In his debut with the host Gahanna Lincoln High School football team Aug. 26 against Westerville Central, sophomore quarterback Michael Lowery proved to be the steadying force his inexperienced offense needed.

In his debut with the host Gahanna Lincoln High School football team Aug. 26 against Westerville Central, sophomore quarterback Michael Lowery proved to be the steadying force his inexperienced offense needed.

The Lions' defense also did its part in a 39-10 victory that avenged a loss to the Warhawks in last year's opener.

The win gave Orin Sheumaker - who was coaching the Lions in place of suspended coach Bruce Ward - his first victory.

Lowery, who transferred from Pickerington North in the offseason, completed 18 of 26 passes for 222 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.

The Lions lost all 11 starters to graduation from a year ago when they made their second consecutive playoff appearance.

"We're young and inexperienced, but the captains are great leaders," Lowery said. "The biggest thing we did was our defense stepped up. That allowed our offense to come down and score."

With the game tied at 7 at halftime, Gahanna turned two Central turnovers into scores.

After an Alex Metz interception, the Lions scored on the next play with 10:46 left in the third quarter on a 32-yard pass from Lowery to Khalil Straughter to make it 13-7.

Cael Baker recovered a Central fumble three plays into the Warhawks' next possession, and Lowery hit Andrew Ray for a 47-yard touchdown on the third play of the ensuing drive to make it 19-7.

Lowery found Dominic Taylor for a 40-yard touchdown with 11:47 remaining and Straughter added a 40-yard scoring run with 9:10 left.

"We wore them down," Sheumaker said. "There were a handful of plays we didn't make in the first half but I thought our kids responded."

Ray finished with six catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns, Taylor had seven catches for 73 yards and one score and Straughter added 70 yards and one touchdown on seven carries and two catches for 44 yards and one score to lead the Lions' offense.

Quarterback Wilson Misiuk passed for 88 yards and Allen Smith rushed for 75 yards to lead Central's offense.

"You've got to tip your hat to them," Central coach John Magistro said. "They found a way to win and we didn't. Defensively we gave up a couple big plays and you just can't do that."

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Team 1 2 3 4 Final WESTERVILLE CENTRAL
7 0 3 0 10 GAHANNA LINCOLN
7 0 12 20 39

G-Ray 12 pass from Lowery (Halliday kick)

WC-Milton 15 run (Bailey kick)

G-Straughter 32 pass from Lowery (kick failed)

G-Ray 47 pass from Lowery (kick failed)

WC-Bailey 25 FG

G-Taylor 40 pass from Lowery (pass failed)

G-Straughter 40 run (Halliday kick)

G-Harris 4 run (Halliday kick)

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