The Tri-Cities Prep Jaguars went through a six-minute, error-filled stretch in the second quarter that was too much to overcome in a 34-24 loss to Toledo in a 2B state quarterfinal game Saturday afternoon at Edgar Brown Stadium.
The Jaguars, undefeated coming into this game, had a fumble returned for a touchdown, an interception returned for a touchdown and had another fumble recovered at the 1-yard line, in a hard-to-believe stretch that led to a 27-0 halftime deficit.
All totaled, the Jaguars turned the ball over six times. That is not including several other miscues that put the ball on the ground.
“Three plays,” said TCP coach Dan Whitsett. “That did it.”
Toledo (8-4) won its sixth straight game and will play in the semifinals next weekend.
The Jaguars bottled up the Indians’ vaunted wing-T offense for most the night, allowing just 168 yards rushing on 30 carries. However, with Toledo getting two touchdowns on defense, a 1-yard touchdown drive and two other scoring drives of less than 50 yards, the Prep defense was playing catch-up all game.
“Our defense did a great job,” Whitsett said. “We just made too many mistakes.”
Both teams struggled to hang on to the ball early in a first quarter with enough miscues to last an entire season. Toledo fumbled the ball on its first possession, only for TCP to come back and throw an interception. Not to be outdone, Toledo fumbled the ball on its next possession. The Jaguars, after recovering their own muffed punt, fumbled the ball on their first play of the second possession.
Two teams. Two drives. Four total turnovers.
However, Toledo cleaned things up in the second quarter. Prep did not.
A bad snap on its first possession of the second quarter resulted in a 25-yard scoop-and-score for the Indians. On the next possession in punt formation for TCP, a bad snap was recovered by the Indians at the Jaguars 1-yard line, resulting in another Toledo touchdown. And then, a pick-6 on the third possession gave the Indians a 20-0 lead.
Toledo took advantage of the fourth miscue of the quarter, turning another interception into a touchdown for a 27-0 lead.
“Maybe it was a little nerves of playing in this type of game,” Whitsett said of the early turnovers.
Third-string quarterback Kobe Singleton did his best to bring the Jaguars back in the second half. Thrust into the game after Kendric Sheehan left with an apparent concussion late in the third quarter, the junior completed 9 of 21 passes for 67 yards and a touchdown. He also ran 14 times for 39 yards.
TCP outscored Toledo 23-7 in the second half.
“Our guys competed and kept playing,” Whitsett. “We knew we would. Our kids are resilient. It’s just a tough way to end the season.”
Toledo 34, Tri-Cities Prep 23
T – Jacob Marley 25 fumble return (Andreas Malunat kick)
T – Bryce Marcil 1 run (kick fail)
T – Fario Arceo-Harsen 35 interception return (Malunat kick)
T – Ethan Buck 2 run (Malunat kick)
TCP – Kobe Singleton 12 pass from Kendric Sheehan (Sheehan run)
T – Marcil 1 run (Malunat kick)
TCP – Austin Hiett 12 pass from Singleton (Drew Axel kick)
TCP – Cole Hiett 5 pass from Singleton (Davian Iniguez run)
Rushing – T, Buck 16-78, Coleby Cherrington 7-47, Duke Schaplow 5-57. TCP, Sheehan 12-13, Zerek Baker 7-47,
Singleton 14-39, Inguez 12-69.
Passing – T, Marcil 1-7-0-17. TCP, Sheehan 6-17-3-53; Singleton 9-21-1-67.
Receiving – T, Arceo-Harsen 1-17; TCP, Cole Hiett 8-71, Landon Amato 4-28.