-21 in Columbus. West Virginia’s defense was shredded by the Fire offense to the tune of 423 yards, while being held to just 179 yards of its own on the other side of the ball,
With a win against West Virginia, this years Warriors team will avoid being the third team to lose in their playoff opener. In 2008 the Grand Rapids Thunder ended the Warriors season at 9-2 with a 20-17 win in the first round of the USFA playoffs, while the 2002 season was ended with a 13-7 loss at the hands of the Great Lakes Makos in the first round of the OVFL playoffs.
Listen to the game live on www.limawarriors.com with Mike Hirn who will have the pregame at approx 6:45pm, and kickoff to follow at 7:05pm. Don’t forget to follow the Warriors on twitter @limawarriors.
COLUMBUS, OH – The Lima Warriors ended their 2013 HFL regular season Saturday night at Grandview High School in Columbus with a 46-12 loss to the Columbus Fire.
The Fire scored on 4 of their 6 first half possessions behind a pair of touchdown runs each from Gary Russell and Maurice Douse to lead 27-0 at the half.
Ashland University track standout Joe Horn returned the second half opening kickoff 85 yards in 13 seconds to put Lima on the scoreboard, but still behind 27-6 early in the 3rd. Horn also advanced a kick in the first half 50+ yards on his first touch as a Lima Warrior.
Early on in the fourth quarter after the fourth rushing touchdown of the game by Douse, it was Horn again who was able to out run the Fire defense, this time on a 49 yard pitch and catch from quarterback Justin Henderson that oyt the score at 40-12 Columbus when Randy Ryan’s extra point was blocked.
Mike Tatum replaced Antwaun Gibbs midway through the fourth quarter under center for the Fire, and threw a 40 yard touchdown pass to Aaron Davis that ran the score to 46-12 where it would stay for the rest of the game.
Henderson on the night was picked 5 times by the Fire secondary, including one each by Chad Woodfork and Dante Barnes.
Defensively the Warriors were aided by a couple of big plays by Brandt Huttis who picked off a Gibbs pass and added a fumble recovery to his impressive resume of takeaways over the course of his career.
Late in the fourth quarter there was a scary moment as Henderson’s deep pass into the endzone was broken up, and Dante Barnes landed awkwardly on his arm before being helped to the sidelines. Every member of the Warriors organization hopes it is nothing serious and he gets well soon.
Offensively the Warriors were led by Travis Lewis as he hauled in 6 passes 51 yards. Joe Horn in his debut caught a pair of passes for 56 yards to lead the air attack while James Cravens racked up 67 yards on 15 carries.
The Warriors regular season will end at 6-5 overall, and 6-3 in HFL play. The team was scheduled for a makeup game this weekend in Dublin against the Columbus War Eagles but it has since been changed to a no-contest by the league.
Lima will begin the playoffs August 17th on the road at 7:05pm in Dunbar, West Virginia against the West Virginia Lightning. Both teams won a game on their home field during the regular season meetings between the two squads.
LIMA – It was Hall of Fame night at Lima Stadium Saturday night, but it was Glen Frazier who was on display.
The last time Pickerington and Lima met in June, the Warriors offense gave away some points and the team trailed at the half. That would not be the case on this night however as Lima started the scoring early when on their first offensive play from scrimmage, Justin Henderson tossed a 34 yard pass into the middle of the endzone right into the arms of Billy Cozad to put the home team on the scoreboard and ahead for good 6-0 just 52 seconds in.
Devin Stover recovered his second fumble of the game on the next Wildcats drive, but the Warriors were forced into their only punt of the game on their next drive. Glen Frazier capped off a 10 play 55 yard drive that spanned over five minutes late in the first quarter as he plunged in from 3 yards out to put the Warriors on top 14-0 when Jason Diley added his second extra point on the night.
Riley Bransteter’s interception on the next drive provided the third of six eventual turnovers and once again led to a Frazier touchdown, but through the air this time as Henderson lobbed his second touchdown pass of the day to him from 3 yards out to make it 22-0 following a botched snap and a completed pass from Billy Cozad to Kaene Runion just seconds into the second quarter.
A quick three and out led to Lima utilizing another long scoring drive, this time going 8 plays 62 yards in 5:46 and running the score to 29-0 as Frazier bolted in from 12 yards out for his second rushing td of the game.
Justin Henderson tossed his third of four scoring strikes on the night as he lofted one perfectly down the right sideline that Runion floated under and walked into the endzone for a 62 yard touchdown reception that ran the score to 36-0 with 5:21 left in the half.
Anthony “Tone” Mikesell did what he has done so many times as a Lima Warrior on the ensuing drive, recover a fumble to set up his offense. David Johnson scored on the first of his two touchdown rushes and sent the game to the half with the Warriors on top 43-0.
Once halftime commenced, the Warriors gave back to four members of the organization who have helped to make it what it is today by inducting them as the 2013 Lima Warriors Hall of Fame class.
Jason and Jeremy Bott, Toledo Mitchell, and Debbie Hanlin were inducted on Saturday night in front of the Lima Stadium crowd.
Fireworks started as the second half began as Jay Jay Johnson returned the second half kick 65 yards to the Pickerington 15 yard line. A sure fire future Hall of Famer himself, Justin Henderson tossed touchdown pass number four on the evening to Porfirio Sutton from 8 yards out to put the home team on top 50-0 following Randy Ryan’s first extra point.
David Johnson, who finished with a team leading 5 carries for 60 yards added his second touchdown of the night on the next drive from 6 yards out to put Lima ahead 56-0 following the missed extra point.
One of the best moments in the game came on the very next series as first year Warrior defensive tackle Bennie Woods picked up a Wildcat fumble and rumbled 8 yards into the endzone for his first career touchdown to put his squad ahead 63-0.
Andrew “Baby” Peel added his third interception of the season and returned the ball 45 yards down to the Pickerington 2 yard line before Glen Frazier added touchdown run number three on the night near the end of the third stanza to put Lima ahead 70-0 and tie the team record for points scored in a game held by Bobby Huttis with 24 as well as Jeremy Bott and Chris Brooks’ record of three rushing td’s in a single contest.
The only score of the fourth quarter came as the Warriors finished off a 12 play 68 yard drive that spanned 10:37 with Glen’s adding his 4th rushing touchdown from 1 yard out to end the game 76-0 Lima and give the Warriors the their second highest scoring output ever. The 76-0 win was also the Warriors biggest point differential win in team history.
Glen Frazier finished the night with 30 yards rushing, 30 yards receiving and 5 touchdowns. Justin Henderson finished with 191 yards passing to go alongside his four touchdowns. Kaene Runion led the way catching the ball with 3 catches for 70 yards including his 62 yard reception.
As a team the Warriors outgained the Wildcats 341-43 on the night.
With the loss, Pickerington falls to 1-7 in HFL play while the Warriors up their record to 6-4 overall, but most importantly they move into second place in the HFL South playoff picture at 6-2 before heading on the road next week to take on the Columbus Fire (12-0, 9-0).
LIMA, OH – Sometimes in life the best offense is a good defense.
While the offense has not been clicking lately the Lima Warriors defense has had to carry a lot of the load, and they have not disappointed. “We’ve done a lot of things on defense this season that I’m proud of, especially as the Defensive Coordinator”, says Head Coach Rich Stotts.
Offensively the Warriors turned the ball over 5 times in their 39-7 win Saturday night over Pataskala, but the defense forced 7 Chaos turnovers and gave the team a couple of chances to score inside the red zone that they capitalized on.
Starting quarterback Kaene Runion threw a long touchdown to Jay Jay Johnson in the first half, but a trio of interceptions before he moved to tight end in favor of Warriors All-Time leading passer Justin “Juice” Henderson in the second quarter. Henderson proceeded to pick up right where he left off in 2008, his last year as the full-time QB by completing 10-13 passes for 255 yards to go along with his two touchdown passes.
Bobby Huttis, the Warriors All-Time leading receiver also got in on the act as he caught one of the two Henderson scoring tosses and outraced a Chaos defender 55 yards to paydirt for his first touchdown catch of the season and 32nd of his Lima career.
Jay Jay Johnson, a first year wideout from Bluffton University broke a Lima Warriors record as he hauled in six passes for a team record 198 yards. The previous Warriors record for yards in a game came by former Eastern Michigan standout Travis Lewis in the 2010 HFL Championship game victory over the Ohio Valley Warriors.
Defensively the Warriors were led by Jordan Marshall who finished with a pair of interceptions to run his season total to six, along with one each from Devin Stover, Benny McNeal, and Riley Bransteter. Andrew Peel in addition to recovering a fumble also recorded 1.5 sacks in the game, as did Jay Bondzeleske as part of a six sack night for the defense.
With the win the Warriors improve to 5-4 overall and 5-2 in the HFL. If the playoffs were to start today the Warriors would be sitting in the 3rd slot and would be on the road for the first round of the HFL South playoffs that start on August 17th.
Saturday afternoon the team will be on the road for the second time this season to take on the Columbus War Eagles at Dublin Coffman High School with a 5pm kickoff.
RACINE, WI – Sometimes you just run out of gas.
The Lima Warriors traveled to Racine, Wisconsin on Saturday night to do battle with the 2012 Semi Pro BCS National Champion Racine Raiders, but came out on the short side of the Horlick Field scoreboard, losing 31-6.
Lima’s defensive unit was stellar in the first half, holding Racine to just one score that came on a 4 yard pass from Craig McClelland to Sam D’Allie in the back corner of the endzone to put the Raiders on top 7-0 and capped off a 7 play 66 yard drive that spanned 3:57 to open the game.
Kaene Runion provided the Warriors their best chance to score as the first half drew to a close by finding a streaking David Johnson down the sidelines for a 57 yard gain, but Lima could not punch it in from there and found themselves trailing 7-0 at the break.
For the second straight game the Warriors offense opened the second half with the ball but were unable to do anything with it. Racine took advantage of the futility by adding a Joel Dapra 23 yard field goal to pull out to a 10-0 lead.
McClelland tossed his second touchdown pass on Racine’s next drive, this time connecting with Traves Worthington from 25 yards out to make it 17-0 home team.
A 12 play 70 yard drive that spanned 6:52 got the Warriors a little bit closer at 17-6, but a missed two point conversion would not allow them to cut the lead any more. On the ensuing possession, it was the defense who had a chance to cut the lead again to eight, but Racine’s runningback was able to put the ball back across the goal and avoid the safety.
Racine’s final two scores would come on a 57 yard JR Taylor touchdown run and a Ross Toeller 55 yard pick six to up the final score to 31-6.
With the loss the Warriors drop to 4-4 on the season, Racine opens their season at 2-0.
Lima will return home this Saturday to take on the Pataskala Chaos in HFL action at Lima Stadium with a 7:05pm kickoff on www.limawarriors.com
St. Albans WV – Country roads, take me home.
Saturday afternoon at Crawford Field the Warrors did battle with two opponents, the West Virginia Lightning and themselves.
Traveling shorthanded had the Warriors at a disadvantage, but the poor tackling during the game put them at an even bigger disadvantage against a hungry Lightning squad looking for payback to their earlier loss in Lima this season.
West Virginia got on the scoreboard first when after a scoreless first quarter a Kaene Runion pass was intercepted and taken 25 yards for the first score of the game to put the home squad on top 6-0. Following a second interception just four plays later by Runion, West Virginia capped off a 16 play 8:11 drive right before the half with a 2 yard touchdown run to send the game to the break with the Lightning leading 14-0.
Lima would get the ball to open the second half, but be forced to punt after just four plays. West Virginia added the first of it’s two 40+ yard field goals in the game to run the score to 17-0 in the middle of the third quarter. The other West Virginia score saw one of the backs break free through the line and scamper 49 yards to put the Lightning ahead 24-0 before the second field goal made it 27-0.
The Warriors would finally get on the scoreboard and prevent being shut out for the first time since the 2012 season opener against the Detroit Ravens as James Cravens thundered in from 10 yards out to make it 27-6. Runion would run in the two point conversion to close the gap to 27-8, but that would be the final.
In the game Jordan Marshall picked off a pass for his fourth in three weeks, Chris Brooks added the only sack on defense, and David Johnson had a 46 yard kickoff return.
With the loss the Warriors fall to 4-3 overall and 4-2 in HFL play. Also with the loss the team falls into third place in the HFL south playoff race.
For the first time in team history the Warriors will be in action on Independence Day weekend as they head to Racine, Wisconsin for a non-league tilt against the defending National Champion Racine Raiders. Kickoff from Racine is slated for 8pm EST and can be heard on limawarriors.com.
LIMA – A fight from start to finish was what the Lima Warriors expected to happen last night against the Columbus Fire, and a fight is what they got for 60 minutes.
In what was billed as one of the biggest games in recent memory by most in the semi pro community, the Warriors and Fire had a battle for the ages Saturday night at Lima Stadium.
Columbus looked to add the first points of the game with a field goal by kicker Mike Lige, but Yansey Donald had other plans as he shot through the middle of the Fire line and blocked it late in first quarter to keep the game scoreless. Jason Diley of the Warriors had his own chance early in the second quarter from almost the exact same spot on the field but watched his attempt sail wide left.
Following a series of punts by each squad, Jordan Marshall picked off his third pass in two games to give the Warriors the ball at the Fire 20 after a twenty yard return. From this point it only took Lima signalcaller Billy Cozad three plays to find Jay Jay Johnson from 25 yards out to put the home team ahead 6-0 following a missed extra point with 3:45 to go in the second. The grab by Johnson was his good for his team leading fourth touchdown catch this season.
On the ensuing kickoff the Fire got themselves ahead on the scoreboard as Aaron Davis weaved back and forth between Lima defenders for an 80 yard touchdown return just 15 seconds after the Warriors score to make it 7-6 Columbus with now only 3:30 remaining in the first half.
Lima got the lead back as on the following possession they utlized a 7 play 68 yard drive for the touchdown when Cozad himself ran one in from 8 yards out to put the Warriors up 12-7 with 1:11 left in the first half. Cozad’s intended pass for Porfirio Sutton in the back of the endzone on the two point conversion was no good.
Following another great return that started the Fire at midfield with two timeouts it was Chris Brooks who dropped the hammer on Fire quarterback John Abner that sent Abner into the turf and the game to the half as time expired in the second quarter.
When the Warriors won the coin toss at the beginning of the game they chose to defer to the second half, however they didn’t imagine the second half would start as it did. A blocked Mike Macklin punt set the Fire up at the Warriors 13 yard line to start the half. Gary Russell, a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers championship squad who himself scored a rushing touchdown in the big game added one here from 12 yards out to give the Fire their second lead at 14-12 after the made extra point with 11:46 left in the 3rd quarter.
Russell, who would finish with 21 carries for 168 yards would cap off his brilliant second half performance by rushing for 140 yards in the latter stages of the game and a second touchdown later in the 4th quarter from 60 yards out to put the game on ice for the Fire and give them a 21-12 win.
Columbus finished the game with 209 yards on the ground to 33 for the Warriors. Billy Cozad completed 7 of 27 passes in the game for 124 yards and 1 touchdown.
Defensively the Warriors were able to secure two takeaways from the Fire offense, a Jordan Marshall interception and a Biggie Townsend takeaway of Abner that saw the former Lima Senior Spartan rip the ball right out of Abner’s hands in a fantastic display of strength.
With the win the Fire improve to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in HFL play while the Warriors drop to 2nd place in the HFL South behind the Fire with a 4-2 overall record and a 4-1 record in HFL play.
These two teams will meet again at Grandview High School in Columbus, Ohio on August 3rd in the regular season finale for both squads.