Indians flying high with win over Phoenix
Ypsilanti’s Phoenix were no problem for Tecumseh’s varsity football team in a Southeastern Conference (SEC) contest on Friday, Sept. 21, with the Indians taking a 35-0 lead before the end of the first half and hanging on for a 35-13 victory.
Senior starting quarterback Ben Dreslinski proved his hands were just as effective in bad, rainy weather conditions, handing off the ball for two touchdowns, running in another on a quarterback keeper and passing into the end zone to help give the Indians all the points needed to win the game in the first two quarters.
“Now that it’s all over with, it’s good to see that we can still throw it a little bit and run it a little bit, do what we practice, in inclement weather,” said Tecumseh coach Al Romano.
And come rain or shine, Tecumseh’s defense was not going to be pushed around.
After stopping Ypsilanti dead in its tracks in its opening possession the Indians scored quickly on a five yard run by John Terry with only 1:03 expired from the 12 minute quarter.
Tecumseh scored again with just three seconds left in the first quarter with Spencer Hite hauling in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Dreslinski.
Casey Hunt hit both Point after Touchdown (PAT) kicks and the Indians held a 14-0 lead heading into the second quarter.
Spencer Adams tore up the dirt and grass turf for a 57-yard touchdown run on a punt return with 9:25 remaining in the opening half and a good PAT by Hunt gave Tecumseh a 21-0 advantage.
But the Indians were not done. Dreslinski carried the ball in from 40 yards out on a twisting and turning effort that broke several tackles.
Five minutes and 20 seconds later Tecumseh’s John Terry broke through the Phoenix for an 11-yard touchdown run.
Hunt connected on both PAT opportunities and the Indians had all the points needed to win the game.
Neither team scored in the third quarter. Tecumseh’s Ben Vannatter snagged a Phoenix pass on their opening play of the final quarter and it appeared the Indians were on their way to a shutout. But Romano used his backup group in the fourth quarter and the Indians turned the ball over twice on fumbles.
The first fumble was returned 98 yards for a touchdown. Tecumseh quarterback Nick Cowen helped push Tecumseh to the Phoenix’s two-yard line but on a third and goal situation his handoff was dropped and Jaavid Love scooped it up and returned it to the end zone.
Romano placed any blame squarely on his own shoulders, saying he sent in a running back that’s usually on defense and hadn’t been properly prepared.
“Our second group doesn’t get the reps and that’s our fault,” said Romano. “We don’t prepare them as well as we should... we’ve got to do a better job.”
The Indians’ defense allowed Ypsilanti another touchdown with just 30 seconds remaining in the final quarter. The Phoenix hit their PAT after their first touchdown but missed on its second for the final score.
“We didn’t finish strong and that part is a little disappointing,” said Romano. “But I don’t know if you can expect kids to be sky-high every week.”
The Indians face a winless Dexter team for Homecoming on Friday, Sept. 28 in SEC action. Romano hopes the Indians perform to their potential in preparation for a tough season ending regular season schedule.
“It’ll be good to be home,” said Romano.
The coach has led a team all the way to a state title, Erie Mason in 1987, and said he had an even better team in ‘84 (9-0) that didn’t advance to the final because of the tough conference it was in. He feels this can be one of those elite historic seasons, but ultimately, the players have to win it one day at a time, one game a week, in order to make it happen.
“We could be 9-0 or 6-3,” Romano said. “We have to practice on Monday and not worry about Friday. If we take it one day at a time we’ll be alright.”