SCORES: New Bremen, LCC tangle in a state semifinal Saturday in Wapak

Pregame at 6:25 p.m. on ScoresBroadcast, Hits 105.5 FM

Last weekend, blizzard-like, white-out conditions at both Sidney Memorial Stadium and Findlay’s Donnell Stadium froze the passing games to a standstill while two solid straight-ahead running teams, New Bremen (11-3) and Lima Central Catholic (10-4), scraped paths to victory.

The Cardinals and Thunderbirds did what they do best — grind on the ground — and are now on a collision course this Saturday night in a state semifinal for the second time in three years.

New Bremen won a 28-26 thriller in 2020 when the Cardinals raced to a Division VII state championship.

Antwerp and Fort Loramie, which made a living this year with big chunk plays, especially passing the football, combined to throw 36 incompletions in the two losses last Saturday. They netted less than 60 yards rushing.

The two clubs got behind from the start and gaining yards was like pushing a giant snowball uphill.

Meanwhile, New Bremen and LCC skated to 700 yards with hand off after hand off, and rushed the ball downhill after establishing early game momentum.

Sunny, dry and mild conditions during the day Saturday followed by only a slight chance of rain early in the evening should be conducive to more of the same. But don’t be surprised if the two clubs, which are both led by superb field generals at quarterback, sneak in a few more forward passes. will air the state semifinal from Wapakoneta at 6:25 p.m. Saturday evening. Hits 105.5 FM will simulcast.

New Bremen and LCC feature hard-nosed, 6-foot-2 QB’s — David Homan and Carson Parker — who are only “disguised” as signal callers. They both lug the football, effectively and tirelessly, play after play like tailbacks.

Parker nearly cracked the 2,000 yard rushing mark on the season last week in the 43-7 rout of Antwerp. In the 24-0 shutout of Fort Loramie, Homan hammered forward repeatedly and nearly reached 1,500 yards on the year.

Each is supported by outstanding, low-to-the-ground tailbacks — Gabe Cira of LCC and Hunter Schaefer of NB — who both rumble for seven-plus yards per carry.

Standout receivers Aaron Thieman and Ben Sailer for New Bremen and Matthew Quatman and Sal Guagenti of LCC enhance both squads’ offenses which are very capable of 30-point nights. In fact, both teams are averaging between four and five touchdowns per game.

The two athletic defensive units have gotten stronger as the season has progressed. In the playoffs, the opposition is averaging 15 points versus LCC. New Bremen has given up only nine points per outing since the end of October.

Jacob Lauck and Ethan Frankhouser have combined for almost 200 tackles for the T-Birds. Homan, Evan Eyink and Dylan Bambauer have racked up nearly 200 for the Cards. Like Homan, QB Parker plays safety for LCC.

Two years ago, New Bremen trailed twice by two touchdowns before charging from behind for a heart-stomping, two-point triumph. Expect another close encounter tonight.

For the third straight year, Newark Catholic and Warren John F. Kennedy are matched in the other state semi-final. They split the first two. New Bremen drubbed JFK in the 2020 title tilt; Marion Local did the same to NC last year.

By the way, Shelby County football fans should be familiar with major players on these two clubs.

Caleb Hadley, the star catcher on the Warren JFK baseball team which nipped Fort Foramie in the 2021 state semi, quarterbacks his football squad. Mason Hackett, the stellar running back for Newark who tormented the Redskins the last couple seasons, has returned after a short injury stint to pile up 250 yards the last two weeks.
Pregame at 6:25 p.m. on ScoresBroadcast, Hits 105.5 FM