Standing in the south end zone before Friday's game, Tecumseh head coach Greg George said the game between his Savages and the Little Axe Indians "should be a dogfight."
Then he added, "But, I'd say we have the advantage up front."
His words proved prophetic.
Little Axe (2-1) and Tecumseh (1-2) slugged it out for four quarters, and the Savages beat the Indians, 36-29, earning their first win of the season.
Tecumseh's offensive line proved to be the difference.
Little Axe, however, appeared to have the upper hand in the first half of play. The scoring began on a 41-yard field goal by Little Axe's Blayne Lankford just 10 seconds into the second quarter. Six minutes later, Little Axe running back Lynn SirDell raced untouched down the sideline en route to a 75-yard score.
Tecumseh senior quarterback Micah Sanchez scored on a sneak from 1 yard out with 1:56 remaining in the first half. Jennifer Goethe added the extra point.
Little Axe then marched 68 yards in six plays, striking pay dirt with only 15 seconds remaining as quarterback Keith Robertson found Jacob Sheppard in the end zone from 1 yard out. Little Axe took a 16-7 lead into the locker room at intermission.
The Savage offense was sluggish in the first half. Their first five drives ended in three-and-outs, an interception and failed fourth-down conversions. The second half was a different story.
Little Axe received the ball to open the second half. They began the second half the way they ended the first, covering 64 yards on a 9-play drive. Robertson found Isaiah Bern open for a 27-yard touchdown reception and a 22-7 Little Axe lead.
Then the Savages came alive. George inserted sophomore running back Jordan Brown into the lineup for the second half.
"It was just one of those hunches," George said. He's a different type of back; he has good speed."
Tecumseh ran 35 plays in the second half. Of those, Jordan carried the ball 20 times for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
The Savages scored on four of their next five possessions. First, Sanchez found Gus Hall open for a 19-yard scoring toss. Tecumseh then recovered an onside kick two seconds
later, and on an 11-play drive, Brown scored on a 6-yard run. The two-point pass play from Sanchez to Austin Trout was good, and the Savages tied the score at 22 apiece.
Page 2 of 2 -
With 1:09 remaining in the third quarter, Brown burst up the middle for a 10-yard touchdown run, and it was Tecumseh 28, Little Axe 22.
Little Axe answered that score with a 31-yard touchdown throw and catch from Robertson to Garrett Osburn and regained the lead with 3:03 remaining in the game.
The Savages got the ball for one more possession. Sanchez began the drive at his own 30-yard line. He methodically executed roll-out passes five times on the drive.
Sophomore running back Walter Crawley was re-inserted into the backfield as the Savages faced a first-and-goal at the Little Axe 2-yard line, and he scored two plays later on a 1-yard dive with only 43 seconds remaining. Sanchez found Easton Marrs in the corner of the end zone to close the scoring.
Sanchez finished with a 19-of-30 passing effort for 290 yards and a touchdown. He completed 11 of 12 in the second half while leading his team to victory.
The game was indeed a dogfight, and the Savages’ offensive line proved to be the difference late in the game.
Tecumseh will open district 4A-2 play next Friday night at Douglass.