Tecumseh's varsity football schedule reads like blank slate

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Tecumseh varsity football coach Al Romano (l) wears a T-shirt with the season schedule on the front and no opponents listed. Photo by Mickey Alvarado.

There are no team names listed on T-shirts printed for this year’s Tecumseh varsity football coaches, players and fans with head coach Al Romano saying its not about who they play as much as the effort brought to the field on any given Friday night under the lights.

“It’s not who, it’s how” is the mantra printed on the back of the T-shirts.

“That’s the way we feel about it,” said Romano of the season. He readily admitted Ann Arbor Pioneer will be one of the toughest on the schedule but added, “When you play teams that have two to three times as many kids as you it’s going to be tough. But, everybody in our class, enrollment wise, I don’t think it matters. It’s about how we play. Not who we play.”

The Indians went 9-3 last season after starting out with six straight wins to guarantee a spot in the playoffs with a district title in their pocket. Tecumseh advanced to the regional final before being ousted by Harper Creek Battle Creek by just two points, falling 26-24, to end the season.

However, that was all accomplished with a one-year varsity quarterback in Clinton transfer Ben Dreslinski, who graduated. Dreslinski was well known for his tight, on the spot, bullet passes. This year another starting quarterback will have to step in and lead the team. Last year’s back-up QB, Nick Cowan, is expected to be the Indians starter this season.

“Right now, if we had to pick a starter it would be Nick Cowen, our returning senior. He got some reps last year,” said Romano.

Jeff Arnett is the expected back-up quarterback.

“We’re running a little more two back stuff,” said Romano of the Indians new offensive look. “We’ve got a tight end package, stuff that we didn’t rely on last year. Our quarterback will probably get more opportunities to run the football more than last year.”

Craig Freestone, Romano’s assistant offensive coach, said having Cowan work with Dreslinski last season was a good opportunity for him to add options to his bag of mixed talents.

“He’s a baseball kid by nature so he’s transitioning into the role of a quarterback,” Freestone said. “But he’s accepted that and really, at the end of the season last year, I’ve been pretty much working with him straight through. He came to me and said, ‘Let’s get to work. To me that’s a benefit of his character. He wants to be a leader of this team.”

Several other skilled positions had to be replaced this season, giving the Indians a little “bugaboo” but overall the front seven on the defensive line is “pretty good.”

The defensive backs have changed, except for returner Brad Vannatter, who will do double duty as the teams special teams kicker.

“Our front seven with the three linebackers, Devin Moore, Preston Pelham, who’s a two year starter, and Steven Bloxom, we’ve got three really good linebackers,” Romano stated. “And we’ve got some real good defensive linemen in Chris Dorabantu, Luch [Giovannone], Hunter Byers is doing a nice job, Landon Pelham is doing a nice job.

“The other thing about our defensive line is they can play about five, six, seven kids and rotate them, keep them fresh.”
Summing it up Romano said if he can get his offense moving against his own tough defense, everything would work out fine.

“Playing against our defense is going to give us a better offense,” he said. “It’s always one game at a time for us. We tell our kids daily that it’s a lot easier to get to the top than stay there. We shared the White Division, we’re district champs and with that comes a bull’s-eye... But there is no reason for us not to have a winning season.”

Tecumseh opens the season at home against Jefferson on Friday. Game time is 7 p.m.




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