Tecumseh sticks it to Bulldogs
From the moment Chelsea’s varsity football team kicked the ball to Tecumseh on Friday, Oct. 11, it was obvious the Indians were serious about returning the pigskin to the end zone each and every opportunity they received.
Tecumseh’s defense also made a statement right from the start, throwing sticks at the Bulldogs all night for a big 37-0 victory that pulled the Indians within one game of securing a spot in the playoffs. The win improves Tecumseh’s overall record to 5-2 with two games remaining in the regular season.
“We’ve just been playing outstanding,” said Romano of the last few games, as the Indians shut out both Ypsilanti and Chelsea. “Coach [Todd] Thieken, coach [Josh] Lindeman, coach [Steve] Ayre, and coach [Kyle] Tosh, have done a great job with them.
“At some point you know, when your defense can do that you’re going to break it open a little bit offensively and its going to be a long night for the other team.”
Ben Vannatter returned the opening kickoff to Chelsea’s 25-yard line and just a few plays later Mitch Meger ran the ball into the end zone. Vannatter connected on the point after touchdown kick (PAT) and put the Indians up 7-0 in less than a minute and a half of play.
While the Indians defense did its job and held the Bulldogs from the end zone, Vannatter was given four more opportunities to make good on his PAT kicks, which he did. He added a point following Meger’s five-yard touchdown run and connected again after quarterback Nick Cowen’s 74-yard and four-yard touchdown runs in the third quarter. Vannatter made it five-out-of five good PAT kicks after squeezing another through the uprights in the final quarter after Travis Byrd’s 25-yard touchdown run.
Vannatter also had two interceptions during the night.
“At the halftime, I looked to make sure he wasn’t selling popcorn,” said Romano of the contributions Vannatter made during the contest. “He did everything you could have asked of him in a football game. It was an outstanding night for him.”
The Indians could have added even more points to the final score. Romano sent in Luch Giovannone for a field goal attempt in the first quarter but the kick was low and blocked. Later in the final quarter Giovannone made up for the miss by adding two points to the board after sacking Chelsea’s quarterback in the end zone.
The Bulldogs were given a great opportunity to score in the third quarter after the Indians fumbled the ball and Chelsea recovered on Tecumseh’s 20-yard line. Tecumseh’s defense held the Bulldogs to the 18-yard line and Chelsea tried for a field goal but was rushed and missed.
“We have a great scheme,” said Romano. “We have some good players, our front seven are playing great. Our secondary played a little better than they had as a group. It was just an outstanding defensive effort.”
On the Indians’ ensuing drive Cowan broke free with a beautiful fake handoff that fooled the Bulldogs and returned the ball 74-yards for his first touchdown.
Chelsea fared no better on its following drive with Tecumseh’s Jeff Arnett stepping in front of Chelsea quarterback Scott Crews’ pass for an interception. Cowen completed the Indians’ next drive with his second touchdown run of the evening.
After Vannatter’s second interception of the game in the third quarter Romano sent in backup quarterback Jacob Treadway with under a minute and a half remaining in the stanza.
Arnett replaced Treadway as Tecumseh’s quarterback in the final quarter.
“I’ve always liked our quarterback situation, as far as having confidence in Treadway and Arnett,” said Romano. “They were battling for the job at the first of the year so weren’t that far off.”
Additional opportunity has presented itself with the Indians winning the last three games in a row.
“We’ve got a lot to accomplish yet,’ said Romano of the remaining two games. “We’re looking not only at a playoff game but if we win the next two we might host and that would be awesome for the community.”
Tecumseh practiced on grass this week in preparation for game eight of the nine game season at Adrian on Friday, Oct. 18.