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Bryce Downs Trimble Tomcats
Trimbles Bryce Downs signals a first down during their game against the Southern Indians. (Jacob Motta/WOUB)

Kittle Leads Tomcats in Tough Opening Round Game

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GLOUSTER, Ohio- There was a chill in the air Friday night at Glouster Memorial Stadium, but nothing was as cold as the ice that ran through Cam Kittle’s veins.

Kittle’s four total touchdowns led the Tomcats to a 26-14 victory over the Salineville Southern Indians.

Early on, the game resembled more of a boxing match with both undefeated heavyweights exchanging punishing blows.

Kittle scored his first of three rushing touchdowns on a QB sneak from one yard out to put the Tomcats up 7-0 early in the first.

Like any good fighter, the Indians had an answer. An eight-play, 73-yard drive that was capped off by a two-yard sneak by Jayce Sloan. 

After an almost perfect first drive, the Tomcat defense struggled stopping the Southern running game. The Indians did a good job trying to confuse Trimble’s defense with various offensive looks and plays that involved multiple handoffs. 

Trimble caught a break, however, when they stopped the Indians at the Tomcat five just before the half. A 16-play drive came up empty-handed for the Indians, sparking the elusive Tomcat offense.

Conner Wright, who was held to only 72 yards on the night, had his best run of the night to get Trimble out of their own end with a 23-yard carry. 

The Indians clamped down on the run, forcing Kittle to throw the ball and on fourth-and-23,  where Kittle delivered a beautiful pass to Blake Guffey who juked out Sloan and walked into the end zone. A few plays prior, it was the Kittle-Guffey connection that converted a third-and-17 to extend the drive. 

Glouster Memorial Stadium was buzzing as Trimble took a 13-6 lead to the half. 

The second half proved to be different than the first. Defenses were tighter, and offenses had to be more creative. 

The Trimble offense struggled early, and the defense had to have a “bend, not break” mentality against that high-powered Indians offense. Sawyer Koons and Ian Joyce led the way defensively for the Tomcats. Koons had 12 tackles while Joyce had 8.5 tackles. Tabor Lackey also wreaked havoc in the backfield at times especially when he lined up as a nose tackle. 

The Southern defense had that same defensive mentality as the Tomcats, but Cam Kittle made plays to break the defense. Two long rushing touchdowns of 40 and 34 yards completely broke the Indians defense and any chance they had at winning. 

Kittle finished the night with 74 yards rushing on 10 carries and three rushing scores while adding 104 yards and a score through the air. 

The Southern Indians and Trimble Tomcats play almost identical games: run heavy with strong backs, an athletic quarterback who makes the big plays, and a strong defense. This game came down to the little things, and Trimble made less mistakes then the Indians. 

Southern had two touchdowns called back because of penalties and then came up empty-handed on those drives. Then, add on a few offsides calls on the defensive side of the ball, and the defense was forced to stay out on the field longer than they would have liked. 

In a ‘win or go home’ scenario, Trimble lived to see another day, while the Southern Indians played their final game of the season Friday night. The Indians had a very respectable season as they ended the regular season with an undefeated record. 

Next for Trimble, they will be squaring off against New Middletown Springfield, the top team in region 21. The game is set for Friday, November 15, at 7:00 p.m. as these two unbeatens will clash. The location hasn’t been determined yet.