Come back Warrior win guarantees playoff birth

By Missy Chappell
It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pretty, but Friday, Sept. 29, the 2017 Tuscola Warrior football team earned their sixth victory of the season against a tough Warrensburg-Latham Cardinal team. With the 34-18 win the Warriors have guaranteed themselves a spot in the playoffs and with one game remaining in “the gauntlet” the Warriors are poised at least to share another Central Illinois Conference title.

In the postgame huddle Head Coach Andy Romine summed up exactly how that victory went down in a way only Romine can.

“When you’re faced with adversity, what are you going to do to strike it back? I compare it a lot of times to a bar room brawl. If you get jacked in the jaw and your lip is bleeding are you going to fold up and go down to your knees? Or are you going to wipe your lip and start throwing some haymakers? I saw some kids on our team start laying some haymakers tonight.”

Going in, Tuscola expected to have their hands full with seniors Dionte and Diondre Lewis. The duo has given more than one team fits this season with their ability to cover the field and cover it quickly. In the opening drive, they showed their skills running and passing to put the first points on the board with a 17-yard pass from Dionte to his receiver Will Kent for a touchdown. The Warriors were able to stop the two-point conversion, keeping the Cardinals at a 6-0 lead with 7:47 remaining in the first quarter.

In their lone drive of the first quarter, Tuscola was forced to punt. Warrensburg used the rest of the time on the clock in that quarter to put together a 66-yard drive that ended with a 9-yard run by Diondre Lewis. Tuscola once again kept them from finding the end zone on the two point play, but with 56 seconds showing on the clock in the first, Warrensburg led 12-0.

In the second quarter, the Warriors began to come together. Cale Sementi and Cade Kresin had their lone catches of the evening on Tuscola’s second drive of the game. Combined with a few run plays from Dalton Hoel, Andrew Erickson, and quarterback Luke Sluder, the Warriors ended the drive with Sluder under center at the 1-yard line, handing the ball to Erickson for a touchdown. Cade Kresin was perfect in extra point kick on the night and with 9:06 remaining in the half Tuscola trailed 12-7.

The full story can be found in the Oct. 4, 2017, edition of The Tuscola Journal.