TUSCOLA — Bring on St. Teresa.
And bring on more electrifying moments from Jalen Quinn.
Tuscola football eased past Flora 42-14 on Saturday afternoon for a Class 2A first-round playoff win at the Warriors’ Memorial Field. The victory sets up a second-round game at St. Teresa (9-1) at 1 p.m. next Saturday in Decatur between the two Central Illinois Conference rivals.
Quinn returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown with 27 seconds left before halftime to put Tuscola (8-2) ahead 20-7. The score happened right after Flora (6-4) had rattled off a nine-minute drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Jace Helm to cut Tuscola’s lead to 14-7 with 39 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
“It was a huge momentum swing,” Tuscola coach Andy Romine said.
Tuscola put Flora away in the second half, with quarterback Logan Tabeling (13 of 18 for 191 passing yards, 89 rushing yards on 16 carries) accounting for two of his four touchdowns on the day. Running back Grant Hardwick (94 rushing yards on nine carries) added another TD to lock up the win for Tuscola.
“Tabeling has learned that he’s his best running the football when he’s going downhill,” Romine said. “He’s hitting his checkdowns and making the right reads throwing the ball, which is where he’s shown the most growth.”
Now, it’s on to St. Teresa. The Bulldogs defeated Tuscola 28-12 on Sept. 20. Since then, the Warriors have won six straight.
“I would bet whoever our next game was against, our kids would be excited,” Romine said, “but there might be an added level with it being St. Teresa.”