Tecumseh wins opener, beats Bears 49-14
It’s been a long time since Tecumseh’s varsity football team opened the season looking as good as it did when picking up a 49-14 win at Monroe Jefferson on Friday, Aug. 24.
A long time indeed — The last time the Indians looked as strong in an opener was when recording a 20-8 win against Carlton Airport way back in 2001 when star athlete Cole Cory and head coach Randy Hutchison led the Tribe into postseason play and finished with a 6-4 overall record.
“It feels good to win, especially the first one,” said Tecumseh head coach Al Romano. “Because we worked so hard in the off season.”
The Indian fans were just as elated to see the victory and rushed the away field after the final horn sounded.
“It was fun. It was nice to see everyone coming down to the sidelines after. I like that kind of thing,’ said Romano.
Just the day before, Romano said the Indians were looking good and itching to get on the field in a game situation. While there was some settling in to do once they got there, Tecumseh brought a very solid team to the gridiron this year.
“There’s no question we’re a better football team. We don’t know how everyone else is going to be, but we’re better,” said Romano of his second-year team.
It took a majority of the first quarter for Tecumseh’s squad to find a good balance between offense and defense, but once things were figured out Monroe Jefferson’s Bears had little chance of beating the Indians.
Tecumseh finished the first quarter down 14-7.
Monroe Jefferson junior Elijah Sandore ran the ball into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game with 8:52 remaining in the first quarter. A good kick on the point after touchdown gave the Bears a 7-0 lead after their first possession.
Tecumseh quarterback Ben Dreslinski scrambled right on fourth down with five yards needed for a first down but was pressured into tossing the ball off to Casey Hunt who dashed into the end zone with 7:09 left in the first quarter.
Hunt booted in the extra point (PAT) as he would for each of the six following Tecumseh touchdowns and tied the game 7-7.
He also gave the Indians excellent field positioning on his kick offs.
“I thought we were pretty awesome in the kicking game,” said Romano. “They had a long field all night long, which helped our defense... And how many times do you make seven extra points out of seven attempts in a game? Usually you have at least one break down. So, I was real pleased about that.”
The Bears again ran Sandore into the end zone on their ensuing possession and held a 13-7 lead with 5:18 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Bears’ following point after touchdown kick sailed through the uprights for a 14-7 lead but that was all the scoring Tecumseh’s defense would allow from that point on.
“They got their 14 points in their first two drives and for the next 42 minutes we threw a goose egg at them and I’m real pleased about that,” said Romano. “I thought our defense got a lot better as the game went on.”
Dreslinski put up a 46-yard pass to Spencer Adams that was hauled in for a touchdown and a good PAT kick by Hunt tied the contest 14-all with 10:37 left of the second quarter.
After the Indians defense went to work and shut down the Bears’ following drive, Tecumseh took the lead for good with 3:30 left in the second quarter. Spencer Hite ran the ball in one yard from the left side for a touchdown and a good PAT made it 21-14.
Dreslinski threw long to the right side and Hite hauled the ball down and ran it the rest of the way to the end zone to add another six points to the Indians lead with 1:30 remaining in the first half. Hunt connected on the PAT and the Indians finished the quarter with a 28-14 lead.
A Dreslinski touchdown pass to Hite in the third quarter with 5:01 left in the third quarter added salt to the Bears wounds and a good PAT kick gave the Indians a 35-14 cushion to work with.
Adams hauled in a Dreslinski pass from the Indians 24-yard line and rushed his way all the way to the Bears’ 9-yard line as the third quarter closed. Tecumseh opened the final quarter with a first and goal situation and three plays later were in the end zone again on a Dreslinski touchdown pass to Hunt.
Romano was finally able to see how Dreslinski would react when under intense game pressure and he liked what he saw.
“What he proved a little bit, that we weren’t sure of... is when he gets on the run he looks to pass,” said Romano. “As he scrambles his eyes still stay downfield looking for targets. That was good to see.”
With a 42-14 lead and 4:55 remaining in the game, Romano went to back-up quarterback Nick Cowen to finish out the contest and he added the game’s final touchdown. Cowen gained a first down on his first play on a quarterback keeper. He also held onto a keeper to cap off the game’s final touchdown with 1:30 remaining in the game.
“We had no turnovers, and very few penalties. When you combine that with a good kicking game and great defense, you’re going to be tough to beat. That’s what we need to continue doing,” Romano said.
The Indians rushed the ball 18 times for 111-yards. Tecumseh totaled 313 passing yards with Dreslinski completing 18-of-29 passes with no interceptions or turnovers. Four players, Hunt (2), Adams, Hite (3) and Cowen, scored touchdowns for the Indians.
Defensively, the Indians allowed the Bears to score both of their touchdowns in the opening quarter and Romano said that’s something the team can improve on.
“We get a little disappointed with our defense when we’re yelling don’t jump and they jump,” said Romano of the early season jumping jitters. “Coach [Todd] Thieken gets a little frustrated there, and understandably so... It’s the needless flags we’ve got to eliminate.”
Preston Pelham led the tribe with 13 tackles while John Terry and Steven Bloxam each totaled six.
[Tecumseh’s JV team beat Jefferson 47-23.]