TECUMSEH – The Tecumseh Savages have known how to absorb some punches and get back up again this season.
That was the case on their first two offensive series Friday night as they fumbled the ball away. However, they responded on their next seven possessions in rolling to a 41-14 rout of the McLoud Redskins in District 4A-2 action.
The victory vaulted Tecumseh, 6-3 on the season and 4-2 in the district, into the Class 4A playoffs for 2019.
“It's an awesome feeling to see the smiles on these kids' faces. To see them buy into what we're trying to do and see them get rewarded for it at the end is a great feeling,” said Tecumseh head coach Ty Bullock. “We've got a resilient group of guys. I love their resiliency. This is a great group of kids.”
Quarterback Will Hilton ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more and running back Jaylen Walker hit Cody Rackley with a 1-yard scoring pass toward the back of the end zone. It was Rackley's first career TD reception.
Hilton was 5-of-6 passing for 156 yards as he hooked up with Graham Dickson for a 47-yard touchdown late in the second quarter and connected with Jake Trice on a 51-yard pass and run for a TD in the third.
Coye Campbell scored both McLoud touchdowns in the fourth quarter off runs of 14 and 3 yards as he finished with 182 yards rushing on 24 carries.
The Savages saw their first two potential scoring threats fall by the wayside after fumbles and the 32-yard line and 9-yard line respectively.
But the turnovers didn't deter Tecumseh.
A 19-yard punt by McLoud from near its own end zone enabled the Savages to set up shop at the Redskin 24-yard line. Three players later, Kane Ainesworth bulldozed his way into the end zone from 15 yards out. The point-after kick failed with 5:02 to go in the first quarter.
Tecumseh upped the count to 13-0 with 2:57 remaining in the first on Hilton's 47-yard strike to Dickson which capped a three-play, 47-yard drive which was hampered by a Savage holding penalty and an incomplete pass. Kevin Dodd's extra-point kick made it 13-0.
A 21-0 second quarter inflated Tecumseh's advantage to 34-0 at halftime.
Hilton's 5-yard scoring run culminated from a 75-yard drive with 7:01 to go before halftime. The highlights of the series was a 36-yard connection from Hilton to Dickson and an 18-yard hook-up from Hilton to Trice down to the McLoud 5-yard line. Dodd's PAT made it 20-0.
After Tecumseh forced McLoud into a 3-and-out, the Savages put together a 53-yard scoring drive, triggered by runs of 19 yards by Walker and 14 from Dickson, setting up the Walker-to-Rackley toss from the 1-yard line. Dodd's kick increased the lead to 27-0.
A pass interception by Tecumseh's Alex Schovanec at the McLoud 40-yard line and a return to the Redskin 21, set up the Savages' fifth straight scoring drive. After back-to-back runs of 6 and 8 yards by Ainesworth and Jamal Fair respectively, Hilton scored after looking right for a pass to the end zone and cutting back to the left and racing around left end for a 7-yard scoring keeper. Dodd's extra point led to the 34-0 Tecumseh cushion.
The final Savage tally came with 7:26 left in the third when Hilton hit Trice with the 51-yard slant down the middle for a touchdown as Trice covered most of the distance with his legs. Dodd's PAT concluded the Tecumseh scoring.
McLoud finally got on the board with 7:18 remaining on Campbell's 14-yard run after he took the shotgun snap from center. Denzel Harris then ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 41-8.
Campbell then added a late score with 2:42 left on a 3-yard run after he raced 60 yards down to the 3-yard line on the previous play.