TAWAS CITY – For the second time in as many weeks, the Tawas Area football team found themselves in a low-scoring dog-fight. The host Braves were able to get just enough offense and used their steady defense to secure their first victory of the season, however, as a fourth quarter touchdown allowed them to escape visiting Rogers City with a 14-6 victory.
“It was great to be in another tight game in the fourth quarter, but this time make a few more plays than the opponent and pull out the victory,” head coach Tim Webb said. “I’m proud of the guys for hanging in there and getting it done.”
With the game deadlocked at 6-6 through three quarters, the Braves forced the Hurons to punt, giving them the ball on their own 38-yard line with 10:53 remaining.
Lukas Herrick started the ensuing drive off with an 11-yard gain to the 49-yard line and the Braves continued to march down the field, primarily using the ground game, with two well-placed passes by Noah Davis to reach first and goal at the five, chewing much of the remaining time off the clock in the process.
Justin Ulman took the first down hand-off to the two-yard line, with Herrick bulling his way into the endzone on the next play to put the Braves ahead. Logan Fiske hit the edge on the two-point conversion to give Tawas a 14-6 lead with 4:06 left to play.
“We seem to be having our breakdowns inside the red-zone, so we’ll have to really try to fix that this week,” Webb said. “We were able to put together a nice drive in the fourth quarter this time. The offensive line blocked well most of the game and Davis made some nice clutch throws for first downs.”
The Hurons picked up one first down on their ensuing drive but sacks on back-to-back plays by a swarming Tawas defense forced a third-and-32 situation. R-C tossed a pair of incomplete passes on third and fourth down, allowing the Braves to run down the remaining time towards their first victory of the season.
While the Tawas offense has been a bit inconstant two games in, its defense has been stellar, giving up just 22 points combined so far.
“(Assistant coaches) Mark Cliff and Eric Haglund have had the defense prepared and the guys are playing with great effort,” Webb said. “Our tackling needs to improve, but I’m really happy with the effort. I was happy with how we were able to control the ball on offense at times. We put together some long drives and kept their offense off the field. That was important because they had some guys who were extremely fast and could take it the distance on any play.”
The Braves began the game with the ball on their own 32-yard line and featured a heavy dose of Herrick getting chunks of yardage up the middle. The Braves took nearly nine minutes off the clock on the opening drive, but had it stall out at the eight-yard line.
Tawas forced a R-C punt with just over two minutes in the first half, setting up the Braves at their own 29-yard line.
Runs by Fiske and Herrick allowed the team to reach the 33-yard line and a Jace Lear reception put Tawas at the 15-yard line.
With just 27 seconds left in the half and facing a third-and-goal at the three, Davis fired the ball to Camden Groff who ran a slant route in the end-zone, with Groff securing the ball for the first points of the game. A failed two-point attempt left Tawas ahead 6-0 at the half.
“Last week was Noah’s first time starting a game at quarterback, Webb said. “This was his second game and he looked much more comfortable and made some great throws on key downs.”
Herrick finished with 124 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries, Ulman ran 10 times for 66 yards and Fiske rushed eight times for 55 yards. Davis was four-of-seven passing for 40 yards and a touchdown.
Brad Romzek led the defense with 11 tackles.
Tawas (1-1 overall) heads to county rival Whittemore-Prescott (1-1) on Friday. The Cardinals are coming off a 57-20 loss to Manistee last week and the Braves edged W-P 41-34 in a game that went to the wire last season.