Turnovers Sink Tomcats, Spoil Perfect Season

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The Trimble Tomcats were no strangers to second half heroics: they trailed at the half in each of their previous two games. However, that second half push was nowhere to be found tonight against Norwalk St. Paul.

Seven Tomcat turnovers, combined with 337 yards from St. Paul’s triple option-rushing attack, combined to push the Flyers to the 41-13 win in the Division VII State Semifinal match-up, putting an end to Trimble’s season.

The Flyers did not waste any time building their lead when Brad Smith punched in touchdown No. 1 just four minutes into the contest, but play leveled out for the rest of the half. Neither offense could seal the deal on lengthy drives, including a St. Paul 95-yard drive which resulted in no points for the Flyers.

Late in the half, a St. Paul fumble set up Trimble with a chance to knot things up, but a fumble on the ensuing play, followed by a St. Paul scoop and score, put the tally at 14-0.

Rolling into the second half, Trimble struck pay dirt first when Andrew Losey hit Justice Jenkins for an 18-yard score, slashing the lead to 14-7. With momentum on its side, the turnover bug bit – and it bit down hard.

Later on in the quarter, with Trimble driving, Losey hurled a ball down the field, only for it to get picked off by St. Paul’s Grant Dilger. Dilger’s return placed the ball at the Trimble two where Smith would finish the job, extending the score to 21-7. The pick would be the first of five for Losey.

Five turnovers and 20 St. Paul points later, the game became out of reach. The three-headed attack of Smith, Jaret Nickoli and Devin Smith combined for 313 yards and five touchdowns – Nickoli was the high man of the bunch with 120 yards.

The score stood at 35-7 going into the final stanza, but Trimble had one more dazzling play left in its pocket. Austin Downs’s decorated career finished with a slick 71-yard punt return touchdown to conclude Trimble’s scoring. He concluded his career with 66 all-purpose yards.

St. Paul will meet defending state champion Marion Local next Saturday at Ohio Stadium in the state finals, the very team to which Trimble fell last year in the title game.

For Trimble, it wasn’t the ending the Tomcats had in mind, but tonight’s loss pushes the team’s mark to 27-2 over the last two years.