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Slow start dooms Tuscola Warriors football team at Cumberland

In a battle of Class 1A state ranked football teams Cumberland used a big second quarter to sneak past the Warriors 26-22. Tuscola’s Peyton Armstrong was at the top of the stat sheet. The senior signal caller carried the ball 32 times for 215 yards eclipsing the 400 yard mark on the season in just the second week. He also connected on seven of 14 through the air for 82 yards.  

Patrick Pierce followed the offensive line as well averaging over five yards a carry gaining 44 yards on eight carries. Caden Baer hauled in three passes for 27 yards while Eric Badgett secured three catches for 54 yards helping the Warriors erase a 19-0 halftime Pirate lead. Cumberland scored 13 points in the final 45 seconds of the second frame stunning the Warriors. 

The two teams traded drives throughout the first quarter before the Pirates finally broke through on their second drive of the second frame on a 40-yard run down the Warriors sideline at the eight minute mark. Tuscola looked to answer but a long drive stalled following a penalty and once more the Pirates escaped down Tuscola’s sideline this time on a third and long adding to their lead making it 13-0 with just 45 seconds left on the clock. 

Disaster hit on the ensuing kickoff as the home team stripped the ball and returned in 37 yards increasing their lead to 19-0 heading to the break. Tuscola owned all but a minute of the second half starting with the third quarter kickoff. Keller Beachy pinned them deep with a ball to the right corner and the defense stood strong forcing a punt setting up the Warriors first score a 48-yard jaunt to the end zone by Armstrong. Pierce and the defense forced a three and out on the next drive and once more Armstrong followed seniors Haven Hatfield, Chase Jones and the boys up front punching it from two yards out making it 19-14 entering the fourth quarter. 

The two teams each came up short on their first possessions of the final frame before Armstrong gave the Warriors a lead breaking off a 53-yard run off the left side putting coach Andy Romine’s squad up by three 22-19 following a successful two-point conversion with4-minutes remaining. 

Cumberland fired back, converting a big fourth down and ten and eight of their last ten passes crossing mid field for the first time and scoring the go ahead score with 41 seconds left. Armstrong found Badgett twice in the waning seconds for 39 yards and had a shot at the end zone but the final seconds clicked off as the final pass was batted down. 

Pierce was all over the field on defense finding his way to a game high 17 tackles, including eight solos. His partner at inside linebacker Jordan Sanchez was next up with nine tackles. Jordan Quinn was next up with seven stops, then came Hatfield and Krish Patel who both checked in with six tackles. Junior Chris Boyd ended his night with five tackles, twice wrangling Pirate ball carriers for losses.

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