EDON — Edon’s football team will be playing in its first regional semifinal this weekend.

Lima Central Catholic, a 2020 Division VII state semifinalist, will be playing in its third in the last four seasons.

But even with the big advantage in playoff experience, LCC coach Scott Palte is expecting a battle from the Bombers.

“We have a few kids that played last year for us, had a good senior class last year but our juniors that played on our varsity, you hope that plays a part,” Palte said. “But (Edon) coach (Bob) Olwin’s been coaching a lot of years, so it’s not like he’s new to the experience. He’ll have his guys ready and he’s a really good coach. I’m sure their guys will be excited.”

Second-seeded Edon (11-1), which has had plenty of noteworthy moments and milestones during its best season in school history, will square off against No. 3 LCC (10-2) in an OHSAA Division VII, Region 26 semifinal at 7 p.m. Saturday at Donnell Stadium in Findlay.

The victor advances to take on the winner between No. 1 Hopewell-Loudon (11-1) and No. 4 McComb (11-1) at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at a site to be determined. All four teams were ranked in the top 10 of the final Ohio Associated Press Division VII poll (Hopewell-Loudon No. 2, McComb No. 6, LCC No. 9 and Edon No. 10).

Edon earned back-to-back playoff wins for the first time after edging No. 15 Spencerville 28-20 and No. 7 Antwerp 26-21 the last two weeks. The Bombers used a 9-yard touchdown run from senior wide receiver Gannon Ripke with 1:14 left to take the five-point lead and get the win over the Archers a week ago.

“It’s amazing to be able to have the community around us like this. Going this far is just spectacular and, obviously, we don’t want it to end,” Edon senior lineman Cassius Hulbert said. “We just want everything to fall into place and see how far we can get.”

Added senior running back/wide receiver Henley Dye: “It’s very exciting, especially because our school’s never done something like this. We have nothing to lose; We might as well just keep trying.”

LCC slipped past No. 14 Convoy Crestview 13-7 to open the postseason and cruised past No. 6 Upper Scioto Valley 47-14 last week.

The Thunderbirds are in the playoffs for the 14th time in the last 17 years (16th appearance overall, 17-15 record). The Bombers have made three straight postseason appearances (seven overall) and are 3-6.

Both teams feature explosive offenses, but LCC has had to make some big adjustments to continue its success.

After senior starting quarterback Evan Unruh (1,031 passing yards, 625 rushing yards, 23 total touchdowns) went out with an injury in LCC’s Week 7 win against Beverly Fort Frye, sophomore wide receiver Carson Parker (6-foot-2, 191 pounds) stepped in to fill the role. He has thrown for 857 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions on 51-of-99 passing, and also has 698 yards and 11 touchdowns on 119 carries.

“Great kid, just a tremendous leader. He’s a pretty physical kid as well,” Palte said of Parker. “He’s done a great job.

“I don’t want to say we’re fortunate, but last year during COVID time we lost six players for a couple weeks from COVID last year and he had to start a couple games as a freshman. So looking back now, that really benefited us this year that he started a couple games last year as a freshman.”

LCC senior running back Keiron Bailey (5-10, 187) has rushed for 833 yards and eight touchdowns on 141 carries. Senior back Quintel Peoples (5-8, 152) has 428 yards and three touchdowns on 66 carries, and also has hauled in 32 receptions for 485 yards and eight scores.

Senior Traves Hoyle Jr. (6-2, 188) has 601 yards and 10 touchdowns on 27 receptions, and sophomore Billy Bourk (6-4, 182) has chipped in 349 yards and three scores on 16 catches.

“We try to be balanced, try to keep teams honest and try to get the run established and build off it and get our play action game going,” Palte said. “We’ve got some guys that have made plays for us.”

The Bombers’ offense, meanwhile, has continued to utilize its weapons all over the field.

Senior quarterback Drew Gallehue (6-4, 220) has thrown for 4,650 yards, 55 touchdowns and five interceptions on 300-of-433 passing. Ripke (6-1, 199) has hauled in 94 receptions for 1,652 yards and 20 touchdowns. Gallehue and Ripke have also added seven and five rushing touchdowns, respectively.

Senior Hayden Dye (5-11, 192) has racked up 66 catches for 845 yards and nine touchdowns; junior Caden Nester (6-2, 183) has 49 catches for 823 yards and 12 touchdowns; senior Ethan Steinke (5-11, 168) has 40 catches for 634 yards and seven scores; and Henley Dye (6-0, 200) has chipped in 32 catches for 311 yards and two touchdowns.

“By far the best passing team we’ve seen this year,” Palte said. “They do things really well, their quarterback’s super skilled. Big guy with a really strong arm and they’ve got a great collection of receivers that not only catch well, but they’re physical after the catch too.”

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