Head football coach Andy Romine looked to his big boys up front and his defense to upend the third ranked Raiders of Central A&M. Senior signal caller Peyton Armstrong toted the rock a season high thirty-eight times as the Warriors dominated the possession clock and snap count running twenty more plays than their visitors from the west.
“Our boys played their guts out,” stated Romine. “This was a big one, and they produced it. We are built differently this year, not quite as explosive on offense, we have to be good on defense and shorten the game on offense.”
Haven Hatfield, Austin Lewis, Chase Jones, Chris Boyd, Grant Kauffman and Aiden Weaver joined with tight end Tyson Macaulay and Jordan Sanchez paved the way for the 264 yards hard fought rushing yards averaging over five yards a carry. Armstrong had 206 of those yards and a score while classmate Patrick Pierce donated 56 yards to the cause.
Tuscola scored first on a 21-yard scoring strike from Armstrong to Hunter Branca to take a 7-0 advantage at the 4:36 mark of the first quarter. After trading possessions A&M returned a punt to the Warrior one and then punched it in on the next play to knot it at 7’s at the end of the first frame. The visitors from the west moved on top on their next drive after stopping Tuscola on a fourth and short at midfield with a 19-yard flare screen to make it 14-7 Raiders. Romine’s crew followed with a nine-play drive that culminated with another TD pass from Armstrong to Branca to make it 14-13 Raiders following a missed extra point and that’s where it would stay until the break.
It was the last pass Tuscola launched, dominating the second half with a clock-eating ground game that put the Warriors in front for good on a 33-yard touchdown run by Armstrong with 3:53 left on the clock in the third and sealed the deal at the end. The Warriors stopped the Raiders just under six minutes left in the game and then pounded out three first downs running A&M out of timeouts before taking a knee at the one to secure the victory. Romine dialed up 31 run plays in the final 24 minutes wearing down a strong A&M defensive front.
Pierce led all Warriors on defense for the fifth straight week tallying eight tackles total, including five solos. Next up were Ian Buchanan and Sanchez both corralling six Raiders each. It was Buchanan’s first start of the year and he made the most of it, consistently showing up in the run lanes. Chris Boyd and Armstrong each ended the night with five tackles while Hatfield and Branca delivered three each.