Southern Local bows out

GLOUSTER — Southern Local’s football team put itself in a position to pull off a shocker a long way from home on Friday in a Div. VI, Region 21 playoff opener, but the more playoff tested Trimble Tomcats turned back the Indians 26-14.

Southern (10-1) went down 20-6 with 7:21 left in the game after a Cam Kittle 40-yard touchdown run and looked like it could be out of chances.

The Indians countered with a quick and efficient drive, ending with a thrilling Jayce Sloan 10-yard touchdown pass to Josh Pratt on fourth down. The two-point conversion was tacked on to make it 20-14 with 3:52 left in the game.

Southern needed a stop, but the quarterback Kittle struck again with a 35-yard touchdown run on third down for the final score of the game with 2:16 left on the clock.

Kittle led the way with 10 carries for 73 yards and three touchdowns as well as 105 yards passing with a touchdown. On defense, he had an interception late in the fourth quarter.

Trimble (11-0) advances to meet Springfield Local at 7 p.m. next Friday at a site to be determined on Sunday. Springfield beat Western Reserve 34-7 on Friday in another Region 21 game.

Southern, which had its lowest point total since the 2016 season finale against Wellsville where it was shutout 42-0, was also turned back at the start of the fourth quarter down 13-6. Faced with 3rd and 6 from the Tomcat 8, Southern was hit with a holding penalty, a sack and a delay of game in quick order. Sawyer Koons recovered his second fumble of the game to end the Indian threat.

Trimble is no stranger to the playoffs. The Tomcats were a Div. VII finalist a season ago and now have won a playoff game in eight straight seasons. Southern is winless in three playoff tries.

The opening drive of the game ended with Southern fumbling on fourth down and Trimble’s Koons recovering on the Indian 44.

Southern outgained Trimble 364-276, but had 145 yards in penalties.