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Trimble Tomcats take the field against the Miller Falcons on October 12, 2019
Trimble Tomcats take the field against the Miller Falcons on October 12, 2019

Player of the Year Film Watch: Conner Wright

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When someone is talking about the Trimble Tomcats, they’re talking about one of two (or both) things: the dominant defense and the run-heavy offense. Conner Wright highlights both sides of the ball. The Trimble senior, however, especially excels on the offensive side of the ball. His efforts have led Trimble to another successful season where they are poised to make another deep playoff run in hopes to rewrite the record book and secure the program’s first ever state title.

  • Regular season stats: 131 carries, 1503 rushing yards, 24 rushing touchdowns

Wright, who finished second in last year’s player of the year voting, has had another impressive season playing on both sides of the ball. Here are some of his highlights from this past season.

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Need for Speed

Any good running back should have speed, and Conner Wright showcased that in week nine when Trimble hosted Southern. Wright’s 72-yard touchdown run proved he isn’t just a power running back. The guy has speed and lots of it.

Throughout the whole season, Wright proved to be dangerous when he found open space. This play is very intriguing as Wright clearly outruns both Southern defenders in a foot race and when he finally reaches the end zone, there isn’t a defender within five yards of him.

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Wright Train

While Conner Wright might not be known for his speed, he has a lot of strength. The guy can squat 500 pounds according to the white board in the Trimble locker room. That is quite a bit and he has no problem carrying defenders on his back.

In week four against South Gallia, Wright showcased the speed for a long touchdown run, but not before breaking three tackles. All three Rebel defenders tried to hit Wright high by the shoulder pads and chest, which didn’t work out at all for them.

Wright is notorious for carrying defenders on his back, literally. The Tomcats have even implemented a train whistle that they will play every time Wright has a long run during a game, further cementing the nickname.

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Run Conner, Run

Conner Wright sticks to the fundamentals whenever he plays. As any running back learns, sometimes you just have to keep the feet moving. Wright isn’t shy from contact. It takes a lot to get the guy down. This clip from the week nine Southern game is proof.

Just when you think Wright is bottled up for a medium running gain, Wright emerges from the pack and gets pushed forward by his linemen. He keeps moving along and turns something out of nothing. Another long run by Wright, who has had plenty of these throughout the season.

In case anybody was wondering, Wright finished this game with 230 yards on six carries and four touchdowns, one of his best games of the season. No running back averages over 38 yards per carry from getting tackled by wimpy contact. Wright on the other hand, didn’t seem to stop running until he found the end zone in this game.

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Running the ‘Wright’ Way  

Once again, another highlight from the Southern game. This touchdown from Wright showcases the pure athleticism that Wright has. Not only are the defenders diving at his lower body, Wright gets twisted around like a pretzel in the process and shows no sign of losing his balance.

Wright shows off his great athleticism by breaking not one, but two tackles, and then practically walks into the end zone. Wright’s balance and strength on this play proves just how purely athletic he is. Many players would go down after the first hit, a few might break the first tackle but go down after the second, but only Conner Wright would break both and score standing up.

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Not Just a Runner

Passing the football isn’t exactly Trimble’s go-to move on offense, and when they do pass the ball, Wright isn’t often the target. On this play during the Waterford game in week six, the Tomcats attempted to surprise the defense with a screen play and it worked really well.

Wright gets wide open and makes a tough catch. Cam Kittle’s pass was a little low for Wright, but he makes the adjustment and catches the pass and finds the open space. Not to mention this was a third-and-10 conversion for the Tomcats.

This play isn’t a flashy play, by any means, even for Wright’s standards, however a lot was at stake. This game was a tough rivalry game and anytime a defense could stop the Tomcats from scoring, on those rare occasions, it could provide a huge momentum boost. Wright’s catch-and-run here eliminates that possibility and provides a “drive killer” for the defense as they couldn’t get off the field on third and long.

Wright is mostly known for being a runner, not a receiver, however, plays like these proves he has a lot of versatility on offense.

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Scoring Both Ways

Alright, this is the last highlight from that Southern game in week nine, but this is a good one.

Conner Wright played a lot more snaps on defense this season compared to last season. It might be safe to say the defense was better this year compared to last season. Last year, the defense posted seven shutouts in ten regular season games, but this year the defense tallied nine shutouts in ten games and only conceded six total points in the regular season. Wright definitely made huge contributions defensively, but this could be his best play.

Here, Wright lines up as an outside linebacker and jumps the route. The Southern quarterback telegraphed the pass and Wright read it perfectly. The receiver appears to slip up, but regardless on if he was supposed to come back to the ball or not, Wright was there to make a play. He catches the ball in open space and takes it to the house untouched. This is a textbook play for the defender who does everything right. Football fans have probably seen plays like this where the defender drops the ball, but this isn’t the case.

Wright has commented before that playing both ways allows him to keep his focus. Wright’s ability to read the play and time his jump perfectly makes him a good two-way player for the Tomcats and validates that he has a high football IQ and a high focus level on the field.

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Big Time Moments

Conner Wright lives for the big moments. Any time Trimble needs a big play, Wright is the guy who provides them with that play. This next game clip comes from Trimble’s opening round playoff game against Salineville Southern. This Southern defense did a great job containing Wright as he only had 72 yards on 15 carries. However, that doesn’t mean Wright didn’t make any big plays.

After a huge goal-line stand, Trimble found themselves backed in at their own five-yard line. Wright takes the pitch and sees four defenders contain the outside. Wright uses his vision and cuts upfield, and carries a defender who eventually brings him down, but not before Wright gains 23 yards on the ground, giving the offense room to breathe.

This play eventually led to Trimble scoring a touchdown right before the half, which was a huge momentum swing for the outcome of the game. On a night where Wright was the main focus point for the defense, he still found a way to make a huge play in a crucial point in the game.

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Final Notes

Conner Wright is the main workhorse for the dominant Trimble offense. Whether it’s in the wishbone or gun, Wright is everywhere making plays. He has shown versatility as a receiver, but especially as a runner. His strength and athleticism have allowed him to tally over 1500 rushing yards through 10 regular season games. Overall, Conner Wright is the best playmaker on one of the most elite high school football teams in Southeast Ohio.

Gridiron Glory’s Player of the Year race has officially kicked off, and we need your votes to decide who will take home the trophy! Voting is open now- https://bit.ly/2JWOpzM