Most of the time under the lights on Friday nights number 79 goes about his business without many in the stands knowing what he’s doing. This past Friday however senior Josh Dyer was the first one to reach the end zone. The defensive end put the pressure on an errant punt snap and pounced on the ball putting the Warriors up for good 6-0.
Dyer and his buddies in black and gold celebrated Homecoming in style at Memorial Field bouncing back from consecutive losses to hand previous unbeaten 4-0 Clinton its first loss of the “2019” campaign. Tuscola scored 14 points in the first quarter and 24 in the second and never looked back cruising to a 41-6 Central Illinois Conference victory.
Tuscola’s defense rose to the occasion stopping the Maroons on a fourth and four with 1.5 seconds left in the first half earning them the right to wear the vaunted black shirts during practice this week.
“I challenged them during Clinton’s timeout to keep them out of the end zone and secure the black shirts,” stated head coach Andy Romine. “And they did that and then some, that’s something we can build on.”
Jonah Pierce and Jacob Kibler pressured a roll out forcing a desperation pass that sophomore Jalen Quinn swiped out the air and ran 96 yards for a touchdown putting the Warriors up 38-0 at the break.
In between the two defensive scores were a trio of Logan Tabeling scoring jaunts, and a 23-yard field goal by Aiden Beachy. Tabeling scored late in the first on a 15-yard run then went in twice early in the second from 4 and 7 yards out. The senior QB had 100 yards on 11 carries by the break, and Beachy added five point-after attempts and the field goal.
“Our special teams did some good things tonight,” commented Romine. “Josh scored on the punt play, Aiden kicked well all night, and coach Ted Minger’s kickoff team perfectly executed an onside kick when we were rolling in the second.”
Beachy’s second field goal was even longer. The junior punched on over from 34 yards out in the third to set the clock in motion pushing the score to 41-0.
Tabeling also tossed the pigskin around the yard connecting on 9 of 17 for 79 yards. Kibler grabbed one ball for 26 yards and a big first down. He also found Quinn, Nate Koester and Grant Hardwick each twice and Brandon Douglas three times. Hardwick was next up the rushing column gaining 43 yards on five attempts. Ashton Jones added 17 yards to the totals on three carries as the Warriors ran up 198 yards on the ground on 31 tries. Sophomore Payton Armstrong had 21 yards off the bench and was also good on 2 of 2 through the air.
Tuscola limited the run dominate Maroon offense to under 3 yards a carry giving up just 82 yards on the ground on 28 tries. They were just as stingy in the passing game allowing 104 yards on 11 for 25 through the air. For the second week in a row Brandon Douglas led the Warriors on defense donating six solo stops and three assists to the cause. Next up was Dyer with seven tackles, including one for loss. Quinn also found his way to seven, while Tabeling corralled six, three solos and 3-assists. Lucas Kresin was one behind with five stops and the Pierce Brothers accounted for a combined eight tackles. Senior end Gibson Wells made the most of his two tackles making both of them behind the line backing up the Maroons 12 yards in all.
Tuscola is on the road the next two weeks, traveling to Sullivan this Friday for a date with the Sullivan-Okaw Valley Redskins in a CIC clash. They then travel to Warrensburg-Lathem to take on the Cardinals a week later. The Warriors moved to 3-2 overall on the year and 1-1 in the league. “We did some good things that showed up on the film,” Romine stated. “But also have some things to correct. We need to find consistency, through five weeks, and we have used six different centers and four different guards, someone needs to take those positions over for good.”