HAMLER — It was no scrimmage this time as Patrick Henry and McComb squared off in the D-VII, Region 26 playoffs Saturday night at Big Red Stadium, and the Panthers eliminated the Patriots, 45-21.
The two teams saw each other on Aug. 11 to begin the scrimmage season with the Panthers (10-1) winning, 3-1.
The Panthers got the best of the Patriots again in the playoffs.
McComb got things started early as Tanner Schroeder tossed a quick out to Robert O’Dell, who turned it upfield and rumbled for 80 yards to paydirt at the 9:38 mark of the first quarter.
A botched snap over TJ Rhamy’s head after a three-and-out set the Panthers up at the Patriot 22 yard-line. On the next play, Schroeder scampered in for a 22-yard touchdown to give the visitors a quick 14-0 advantage.
Later in the first quarter, the Panthers used a six-play drive to balloon their lead to 21-0 as Tanner Schroeder plunged into the end zone from a yard out.
But Patrick Henry answered right back. On the next play, Rhamy hit Wil Morrow for an 83-yard touchcown to make it 21-7 with 1:08 left in the first quarter.
Schroeder responded, taking off a 71-yard touchdown jaunt to push the McComb lead to 28-7.
From that point until nearly a minute left, both defenses stiffened up and did not allow another point.
Patrick Henry took over with 57 seconds left in the half and after a three-yard run by Rhamy, he found Braden Petersen for a 25-yard completion before Petersen fumbled and Sam Zimmer recovered at the nine yard line.
After no gain on first down and an incompletion, the Patriots were backed up on a holding penalty before Rhamy found Morrow for the nine-yard score to cut the lead to 28-14.
On the ensuing drive, Schroeder ran for 32 yards to the Patriot 29 with seven seconds left. Schroeder attempted a 46-yard field goal but fell short and the score remained 28-14 at the half.
“I knew they would be physical but I thought we could match it,” admitted Patriot coach Bill Inselmann. “I give them all the credit in the world because they are physical and tough.”
In the third with 6:53 left, the Panthers added another score after a Schroeder interception moved it to the Patriot 20. Five plays later, Schroeder plunged in from 12 yards out to make it 35-14.
Rhamy scored with 8:04 left from five yards out on a seven-play, 49-yard drive that featured five Panther penalties to make it 35-21.
Schroeder added a 39-yard field goal with 3:43 left to give McComb a three-possession lead.
Tyler Durfey finished off the scoring, plunging over the goalline from a yard out with 2:28 remaining.
Schroeder finished with 200 yards rushing and 86 yards passing for the Panthers.
“We felt coming in he was the best player we saw on film,” explained PH mentor Bill Inselmann. “He’s a tremendous athlete because he touches the ball every time.”
Morrow caught three balls for 110 yards and rushed for 59 yards to lead the Patriots.
PH returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2016, its 17th appearance overall. Inselmann finishes the season tied with Archbold legend John Downey with 223 career wins.
McComb will now play Leipsic, which took down No. 1 Mohawk.
The Patriots finish a remarkable season given the adversity and range of emotions, truly one, Inselmann or the community will never forget.
“This will always be a special year because of how we turned it around,” he said. “We’ve obviously had better seasons but we’ve never done this. The kids never quit and never gave up. What we experienced and overcame in the second half of the season will always be unique.”
First Downs 13 6
Rushing Yards 33-267 41-186
Passing Yards 86 188
Total Yards 353 374
Passing 5-9-0 9-21-1
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 3-1
Penalties 15-128 4-39
McComb 21 7 7 0 — 35
Patrick Henry 7 7 0 7 — 21
M — O’Dell 80-pass from Schroeder (Schroeder kick).
M — Schroeder 22-run (Schroeder kick).
M — Schroeedr 1-run (Schroeder kick).
PH — Morrow 83-pass from Rhamy (Healy kick).
M — Schroeder 71-run (Schroeder kick).
PH — Morrow 23-pass from Rhamy (Healy kick).
M — Schroeder 12-run (Schroeder kick).
PH — Rhamy 5-run (Healy kick).
M — Schroeder 39-field goal.
M — Durfey 1-run (Schroeder kick).
RUSHING: McComb — Schroeder 18-200; Durfey 7-46; Loe 7-19; Dillon 1-2. Patrick Henry — Rhamy 21-83; Morrow 15-59; DeLong 4-45. PASSING: McComb — Schroeder 4-6-0-86; Durfey 1-3-0-0. Patrick Henry — Rhamy 9-20-1-188; Holloway 0-1-0-0. RECEIVING: McComb — O’Dell 4-86; Schroeder 1-0. Patrick Henry — Morrow 3-110; Holloway 4-33; Petersen 1-32; Zimmer 1-13.