There could be an overwhelming sense of accomplishment in the Trimble High School varsity locker room. For the second straight season, the Tomcats will appear in the Division VI state playoffs.
However, Trimble coach Phil Faires has his crew on lockdown, looking toward the future, where the Tomcats will focus on one common goal: taking the next step by getting a win Saturday against Symmes Valley.
The Tomcats have made it to the postseason five times in the past decade. In only two of those appearances they have ventured past the first round.
Last season, the Tomcats fell to Shadyside in their opening playoff game. In 2008, Trimble lost in its 12th game of the season, marking their deepest playoff run since 2001.
Faires mentioned that the team doesn't have to do anything special to be successful against Symmes Valley.
With the progression of the season, Trimble has gotten stronger. Quarterback Justin Jewell has steadily improved his areal attack and has gotten a wider array of players involved in the offense. The Tomcats have also adapted a multi-back system headlined by Austin Keith, who has been hampered by ankle problems all season.
The argument could be made, however, that the Tomcats' strength of schedule has declined as well, prompting their string of seven wins. Nevertheless, the Tomcats have proven their mettle down the stretch this season and will look to progress once again against Symmes Valley.
With anything less than pedestrian performances, seniors Keith and Jewell will break the 1,000-yard threshold Saturday, Keith on the ground and his counterpart through the air.
Sophomore wideout Wyatt Deak is Jewell's most frequent target. He has averaged nearly 20 yards per catch this season, which has been good for four touchdowns.
Faires indicated that the Vikings will be content moving the ball on the ground Saturday. He added, though, that they have a competent play-action attack, which will keep the Tomcat secondary on its toes.
The only schedule comparison that can be drawn between the teams is a common matchup with Chesapeake. Trimble fell to the Panthers in preseason competition, while Symmes Valley was only able to muster three points against them on its own field.
The Vikings are 9-1 on the season and are Region 23's number one seed.