LIMA – If you were in attendance Saturday night at Lima Stadium you witnessed a knock down drag out brawl between two of the nation’s elite semi-pro teams.
Billy Cozad of the Warriors started off the game by returning the opening kickoff 35 yards for Lima, but the Warriors were forced to punt after they could only muster 16 total yards. Detroit was not much better in their opening possession, giving up a sack while only gaining 8 yards before their first punt of the contest.
Defense was the story of the first quarter for both teams, except for a momentary lapse by the Lima secondary that allowed Detroit QB Mike Akrawi to find Edward Thomas for a 92 yard score to put the Ravens on top 6-0 after a botched extra point attempt with 2:21 left in the first stanza.
Following the second Lima punt of the game early on in the second quarter the Ravens gave the ball right back as Cozad picked off a pass and returned it 19 yards to give the Warriors the ball at the Ravens 31 yardline midway through the second quarter. Again defense was the story early as Detroit forced a turnover on downs to get the ball back from the Warriors offense.
With just 6:38 left in the first half Lima finally got on the board behind a 10 yard scamper from Yansey Donald that capped off a 4 play drive and made it 7-6 after Jason Diley banged home the extra point.
Detroit picked up a safety when a ball was misplayed off of a punt return in the endzone just a couple of minutes into the second half to go up 8-7 for the only score by either team in the third quarter.
Jordan Marshall who had been having a relatively quiet game by his personal lofty standards punished a Detroit wideout and forced him to cough up the ball before it was grabbed by Yansey Donald who flew 33 yards to the house to make it 13-8 Warriors. The ensuing two point conversion pass attempt by Cozad fell incomplete to keep the score difference at five with 7:58 left in the game.
The Ravens offense added the final score of the game with 3:57 to go by capping off a 76 yard drive with a 1 yard touchdown run by Wyatt Jones and made the two point conversion to run the score to 16-13 in favor of the visitors.
Lima had two possessions in the final minutes but two costly interceptions by Billy Cozad sealed the fate of the Warriors on this night and gave Detroit their fourth win against just one loss in the series between these two midwestern powers.
Lima finished the night with 261 total yards (126 rushing, 135 passing) while the victorious Ravens finished with 401 total yards (164 rushing, 237 passing) on the night.
With the win Detroit improves to 1-0 while the Warriors drop to 0-1.
Saturday night the Warriors kick off HFL South Conference play for the first time as they will host the 2008 AAA National Champion West Virginia Lightning. Kickoff is slated for 7:05pm and has been deemed a RED OUT.