By Lenny Sementi
It was senior night for the Warriors on the gridiron Friday, Oct. 19, and the boys in black and gold left no doubt finishing off an 8-1 season in a 52-3 drubbing of the Meridian Hawks. With the victory, the seniors secured a home game in round one of the playoffs and at least one more game on the turf of Memorial Field.
Returning to the line-up after sitting out with an injury for seven and a half weeks was senior Will Little. The player joined up with his classmates Luke Sluder, Bradley Mast, CJ Picaso, Turner Hastings, Kenny Lucas, Blake Schultz, Cade Kresin, Michael Badgett and Gage Russell between the lines to honor injured buddies Braydon VonLanken, Hayden Cothron, and Cade Morgan.
Little showed little rust gaining 51 yards on six carries while grabbing one ball out of the air for 12 yards. Tossing the rock to him was Sluder who was near perfect on the night. The second year starter connected on 16 of 19 through the air for 208 yards and two touchdowns and gained 49 yards and three scores on 11 carries helping the Warriors to 392 yards of total offense.
He spread the wealth connecting with six different receivers. The top target was Brandon Douglas who caught five balls for 80 yards and a touchdown. Jacob Kibler was next in line with four grabs for 32 yards. Freshman Jalen Quinn hauled in three catches for 53 yards and a score while Ben Dixon and Turner Hastings combined for three receptions for 31 yards.
Badgett was a man possessed starting with the opening kickoff. The inside linebacker packed a punch ending his night with eight tackles, six solos, and two for tackles for loss. Next in line was strong end Josh Dyer who corralled four solos and two assists. Lucas Kresin took advantage of his time on the field securing five stops, while Dixon, C. Kresin, Russel, Hans Goodmann, and Ashton Jones all tallied four tackles.
Tuscola went on a 12-play drive to open the game and never looked back. Mathew Cantu scored on an 8-yard run to make it 7-0 Warriors with 6:39 left on the clock in the first quarter. Sluder followed with a 9-yard scoring run less than three minutes later to make it 14-0 then hit Douglas for a 44-yard touchdown jaunt, pushing the lead to 21-0 at the end of one. Sluder went in again a minute into the second frame and the rout was on. Tuscola gave up a field goal late in the second, but Sluder and the Warriors responded with two scores in the final two minutes of the half.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Oct. 24 edition of The Tuscola Journal.