When the opening kickoff starts with a delay of game penalty, you assume you are in for a thrilling, unexpected night of events. That’s what the crowd at Tinora’s Justin F. Coressel Stadium witnessed Friday night in the opening round of the OHSAA playoffs between the visiting Wynford Royals and the hosts, the Tinora Rams.
Tinora, the #7 seed, brought in a 7-3 record, a GMC Championship, and three straight shutouts, while the visiting Royals of Wynford, the #10 seed, brought a 6-4.
As Wynford’s kickoff team and kicker Victor Arrellano Cazares approached the ball to start the game, a flag went flying into the air, yes, a delay of game penalty to start the game, and we were off and running.
The Rams were the first to get the scoring started. Tinora’s Joey Guisinger busted off the left side of the Rams offensive line for a 37-yard touchdown, Jacob Bishop’s XP gave Tinora a 7-0 lead with 9:06 left in the initial quarter.
Wynford would answer the Tinora score at the 5:44 mark of the first quarter. The Royals Kaiden Blair took a handoff up the middle, untouched, for a 50-yard TD. The XP by Victor Arellano Cazares was good, the game was tied at 7-7.
Teams would battle through the next quarter and a half, with neither team busting through the scoreboard. Wynford finally broke the tie with .45 seconds remaining in the half as QB Ashton Warren snuck it in for a one-yard score, the XP was good, and the Royals took a 14-7 lead into the half.
The first half saw the Tinora with just 10 yards passing, while Wynford had zero. The rushing attack for Tinora gained 100 yards on 17 carries, while the Royals had 169 yards on 26 carries.
Tinora’s Owen Ackerman caught an eight-yard TD from QB Dominic Graziani with 6;14 remaining in the third quarter, Bishop’s XP tied the game at 14-14.
After Wyford fumbled at their own three-yard line, Tinora’s Andrew Richardson recovered the muffed handoff, setting up Tinora with a first and goal at the Wynford three. Devon Luellen would punch it in at the 1:10 mark of the third quarter, Jacob Bishop added the XP, giving the Rams a 21-14 advantage.
In what would turn out to be possible the play of the game, the season, and without any doubt, a huge momentum swing, the Royals were facing a 4th and 17 at the Tinora 29, still trailing 21-14 with 7:10 in the final quarter.
Wynford QB Ashton Warren heaved the ball to the end zone, where the combo of Tinora’s Jacob Bishop, Dominic Graziani, and Wynford’s James Rindfuss all met at the ball in the left corner of the Tinora end zone.
Tinora’s Jacob Bishop clearly appeared to come down with the ball, and it was initially called an interception by the closest official on the play. However, after close to a five-minute discussion, the referee crew reversed the call, giving Wynford a TD, tying the game at 21-21.
After the Royals defense stopped the Tinora offense on a three and out, Wynford then proceeded to grab a 28-21 lead at the 4:27 mark of the fourth quarter. The Royals Warren would again sneak it in from three yards out, the XP was good.
Seeing their season slipping away, the Rams marched down the field, eating up the clock, and scoring with just 42 seconds remaining in regulation. Grady Gustwiller smashed through for a three-yard TD. After thinking about it several times, and getting Wynford to burn a crucial timeout, coach Becker and the Rams decided to kick the XP. Bishop split the uprights, and the game was tied at 28-28.
Wynford ran two plays over the remaining 42 seconds, getting, just 20 yards, sending the game into overtime, tied at 28-28.
The Wynford Royals were the first to have the ball in the OT session. Each team would have a series at the opponents 20, per OHSAA OT rules,
After an initial first down on their first OT possession, the next set of downs saw a few huge stops by the Rams defense, and Alex Homier, the Royals Arrelano Casarez lined up for a 26-yard FG.
The FG attempt would be good, Wynford grabbed a 31-28 lead, and the Rams offense would have a chance at a tie or a win on their possession.
After getting a first down on their initial set of downs in the OT period, the Tinora offense was lined up with a first and goal at the Royals nine-yard line. Looking to score a TD and win the contest, the Rams would get to the Wynford two-yard line. Facing a third and goal, Tinora would lose the ball on a fumble on a hard hit by Wynford’s Kaiden Blair at the goal line. Wynford recovered the fumble, the game, and the Tinora season was over in the blink of an eye.
The Royals came away with a hard-fought, 31-28 OT win over Tinora.
First Downs 19 22
Rushing/yards 38-162 33-317
Passing/yards 6-17-91 4-9-73
Total offense 55-253 66-393
Fumbles/lost 1-1 2/2
Penalties/yards 7/45 10/71
Tinora passing: Graziani 6-17-91-0-1
Tinora rushing: Gustwiller 16-75 TD, Guisinger 4-35 TD; Graziani 14-38; Luellen 4-14
Tinora receiving: Gustwiller 3-55; Ackerman 1-8, Schaufele 1-18; Guisinger 1-11
Wynford passing: Warren 4-9-73
Wynford rushing: Evans 13-63; Blair 26-213 TD; Warren 11-42- 2 TD
Wynford receiving: Evans 1-19; Blair 1-10; Rindfuss 2-46-TD
The Rams see their season end at 7-4.
Tinora and the senior class of Kadyn Radzik, Owen Ackerman, Grady Gustwiller, Carter Guilliam, Brayden Roesti, Joey Guisinger, Graham Askins, Andrew Richardson, & Landon Newsome accomplished so much as a group, hold your heads high, gentleman.
Wynford will see their season continue at 7-4 and will travel to take on Bluffton next Friday night.
Best of luck to Wynford.
Congratulations to the below All GMC Sections for Tinora:
Player of the year on Defense – Grady Gustwiller
1st team all offense: TE Brayden Roesti, RB, Grady Gustwiller, K Jacob Bishop.
1st team all defense: DE Graham Askins, DE Carter Radzik, LB Grady Gustwiller, DB Kadyn Radzik.
2nd team all offense: WR Owen Ackerman, T Landon Newsom, RB Joey Guisinger
2nd team all defense: LB Joey Guisinger, P Jacob Bishop.
Honorable Mention: Alex Homier, Alec Schaublin, Carter Guilliam, & Dominic Graziani.