Trojans move to semi-finals

Nick Rekowski, Reporter

On Friday, Nov. 9, Tunstall traveled to Magna Vista for the first round of playoffs, which would be considered a “redemption” game for the Trojans. Redemption is what Big Red got, with a win of a 19-13 marking their first on the road win in the playoffs in 30 years.

In the first quarter, both teams made it to the board. Tunstall got the opening kickoff, and after driving 45 yards, Magna Vista forced a Trojan turnover. After a huge third down stop that resulted in a loss of 29 yards, the Warriors punted the ball from their own 11 yard line, which left the Trojans in prime field position. With the ball at the Warriors 37, the Trojans gained 12 yards on two plays, senior running back Clay Hardy broke off a 25 yard run which opened the scoring for the night. Following a missed extra point, due to senior Zach Mensavage the Trojans kicked off to the Warriors with a 6-0 lead. The Warriors took the ball 68 yards on 16 plays and scored a touchdown right as the first quarter came an end following the extra point.

The Trojans faced a one point deficit, trailing 7-6.

The second quarter was dominated by Tunstall. On the opening drive of the quarter, the Trojans went 65 yards on 14 plays, with the final play being yet another Clay Hardy touchdown run. Following a stellar defensive showcase by the Trojans on the Warriors only possession of the half, the Trojans allowed only seven yards as the Trojans went into halftime with a 12-7 lead.

The second half opened with the Warriors seeming destined to score. The Warriors made their way to the Trojans 23-yard line, then the Trojan defense came up with a huge fourth down stop. The Trojans offense came back out on a mission, and after 18 plays and nearly eight minutes between the third and fourth quarters, senior Grayson Hardy scored on a one yard run. Following the extra point by senior Zach Mensavage, the Trojans led 19-7. Magna Vista then took over again on offense, desperately needing a score.

The Warriors drove down against a Trojan defense that had held strong all night long, but were able to score another touchdown. With the missed extra point, the scoring ended for the night, with the score at 19-13. The final six minutes were back and forth defensive stops for both teams, with the biggest stop coming when senior Tony Johnson got a huge sack for a loss of six yards that resulted in a fourth down and 16 for the Warriors. The Trojans had the ball one final time, and despite a fourth down stop by the Warriors, the game was ultimately out of reach. As the clock reached zeroes, the Trojans sealed their first playoff win since 2012.

The Trojans were led offensively by Clay Hardy, who had 122 yards on 25 carries behind a sensational showing from the offensive line. Junior receiver Brandon Jamison had four catches totaling 51 yards, and sophomore quarterback Dylan Burnett had eight completions totaling 96 yards. Defensively, junior Ridge Mills had eight total tackles and senior Michael Thomas had six tackles, including three that resulted in lost yardage for the Warriors. The Trojan defense, as a whole, had a phenomenal showing, holding the Warriors to under 200 yards, and the Trojan offense shined, demolishing Magna Vista’s defense for 475 total yards.

The Trojans are back in action on Friday, Nov. 16, traveling to Northside High School to play the Vikings in the region semifinals. Kickoff time is at 7pm.