TAWAS CITY – Tawas Area wasn’t expected to win its Division 6 playoff opener at 11th ranked Montrose Friday night. The underdog Braves put up a good fight early on, however, but eventually fell to the Rams, who have won at least two playoff games the last two seasons, 49-12.
“Montrose has a great program,” head coach Aaron Hazen said. “They have some great players and they are a tough team. They were well coached and played hard.”
An early Tawas fumble led to a quick Montrose touchdown, as it took a 7-0 lead less than a minute into the contest.
The Braves were able to respond, however, driving the length of the field and capped off their drive with a short touchdown run by Granite Barringer, as they pulled within 7-6.
Tawas also stopped Montrose on its next possession, but wasn’t able to finish off a potential go-ahead scoring drive.
Three minutes into the second quarter, Montrose found the endzone again to take a 14-6 lead and on its next drive, broke off a 65-yard touchdown run to make it 21-6 with about six minutes to play before half.
The Rams added a 30-yard touchdown pass that made it 28-6 at the break.
The Braves’ second half touchdown was another short touchdown run by Barringer.
“Overall, we thought our kids played tough until the very last whistle,” Hazen said. “They kept making plays throughout the game and did not give up on themselves, the coaches or the team.”
Stats for the Braves were not provided at press time, though they were led in rushing by Lukas Herrick and Ryan Heal.
Tawas finishes the season 0-7, its first winless campaign since 2005. To the Braves’ credit, their opponents had a combined record of 35-12, including ranked teams in Oscoda, Johannesburg-Lewiston and Montrose.
“We have a foundation to build on and we are looking to next season with some great players coming back for us,” Hazen said.