A tail of two halves, that sums it up for the Tinora Rams in the head coaching debut of Tinora’s Eric Becker.
The 2023 season started with a bang for the visiting Tigers of Liberty Center.
After the opening kickoff from Tinora’s Jacob Bishop went out of bounds, the Tigers were set up for their first play of the new season from their own 35-yard line.
Tigers QB Grady Miller hit Colton Chambers across the middle for a 65 yard TD, giving the Tigers a 6-0 lead. After the XP turned into a fire drill for the Tigers, they converted a two point conversion, grabbing a 8-0 lead at the 11:50 mark of the initial quarter.
The Rams jumped back into the game midway through the first quarter as Liberty Center dropped a fourth down punt, giving Tinora a first down at the Tigers 23-yard line.
Tinora’s Grady Gustwiller brought the Rams within 8-6 as he darted in for a 2 yard touchdown at the 7:36 mark. The Rams Bishop’s XP cut the Tigers lead to 8-7.
The Rams would grab the lead at the 10:14 mark of the second quarter on another TD by senior RB Grady Gustwiller. The Bishop XP would give Tinora a 14-8 lead.
Tinora seemed to write the ship on defense after the initial Tigers score, limiting the Tigers big play offense through the middle of the second quarter,
Tinora was driving for a score at the 7:20 mark when a Rams turnover seemed to change the momentum of the game.
Liberty Center would grab control of the game as they marched methodically down the field for 65 yards, controlling the next six minutes of the half, grabbing a 15-14 lead at the 1:39 mark of the second quarter as Trenton Kruse lunged in from 4 yards out for the Tigers, the Ian Rosebrook XP gave LC a 15-14 lead.
The Rams, using the shotgun for the entire first half, looked to add points before the half ended, however LC’s Landon Bockelman had other ideas. Bockelman would sack Graziani for a huge loss with just 1:15 left in the half.
Tinora would seemly catch a break as the Rams punt hit a Tiger defender, giving the Rams another possession right before the half at the LC 35-yard line with 40 second mark of the half.
Unfortunately, Tinora and Graziani could not move the ball any closer, the Tigers took a 15-14 lead to the locker room.
The Rams hit the half with 158 yards of offense, 141 of those passing. The Tigers had 171 total yards, 105 rushing, and 66 rushing yards.
Tinora started the second half with the ball, unfortunately they could not muster a first down. The fourth down punt by Jacob Bishop was blocked by the Tigers, LC would start their initial possession of the half at the Tinora 20-yard line.
Colton Kruse would scamper 5 yards out, the XP would put the Tigers on top 22-14 with 9:30 remaining in the third quarter.
The Tigers would add to their lead as Trenton Kruse would add his second score of the game, this from 45 yards out. Rosebrook’s XP was no good, but the score gave the Tigers a 28-14 lead at the 3:12 mark in the third.
Tinora, unable to generate any offense in the second half, would see the game get out of reach to start the fourth as the Tigers Waylon Rentz would dart in from 15 yards out, the Tigers led 35-14 after the Ian Rosebrook XP with 11;55 remaining in the game.
The Tigers would control the final 11 minutes of the final stanza, coming away with a 35-14 win.
Tinora would gain just one first down in the second half, while the LC defense limited the Ram attack to just 27 total yards on 22 plays.
The Tigers would gain 164 yards on 26 plays in the second half.
A fantastic crowd was on hand in week 1 at Tinora’s Justin F Coressel Stadium at Tinora High School.
Liberty Center improves to 1-0 and will travel to Napoleon Friday evening.
Tinora starts 0-1 and will travel to Otsego Friday.
LC 8 7 13 7 35
Tinora 7 7 0 0 14