Hold The Rope: Trimble’s Formula For Success

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The 2013 Trimble Tomcats have a motto. Not just a simple phrase that they recite before every practice or game, but an actual motto that guides them in the way they play football and the way they live.

When the United States National Guard visited Glouster during summer training, it left the Tomcats with a few things to think about. One lasting impression the Guard made introduced the concept of hanging off a ledge. The Guard’s message was simple – If you were about to fall, who would you want holding the rope keeping you up? You would want more than one guy wouldn’t you. You would want a whole team. A whole team standing behind you, doing everything in their power to not let you fall.

This principal stuck with the coaching staff, and prior to the start of the season, the Tomcats developed a motto for the 2013 campaign: Hold the rope.

The first time the players heard the message, it sent a chill up their spines.

“If someone is down you have to be able to keep them up and as a team keep everyone together, hold each other’s rope,” wide receiver and defensive back Austin Downs explained. “It helps everybody play better for each other.”

“If we get in a tough spot and someone does something wrong, we know someone is behind them that effects what they do and keeps us on the right track,” skill player and linebacker Jacob Koons said.

“When everyone is down just bring each other back up,” Jacob Kisch said. “Don’t let go. Keep pushing.”

Hold the rope has brought the Tomcats closer. They play together on the field and share other distinguishable characteristics off of it.

Last season the players had mohawks cut into their hair and died them pink for a game to show support for breast cancer awareness. That team finished second in the TVC-Hocking.

This year, the Tomcats decided to die their mohawks red with the hope that it would lead to more success on the field.

The decision wasn’t simply based on superstition. The Tomcats’ red mohawks also represent team unity and the close bond the players have with one another.

“We wanted to show that we are all part of a team and we all have each others’ backs,” Koons explained.

After 20 years of coaching at Trimble, 2012 was the first time head coach Phil Faires ever had juniors as captains – quarterback Konner Standley joined Koons in the role a season ago.

Standley and Koons led their team to the second round of the playoffs for the third time in school history. Standley was a Gridiron Glory Player of the Year finalist.

The two are now cherishing their final games under the lights at Glouster Memorial Stadium as captains on an undefeated 2013 Tomcats squad.

“It shows their leadership,” Faires said. “It sets the tone, you don’t want to be the person that lets them down.”

Standley and Koons’ teammates have been by their side for a long time. Most of the players on the team have played football together since the second grade. Over the years the chemistry between teammates has become almost tangible, as it is noticeably stronger than in previous seasons.

“I remember playing in the third grade championship with everybody,” Koons recalled. He pointed out a blanket from the third grade super bowl that was resting on the fence at their practice field. “We have always been together and we just enjoy playing with each other.”

The familial bond at Trimble has impacted achievements on and off the field. Having such a strong bond off the field has given the Tomcats the willingness to put everything on the line for each other and perform to their best ability day in and day out.

That dedication helped Trimble do something no TVC-Hocking team had ever done in week 2. The Tomcats knocked off three-time league champion Wahama on the road 12-7, ending the White Falcons’ 32-game regular season win streak and handing them their first ever loss in the conference.

The momentum from the week 2 win is still rolling, as the Tomcat defense has only allowed 19 points in seven wins this season. During that time, Trimble has scored 279 points – an average of 39.9 points per game.

Standley appeared on the 2013 Gridiron Glory Player of the Year watch list, as did the entire Trimble defensive unit.

With three games remaining in the regular season, the 7-0 Tomcats appear destined for a deep playoff run – Trimble is ranked No. 2 in Division VII, Region 25.

For players whose passion for the game allowed them to accomplish their goals together, share life long memories together and grow into men together, nothing feels better than football on Friday night.

For the players at Trimble, football on Friday night means one thing: Hold the rope.