The Miami Trace Panthers were looking to make it two wins in a row when they hosted the McClain Tigers Friday night. The Panthers got the win, 40-11.
The victory should enhance Miami Trace’s chances of garnering a playoff spot in Division III, Region 11.
Miami Trace got on the board with a 38-yard pass from Shay Salyers — the senior getting the start at quarterback — to Jake Manbevers. Zach Warnock’s kick gave the Panthers a 7-0 lead with 7:02 to play in the first quarter.
McClain had an interception by Riley Cummins that set up the Tigers’ first score, which was an 18-yard run by Andrew Potts.
Potts finished the game with 115 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
McClain went for two and the run by quarterback Kaden Penwell was successful for an 8-7 Tiger lead with 2:32 to play in the quarter.
A long kickoff return by Gaige Stuckey set up Miami Trace’s next score, which was a 36-yard field goal by Warnock for a 10-8 Panther lead.
With 5:24 to play in the first half, McClain’s Emerson Yates connected for a 37-yard field goal, putting the Tigers back on top, 11-10.
With 3:09 to play in the half, the Panthers responded with a 34-yard field goal by Warnock.
D.J. Frost had an interception for the Tigers late in the half, leaving the score at 13-11 in favor of Miami Trace at the break.
Trey Robinette passed to Garrett Guess for a touchdown and Warnock’s kick put the Panthers’ advantage at 20-11.
Austin Boedeker had an interception and long return for the Panthers, setting up Asher LeBeau’s 2-yard scoring run. With Warnock’s kick, the Panthers were in front, 27-11, with 5:44 to play in the third quarter.
Late in the third quarter, Warnock hit his third field goal of the game, this one from 40 yards with plenty of distance to spare, making it 30-11, Panthers.
Robinette passed to Landen Cope for a 73-yard touchdown play with 10:09 to play in the third quarter.
Warnock made his fourth field goal of the game, this one from 43 yards, to set what would be the final score, 40-11.
Miami Trace had 290 yards of total offense to 192 for McClain. Miami Trace had 241 yards passing to 2 for the Tigers. McClain had 190 yards rushing on 45 carries and the Panthers had 49 yards rushing on 23 attempts.
“We challenged these guys all week to come out fast in the second half,” Miami Trace coach Jerry Williams said.
It was a challenge excepted by the Panthers.
The Panthers improved to 4-5 overall and 2-2 in the Frontier Athletic Conference. McClain fell to 4-5 overall, 0-4 in the conference.
Miami Trace is at Gardner Park next week to take on Washington, while McClain visits Hillsboro.
Hillsboro fell to 3-6 and 0-4 in the conference with a 41-27 loss at home to Chillicothe Friday.
The Cavs are now 7-2 overall, 3-1 in the FAC, tied for second place with Washington.
Beginning last season, the top 16 teams in each region qualify for the playoffs.
McClain is No. 16 this week in Division IV, Region 16. The Tigers need a win over Hillsboro this Friday and some other things have to happen for them to make the playoffs.
Hillsboro is No. 16 this week in Division III, Region 12. Like McClain, a win by the Indians over the Tigers might not by itself be enough to get into the playoffs.
Chris Hoppes is the sports editor for the Record-Herald in Washington C.H.