By Lenny Sementi
Ben Dixon and the Warriors have been searching for that missing piece of a puzzle most of the season, and this past Friday they may have found it as they dismantled a 3-4 Shelbyville squad on their homecoming in a 48-0 rout. Dixon took the opening kick off 91 yards to pay dirt putting the Warriors on top 7-0 just 12 seconds into the game.
“I told the kids this week, I didn’t feel like we have played an entire game to our full capability,” stated head coach Andy Romine. “And, tonight I think we might have, their aggressiveness on defense had me worried before the game, but our guys up front handled it well.”
Offensive line coach Ted Minger’s group was missing a few key cogs up front due to injuries, but that didn’t stop CJ Picaso, Mike Calderon, Max Wyninger, Caden Cradle and Jonah Pierce from paving the way up front for 185 yards on the ground. Nine players in all toted the rock for the Warriors averaging just less than 7 yards a carry while scoring three touchdowns. Mathew Cantu led the charge erupting for 102 yards on just eight carries, scoring twice on runs of 47 yards and 20 yards.
Romine utilized a balanced offensive attack that delivered 185 yards through the air as well with three separate quarterbacks. Luke Sluder was good on 5 of 10 passes for 169 yards. He found Brandon Douglas four times for a game leading 146 yards and a score. Sluder also found Jacob Kibler on a 23-yard scoring strike. Cole Cunningham was 1 for 1 for 8 yards, and Jalen Quinn was good on 1 of 2 also for 8 yards in the game.
Michael Badgett was tops on a defense that allowed Shelbyville to cross the 50-yard line just once and never deeper than the Warriors’ 38-yard line. The senior totaled eight tackles in all with three solos and five assists. He also picked off a pass in the second period to set up a Warrior score. Two more scores followed picks by Cade Kresin and Turner Hastings in the frame as the Warriors cruised to a 49-0 lead at the break enforcing the running clock in the second half.
Next up on the tackle chart was Picaso and Josh Dyer up front each of which corralled five Ram ball carriers. Bradley Mast was strong on the defensive line as well securing four stops. Cade Kresin swiped a ball as did Turner Hastings helping the Warriors win the turnover battle.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Oct. 17 edition of The Tuscola Journal.