The ball is not bouncing the right direction for Tuscola’s football team as of late. It seems like all the breaks seem to go in the opponent’s direction at times leaving the Warriors looking for answers. This past Friday the trend continued with fifty-fifty balls, spots and a ball off the crossbar through the goal post for the Rams of Shelbyville led to another loss late in the game. The black and gold once more rallied from a halftime deficit, gained the lead in the fourth quarter to only come up short falling 26-21 on the road.
Signal caller Peyton Armstrong was once more at the top of the rushing list for the Warriors gaining 92 yards on 22 carries, while punching it for three touchdowns. Patrick Pierce was next up carrying it seven times for 16 yards. Hunter Branca led the receiving corps, grabbing four Armstrong passes from the air of 70 yards. Eric Badgett had two grabs and Caden Baer and Adi Patel each pulled in one. Armstrong ended the night connecting on eight of 17 through the air for 125 yards.
Turnovers proved costly for the Warriors as the Rams turned three into scores and connected twice on field goals that ultimately proved to be the difference. The Rams connected on a big pass to set up their first field goal at the 8:43 mark of the first frame. Tuscola answered on the ensuing drive with a 26-yard scoring run by Armstrong over the left side. The point after by Keller Beachy was good, putting the Warriors in front 7-3 with seven minutes left on the clock. Branca set up the score with a 53-yard kick return from the north to south. The junior hauled in four kicks and traversed 103 yards of Shelbyville turf in the game.
The Rams answered with a 25-yard scoring strike pushing it to 10-7 and then struck once more late in the second quarter on a 15-yard TD pass entering the break on top 17-7. They added to their lead with the second field goal of the night as the ball bounced off the left upright and thru to move on top by 13 points 20-7. Coach Andy Romine’s Warriors roared back with back to back scoring drives that ended with Armstrong running the ball into the end-zone putting the black and gold on top by one 21-20. Both of which were set up by fast paced passing attacks.
Four plays and a Tuscola penalty led to the go-ahead score on a 12-yard pass that sealed the deal on the Central Illinois Conference showdown. Tuscola threatened late moving into Ram territory but came up a few yards short on a fourth and long with under two minutes to play allowing Shelbyville to kneel it out for the win.
“Our effort was outstanding, we just need to make some plays,” stated Romine. “We have been close and ahead in the fourth and just need some of the fifty-fifty plays to go our way.”
Patrick Pierce continued his dominance on defense collecting 13 tackles, one for loss and ten solos. Chris Boyd was next with nine stops, including three of Tuscola’s five sacks. Armstrong and Jordan Sanchez corralled five Rams while Baer and Tyson Macaulay each notched four tackles.