The tears flowed around him as Tecumseh football coach Kent Massie addressed his team for the final time in the 2012 season.
“You guys played your hearts out,” Massie said. “You left it all out on the field.”
The Arrows battled to the end, but in the end, the story had a familiar feel to it. For the second straight season, they led Dresden Tri-Valley early, only to find themselves behind big in the second half in a Division II, Region 7 quarterfinal.
Tri-Valley beat the Arrows 48-16 a season ago and beat them 47-29 on Friday. Tecumseh (8-3) was never out of the game until it was stopped on fourth down in the final minutes at the Tri-Valley 35-yard line with the Scotties leading 40-29.
“Our team slogan was, ‘no regrets,’ ” senior quarterback Tony Evans said. “We didn’t want to come out in the fourth quarter and just lay down. We wanted to come out and fight as hard as we could. We were only down 11 points. We felt like we had a chance. We just didn’t make enough plays.”
“It speaks volumes about the kind of kids we have here at Tecumseh,” Massie said. “That’s why we are league champions. That’s why we made the playoffs. We were down, and we wouldn’t go away.”
The Arrows shocked Tri-Valley (11-0) with an 80-yard touchdown run by Christian Evans on the first play from scrimmage. It was the second straight game Evans had done that. He scored on a 55-yard run on Tecumseh’s first play against Kenton Ridge in Week 10.
“I was so pumped,” Tony Evans said. “I was yelling, ‘It’s going to be different this year.’ ”
Tri-Valley responded in just four plays. Austin Jones scored on a 10-yard run, but the Arrows still led 7-6 after a missed extra point.
Then Tecumseh silenced the crowd again. Jake Eier returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. He somehow bounced off a wave of tacklers and kept going. The Arrows led 14-6.
“I thought we had all the momentum,” Evans said. “I thought we were going to get the win.”
Massie knew it would be a shootout and tried an onside kick after the second touchdown. It almost worked.
“I’d do it again every day and twice on Sunday,” Massie said. “We’re coming here to win the ballgame. We almost got it and didn’t. That’s just the way it goes.”
Tecumseh didn’t score again in the first half, and it had a hard time stopping the Scotties. Tri-Valley quarterback Nathan Strock threw two touchdowns in the first half, and Jones scored a second touchdown.
The Arrows trailed 28-14 at halftime, but cut the deficit to 28-21 on a 12-yard touchdown run by Jimmy Rowland in the third. Their momentum didn’t last. Jones scored two more touchdowns in the third quarter to give Tri-Valley a 40-21 lead.
The Arrows scored one more time, but their comeback stalled.
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