DEFIANCE – It sounds like a broken record, but heading into tonight, and for the last six contests, one could argue the Rams couldn’t possibly play better the next week, each week they seemed to defy and do so.
Well, welcome to week 11, the opening round of the 2021 OHSAA playoffs. It seems the Tinora Rams just did what the original statement said, they played better.
The Rams staff moved their home game to Defiance High School early in the week. Construction and lack of parking seemed to plague the Rams on Friday night home games, that wasn’t a problem tonight at Fred J. Brown Stadium at Defiance HS. In fact, it was hard to find any faults in the 48 minutes the Rams were in action tonight vs Seneca East on the Bulldogs home turf.
With the expanded playoffs from 8 to 16 teams this season, the Rams a #6 seed, welcomed in the #11 seed, the Seneca East Tigers.
Tinora was still running hot as they made the short trip to DHS, bringing a nine game winning streak, a GMC Championship and a 9-1 record. Seneca East made the long trip in with a 6-4 overall record as well as two 1,000 yard rushers.
The Tinora offense wasted little time getting the scoring started. Rams senior running back KP Delarber entered tonight needing just 97 yards to go over the thousand yard mark. On Tinora’s second play from scrimmage, Delarber took a Schafer handoff 50 yards for a score, XP by Camp gave the Rams an early 7-0 lead just under two minutes into the contest.
Eying that thousand yard plateau, Delarber again jolted into the endzone with 4:43 in the opening stanza, this time from eight yards out, XP was missed, the Rams led 13-0.
After an amazing one-handed, circus like interception by Cole Commisso, the Tinora offense again drove downfield, resulting in a Christian Commisso 2 yard plunge, XP by Dylan Camp increased the Rams lead to 19-0 with 1:03 left in the first quarter.
As the clock was winding down to end the first quarter, the Seneca East offense seemed to be willing to end the quarter, but the Tigers tried to catch the Rams sleeping, what they caught was the tail of #6, Cole Commisso, as he hauled in a pass intended for a Tiger receiver, taking it back 48 yards for a Tinora touchdown. XP gave Tinora a 27-0 lead after 12 minutes of play.
The Seneca East staff made an adjustment, bringing in QB Blake Foos and moving starting QB Gavin Hargis WR, Foos and the Tigers caught the Rams off guard, marching downfield, cutting the Rams lead to 27-7 on a 7 yard TD pass from Foos to Alex King with 7:32 remaining before half.
Whose name will be pulled out of the hat next?, this seems to be the game the Rams staff plays at times. The last two weeks, Brandon Edwards has been our Higbea Embroidery Player of the Game, well tonight, Brandon took his first and only carry 42 yards for another Rams score, increasing the lead to 34-7, 6:15 remained in the second quarter.
The Rams Javen Gaines busted through on special teams, blocking a punt out of the endzone with 5:13 in the second, Tinora led 36-7.
Not done scoring, Tinora’s Christian Commisso was next to light up the scoring column, taking it in from six yards out, 3:30 was remaining before half.
Working on the no huddle, quick strike offense was next on the docket for Tinora as they took over with just over a minute to play at the Tigers 45 yard line. Well, Seniors leaders QB Nolan Schafer, and wideout Cole Commisso had other ideas. Schafer hit Commisso with a short sideline pass, Commisso turned it into a 45 yard TD, racing down the left sidelines, giving the Rams a near perfect half and a 50-7 lead as the teams headed to the half.
During the second quarter, KP Delarper did get his 1,000 yard season, winding up with exactly 93 yards for the half, hitting the mark right on the nose.
The Tinora offense & defense dominated the half. The Rams tallied 328 yards on just 25 plays, 219 yards on the ground. On the other side, the Tinora defense limited the Tigers high-powered offense to just 67 yards on 31 plays, 18 yards rushing. The Tigers entered tonight averaging nearly 300 yards on the ground per contest.
In what has become commonplace, the second half started with a running clock for the seventh straight week.
Limited scoring in the third period, Rams Christian Commisso with his second TD, this time from 1 yard out, 3:54 remained in the third, Tinora led 57-7 after the Camp XP.
Seneca East finished the scoring for the night, with 1:119 left in the contest, Mason Foos hauled in a five yard pass, the contest ended with the Rams defeating the Tigers, 57-14.
The Tinora Rams compiled 404 yards of total offense tonight, 280 on the ground, 124 from the arm of QB Nolan Schafter.
On the defensive side, the stout Tinora D limited the Tigers to just seven first downs, 118 total yards on 45 plays. Seneca East was held to just 34 yards on the ground.
With the win, The Rams move to 10-1 and will now travel to Carey to take on the #3 seed Blue Devils next Saturday night at 7 pm.
Last season, the Carey Blue Devils came to Justin F Coressel Stadium after both teams were eliminated from the playoffs, totally dismantling the Rams 48-7. The Rams offense was shutout, only scoring on a Brandon Edwards kickoff return. Carey stands at 10-1 after a 33-0 win over Van Buren.
Seneca East sees the season end at 6-5.
The Higbea Embroidery player of the Game went to Rams Cole Commisso. Cole with an all-around great game on both sides of the ball. 45 yard TD reception, a 48 yard interception for a TD, as well as a fantastic one-handed interception. Congratulations Cole.
Tinora Passing: Schafer – 6-6 124 yards passing, 1 TD.
Tinora Rushing: Delarber 12 – 116, 2 TD; Christion Commisso 15 for 105, 2 TD; Brandon Edwards 1-42, 1 TD; Anders 1 for 2; Sweinhagen 5 for 12; Radzik 1 -2; Graziani 1 -3; Ferrell 1 for 2; Cole Commisso 1 for 7.
Tinora receiving: Gustwiller 1 for 28 yards; Cole Commisso 2 for 70, 1 TD; Christian Commisso 1 for 7; Anders 1 for 15.
Thanks to Logan for returning from Canton to run camera, & to Tony Fairchild, and Dr AJ Fairchild for the great assistance.
Another thanks to the stat crew of Kirstie & Shaun Mack.
And lastly, a special thanks to Defiance AD Jerri Buti who always makes sure we are welcomed with open arms.
Photos – Emily Brown