LIMA – For much of the 2019 season, the Fremont Ross football team has not been able to overcome its own mistakes – particularly on the offensive side of the ball.
Friday night proved to be more of the same.
The Little Giants moved the ball in spurts – but inevitably a penalty or a sack would send Ross backwards and lead to the drive stalling out.
While the defense largely played well – often getting stops when it needed them – it ultimately wasn’t enough to save Ross from a 20-7 loss to Lima Senior.
“I don’t think we had anyone step up who wanted to make plays today,” Ross coach Chad Long said. “I think our one playmaker, we didn’t get the ball enough to, and that’s Spencer Price. He’s our most electric payer that we have right now. Our receivers, we passed the ball a lot, Carson (Brandon) made some catches, but there is nobody else at the receiver corps that wants to step up and take that spotlight.”
In the early going, Ross showed signs of being able to move the ball – until mistakes halted the Little Giants’ progress.
Ross picked up a pair of first downs on its first drive of the game but stalled after a false start on first down put it in a hole. The second possession went three-and-out after being sacked on second down. The following series saw a holding call lead to a punt, but Ross was saved by a pair of encroachment penalties by Lima, giving Ross a first-down. With its second-chance, Ross moved the ball, picking up a first down and reaching midfield until being sacked on third down – once again moving backwards and killing its offensive momentum.
“We don’t have a team that can stretch the field to gain back those 10 yards that we lost,” Long said. “We don’t have that. At this moment, we don’t have those types of kids. We have Spencer Price, and that’s it, able to stretch the field like that. We’re still developing. We’re not a high-powered offense, by any means. We put our defense in a bind a lot.”
Ross’ defense, on the other hand, for the most part, bent but didn’t break. Though Lima controlled time of possession and yards gained, the Little Giant defenders buckled down as the Spartans moved into Ross’ territory.
Lima’s only offensive score of the first half came on the opening play of the second quarter when receiver Larry Ragland, knocked to the turf, caught a deflected pass on its way to the ground for a 19-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
The Spartans were held off the scoreboard thereafter until the final moments of the half. Ross, punting with little room in the back of its own end zone, saw the punt hit one of the Little Giants’ linemen and was recovered by Lima in the end zone for a touchdown and a 13-0 halftime lead.
“When we needed them to step up, they really did.” Long said of the defense. “We gave up 13 points on the defense, short field off a turnover and the (first touchdown) was lucky, the kid is on the ground and it fell right into his stomach. The way the breaks have been for us this entire year, we can’t find a way to get a win right now.”
After a Ross fumble put the Spartans at the Little Giant 30-yard line, Lima extended its lead in the third quarter on a 15-yard touchdown run.
Ross, finally, got out of its own way and put together a drive. Cyrus Lagrou connected with Price, who made a nice adjustment to come back to the ball and scooted into the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown.
“We don’t have any playmakers right now, we need to find some, and the one we do we have (Price), we’re not getting the ball to enough,” Long said. “The kid is a good enough athlete to open it up himself but he’s the only one willing to accept that role.”
Lagrou, making his first varsity start, completed 10-of-23 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown but with three interceptions and a fumble on a wet and rainy night. He also took a hit late in the game which Long expects will put him in the concussion protocol, making his availability for next week uncertain.
“We have faith in Cyrus, no matter what,” Long said. “He is going to be our guy – unless the concussion thing. We turned to Cyrus, we have faith in Cyrus.”
Daniel Rusher totaled 89 yards on 22 carries, most of which were tough runs up the middle in the teeth of the Spartans defense.
Lima Senior 20, Fremont Ross 7
Score by quarter
FR| 0—0 – 7—0 7
LS| 0—13— 7—0 20
LS – Larry Ragland 19 pass from EJ Cameron (Andrew Zell kick), 11:55
LS – Marcus Brown block punt recovery in end zone (kick fail), 0:27
LS – Jawan Anderson 15 run (Zell kick), 5:23
FR – Spencer Price 37 pass from Cyrus Lagrou (Alec Slemmer kick), 3:01