NILES – The calendar may say that it is June, but it sure felt like football season Thursday night at Niles Bo Rein Stadium as the Trumbull all-star edged the Mahoning/Columbiana team 10-6. The Trumbull team used a power run game along with a stingy defense to pull out the narrow victory.
With temperatures in the upper 50’s, along with a strong breeze and intermittent showers throughout the game, both teams utilized a dominant run game along with short possession passing. But it was the Trumbull squad that came up with the big plays when it counted.
“I’ll be honest with you, I thought there would be more points scored,” Trumbull and Champion head coach Tim McGlynn remarked on the low-scoring affair. “Especially with the kind of guys Mahoning had skill wise. We were just trying to eat the clock offensively and do what we do.”
With the Trumbull team-leading 10-6 heading into the fourth quarter, the Mahoning team launched a potential game-winning drive from their own 10-yard line with ten minutes remaining in the contest. They would drive to the Trumbull 16-yard line with only two and a half minutes remaining. Mahoning quarterback Michael O’Horo (Boardman) threw a pass into the back corner of the end zone where Labrae’s Benton Tennant picked the aerial off. The Trumbull team would then run out the clock to preserve the victory.
“I kind of knew where they were going, to begin with, so I got deep and read the quarterbacks eyes, and just went and got it,” Tennant explained. Tennant would pick off O’Horo on the first possession of the game to make it a bookend night for the Viking defensive back.
“We just wanted to get the stop. We just wanted to keep getting stops after stops to make sure they didn’t get into the endzone,” Tennant added.
“You know coming from Champion and playing against LaBrae, those guys are good. They are good football players all-around. On defense, Tennant was all over the place. He’s a ball hawk, he’s just a great athlete,” McGlynn remarked.
“We knew the clock was going fast and we had the players to do it, we just came down to us keeping our momentum,” O’Horo said of the drive. “They switched up the coverage a little at the end, and some miscommunication ended our drive.”
The Trumbull team used that opening pick-off by Tennant to start their first possession at the Mahoning 30-yard line where they drove to the Mahoning 1. But following a big defensive play by the Mahoning team, the Trumbull squad had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Harding’s Mike Clauss to grab an early 3-0 lead.
The Mahoning squad would answer right back as they ground out an 8 play, 75-yard march with O’Horo connecting with Valley Christian’s Jordan Trowers from 18-yards out to give them a 6-0 advantage. The two-point conversion failed for the Mahoning team.
The Trumbull team would retake the lead late in the third quarter following a fumble by the Mahoning squad at their own 12-yard line. Hubbard’s Lukas Mosora would recover the fumbled snap at the 13, where Trumbull would convert 2 plays later on a 4-yard pass from Chalker’s quarterback Trystan Mollohan to receiver Jeremy Wilson from Harding. Clauss added the extra point to provide the final point of the night.
The home town son of Niles’ Rob Savin would take home the Trumbull team’s MVP award courtesy of his 78 yards on 13 carries in leading the ground attack. Labrae’s Colton Stoneman would add an additional 33 yards on 10 carries to the Trumbull offense.
For Savin, the opportunity to play one more time and leave on the winning side on his home turf was gratifying, “It was nice to be back here again. We could have won a couple more games here, but it was nice to come out here and get a win.”
“I just came out and prepared as much as I can,” Savin remarked about being the workhorse for the Trumbull team. “The line did a great job, I can’t thank them enough. They did a great job every single play.”
For the Mahoning team, O’Horo was named the MVP due to his tremendous passing effort. O’Horo would connect on 17 of 22 throws for 146 yards and a touchdown. Trowers would be on the receiving end of 6 of those passes for 53 yards and a score.
“It means a lot just because there is a lot of great competition on our team and the other team,” O’Horo said. “It was a great experience and our whole team played really well, since my position I get the award, but really the whole team deserved it.”
“We played really well. It just came down to them making one more play than us, but it was a really fun game and a fun experience,” O’Horo added.