Lena-Winslow ran for 372 yards compared to just 49 for Tuscola. Tuscola’s passing attack, led by senior quarterback Jud Wienke, never really got off the ground, going for only 140 yards. Lena-Winslow attempted only one pass, a 16 yard completion. Ball control was the name of the game with Lena-Winslow holding the ball for 31:46 of the total 48 minutes.
Key players for Lena-Winslow included Junior Quinn Haas and Senior Trey Griffin. Haas, a quicker back, rushed 19 times for 186 yards and 3 touchdowns. Griffin, the bigger of the two backs, rushed 25 times for 157 yards and a touchdown. Haas had runs of 66, 4, and 10 yards for score, but broke loose many other times for crucial first downs to keep the chains moving. Griffin showed his speed rushing for 61 yards on his scoring touch, shaking a Tuscola tackler near the 5.
Tuscola hit on a couple plays, but for the most part, struggled to maintain consistency in their offense. Wienke found his go-to receiver Cody Shelmadine twice on strikes of 64 yards and 18 yards, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Lena-Winslow attack. Wienke equaled his two touchdowns with two interceptions as he struggled to find his rhythm.
Tuscola’s coach talked about the flow of the game.
“We stopped and they had to punt. We had a bad snap, the ball was cold, we just didn’t have that spark today and got ourselves behind. We can’t blame it on anybody but ourselves. We just didn’t get the job done. They ran the ball very well and controlled the clock. We weren’t getting much push up front.”
Lena-Winslow’s coach talked about how they were able to carry out our gameplan.
“I don’t think we did anything to change our gameplan, we just did what we could to counter theirs. The key to stopping any team is making them one-dimensional. We shut down their run for the most part minus one drive. We put them in 2nd and long situations and they dropped a few and we had kids making plays on the ball.”
In 2A, the story was much the same, as Sterling-Newman controlled the line of scrimmage seemingly all day. The run game couldn’t be stopped as they ran for 376 yards combined compared to only 11 for Maroa-Forsyth. Maroa was able to break the century mark passing, going for exactly 100 yards through the air, but again a tough Newman Central Catholic defense shut down what has been a potent Maroa offense all season.
Newman CC running backs Tim Wilson (senior) and Joe Blessman (junior) had 179 yards and 115 yards respectively. Each accounted for three touchdowns. Tim Wilson’s long run of the day was on a 32 yard score in the middle of the third quarter, which he later followed with a 28 yard run in the fourth.
Maroa tailback Gary Scott had 38 yards rushing on 11 carries, but it wasn’t enough to get the Maroa offense going. The lone Maroa scoring play was a 9 yard pass from Logan Stelzriede to Wesley Beach halfway through the second quarter.
Mistakes marred the Maroa effort as they had an early touchdown to Joe Hockaday called back in addition to a bad snap on a punt that resulted in a turnover at their own 1 yard line.
Maroa coach Josh Jostes summed up his feelings about his team.
“It’s tough to have a touchdown called back and we didn’t regroup from that. They were better than us up front. We committed every kid we could to the box and dared them to throw the football. We just couldn’t get Gary (Scott) going today. We made a lot of mental mistakes. We always want to throw the football downfield but we just weren’t able to.”
Newman Central Catholic’s coach was quick to praise his team for their hard work and intensity all game.
“I’m a firm believer that we need a mindset in the kids that you have to be tough and get every inch that you can and these kids believed in that. We play in a great conference and it prepares us well. They believe in doing their own job and doing it well.”
Regardless of the outcome, congratulations to all four teams on great seasons.