|Photo by: Amanda Rathbone|
The Bulldogs attacked twice in the first quarter with a four yard touchdown run by Darius Ramsey and a 12 yard touchdown pass from Brandon Littlejohn to Tre Brooks. Littlejohn also broke loose on a 38 yard touchdown run with 4:30 remaining in the half to put the Bulldogs up 21-0 after the PAT. The Mountaineers struggled to move the ball in the first half, picking up 64 total yards (-4 rushing). Tuscola did however manage to put points on the board when Levi Duffield connected with Adam Silvers for a 15 yard touchdown pass with 38 seconds left in the half, capping a 57 yard drive that was aided by 40 yards in Burns penalties. After blocking the PAT, the Bulldogs quickly wiped out Tuscola’s score when Ramsey broke loose for a 61 yard touchdown run on the next play from scrimmage—giving Burns a 28-6 halftime lead.
Burns poured on two more scores in the third quarter with two six yard touchdown runs, the first by Littlejohn at the 6:32 mark and the second by Ramsey at the 1:48 mark. Ramsey’s score came after a Duffield interception was returned 49 yards by Hunter King. Littlejohn and Ramsey both finished the night with three scores a piece.
|Photo by: Amanda Rathbone|
The Mountaineers finished the night with four turnovers, including three interceptions by Duffield and a fumble recovered by a helmet-less Devonte “Tank” Ramseur. The play was whistled dead after the recovered fumble, giving possession to the Bulldogs—even though Ramseur was clearly without a helmet before the fumble ever occurred.
Though there had been speculation in the community about the return of senior Rob Howard to the quarterback position after his participation in workouts earlier in the week, Howard was not cleared to return. All three of Howard’s varsity football seasons were cut short due to season-ending injuries.
The Mountaineers finish the season 4-8 overall (4-3 WNCAC), marking the first losing season for Tuscola since 2007 and only the eighth in school history. With 18 seniors graduating and a 3-6 finish by the junior varsity squad, the Mountaineers will have to work extremely hard in the off-season in order to compete for a WNC Athletic Conference Championship in 2012. “We are indebted to our seniors in particular for sticking it out in a less than stellar season,” said Coach Kiefer. “We appreciate their commitment to Tuscola football and we are glad that most of them had the opportunity to be a part of some very successful varsity and junior varsity teams over their four years in the program. Several of this year's seniors got to experience the great run to the Western Finals with the 2009 team.”
“We will be diligent in the off-season and look forward to skill development in the spring as well as hitting it hard in the strength and speed program for the remainder of the year until football season gets here again.”