Updated Sun, Dec 8, 2013 4:34 pm
The first Division-VII championship in the history of the OHSAA ended with the Trimble Tomcats falling at the hands of the Marion Local Flyers on Saturday night, 33-0. It is the Flyers’ third consecutive state championship, with the last two having come as a D-VI school.
The championship victory is the seventh in Marion Local’s history. The win increased their historic playoff winning percentage to .855 with a record of 53-9.
The Flyers, led by D-VII coach of the year Tim Goodwin, called all the right plays in cutting right through the Tomcat defense on the first drive of the game.
Senior quarterback and University of Pittsburgh commit Adam Bertke threw precise passes and handed off to his back Jacy Goettemoeller several times, picking up four first downs in five plays.
Bertke rolled right and threw a screen to Goettemoeller in the backfield near the Flyers’ sideline, and he rumbled 19 yards for the touchdown to go up 7-0.
Trimble responded on the kickoff on a reverse with Terry Simmerly handing the ball off to Konner Standley, who took the ball to the 45-yard line. The Tomcat offense moved steadily, all the way down to the Marion Local 5. Standley, in attempting to flip the ball to Austin Downs in the end zone, instead found Peyton Kramer for an interception.
Both defenses found their footing, and dug in as neither team produced much offensively. Marion Local reached the Trimble red zone with just under six minutes left in the half, but Goettemoeller coughed up the football. Justice Jenkins fell on it and the Tomcats regained possession.
Trimble made a grave mistake after a missed field goal. Near the end of the half they attempted to move the ball but maintained possession for only forty seconds before punting it away. On four successive plays, Bertke completed first down passes. Starting on his own 29, Bertke completed two consecutive passes to Hunter Wilker (for 11 and 17 yards respectively), Troy Homan for 16 yards and to Ryan Bruns down the right sideline to the two-yard line. Two plays later, Bertke punched it in for the score to put the Flyers up 13-0.
“Maybe we should have just ran the clock out, but we wanted to try and win,” Trimble coach Phil Faires said. “We didn’t come here to have a close game, we wanted to go for the win and it gave them just enough time to score.”
Trimble received possession to start the second half but gave the Flyers short field when Standley threw another interception. The next play, Goettemoeller found the end zone again and Marion Local went up 19-0.
Marion Local took advantage of short field on their next possession, after another Standley interception, as Bertke capped the short drive with a 3-yard plunge.
The Flyers scored on the next possession on a Goettemoeller 1-yard run to run the score to its final count of 33-0.
Marion Local outgained the Mohawk Mafia 414-104 on the evening.
The Flyers distributed the ball among several players on the ground, with three different players running for at least forty yards, those being Bertke, Goettemoeller and Aaron Nietfeld.
Bertke completed 17 of 28 passes with a touchdown and an interception while also picking up two touchdowns on the ground to go along with 54 yards. Bertke connected with his start receiver Troy Homan 10 times for 119 yards.
His counterpart Standley struggled, going 3-of-16 with three interceptions.
Ultimately, the folks in Glouster’s support meant a lot to the Tomcats.
“The community support helps a lot. It means a lot to us to know that we’re helping them too as much as they’re helping us, and it’s has been a fun ride. It has been the funnest time of my life,” Standley said.
The air surrounding the Tomcats has been electric all year, and the players have memories that will last a lifetime
Senior and co-defensive player of the year Jacob Koons said, “I know we’ll look back on this and be proud of being state runners up, but we wanted to win and that didn’t happen.”
All in all, it still was a moment to remember for Athens area football, as Trimble is the first Athens County team to make the state championship game in any sport since Nelsonville-York did in football in 1981. There is a great deal of pride. The Mohawks will likely live on a bit longer.