Tecumseh beats Adrian 29-26
Interceptions, fumbles and sacks highlighted this years clash between Tecumseh and Adrian’s varsity football teams where both the Maples and Indians were victorious in at least one half of the tense rivalry contest. Fortunately for Tecumseh, the Indians made a huge comeback in the second half and won the game 29-26.
“It was the kind of game I thought it would be,” said Tecumseh coach Al Romano. “It came right down to the wire. I knew it would be difficult and son of a gun it sure was.”
Confidence was apparent on both sides of the field but it wavered back and forth all evening. Tecumseh was quick to hit the end zone and gain momentum early with Ben Dreslinski throwing a 38-yard dart to Spencer Adams on the Indians’ third play of the game for the only touchdown in the first quarter.
A good Point After Touchdown (PAT) kick by Casey Hunt gave Tecumseh a 7-0 lead and the Indians defense shut down Adrian after the Maples drove the ball all the way to the Indians’ five yard line with Ben Vannatter blocking a fourth down touchdown pass in the end zone, giving the appearance that this contest would be controlled by the Indians. However, Adrian turned the game around in the second quarter.
Adrian’s Joshua Perez snagged a 27-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Hunter Hayes but a pressured PAT allowed the Indians to retain a one-point, 7-6 advantage with less than a minute remaining in the first half.
“I thought Adrian did a good job of moving the ball,” said Romano. “Not anything big but enough to keep our offense on the sidelines.”
But this was a big game and big things happened quickly. When Tecumseh’s offense turned the ball in the opposite direction Dreslinski put up a pass that was intercepted by Adrian’s Daniel Smaw and he ran it back 65 yards for a touchdown that quieted the Indians with just 20 seconds remaining in the first half. The Maples missed a two-point conversion pass to follow but flipped the game around for a 12-7 lead at the end of two full quarters.
A nine-yard touchdown pass from Adrian’s Hayes to Michael Hamden looked to seal the deal for Adrian early in the third quarter. The Maples missed their PAT but had momentum and an 11 point, 18-7, lead with 9:17 remaining in the third quarter.
Tecumseh answered back with its second touchdown of the game on a 53-yard breakaway run by Adams. Hunt hit the ensuing PAT and Tecumseh needed just four points to tie the game (18-14).
But Adrian again scored in the quarter with Jeffrey Marvin rushing into the end zone from just one yard out. The Maples added two more points on a conversion pass from Hayes to Marvin and the Indians were again down by double digits (26-14).
The Indians didn’t give in and continued pressing on, scoring two touchdowns in the final quarter while keeping the Maples out of the end zone.
“I thought what we’d done at halftime defensively was very helpful,’ said Romano. “On the other side of the ball we just decided to go with our other offense, we got in a pistol and ran more options.”
Spencer Hite rushed two yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter (11:29) and Hunt connected on the PAT to set the score at 26-21.
After forcing Adrian to punt on its following possession, the Indians ran and threw the ball into Adrian’s Red Zone. Casey Hunt pulled down a 30-yard pass and put the Indians on a first and goal situation. Tecumseh had six long yards and a bunch of ticked off Maples in front of the end zone but Dreslinski capped off the drive with a one yard touchdown run and put the Indians up by one point at 27-26.
Dreslinski hit Kyle Bryan in the chest on a two point conversion play to follow and the Indians clutched a three point 29-26 lead, knowing they still had to hold off Adrian with 7:02 remaining. And they did. The Maples drove the ball back across the field to the Indians’ 42-yard line but was held back and forced to punt the ball back to Tecumseh.
Adams’ fair catch set Tecumseh on its own 16-yard line with 4:06 left on the clock. A holding call on the punt pushed Tecumseh back to its own six-yard line to start its final drive. After pushing the ball back for a key first down, Tecumseh worked the clock down to 1:35 and a third-and-two possession. Dreslinski got the Maples to jump on his play calls and a flag was tossed that essentially sealed the victory for the Indians. Dreslinski dropped to his knee twice to run the clock out and give coach Romano and the Indians’ fans a big victory against Adrian.
After the game in the Indians team and community huddle, Romano said, “There was no quit in this football team. And there was no quit up there either,” as he pointed to the stands. “I heard you in the second half. You guys have been waiting a long time for this. It’s a great, great, great feeling. Hey, put it together next week. Come with us to Airport and if we do what we’re supposed to, were going to be back here in two weeks and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Tecumseh travels to Airport (5-3 overall) on Friday, Oct. 19, for the final regular season contest.
“I think we can definitely score some points on them,’ said Romano. “Our defense has played well all year. There’s no reason we can’t get this win and get the home field that we want for playoffs. I want that first playoff game. That’s our goal. To give this team, school and community a playoff game at home.”
The last time the Indians played at home in the playoffs was in 1991 when defeating Ionia 26-6 and Marine City 20-13 before advancing to the state semifinal in Eastern Michigan. Tecumseh lost 32-7 against Farmington Hills Harrison in the semifinal.
If Tecumseh secures a home playoff game this year it would be the first at the new Indian Stadium.
Tecumseh rushed for 202 yards, led by Dreslinski with 85 yards and a touchdown.
Dreslinski passed for another 164-yards on 14-of-21 completions. Adams had five receptions for 66-yards and a touchdown.
Leading Tecumseh’s defense were John Terry (13 tackles), Devon Moore (12 tackles) and Preston Pelham (10 tackles, 2 blocks).