CACHE – Through one quarter Friday night, the ninth-ranked Tecumseh Savages were building quite a storyline after a rough and emotional week.
Tecumseh established a 14-0 advantage through the first 12 minutes, but the seventh-ranked Cache Bulldogs scored 28 unanswered second-quarter points on the way to a 28-14 halftime advantage and went on to make it 42 straight points in knocking off the Savages, 42-20, in the opening round of the Class 4A state football playoffs Friday night.
The loss concluded a tragic week for the Tecumseh squad which suffered the loss of one its players, sophomore Ryder Kinsey, in a vehicle accident and critical injuries to another Tecumseh High School student.
Prior to the game, the Savage team carried Kinsey's No. 16 jersey out for the coin flip and, through the generosity of Cache fans of passing the buckets, more than $2,100 was raised and will be donated to the families of the two students. After the game, the Tecumseh and Cache players got together and prayed for the two families at midfield.
“To have another community come together with us and show so much love is something special,” said Tecumseh head coach Ty Bullock. “I would like to thank (Cache) coach (Faron) Griffin, the Cache administration and the community for what they did.”
Tecumseh, which saw its season come to an end at 7-4, had two offensive possessions before Cache was able to run one offensive play.
After the Savages went three-and-out on the opening kickoff, the ensuing punt deflected off a Bulldog player as Tecumseh recovered it at the Cache 33-yard line.
Three plays later, and with the help of a Bulldog penalty, the Savages got into the end zone off a 12-yard run by Jaylen Walker with 10:04 to go in the first. Kevin Dodd's PAT upped the count to 7-0.
Tecumseh later hiked the lead to 14-0 with 3:57 left in the first when Gavyn Rogers scored off an 81-yard pass play from Will Hilton.
But the rest of the game belonged to the Bulldogs as the rushing of Kynel Daniels paved the way. Daniels gained 182 yards on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns. And if that wasn't enough Cache benefitted from some big plays, including a 101-yard interception return for a touchdown by Jake Barnes and a 71-yard pass from Hunter Glenn to Hunter Tate for a score.
The Daniels 33-yard scoring run, the coast-to-coast pickoff and return by Barnes, the 71-yard Glenn to Tate TD pass and a 3-yard scoring run all came during the second-quarter scoring onslaught by the Bulldogs. The 3-yard touchdown run came after Tecumseh failed to pounce on a semi-pooch kick off a kickoff.
Cache increased its advantage to 35-14 in the third quarter off an Andrew Toms 5-yard scoring run and Daniels picked up his second TD of the night with 7:34 to go in the contest.
The Savages got a late score when Gage Boatman scored off a 1-yard run with 57 seconds remaining.
Tecumseh netted just 115 yards on the ground but did manage to get 280 through the air with a huge chunk of that coming off the Hilton to Rogers 81-yarder for a touchdown.
Meanwhile, Cache generated 324 yards on the ground with 121 more coming through the air as each team totaled 18 first downs.
The Savages were plagued by penalties, particularly in the first half as they accumulated 84 yards on eight whistles. They finished with 10 for 104 yards.
“We started off hot and the momentum shifted on us,” Bullock said. “Our kids played extremely hard, especially with the emotional type of week we've had.”
The Bulldogs improved to 8-3 and advance to the second round next week at Poteau.