SIDNEY — Fort Loramie faced a nearby rival in windy and snowy conditions in a playoff game for the second consecutive week on Saturday at Sidney Memorial Stadium.
The Cardinals dominated from the start and beat Fort Loramie 24-0 in the Division VII, Region 28 championship game to earn their second state berth in the last three seasons.
Fort Loramie finished with 182 yards of offense, its lowest amount of the season. Its previous season low was 279 in a Week 9 win against Lucas; the squad had over 300 yards in every other game.
“This obviously wasn’t the best conditions for (our pass attack), but credit to New Bremen,” Fort Loramie coach Spencer Wells said. “They were the better team, and we wish them the best of luck moving forward.
“… Just trying to find some offensive rhythm (was hard). It was like we were taking one step forward and two steps back. Just couldn’t quite find it early on. We missed some opportunities, but it was more with what they were doing. They were making it hard on us.”
Driving into the wind, Fort Loramie went three-and-out on the first possession of the night, and New Bremen quickly drove after a short punt and scored on a 2-yard touchdown run by Hunter Schaefer with 8:30 left in the first to take a 7-0 lead.
“One of the biggest parts of the game is we won the coin toss, defer and get the wind, because it was blowing pretty strong at the start,” New Bremen coach Chris Schmidt said. “I’m so proud of our kids and our defensive staff. …Weather played a factor, but that’s an explosive team with some really good ball players.”
Fort Loramie got one first down on its next possession but then had to punt. The Cardinals moved from their 14-yard line to midfield, then Schaefer broke free on a 45-yard touchdown run with 48 seconds left in the first and kicked the extra point to boost the advantage to 14-0.
“We got that early lead, and we just wanted to be smart from there, keep it in the hands of our tailback and quarterback,” Schmidt said. “Our offensive line did a tremendous job. They’re not real big kids, but they’re feisty.”
Schaefer made a 20-yard field goal with 1:47 left in the second to boost the lead to 17-0 at halftime. The Cardinals got the ball to start the second half, drove and scored on a 4-yard TD run by David Homan to take a 24-0 lead.
New Bremen had 326 yards of offense, 302 of which came on the ground. Homan, a senior quarterback, ran for 159 yards on 30 carries. Schaefer ran for 143 yards on 24 carries.
The Cardinals (11-3) advance to face Lima Central Catholic (10-4) in a D-VII state semifinal on Saturday night at Wapakoneta’s Mercy Health/Wapak Ford Field.
The two teams played in a state semifinal in 2020. New Bremen edged the Thunderbirds 28-26 and went on to crush Warren JFK 31-0 in the state final to earn its first state championship in program history.
“I’m just thankful that we get another week to practice and go out and play again,” Schmidt said.
Lima Central Catholic lost 35-34 to Fort Loramie in Week 10.
The Redskins finish 11-3 overall. They’ll lose 12 seniors to graduation, including six who earned D-VII first team all-Southwest district recognition.
“What a fun group,” Wells said. “They got so much better as the season went on. Two of those guys (linebacker Isaac Raterman and linebacker Nate Boerger) were playing through torn ACLs, just (great) leadership and the toughness that showed. Their legacy is going to continue to have impact for years to come. Really proud of them as a group.
“… We did a lot more good this year than we did bad. Tonight was New Bremen’s night, and credit to them. But our guys have a lot to be proud of.”
Senior quarterback Caleb Maurer completed 10-of-34 passes for Fort Loramie for 93 yards with two interceptions. He ran for 59 yards on 15 carries.
Senior receiver Logan Eilerman caught five passes for 55 yards and senior receiver Darren Eilerman caught two passes for 22 yards. Raterman had seven tackles, including one for loss. Seniors Christian McGee and Max Cotner each had eight tackles.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.