Sophomore defensive back Jalen Quinn was playing keep-away this past Friday night in Warrensburg swiping a career-high three interceptions out of the air helping Tuscola’s football team to a dominating 40-7 victory over the host Cardinals. The Warriors became playoff eligible moving to 5-2 on the year overall pushing their winning streak to three straight.
Senior Logan Tabeling scored the first three touchdowns on the ground as coach Andy Romine’s boys in black pounded the Cardinals up front for 261-yards on 40-carries scoring five times. The Warriors QB gained 82-yards on 14-carries scoring three touchdowns. He also tossed the pigskin for one score connecting on 14 of 23 thru the air for 234-yards, accounting for 316-total yards. Tabeling connected with Brandon Douglas six times for a game high 148-yards and a TD. Quinn hauled in five catches for 41-yards and Jacob Kibler snatched three of Tabeling’s balls out of the air for 52-yards.
The leader in the ground attack following Michael Calderon, Caden Cradle, Colton Gunther, Jonah Pierce and Hans Goodman was Grant Hardwick. The senior fullback averaged just under ten yards a clip gaining 128-yards on just thirteen tries. Sophomore multi-purpose back Peyton Armstrong accounted for 47-total yards posting 39-yards and a score on ten totes while firing one pass in the direction of senior Silas Hortin for 8-yards.
The black shirt’s defense limited the host Cardinals to under fifteen yards on the ground in the first half and 53-yards total while forcing four turnovers. Douglas accounted for the fourth snatching a Quinn tipped pass out of the air and on Warrensburg’s second possession of the game. Ends Gibson Wells and Josh Dyer were continuously played on the Cardinals side of the line. Wells led all with seven stops, including five solos. Dyer was next in line posting four solos and one assist. Kibler, Nate Koester and Tyler Walker all stopped five W-L runners while Pierce accounted for a pair of tackles for loss.
“We are tackling better,” stated the coach. “As a group they are grabbing cloth, rallying to the ball and simply put getting better. The guys forced four turnovers and blocked a punt when you do that, the offense has to respond and I feel we did that.”
The hosts won the toss-and-choose to receive but were unable to doing anything with the ball on their first two possessions both of which were helped by Warrior mishaps on punt return. Tuscola’s defense forced five straight three-and-outs to open the game opening up six-point lead after on quarter of action. Tabeling reached pay dirt first form five yards out on a three-play drive that was aided by a big run by Hardwick and an eight yard catch by Quinn making it 6-0 Tuscola. Tabeling went in again early in the second frame thanks to a four yard plunge over the left side behind Calderon and Cradle. Aiden Beachy converted the point after pushing Tuscola’s advantage to 13-0 at the 8:01 mark in frame number two. It was déjà vue a few minutes later as Tabeling pushed the lead to 20-0 with 1:56 left in the first half with a seven yards scoring run. Quinn made sure that’s where it would stay snatching interceptions on first down of the final two Cardinal possessions before the two CIC teams headed to the break.
Quinn made it three straight on W-L’s first outing of the second half intercepting his yet another Cardinal pass. Tabling quickly turned it into points finding Douglas on a acrobatic 40-scoring strike increasing the Warriors lead to 27-0. Armstrong was the next one to find the end zone on a six yard run behind Tabeling lead block pushing it to 33-0 good guys. Beachy atoned for a missed point after attempt blocking and recovering a Cardinal punt on the hosts own six-yard line. One play later Armstrong scored for seven yards out and Beachy put it between the up rights invoking the slaughter rule running clock putting Tuscola on top 40-0.
“They ran two high safety’s all game long, so it was a five or six man box and against that we have to run the ball well,” stated coach Andy Romine. “And, we did just that, we have two weeks left to try and get better, we are now playoff eligible but still have some work to do.”