By Lenny Sementi
Maroa-Forsythe’s late first half score and a strong second half proved to be too much for Tuscola’s football team Saturday, Nov. 10. In a quarterfinal showdown between two of the state’s most storied programs in the last 20 years, Maroa held court on their home field coming out on the right side of the scoreboard thanks to an explosive second half and a few Warrior turnovers upending once beaten Tuscola 63-28 to advance to the state semi-finals.
It was an offensive showcase as the two high-scoring teams combined for more than 1,000 yards of offense. Maroa erupted for 331 yards on the ground and 275 more through the air. Luke Sluder led a Warrior squad that piled up 410 yards of total offense and 26 first downs. The senior signal caller ran for 91 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries and threw for another 164 yards on 18 of 35 attempts for 253 yards of total offense.
Will Little was just as strong on the ground, toting the ball 13 times for 111 yards and two scores. Brandon Douglas was the third Warrior to find the end zone, gaining 22 yards on three carries. He also hauled in four passes for 31 yards. Leading the way on the receiving crew for head coach Andy Romine was freshman Jalen Quinn. The speedy wide-out added seven catches to his season stat sheet for 79 yards. Turner Hastings and Grant Hardwick swiped the ball out of the air also, each catching three balls for a combined 45 yards.
Little was on top of the tackle list for Tuscola, as well. Number 33 blew up lead blocks and left the field with an empty tank corralling eight ball carriers in all. Lucas Kresin was right there as well, notching three solo tackles and four assists. Michael Badgett stopped seven, five of which were solos. Braydon VonLanken found his way to four tackles, including two for loss, while Josh Dyer also put a halt to four Trojans as well.
In a battle of old Okaw Blue Conference foes, turnovers were tops on the list early in the game. Tuscola put the ball on the turf on its first play from scrimmage, giving the Trojans the ball on the Warrior 35-yard line. Romine’s group answered with a turnover of their own three plays later when Cade Kresin swiped a Maroa pass from the air on a third and 5, giving the ball back to Sluder and the Warrior offense.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Nov.14 edition of The Tuscola Journal.