Shawnee beat five of the first six teams it played by double digits. The Braves appeared to be on their way to doing the same to Tecumseh on Friday night, scoring two touchdowns in their first three offensive plays to take a 14-0 lead.
Then the game turned into the dogfight Shawnee coach Rick Meeks said it would be. A third-quarter touchdown and a fourth-quarter stop on fourth down led to a 27-20 victory at Spitzer Stadium for the Braves and kept them undefeated at 7-0 and 2-0 in the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division.
“We kept reminding them we were down 14-0 at halftime last week, and we completely dominated the second half,” Meeks said. “That obviously worked in our favor a little bit.”
The Arrow tied the game at 20-20 on a 4-yard run by Christian Evans with 8:25 left in the third quarter.
Shawnee took the lead right back with 4:10 left in the third on a 4-yard run by quarterback Saalih Muhammad. That turned out to be the final score in a game that started out as a slugfest.
The Arrows drove to Shawnee’s 7-yard line in the fourth quarter, but Tecumseh quarterback Malik Quisenberry was stopped on fourth-and-5.
“We just wanted to crash the middle and let our ends come off the sides and let our big guys go to work,” Shawnee linebacker Jalen Nelson said.
Nelson had two big plays in the first half. He caught a 65-yard touchdown pass from Muhammad on the first play of the game. On Shawnee’s second play, he rushed for 70 yards only to be tackled at the 10. Clay Phillips scored one play later.
Nelson finished with 114 rushing yards and 102 receiving yards. Muhammad threw for 193 yards and two scores. Dusty Seelig caught a 58-yard touchdown pass.
Quisenberry threw for 162 yards, and Evans rushed for 75. The Arrows got back in the game by limiting Shawnee’s big plays after the strong start.
“It shows a lot of heart and a lot of character and good leadership,” Tecumseh coach Kent Massie said. “Our kids stuck together and kept competing.”