By JAKE DOROW
WILLOW WOOD — In a Region 23 quarterfinals match-up between the visiting Tomcats from Trimble and host Symmes Valley, the home crowd was not disappointed in the outcome.
Symmes Valley (10-1) will move on to play Beallsville in the semifinals after coming out 28-19 winners over Trimble (7-4).
It was Trimble, though, that wasted no time in the game, shocking the Vikings with trickery right out of the gate. From the first play of scrimmage the Tomcats ran a reverse and Konnor Standley found a wide open Wyatt Deak running up the sideline for a 45-yard gain.
Four plays later senior quarterback Justin Jewell punched it in the end zone from 1 yard with 10:06 remaining in the first quarter. After the extra point was blocked the Tomcats led 6-0.
Jewell finished with 114 yards and three touchdowns in the game.
Symmes Valley’s defense soon responded with a recovered fumble with 2:14 and the momentum seemingly changing sides. However, after a series of costly penalties on the ensuing drive, the Vikings were forced to punt.
The two teams both exchanged punts later in the quarter with strong defensive play as the teams went back and fourth.
Symmes Valley found some offensive rhythm in the middle of the second quarter with a screen pass from Cody Myers to Jordan Fullford for 36 yards, although Trimble’s defense had the final answer in the drive. On a key fourth-and-goal on the one-yard line, D.J. Miller was stuffed just short of the goal line with 4:47 remaining in the half.
Miller finished the game with 108 rushing yards and one touchdown.
The play denied Symmes Valley its first score of the game and possibly the lead.
After another strong defensive series for the Vikings, Symmes Valley seemed to turn it on with time winding down in the half.
After a 25-yard run from Myers and a key 8-yard run from Miller on a third-and-three, the Vikings were threatening. With 1:21 remaining in the half, Alec Herrell, who finished the game with 67 rushing yards and one touchdown, scored from 9 yards.
An extra point from Eli Ash gave Symmes Valley the 7-6 lead at the half.
The Vikings carried that momentum into the second half.
Symmes Valley’s defense came up with their second fumble recovery of the game with 6:43 remaining in the third, and the offense wasted no time taking control of the game.
Five plays and 27 yards later, Miller scored from 16 yards with 4:37 remaining in the third. The Vikings led the Tomcats 14-6 after the extra point.
It took only 48 seconds for Symmes Valley to open up the game. After three incomplete passes from the Trimble’s offense the Vikings wasted no time.
From the first play of the ensuing drive Herrell appeared to be tackled for a loss; however, he managed to escape and explode for 54 yards and the score, opening the game up 21-6 in the Vikings favor with 3:49 remaining in the third quarter.
Trimble’s offense was having trouble moving the ball, so head coach Phil Faires shifted to the wildcat formation. With Standley running the show, the Tomcats put together an eight-play, 64-yard drive.
Jewell finished the drive with a 10-yard run with 7:54 remaining in the fourth quarter and after a missed extra point it was still a two-score game at 21-12.
The Tomcats defense came alive again, forcing a three and out and getting the ball back late in the fourth quarter.
Still in the wildcat, the combination of Standley and Jewelll led Trimble down the field. After a nine-play, 74-yard drive, Jewell found Deak cutting across the end zone for a 15-yard score.
Deak managed to compile 68 receiving yards and one touchdown.
The Tomcats cut the lead to 21-19 with 4:29 remaining in the fourth quarter and Symmes Valley looked stunned.
The Vikings got the ball back and had a chance to drive down the field and put the game away, but on a fourth-and-one a costly false start forced Symmes Valley to punt the ball away.
On the ensuing drive, Miller of Symmes Valley came up with the third turnover of the game. Trimble’s Jewell dropped back and fired to the sideline, into Miller’s arms, with 2:16 remaining in the game.
Back on offense, Myers dropped back and found Miller for 18 yards with 56 seconds remaining and with no timeouts left, Trimble knew it was over.
Symmes Valley will need another strong defensive effort and a strong running game against Beallsville next weekend.
S. Valley- 0 7 14 7
Trimble- 6 0 0 13
T- Jewell 1 run (Kick Blocked) 10:06
SV- Herrell 9 run (Ask Kick) 1:21
SV- Miller 16 run (Ash Kick) 4:37
SV- Herrell 54 run (Ash Kick) 3:49
T- Jewell 10 run (Kick fail) 7:54
T- Deak 15 from Jewell (Spears Good) 4:29
SV- Miller 18 from Myers (Ash Good) 56.9