Tuscola falls in title game

Warriors rally in second half but come up short, Lena-Winslow wins 21-20

DEKALB (WCIA) -- Sometimes the smallest things make the biggest difference. The Tuscola Warriors know that all too well after Friday morning's Class 1A state title game. Down two scores in the second half against Lena-Winslow, the Warriors rallied scoring twice in less than five minutes. But a botched extra point attempt following Luke Sluder's 5-yard pass to Cale Sementi ended up costing Tuscola the chance to tie. That one point made all the difference, as Lena-Winslow beat Tuscola 21-20 at Huskie Stadium.

Tuscola couldn't have started the game much better. Dalton Hoel recovered a muffed punt at the Lena-Winslow 19-yard line and the Warriors scored just three plays later on an Andrew Erickson 5-yard run. The Panthers responded with 21 straight points though to take the lead, before the Warriors rallied. Sluder hit Dalton Hoel with a 4-yard pass to cut the lead to 21-14 with 4:57 to play in the third quarter.

The Warriors (13-1) had a chance to take the lead and potentially win the game in the final minute but Sluder's pass on 4th and 1 from the 29-yard line fell incomplete and the Panthers took a knee to wrap up the win. 

"At halftime we talked about some of our reads and how we needed to get into Valentine's body and really get him down because he was slipping through and second half we did that," Tuscola senior Hunter Woodard said.

"Just keeping playing and keep battling and those types of things are going to happen when you're playing another good team," Tuscola head coach Andy Romine said. "But our kids are resilient, they've got great resolve, their tough and they were ready to try to come back and put something together."


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