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Mustangs run past Warriors in the IHSA State Quarterfinals

Ridgeview utilized a power running game and took full advantage of Tuscola miscues to upend the Warriors in the IHSA State Quarterfinals last Saturday, Nov. 12, in Colfax. The Mustangs scored on their first two possessions of the game and never relinquished the lead in a 41–6 victory. 

“It just wasn’t our day,” commented coach Andy Romine. “When we made mistakes, they made us pay, be it turnovers, a kick return, or not getting off the field on 4th and longs.”

Tuscola’s offense came out strong with two quick first downs on the back of runs by Austin Cummings. The junior burst through the line for a 7-yard gain for the first and a 14-yard jaunt for the second, taking the Warriors to the Ridgeview 39-yard line. An interception returned to the Tuscola 35-yard line not only ended the threat but set up score number one, putting the home team on top 7–0. 

Another turnover on the ensuing possession led to another short field and an 8-play scoring drive that put Ridgeview on top 13–0 with just under 8-minutes gone in the game. The third and fourth seeds in the south traded possessions before the Warriors stuck one of their own into the end zone. Drive number four started with a 12-yard run from Jordan Quinn and ended with a 6-yard scamper by Parker James, cutting the lead to 13–6.  That’s where it would stay heading into the break. 

Quinn led the Warriors on the ground, gaining 69 yards on 16 attempts. James had 3 carries for 26 yards while Cummings toted the rock 6 times for 32 yards. Dylan Graves and Nate Thomason added to the team’s 183-rushing yards gaining 35 and 14, respectively. 

Another short field after a long kick return and conversion on a fourth and long resulted in score number three for the Mustangs, pushing it to 21-6. Again, coach Romine’s squad drove into Ridgeview territory, but a turnover thwarted the drive and led to another Mustang touchdown early in the fourth frame, all but ending the hopes of a comeback. Tuscola ends the year with two playoff wins, a quarterfinal plaque and a 9–3 record overall.

Brady Cain was a one-man gang at times on defense for the black and gold, delivering 13 tackles, including 2 for loss. Senior Hunter Branca, John Claxon and Chris Boyd were next up on the tackle chart garnering 7 stops each. Cummings and Thomason donated 5 tackles to the cause while Alan Robello found his way to 4, 2 for loss. 

“We had four seniors injured on the sideline for the last four weeks,” the coach said. “If you would have told me at the beginning of the season those four would not be on the field and we would make it this far I would have not believed it. We really missed those guys, but our guys never gave up and embraced the next man up mentality.” 

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