Rams’ air attack grounds TuscolaTCR’s Pinner tosses four TD passes, while Myers rushes for 174 in loss
The Tuscola varsity football team held its own with visiting T.C. Roberson for most of the Friday night’s non-conference game at C.E. Weatherby Stadum.
But in the final quarter, the Rams found a way to crack the stout Mountaineers’ defense, scoring a touchdown with 55 seconds left in the game, capping a 10-play, 66-yard drive to defeat Tuscola, 27-18.
The Mountaineers fall to 1-1 on the season, while Roberson remains unbeaten at 2-0.
The game was a classic matchup featuring contrasting styles of play, as Tuscola brought a physical ground oriented offense designed to chew up the clock, while the Rams employed an unusually potent air attack from their “Pistol” offensive set.
Although the Mountaineers did have success in controlling the clock, it was the Rams’ air attack, which produced four touchdown passes by quarterback Reggie Pinner to a talented corps of athletic receivers which was the difference in the end.
Tuscola junior running back Bryce Myers rushed for a game-high 174 yards (Tuscola’s total offense was 262 yards) and scored two touchdowns. Pinner was 14-of-24 for 155 yards and rushed 15 times for 69 yards to finish with 224 yards in total offense.
After a couple stalled possessions each in the opening 12 minutes, Tuscola began its third dive at its own 45 and promptly marched to the TCR seven in seven plays before Logan Lambert kicked a 12 yard field goal to give the Mountaineers a 3-0 lead with 2:11 left in the first quarter.
Tuscola junior quarterback Woody Cornwell had runs of 31 and 13 yards in the scoring drive.
The Mountaineers struck again after Jonathan Martinez blocked a T.C. Roberson punt inside the red zone at the 14.
But four plays later, Lambert gave his teammates a 6-0 lead with an 18-yard field goal with 5:57 remaining before halftime.
However, Roberson began its possession at the Tuscola 41 and seven plays later, Pinner found Alex Talley for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 3:31 left in the first half.
Tuscola’s defense rose to the occasion and blocked the attempted point try to keep the contest tied at six.
The Mountaineers wasted no time recapturing the lead in the early stages of the third quarter. Myers scooted around the end untouched en route ot a 72-yard TD run (10:41). But Lambert’s point after try was blocked to keep Tuscola’s advantage at six points, 12-6.
T.C. Roberson answered Myers’ TD run with a nine-play, 71-yard scoring drive, capped by a Pinner to Markus Jenkins 13-yard touchdown pass with 7:24 remaining in the third quarter. The Rams took their first lead in the game, 13-12, when Hirack Grant cashed in on his PAT.
Then the Rams padded their lead to 20-12 later in the quarter (1:20) on another Pinner to Jenkins scoring strike (seven yards), which capped a nine-play, 69-yard drive.
It stayed that way until the 5:11 mark of the fourth quarter when Myers made a dandy 50-yard TD run. But Roberson held on its lead, 20-18, after the Mountaineers failed to convert on a two-point conversion.
The Rams put the contest out of reach on Pinner’s final touchdown pass of the evening.
Tuscola, which finished with a 310-257 advantage in total offense, was better than Roberson on the ground, 262-102. But the Rams finished with a 155-48 advantage passing the ball.
In addition to Myers’ 174 yards on the ground, Cornwell had seven carries for 58 yards, senior Ben Greene had 26 yards rushing and Houston McCracken chipped four yards on the ground.
Cornwell was 7-of-14 for 48 yards. Hauling in his passes for the Mountaineers were Damon McDaniels (one for four yards), Parker Allen (one for four yards), Daniel Smathers (two for 22 yards), Cody Wood (one for 11 yards and Adam Chambers had two catches for six yards.
TCR had 13 first downs compared to Tuscola’s eight.
The Mountaineers will host East Rutherford, which is 0-2 overall, in a non-conference game at Weatherby Stadium Friday, Sept. 6.