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Warriors football team stymied by Shelbyville Rams

The Shelbyville Rams turned some heads in Tuscola this past Friday evening, Sept. 16, stunning the seventh-ranked Warriors 40-6 to remain unbeaten while handing coach Andy Romine’s squad its first setback of the season. The Rams jumped out early, didn’t look back, and answered each time the black and gold threatened to turn the tides. 

 Shelbyville turned the Warriors over on a third and three near midfield on the third play from scrimmage and took it in ten plays later, making it 8–0 Rams with 5:31 left on the clock in the first frame. The Warriors crossed the fifty on their next drive but a deep ball caught by Hunter Branca was ruled out of bounds halting the scoring threat. Shelbyville answered with a 10-play drive scoring on the fourth play of the second quarter and following a converted two-point conversion moved in front 16–0.  

 Tuscola fired back with a screen pass from Jordan Quinn to Jordan Sanchez, two Quinn runs and a few totes from Nate Thomason, including a 7-yard touchdown run cutting it to 16–6 with just over six minutes left in the opening half. Branca then brought the Warrior faithful to their feet on the ensuing kick, forcing a fumble with a big hit recovered by Austin Cummings, giving the ball right back to the boys in black. 

 The Rams stood strong as they forced a punt and then put two more on the board before the break going into the half 28–6. Two more Shelbyville scores after the break punctuated the big Central Illinois Conference victory lifting the Rams to 4-0 on the year and a force in Class 2A. 

“It’s on me,” Romine said immediately following the game. “They had a great plan for attacking our weak side on defense and we struggled on offense. I didn’t have our guys ready. This is on me. Our guys play hard; we just need to do a better job of putting them into positions to make plays and be successful.” 

 Shelbyville rattled off 297 yards on the ground and another 165 yards through the air on six of ten passes, totaling 362 yards of offense. Quinn led Tuscola in the rushing department, gaining 41 yards on 21 carries. Thomason gained 22 yards on 9 nine tries and Branca reeled off a 17-yard gain on a jet sweep.

Quinn found Brancathree times for 22-yards, Thomason once for 22 yards and Parker James twice for 7-yards, connecting on 6 of 11-passes for 51 yards. The Rams held the high-powered Warrior offense to 115 total yards and just 7 first downs. Chris Boyd led Tuscola in tackles garnering four solos and three assists for seven tackles. Grant Kauffman was right there with him accounting for seven of his own, while Brady Cain, Quinn and Sanchez all found their way to six stops in the loss.

 The Warriors will look to rebound from their first defeat this Friday, Sept. 23, at Central A&M against a very good 3-1 Raider squad that came out on the right side of the scoreboard in a 13-6 CIC thriller in Clinton. “We will learn from this,” stated Romine. “We will get better this week.” 

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