Lincoln stunned, beaten 41-14 by Tecumseh
Al Romano was surrounded by cheering players and fans after his Tecumseh Indians varsity football team blasted past Lincoln’s “Splitter Nation” for a huge 41-14 Southeastern Conference (SEC) victory on Friday, Sept. 14.
Since Romano took over the program last year fans have been allowed to take a knee after the game with the players and join in on the coach’s post game speeches.
Initially the contest didn’t appear it would be a blowout. The Railsplitters successfully blitzed past the Indians offensive line and knocked starting Tecumseh quarterback Ben Dreslinski to his backside where he watched his helmet roll several feet away. After just one play with backup Nick Cowen taking the snap, Dreslinski went back in and was given enough breathing room to effectively throw or run the ball at will to put the Indians in control for a majority following three quarters of the SEC contest.
“Our offensive line had a super night,” said Romano. “They really did a good job. We worked really hard all week on blitz protection and it showed.”
Lincoln had to tend to four injured players in the first half alone as Tecumseh’s defense attacked with force and aggression. Preston Pelham and Charlie Haesler each recorded sacks on Lincoln quarterback Javin Kilgo.
“Our defense really played well. They had a great plan and executed it, for the most part except one pass, they kept everything in front of them,” said Romano.
Tecumseh scored the game’s first touchdown late in the opening quarter with Spencer Hite running the ball into the end zone from five yards out. A good point after touchdown (PAT) kick by Casey Hunt followed and gave the Indians a 7-0 lead heading into the second quarter.
“We wanted to mix it up,” said Romano. “If we gained two yards on the run, great, we knew we weren’t going to run up and down the field on them.”
Dreslinski connected on 20-of-23 passes and may have been 22-for-23 had his receives been able to hang on to his accurate throws. The Indians scored two more touchdowns on Dreslinski passes before the Railsplitters broke loose and scored a TD on a kickoff return.
John Terry hauled in a spiraling football for a 25-yard touchdown reception with 2:38 remaining in the first half and Hunt did the same with 37 seconds left in the second quarter. Hunt connected on one of the two PAT kicks and Tecumseh held a 20-0 lead with less than a minute remaining in the first half.
Romano credited Terry for also providing outstanding defensive coverage on Lincoln standout wide receiver Tyree Walker.
“John Terry had one heck of a game,” said Romano. “Because that number 33 is a D-1 athlete.”
Hunt booted the ball long to John Applewood on the ensuing kick off and the ‘Splitter returned the ball 94 yards for a touchdown. A good PAT followed and the Railsplitters went into the halftime break at 20-7 with added enthusiasm.
The remainder of the game’s scoring was recorded in the third quarter. Tecumseh had used a fast no-huddle pace and it seemed to take the air from the Railsplitters in the first half.
“You could see them get tired in the second and third quarters. It started to wear on them,” said Romano of the no-huddle attack. “At this point to us coaches, it just seems normal because that’s how we practice.”
Dreslinski threw a perfect 27-yard touchdown pass to the hands of Hunt early in the third quarter (10:11) and Hunt followed with another good PAT kick for a 27-7 advantage.
Spencer Adams put his hands out in front of his body while running to the end zone and Dreslinski fed him the ball from 17-yards out for another Tecumseh touchdown. Hunt’s PAT kick was good and the Indians had a solid 34-7 lead with 7:49 left in the third quarter.
The Indians defense had stood up to Lincoln all night but on the Railsplitter’s following possession they scored another touchdown on a 58-yard touchdown pass from Javin Kilgo to Walter. A good PAT kick followed and the Railsplitters were not allowed another point for the rest of the game.
Dreslinski scored the Indians’ last touchdown on a 21-yard quarterback keeper.
Tecumseh travels to Ypsilanti (0-4) on Friday, Sept. 21, and will look to increase its fast-paced tempo.
“That’s the goal of this week is to get a little faster and pick it up even more,” said Romano.
While the Phoenix has yet to earn a win they have lost to pretty solid teams. Ypsi fell 43-18 last week to Chelsea and 47-6 the week before against Monroe.
“I don’t want to come out flat [against Ypsi],” said Romano. “I want to keep building on this because we have a long way to go.”
The last time the Indians won four games in a row was in 2001 when coach Randy Hutchison led Tecumseh to six consecutive wins from the start of the season.
“There is no reason we can’t win six in a row...” said Romano. “But I’m worried about winning five in a row first.”
Tecumseh rushed 31 times for 142 yards and passed for another 228 yards.
Lincoln rushed for 181 yards and passed for another 93.