Twin Cedars needed to win to make the playoffs and win they did. The Sabers used a big rushing night by Drew Carlson to down Tri-County 49-6 in Eight-Player football action Friday night in Bussey.
The Sabers’ win sends them to a rematch with Murray next Wednesday in Murray. Murray defeated the Sabers one year ago.
“We’re excited to be back in the playoffs,” said Twin Cedars coach Aaron Allspach. “We shook off those three early losses and are now playing our best football.”
Tri-County fumbled on their first possession at the Saber 10. Two plays later, Carlson scored the first of his four touchdowns on a 66-yard run. The 7-0 score held up at the quarter’s end.
The Trojans had the longest drive of the opening quarter and a seven play drive in the second but the Saber defense led by Chris Selix and Corey Harrell kept the visitors scoreless in the half.
Harrell had what some defensive linemen would call a dream game. He spent most of the game in the Trojan backfield rushing the quarterback, he pursued down the line to tackle a pass receiver for a short gain and he took the ball from a Tri-County back and returned it 20 yards early in the game.
“It was a really fun game,” said Harrell. “I really like rushing the passer but when Hunter (Embray) had the guy stood up, I just had to take the ball.”
A Tri-County win would have put them in the playoffs but they came into the game with a limited passing attack. Spencer Steinke, the Trojans leading receiver, was lost for the season last week. Near the end of the half, quarterback Nick Watts left with an injury and didn’t return.
“Injuries have hurt us all season and these were big ones,” said Tri-County coach Scott Edmundson.
Twin Cedars put the game out of reach with a 28 point second quarter.
Carlson scored his second toucdown less than a minute into the second quarter. His one yard run made the score 13-0. Less than two minutes later, after a short Trojan punt, the Sabers needed only a 26 yard pass from Brent Parker to Dylan Roberts to go up 21-0 after the sucessful extra point pass from Parker to Otis Roby.
The next Saber score came at the end of a 10 play drive. Dalton Garcia scored on a one yard run. Then Twin Cedars took advantage of a high punt snap and took over at the Trojan one yard line. Carlson’s third touchdown run came on the next play.
Twin Cedars rushed for 177 yards in the opening half.
“Their offfensive line did a really good job on our guys up front,” said Edmundson.
The entire second half was played with a running clock. That limited the scoring in the final two qurters. Again the Saber defense was controlling the Tri-County offense. Selix, the game’s leading tackler with 14, talked about his game. “This was a good game for me. I was getting good reads and able to make plays all over the field.”
The only score of the third quarter was a 12 yard scoring pass from Parker to tightend Hunter Embray. On the previous play, Parker hooked up with Embray on a 49 yarder. Embray led the Sabers with three catches for 79 yards.
“The touchdown play was just a fade that we have worked on all year,” said Embray.
The final Saber score came on a 36-yard run by Carlson, his fourth rushing score of the game.
“This is my biggest rushing game of the season,” said Carlson. “I like to run inside and break it outside when I can.”
“Tri-County took away some of our passing game but our guys did a good job of creating lanes for our backs,” added Allspach.
Tri-County got on the board with just 20 ticks left on the clock. Back-up quarterback, Austin Blythe, threw his fifth second half completion to Zach Kitzman for a 12 yard score.
Twin Cedars 49, Tri-County 6
TriCo 00 00 00 6 — 6
TwinC 7 28 7 7 — 49
Scoring By Quarters
TwC — Carlson 66 yard run (Max Wautrin kick)
TwC — Carlson 1 yard run (kick blocked)
TwC — Parker 26 yard pass to Roberts (Parker pass to Roby)
TwC — Garcia 1 yard run (kick wide)
TwC - Carlson 1 yard run (Parker pass to Tim Loeffler)
TwC — Parker 6 yard pass to Embray (Wautrin kick)
TwC — Carlson 36 yard run (Wautrin kick)
TCo — Blythe 12 yard pass to Kitzman (XP pass incomplete)
First downs 14 13
Rushes-yards 35-52 24-218
Passing yards 135 126
Total Yards 187 344
Comp-Att-Int 10-21-1 7-12-0
Return Yards 4-62 3-31
Fumbles-Lost 5-2 3-2
Penalties-Yds 6-26 7-50
RUSHING — Dakota Thomas 2-9 yards, Jake Brumbaugh 10-11 yards, Tyler Lally 4-8 yards, Watts 6-(-1) yards, Kitzman 5-2 yards, Trenton Steinke 2-0 yards, Josh Edmundson 5-21 yards, Blythe 1-2 yards.
PASSING — Watts 5-12, 72 yards, Blythe 5-9, 63 yards.
RECEIVING — Justin Dekleine 3-17 yards, Kitzman 2-28 yards, Brumbaugh 1-11 yards, Lally 4-79 yards.
INTERCEPTIONS — none.
TACKLES — Watts 4.
RUSHING — Carlson 10-168 yards, Parker 4-3 yards, Loeffler 7-33 yards, Garcia 1-1 yards, Levi Jones 1-14 yards, David Williams 1-(-1) yards.
PASSING — Parker 7-12, 126 yards.
RECEIVING — Roberts 1-26 yards, Roby 2-18 yards, Loeffler 1-3 yards, Embray 3-79 yards.
INTERCEPTIONS — Roberts.
TACKLES — Selix 14.