Tigers romp over Upper Sandusky

PHOTO BY REBECCA PADULA Seneca East's Jesse Beckman is taken down by Upper Sandusky’s Brazyin McDaniel in Friday's game in Upper Sandusky.

UPPER SANDUSKY — Ed Phillips didn’t have to double-check. Each day consisted of 24 hours. It only seemed like much longer.

That 26-20 overtime loss to Carey last week reverberated.

“I usually enjoy practice,” Phillips said. “But I’ll say this: I didn’t have to do much in practice because the kids were so motivated and so intense and focused that they took care of business.

“It seemed like forever to me (to finally get to the game) because we don’t like that losing stuff,” he said. “It was pretty miserable.”

They took care of business in a big way Friday night as well. The Tigers scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions and five times in the first half alone on the way to a 53-13 romp over Upper Sandusky Friday night.

Seneca East improved to 7-1 overall and is tied for first place in the Northern 10 Athletic Conference at 4-1. Wynford, which whipped Carey 42-10 Friday, shares the top spot. Seneca East downed the Royals 27-7 two weeks ago.

The Rams (2-6, 1-4) threw an early scare when Mason Vent hit Diago Cazares with a pass covering 46 yards on the game’s first play and then tossed a 14-yard completion to Brayzin McDaniel two plays later.

Upper Sandusky drove to the Tiger 8 before the defense stiffened, and when freshman Fernando Navichoque’s 30-yard field goal try came up just short, there was no damage.

Except for that which Seneca East created.

It was the Blane Cottingham show in the early going. Cottingham scored four touchdowns, including his team’s first three of the night. And he also had an interception at the defensive end.

It began with a 10-yard scoring run to cap a nine-play, 80 yard drive. Later in the first period, he grabbed a 39-yard TD pass from Chase Foos for a 14-0 advantage.

Next came a 20-yard touchdown run — Cottingham had two carries for 30 yards and a pair of scores — as the Tiger lead moved to 22-0 with 10:20 still to play in the first half.

“He was certainly a spark in the first half on offense and defense,” Phillips said. “He was flying around everywhere.”

Upper Sandusky countered with a 65-yard scoring drive capped by Vent’s 1-yard sneak to make it 22-6 with 7:19 to go. It was the first of two short scoring runs for the senior quarterback. He added a 5-yard score in the fourth period.

And it looked like the Rams were going to challenge as they came up with a stop and forced a punt. But they couldn’t advance. Facing a fourth-and-1 from their own 36, Vent was stopped short by Tiger linebacker Brandon Giesey.

On the first play, Foos then hit Jacob Siesel with a 36-yard touchdown pass to push the margin to 30-6.

“That was a big momentum play, that’s for sure,” Ram coach Russell Hall said. “I’ve seen in practice us make big plays all the time, all the time. You never know when it can break so, depending on where we are on the field, I have no problem giving our offense an extra down.

“We knew going in that Seneca East was really good,” he said. “I said this week, they’re good everywhere. There’s not just one thing that you’ve got to stop.”

Phillips said the turnaround score eased the tension a little.

“We didn’t feel good last week and we needed to feel good,” he said. “I think that was one that kind of let you relax and just go out and have fun the rest of the night.”

The Tigers, who piled up 526 yards in total offense, were all about that.

A sidelight in the game was a battle of the N-10’s top passing quarterbacks. And while Vent completed 13 of 31 passes for 252 yards, the edge went to Foos, who hit 17 of 23 for 279 yards and three touchdowns.

After the quick hitter to Siesel, he came back with a 16-yard hookup with Cottingham for a 38-6 advantage at the half.

“Chase really got the ball out tonight,” Phillips said. “We worked on that, the timing and just getting the ball out. He came out tonight and did what he did in practice all week. That was one thing we were better at tonight.”

The Tigers added two more touchdowns in the second half, both on the ground. Elijah Riggs broke through for a 21-yard scoring run and, in the fourth period, Dustin Powers carried four straight times for 25 yards, including an 8-yard score.

Powers finished as the game’s top rusher with 91 yards on seven carries.

“I’m so happy for Dustin Powers and the way he helped us finish the game off,” Phillips said. “What a great kid he is and for him to do that was really special.”

Much of what Seneca East did on this night was special.