Schroeder Leads McComb To First State Title Since 1983 With Victory Over Trimble

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CANTON, Ohio — The Trimble Tomcats and McComb Panthers met Saturday morning at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio in a matchup that showcased a dominating performance by the Panthers on both sides of the ball.

McComb got on the board midway through the first quarter when McComb’s Tanner Schroeder called his own number on a fourth and short situation. On what looked to be a three-yard gain, turned into more as Schroeder emerged from a pile, bounced out to the right side, and ran the remaining 40 yards untouched, giving the Panthers a 7-0 lead with 8:48 left in the first.

Trimble would respond late in the first quarter after taking over inside the McComb 30-yard line. The McComb defense limited any long runs, but a personal foul put Trimble inside the redzone, where they would have to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Max Hooper, cutting their deficit to 7-3 with 1:16 left in the first. Those three points were Trimble’s first three points in a state title game ever as they were shutout in their last state title appearance in 2013.

McComb would respond on the ensuing drive, scoring on another Schroeder rushing touchdown from eight yards out. The Tomcat defense appeared to be worn down on the 10 play 67-yard drive.

Trimble would not be able to respond thanks to an interception by McComb’s Tyler Durfey on a fourth and long play where Trimble’s Cam Kittle threw it up for grabs in the endzone from the McComb 28-yard line.

Facing a 14-3 deficit, the Trimble defense came up big to open the half, forcing McComb to go 3-and-out, but a Tim Dixon interception on Trimble’s ensuing drive set up a Jacob Dillon touchdown, extending McComb’s lead to 21-3 with 8:56 left in the third quarter.

The Tomcats’ offense would remain stagnant in the second half as the McComb defense came up with key stops at very important times. McComb would add their fourth touchdown on the day late in the third quarter on a four-yard run by Kheaghan Loe, who finished with 86 yards rushing.

McComb’s offense proved to be too much for the Tomcats’ defense as Schroeder led the way for the Panthers, rushing it for 107 yards on 19 carries and adding two scores as the Panthers ran away with the 28-3 victory.

The Panther defense stepped up where it needed to and limited Trimble’s wishbone offense to very few big plays. Kittle led the offense for the Tomcats going 6-21 passing for 69 yards, but three interceptions allowed for Trimble’s drives to come up empty. He also added 49 rushing yards.

Conner Wright and Max Hooper were shut down all day long by the Panther defense. Wright rushed for 12 yards on nine carries while Hooper rushed for 21 yards on 14 carries. The McComb defense did an excellent job attacking the line of scrimmage and getting to Hooper and Wright early in the backfield.

Sawyer Koons, who was named Division VII Player of the Year earlier this week, battled the ankle injury he suffered in the Lucas game all day long, resulting in limited snaps for him. He finished with five tackles on the day.

To fill the gap, many of the seniors stepped up for the Tomcats, including Sam Ives, who finished with a team-high 13 tackles. Noah Rossiter also contributed with seven tackles and junior Ian Joyce added 9 tackles of his own.

For the McComb Panthers, this state title marks the first in program history since 1983. They’ll be graduating quite a few seniors, including Schroeder, Loe, and Durfey who led their team on both sides of the ball this season.

For the Trimble Tomcats, this marks their second state runner-up finish in five years. Looking ahead to next year, they’ll have to replace Rossiter, Ives, and Hooper, along with Trey Young and Alex Coffman, who were two key guys for the offensive line. Fortunately for the Tomcats, Kittle, Wright, and Koons return to a team that should be favored to repeat and win the TVC-Hocking again.

Despite the loss today, the Tomcats have nothing to be down about. The 2018 season was historic for them. They achieved their second state runner-up in six years and set a school record with nine shutouts on the year, including six straight at one point. Also, the 2018 season saw Cam Kittle, Max Hooper, and Conner Wright all rush for over 1,000 yards. The Trimble Tomcats have a lot of success to build on heading into their 2019 campaign.