Skip to content

Warriors seniors shine in Tuscola High School football finale

Tuscola’s senior football players shined bright this past Friday night at the Warriors Memorial Field. Coach Andy Romine’s twelve fourth year players ended the regular season routing a good Meridian squad 33-7. They dominated every aspect of the game from start to finish, gaining the Hawks by over 350-yards out rushing them 302 yards to 44. 

You read that right, the Hawks leading rusher gained 12 yards on seven carries while the QB was sacked seven times for negative 56 yards. Tuscola’s defense and clock eating ball control ground game limited the visitors on senior night to just 39 snaps while the black and gold ran 54 rushes alone and 68 plays pounding out a season best 29 first downs. Romine’s group had the ball for just under 33 of the 48 minutes in the game. 

Peyton Armstrong, Caden Baer, Eric Badgett, Ian Buchanan, Haven Hatfield, Chase Jones, Austin Lewis, Krish Patel, Patrick Pierce, Doug Ruggles and Alyssa Williams made the most of their last time on the field at TCHS. Hatfield, Jones, and Lewis paved the way up front for the run game. Armstrong had a monster game following their lead, carrying 40 times gaining 222 yards and four touchdowns on 40 carries while connecting on eight of 14 through the air for 172 yards and score. That’s a grand total of 394 yards of total offense. Oh, and the Warrior signal caller eclipsed the 1,400 yard mark on the ground for the season in just seven games. 

Pierce averaged just over five yards a tote gaining 66 yards on 12 attempts and grabbed one ball out of the air for 22 yards. Baer was the leading receiver with five catches for 87 yards. Juniors Hunter Branca and Adi Patel each had one catch over 25 yards combining for 62 yards and a TD. 

The Warriors forced a quick three and out to open the game then went to work scoring on a 12 play drive culminating in a one-yard plunge into the end zone by Armstrong. Meridian struck next with a 42 yard pass to take a 7-6 lead early in the second. From there on out it was the Armstrong show in the end zone. He went in from 31-yards out midway through the second to give Romine’s squad the lead 13-7.

Branca then wowed the crowd later in the frame with a leaping ‘you got Mossed’ ESPN grab over top of a Hawk defender extending it to 20-7 Warriors at the break. He found the promised land two more times in the second half to put a cherry on top of the senior’s big night. Keller Beachy was good on three of five extra points in the game. 

Defensively Pierce led the way in the tackle column like he has most of the year. He came up with a big sack on the Hawks second drive of the game on his way to a pair of sacks for 32 yards, seven solo stops and nine total. Next up was Tyson Macaulay who added seven tackles to his season stat sheet. Patel followed with a career best five tackles then it was Buchannan with four while Badgett and Hatfield each corralled three Hawks in the game. Defensively the black swarm held three straight opponents to less than 50 yards of offense in the first half and under 50 yards on the ground in the entire game. 

The win and a 4-3 record overall, including four over playoff teams however was not enough as the Warriors name was not called during the IHSA playoff show. Tuscola’s two forfeited games due to a COVID shutdown proved to be the difference when the dust settled. 

“I’m heart broken for our guys,” stated the coach. “We are playing our best football right now without a doubt. We thought we had a chance to get in but it wasn’t in the cards. These guys overcame more adversity than any other team I have been involved with either as a coach or a player. The coaching staff and I could not be more proud.”

Leave a Comment