It was Homecoming at Miami Trace High School Friday and the Panthers were primed and ready to take on the McClain Tigers in a Week 6 SCOL match-up.
The rains stayed away and the Panthers were able to break a two-game losing streak, beating the Tigers, 33-6.
At the same time, the Panthers gave head coach Steve Bartlett a wonderful Homecoming present in his 200th career coaching victory.
Miami Trace improves to 4-2 on the season, 1-2 in the SCOL.
McClain suffered its fifth loss in a row after a season-opening win at Adena. The Tigers are now 1-5 overall, 0-3 in the SCOL.
“Our kids played really hard,” Bartlett said. “We really pushed them in practice this week and they responded well. We’re proud of them for that and we’re pleased they could win this Homecoming game.”
Bartlett spoke about hitting the 200-career win milestone.
“It’s a tribute to the coaches and, mostly, the players over the years,” Bartlett said. “I’ve coached so many great kids. I want to thank my family, just everybody. There are just a lot of great people who have made me fortunate enough to get this.”
Bartlett coached at South Charleston Southeastern and Dayton Carroll before coming to Miami Trace in 2012.
Miami Trace set the tone early with a 10-play drive on their first possession, covering 60 yards and capped off with a 1-yard touchdown run by Drake Litteral.
The extra-point was no good, leaving the score 6-0 with 5:17 to play in the first quarter.
On their second possession, McClain moved the ball down to the Miami Trace 16-yard line, but the drive ended their as they could not convert a fourth down and nine situation.
The two teams exchanged punts early in the second quarter.
On their third possession of the game, the Panthers began at the McClain 49-yard line and ended that drive with a 27-yard pass from Skyler McDonald to Tyrae Pettiford.
The Panthers attempted a two-point run, but were turned aside, leaving the score 12-0 with 5:23 to play until the half.
After another exchange of punts, Tyrae Pettiford had an interception of a Tristan Pitzer pass at midfield near the end of the half.
Miami Trace attempted a 49-yard field goal that was short as time ran out in the first half.
Taking a look at the halftime stats, McClain had accumulated 66 total yards of offense. Pitzer was 1 of 5 passing for 2 yards and the Tigers had 20 carries for 64 yards.
Miami Trace had 161 yards of total offense in the first half.
The Panthers had 96 rushing yards on 20 carries and McDonald was 5 of 10 passing for 65 yards and one touchdown.
Drake Litteral had 53 yards rushing in the first half for Miami Trace.
At halftime, members of the Miami Trace High School graduating Class of 1966 were recognized on the field, as was former Miami Trace head coach Jeff Conroy, who was joined by his wife, Rogina and their two grandchildren, Bentley and Baylor Barnum, the children of Dan and Kyle Barnum.
In June of 2017, Conroy will be inducted into the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Miami Trace scored on its first possession of the second half, a 7-play drive that ended with a 10-yard pass from McDonald to DeAndre Pettiford.
Blake Pittser’s kick was good to make it 19-0 Panthers with 9:02 to play in the third quarter.
On McClain’s second possession of the second half, the Tigers had the ball at the Miami Trace 44-yard line.
On a third and 19 situation, the Panthers’ Brady Wallace had an interception that he returned 65 yards for a touchdown.
Pittser’s kick made it 25-0 with 3:12 to play in the third quarter.
The Tigers began their next drive with very good field position at the Miami Trace 37-yard line.
Five plays later, Pitzer scored on a 12-yard run. The extra-point kick went just wide to the left to make it a 25-6 game at that juncture.
Miami Trace had a 10-play drive to start the fourth quarter.
McDonald took the ball around the right end for a three-yard touchdown with 7:22 to play in the game. Pittser’s kick made it 33-6.
Pittser also had a likely touchdown-saving tackle of a McClain player returning a kickoff. It was his second tackle of the season.
Wallace had his second interception as McClain was going for it on fourth down and 16 from the Miami Trace 46-yard line.
The younger Panther players got some Friday night action in the final minutes of the 33-6 victory.
Miami Trace will host East Clinton (0-6) next week.
McClain will be at home next week to host Chillicothe. The Cavaliers are now 5-1 overall, 3-0 in the SCOL after a 47-7 win at Hillsboro Friday night.
Elsewhere in the SCOL Friday, Wilmington won at East Clinton, 42-10 and Clinton-Massie won at home over Washington, 70-0.
Massie and Wilmington are tied with Chillicothe atop the SCOL standings at 3-0.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1