MOUNT STERLING, Ill. -- Joe Hendricker thought the Brown County football team had an answer.
Tuscola's Dalton Hoel didn't let it happen.
After Tuscola opened the game with a touchdown pass, Brown County seemed poised to answer when Hendricker threw a jump ball to tight end Tanner Sussenbach to the corner of the end zone. Hoel, listed at 5-foot-6, beat Sussenbach, who is listed at 6-3, and picked off the pass.
"We thought we had a size advantage," Hendricker said. "The kid just made a great play on the ball."
It also swung the momentum heavily in the Tuscola's favor as the top-seeded Warriors scored seven plays later to push their lead to two touchdowns and never looked back in a 50-13 victory over ninth-seeded Brown County in Saturday's second round of the Class 1A playoffs. The 50 points were the second-most allowed by a Brown County team in playoff history.
Tuscola (11-0) didn't need much time to score either.
The Warriors had seven scoring drives, and they averaged fewer than four plays on those drives.
"They can score points, and we knew that coming in," Brown County coach Tom Little said. "We knew we had to take every opportunity we could to try and stay with them."
Brown County (8-3) missed on those opportunities.
The Hornets attempted a surprise onside kick to open the game, but the Warriors recovered the ball at their own 45-yard line. Five plays later, Tuscola quarterback Luke Sluder hit Hoel for a 45-yard touchdown pass.
Hendricker was picked off by Hoel in the end zone on the ensuing drive. On Brown County's next drive, the Hornets were turned away after a failed fake punt attempt. That resulted in a six-play, 39-yard scoring drive capped by an 8-yard run by Sluder to make it 22-0 with 11:51 remaining in the second quarter. After Brown County went three-and-out, Tuscola scored two plays later on a 12-yard run by Andrew Erickson to make it 29-0 with 9:37 remaining in the first half.
"(Brown County) plays a style where they want this game over quick," Tuscola coach Andy Romine said. "The longer that game stayed close, the more they felt comfortable with keeping it on the ground.
"After we took a couple-touchdown lead, I really think they felt like they had to take some chances."
The Hornets were just looking for anything positive.
"It was rough, but we had to just keep fighting because we knew this was potentially the last game," Sussenbach said. "As a senior, you had to have the mindset that you weren't going to lose.
"Things didn't go our way, but you still can't give up."
Brown County finally got on the board when Hendricker hit running back Devin Tynan for a 6-yard touchdown on fourth and goal with 36 seconds left until halftime. The Hornets didn't score again until Hendricker threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Sussenbach with 6:51 remaining in regulation.
The Hornets totaled 250 yards of offense, and 107 of those yards came through the air from Hendricker. Brown County averaged just 3.2 yards per carry.
Tuscola had just 260 yards of offense. Sluder completed 8 of 12 pass attempts for 154 yards and three scores.
Tuscola 50, Brown County 13
14 First downs 14
19-106 Rushes-yards 48-153
154 Passing yards 97
260 Total yards 250
8-13-1 Comp-Att-Int 6-18-3
1-0 Fumbles-lost 0-0
3-40 Penalties-yards 6-58
Tuscola 14 15 21 0--50
Brown County 0 7 0 6--13
T--Dalton Hoel 45 pass from Luke Sluder (Cade Kresin kick), 9:56
T--Sluder 31 run (Kresin kick), 4:51
T--Sluder 8 run (Hoel run), 11:51
T--Andrew Erickson 12 run (Kresin kick), 9:37
B--Devin Tynan 6 pass from Joe Hendricker (Hendricker kick), 0:36
T--Haden Cothron 16 pass from Sluder (Kresin kick), 9:25
T--Hoel 38 pass from Sluder (Kresin kick), 6:23
T--Cothron 1 run (Kresin kick), 4:06
B--Tanner Sussenbach 4 pass from Hendricker (run failed), 6:51
RUSHING--Tuscola, Sluder 10-85, Erickson 2-13, Cothron 2-5, Noah Pierce 1-11, Hoel 1-(-1), Gage Russell 1-0, Ben Dixon 1-(-7), Brown County, Darian Drake 23-90, Tynan 13-38, Wyatt Fink 7-25, Gavin Miller 1-10, Seth Fisher 2-(-1), Hendricker, 1-(-12).
PASSING--Tuscola, Sluder 8-12-154-3, Cole Cunningham 0-1-0-0, Brown County, Hendricker 7-20-107-2.
RECEIVING--Tuscola, Pierce 4-50, Hoel 3-88, Cothron 1-16, Brown County, Sussenbach 4-81, Tynan 2-16.