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Savages Come Back From Halftime To Beat Elgin Owls, 41-29


September 24, 2020

Natasha Dunagan

Tecumseh Savage, Dylan Graham, finds an opening to run the ball at the game against Elgin on Sept. 18.

It was a tale of two halves last Friday night in Tecumseh. The Savages were lackluster in the first half but stormed back in the second half to pull away from Elgin for the win.

After a lot of penalties and mistakes in the first half, Tecumseh was down 19-14 heading to halftime. But the Savages came out of the locker room hitting on all cylinders on their way to scoring four touchdowns for a 41-19 win over the Owls.

The Savages got off to a very fast start to take an early lead. After forcing the Owls to punt on the first possession of the game, a nice punt return by Jake Trice set Tecumseh up on the Elgin 39-yard line.

On the first play from scrimmage, Tecumseh quarterback Monte Valois found a wide-open Dylan Graham streaking down the boundary and connected on a 39-yard passing play. Kevin Dodd booted the extra point and the Savages led 7-0 less than three minutes into the game.

As the Savage penalties began to mount, the Tecumseh offense became sluggish and the Elgin offense picked up the pace. With the Savages on their heels, the Owls moved the ball into Tecumseh territory and scored a touchdown as Matthew Lund carried the ball 17 yards for the score. The PAT was good, and the game was tied 7-7 as the clock turned to the second quarter.

More issues with penalties and miscues gave Elgin more opportunities and the Owls found the end zone again with 7:30 left in the second quarter. Lund again found paydirt, this time on a 48-yard run. The extra point was missed, and the Owls led the Savages 13-7.

The T-Town offense answered almost immediately with Kane Ainesworth crashing across the goal line from three yards out to score his first of four TDs in the contest. Dodd was again true on the extra point and the Savages had regained the lead at 14-13 with 4:40 left before halftime.

It seemed the Savages would take the lead into intermission, but the Owls were able to push the ball into the end zone with just :29 left on the clock. Lund scored his third touchdown of the night for Elgin as he raced 20 yards for the score. The two-point conversion attempt failed, and Elgin led the Savages 19-14 as the half ended.

"I was disappointed with all the penalties in the first half," Savage head coach Ty Bullock said. "The coaches made some good adjustments and we were able to overcome it in the second half of the game."

The Savages did indeed make corrections at halftime and came out of the locker room with a fresh fire on their way to scoring four second half touchdowns while holding Elgin scoreless. The first score of the half was a 48-yard pass play from Valois to Jake Trice. The PAT was no good, but the Savages had the lead at 20-19 with 7:44 left in the third quarter.

The Savages got the ball back quickly and Ainesworth scored his second touchdown of the night on a 19-yard scamper with 5:55 left in the third. Dodd's kick was good this time as the Savages had an important eight-point lead, 27-19.

Tecumseh maintained control of the game in the third quarter and found another opportunity late in the third quarter as Ainesworth was called on again to find the end zone. This time Ainesworth took a one-yard plunge for the touchdown as time expired in the third quarter. Dodd again kicked the extra point and the Savages had a 34-19 lead as the second quarter began.

The fourth quarter belonged to the Savage defense as the win was secured with score by the defenders. Ainesworth scooped up a fumble forced by Wyatt England and outraced the Owls on the way to a 25-yard race to the endzone. The fumble return for a touchdown and the extra point by Dodd gave the Savages an overwhelming 41-19 with 8:33 left in the game.

His fourth touchdown of the night also ensured Ainesworth of the Todd Colburn-Oklahoma Farm Bureau MVP of the game. Ainesworth finished the night with 100 yards rushing on 12 carries with three touchdowns. Defensively, he had six tackles, a pass defended and the fumble return for a TD.

"I think we came out flat early in the game," said Coach Bullock. "Then after we scored on our first play and the kids thought it was going to be easy, we kind of let down. Kudos to Elgin for bringing it. They brought more people than we expected and brought more pressure.

"It's a new season now as we start district play," said the coach. "We're fixing to go into murderer's row in our district with our first four games with Ada, Tuttle, Cushing and Blanchard. It's a tough, tough, tough district. We're 2-1 and have been battle tested going into districts. Fort Gibson, Lone Grove and Elgin were good tests for us, and we've faced some adversity and that should help us going into our district."

The Savages outgained the Owls offensively as Tecumseh had a total of 509 yards and Elgin had 279. Tecumseh had 322 yards rushing and 187 through the air. Savage quarterback Valois was 9-of-16 passing with two touchdowns of 39 and 48 yards and no interceptions.

The leading receiver was Trice with four catches for 91 yards and a TD. Graham caught one pass for 39 yards and a score. Gavyn Rogers had 35 yards receiving on one reception. Chad Wynne, Tyler Davis and Jaxon Meyers each caught one pass for 11, 7 and 4 yards respectively.

Ainesworth was the leading rusher with 100 yards. Wynne picked up 64 yards on 11 totes. Rogers rushed for 60 yards on just three carries. Graham had 54 yards rushing on nine rushes. Gavin Schaffner carried once for 18 yards while Jace Frazier rushed four times for 16 yards. Valois had seven yards on two rushes and Daveon Mays picked up three yards on one carry.

Defensively, the Savages were again led by Jamal Fair, who had a whopping 19 tackles, two for loss and a pass defended. Anthony O'Guinn came up with eight tackles and had a pass defended and a huge interception. Graham and Wynne each had eight tackles with Graham having a tackle for loss and Wynne two passes defended.

Todd Colburn with Farm Bureau presents the MVP awards to Tecumseh Savage players from the first three games. The MVP is announced at the end of each live stream game presented by HUB Network and the Countywide & Sun. Pictured from left are Jamal Fair, Chad Wynne, Todd Coburn and Kane Ainesworth.

JB McIntosh and Ethan Rickey each had seven takedowns and Rickey had a pass defended. Colton Branch also came up with eight-tackles. Brynnen Epperley had six tackles and two passes defended. England had four tackles, two for loss and a forced fumble which led to the Ainesworth defensive touchdown.

The Savages travel to Ada tomorrow (Friday) to begin District 4A-2 play against the Cougars. Ada comes into the game at 1-1 with a loss on the road at Ardmore and a home win over Duncan and one cancelled game. Coach Bullock is excited to be playing and getting the district schedule started. "Going down there to Ada, the environment is great for a high school football game.

"They've got a nice 1-2 punch with their running backs with contrasting styles. One back is big and physical and runs downhill. The other back is not small, but very elusive and can run outside. Defensively they are very physical and reminds me of Fort Gibson's defense."

Ada plays its home games on the campus of East Central University at Norris Field. Kickoff for Friday, as well as all games the rest of the season, is set for 7 pm.


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