TUSCOLA — Andy Romine still feels a sting when he watches the 2017 Class 1A state football championship game.
That Tuscola team, Romine said, is one of the best teams to come through town in a while. The Warriors ran into Huskie Stadium in DeKalb undefeated and a chance to avenge a 2010 state championship loss to Lena-Winslow.
The Warriors had their chances and out-scored Le-Win in the second half before losing 21-20 after being unable to capitalize on the final drive of the game.
Romine, Tuscola's head coach, assistant Lenny Sementi and former player Cale Sementi re-watched the game over Zoom on Friday afternoon to give play-by-play breakdowns and insights.
"I've had many people tell me it's the best 1A championship game they've seen," Romine said on Friday. "I don't know if it was unbelievably well-played. We turned the ball over and missed some chances. They turned the ball over more than us (four times). They didn't miss chances, but they turned the ball over more than we did. It's a tough one to swallow, like they all are."
Tuscola led 7-0 before a 21-0 run by Lena-Winslow in the first half that was sparked by a pair of plays that went for touchdowns of more than 70 yards apiece. Romine talks about his message in the locker room, telling his players they were going to get a three-and-out and score to get back within one possession. The Warriors did just that and answered back with another touchdown, but the point after attempt was botched.
"There are 10 plays you say to yourself, 'If we do one thing different, we win this game,'" Cale Sementi said. "Two of their three touchdowns were on those huge, breakout plays. Both of those you're thinking to yourself, 'Man, that shouldn't happen.'"
Romine and both Sementis take us inside a wild fourth quarter that included turnovers from both teams and gave the Warriors the ball back with 2 minutes, 14 seconds left in the game and trailing by one point. The Warriors, Romine said on Friday, needed to be to about the 16-yard line to attempt a field goal from Cade Kresin to win the game because of a strong headwind.
The game effectively ended on an incomplete pass on fourth down that only came about because the spot of the ball on a third-down run by quarterback Luke Sluder wasn't measured. Cale Sementi takes us inside the locker room after the loss.
"We all get to the locker room and the whole team is sitting in there dead silent," Cale Sementi said. "There's small talk going on and finally I stood up and I go, 'Dude, we just got second in the state. There's no reason to be sad.'"
The best images from the 2017 football season
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20 Hoel_Dalton 2 11.27.17.jpg
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23 Tuscola vs St Teresa Football 23 11.27.17.jpg
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30 Kresin_Cade 11.27.17.jpg
31 Maroa fumble 11.27.17.jpg
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33 Mt Zion Football 11.27.17.jpg
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37 Tuscola vs St Teresa Football 1 11.27.17.jpg
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Contact Joey Wagner at (217) 421-6970. Follow him on Twitter: @mrwagner25
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