Recap: Trimble Scores 25 Unanswered Points To Capture 2nd Straight Regional Championship [With Slideshow]

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History repeated itself in this year’s regional final as the Trimble Tomcats scored 25 unanswered points to take down the Shadyside Tigers and earn a spot in the state final four for a second-straight year.

The Tomcats (13-0) trailed 21-6 late in the second half, until a Justice Jenkins touchdown sparked a thrilling Trimble comeback. The defense adjusted to the Shadyside offense and were able to force several turnovers while Jenkins and Austin Downs took over the attack.

The Tigers (12-1) came out of the gates with a lot of firepower. Indiana University committment Austin Dorris led the offense down the field on the first drive and connected with Stevie Doughty for a 19-yard touchdown.

Trimble would not put together a solid response until midway through the second quarter. Jenkins took to the outside on the ground, gathering solid yardage that set up a 34-yard touchdown pass to Downs.

Dorris took it upon himself to respond quickly. On the ensuing drive, Dorris took the ball 73 yards for the score on just the second play. The Tigers took the ball back at the Tomcat 46 from a tipped interception, and Eric Howell would punch it in from 5 yards out to extend the lead to 21-6.

Cue the Tomcats comeback.

The Tomcats started the ensuing drive with just over a minute to go in the half. After a bad drop on a trick play that would’ve been a touchdown, Jenkins ran the ball to the 38-yard line, and then caught a 38-yard touchdown with 26 seconds left in the half.

“Going into the half down really makes you think, ‘is this going to be my last half?’ We sit there and come together as a team and decide this is not gonna be our last half,” Downs said after the game. “We put it on our line and said, ‘if we’re gonna win, it’s gonna be because of you guys.”

It would not be their last half, but it may have been one of their greatest halves.

Coming out of the locker rooms after halftime, the Tomcats displayed the swagger that the Glouster faithful have come to know. On the first drive, Shadyside appeared flustered, drawing two big penalties and allowing the Tomcats to go down the field and setup Jenkins for his second touchdown.

On the ensuing drive, things got nerve-wracking for the Tomcats. Austin Downs was taken out of the game with an injury to his ankle, with his return questionable.

Downs put those questions to rest by coming back into the game and making a big fourth down catch in the red zone. On the very next play he trotted on that hurt ankle right into the end zone and caught an Andrew Losey pass to give the Tomcats their first lead of the game, 25-21.

Jenkins also returned to the game after sitting out for a few plays.

Dorris would attempt to rally the troops, leading the Tigers downfield very quickly. He carried the ball down inside the 5, appearing as though he was going to score, until the Tomcats stripped the ball and watched it roll out of the back of the end zone for a Trimble touchback.

Turnovers would keep the Tigers from mounting any heroic comeback. After the Tomcats intercepted the ball with three minutes left in the game, the script was completed when Justice Jenkins took the ball 28 yards down the sideline on fourth and inches for the final touchdown.

Austin Downs sealed the deal with an interception on the final Shadyside drive to seal the victory for the Tomcats.

Coach Faires’ ability to adjust to the offense that Shadyside played was incredible. The defense was able to shut down every major threat on the Tiger side in the second half, leaving Dorris shaken up, forcing turnovers, and taking star running-back Eric Howell nearly out of the equation.

Losey finished 15-21 passing with 190 yards and three touchdowns, while Jenkins rushed for 150 yards and three total touchdowns and Downs had five receptions and two touchdowns.

The Tomcats will play Norwalk St. Paul in the state semi-final next weekend.