Tecumseh beats Milan 26-6 for district championship
With less than a minute remaining in the Friday, Nov. 2, varsity football game at Milan, Tecumseh players hoisted up a big orange Gatorade bucket and drenched head coach Al Romano as the Indians began celebrating winning the Division 3 District title.
Tecumseh simply outpowered Milan’s Big Reds on both sides of the ball to easily advance into the regional final, on Friday Nov. 9, at Battle Creek Harper Creek, with a big 26-6 victory.
“We all have a lot to be thankful for,” Tecumseh head coach Al Romano said, as he does after every post-game huddle, to a large group of fans mingled in with the players, all on one knee. Only this evening that huddle included the district trophy.
Tough defensive pressure from the Indians limited the Big Reds to just one touchdown the entire game and even after hitting the end zone Milan missed the point after touchdown (PAT) to finish the first quarter down 7-6.
“Again, our defense rose to the occasion,” said Romano. “Todd [Thieken], Kevin [Meager] and Steve [Ayre] had a great plan and the kids executed it and kept Milan in the hole.”
Spencer Hite carried the ball into the end zone on a four-yard run to open scoring with 7:58 left in the first quarter. After Milan’s Robert Kanitz scored the Big Reds’ only touchdown on a one-yard run in the second quarter, Hite again scampered into the end zone on a two-yard run (7:25). Casey Hunt connected on both PATs and gave the Indians a 14-6 lead by the end of the first half.
Tecumseh added touchdowns in both the third and fourth quarters while stifling the Big Reds’ offense the rest of the game.
The Indians increased their lead to 20-6 with Ben Dreslinski throwing a 24-yard touchdown pass to Spencer Adams with 7:30 remaining in the third quarter. Milan denied the Indians’ two-point conversion run attempt to end scoring until the final quarter.
Kyle Bryan hauled in a six-yard touchdown pass from Dreslinski in the fourth quarter with 4:33 left in the game. Dreslinski’s pass to the end zone for two more points following the TD failed.
While the win felt good Romano said the bucket of Gatorade over his head felt cold.
“But, they can do that anytime,” he said. “It’s a good thing. Nobody gets dumped on when they lose.”
Milan totaled 261 offensive yards while Tecumseh amassed 333.
Hite rushed 32 times for 135-yards while Dreslinski carried the ball six times for 39 yards.
Dreslinski was 15-21-164 passing with two touchdowns.
His receivers included Adams (6-58), Hunt (4-34), Bryan (4-55) and Eldred (1-17).
Tecumseh’s defense standouts included Preston Pelham and John Terry with 17 tackles each. Ben Vannatter recorded nine tackles for the Indians and had an interception.
Romano was quick to point out after the win that he didn’t do it alone. “It’s not a one man show,” the coach said. “We have a great staff and people supporting our staff.
Milan’s stands were filled near capacity and some Tecumseh fans even stood most of the game clinging to the fence cheering on their Indians.
“Our kids play hard and work hard and their parents support them,’ said Romano. “The Jungle has been outstanding. It’s a great thing for everyone involved.”
Tecumseh travels to Battle Creek Harper Creek (9-2) on Friday for a 7 p.m. regional final game. Romano has the team practicing outside all week in preparation.
“It’s going to be tough Friday,” said Romano. “I know we’ll come ready to play. But it’s going to be a real physical football game. We’re not going to be able to make many mistakes.”