TC Central dominates Saginaw Heritage 49-7 in district opener | Local Sports
TRAVERSE CITY – “Mama Tank” was the focus of a student department of Traverse City Central, which was appropriately decorated in Halloween torches.
Shoulder to shoulder with a Minion from Despicable Me, Captain Jack Sparrow, two students disguised as bumblebees and Central’s own Trojan mascot was Angela Hicks-Pulling. The mother of 6-foot-1,325-pound junior TC Central Defensive Lineman Anthony “Tank” Hicks-Pulling was partying right next to them – wearing Anthony’s pink jerseys that the Trojans wore in the decimation of then brother Rice’s 56-13 .
With every chant and drumline riff from the band’s student group, Angela jumped in the air and spun around – and around and around – as TC Central lit the scoreboard and to a 49-7 district first-round playoff win over Saginaw Heritage on Friday stormed Thirlby Field overnight.
Anthony said his mother was “really just a kid at heart” and thought “Mama Tank” was synonymous with the word “hype”.
“She’s essentially the heart of the cheer department,” said Anthony, adding that his mother’s presence of the student department was known. “People walk past me in the hallway and say, ‘We love your mother.’ I always reply, ‘I know. I have the best mother in the world. ‘”
When it comes to training, Mama Tank is at the forefront in a different way.
“She brings us pre-training snacks – and alternatives for the players who may have nut allergies,” said Keegan Opper, Trojans senior lineman, who only accepted his second Division 1 offer from Butler on Thursday. “It’s really cool to see how she brings in the energy every day … sometimes more than the players.”
Their hype also seemed to be carried over to the soccer field.
The Trojans let Notre Dame Josh Burnham commit another dominant offensive night; a strong defensive performance with the help of all-state security Carson Bourdo; and a stunning halftime light show highlighted by the Trojans marching band.
Central led 28-0 at halftime and allowed the Hawks to score in the middle of the third quarter. After a Reed Seabase TD who put the score to 40-7, Burnham managed with a two-point conversion to put the game on a running clock.
Burnham finished with an offense of 274 yards – 103 yards, six completions; 14 carries, 171 rushing – with four touchdowns, including a 51-yard run after a no-call with a fairly obvious pass interference against central wide receiver Dante Williams. Seabase scored 110 on 12 carries with two TDs. Brayden Halliday scored a 30 yard rushing TD. Carson Bourdo caught a 43 yard TD pass from Burnham. Parker Schmidt led with seven tackles. Everest Noyes scored four extra points.
“It’s about victory and the lead. We got the win and came out of here healthy, ”said Central trainer Eric Schugars. “It was kind of sloppy and not a great ending, but we will take the win. We are ready to move on. I am proud of the children. I am proud of the preparation. We wanted to be 1-0 and we started the week 0-0. “
No. 3 TC Central (9-1) receives No. 10 Bay City Western (8-2) for the district title after the Warriors win 25:23 on a field goal eight seconds before the end of the game. The date and time of the game have not yet been set.
Heritage ends his season 4-6 and moves to the blue division of the Saginaw Valley League. Central and Traverse City West are moving to the Red Division for the 2022 season – which includes Midland, Midland Dow, Bay City Central, Bay City Western and Mount Pleasant.
HOLDER BITS: No. 4 Caledonia scored 28 unanswered points to beat Byron Center 28-14 after trailing 14-0 in the first quarter … No. 6 Muskegon Mona Shores defeated No. 5 Forest Hills Central 31-7 and is behind for the district title Travel to Caledonia. The winner of this game will meet either TC Central or Bay City Western. TC Central will host the game if it wins and annoys Mona Shores Caledonia … Top seminar in the semifinals in number 2 of TC Central South Lyon won 55-36 against Swartz Creek. It will host in East Lansing next week. … Top overall ranking No. 1 Warren De La Salle Shutout University of Detroit Jesuit 44-0. It will host the Grosse Pointe South next week.
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