McClone made history Friday night by running his way right into the football record books at Warsaw Community High School.
The standout junior tailback broke the school’s single-season rushing record, which had stood for three decades, versus perennial state power Penn in a playoff game.
The moment for McClone was bittersweet as the Tigers saw their season end with a 42-21 loss to the No. 8 Kingsmen in a rainy, Class 5-A Sectional 2 opener.
McClone ran for 155 yards on 26 carries with a pair of touchdowns versus Penn. He finishes his junior season with 1,718 yards, surpassing the old school standard of 1,652 set by Rod Wildman in 1972.An emotional McClone, caked in mud from head to toe, wiped away the tears as he talked about his historic night.
“It’s neat, but not as neat as if we had won the game,” McClone said. “Winning was obviously our priority tonight. But, I can’t be more proud of our seniors. They fought so hard. I’m so proud of my offensive line.
“My work ethic is my greatest asset, whether it’s on the football field or in the classroom. I want that in our program. We will not quit.”
There was no quit in the Tigers Friday night. The hosts were simply overwhelmed by a superior Penn team, led by standout quarterback Zach Oakley. The Kingsmen entered the contest averaging 37 points-per-game on the season and didn’t disappoint on a muddy field.
Coach Cory Yeoman’s Kingsmen, who are now 9-1, advance to play Fort Wayne Carroll (8-2) next Friday night in a sectional semifinal contest. The Tigers, who lost three of their final four games, finish at 6-4.
Penn, led by Oakley, simply hit the hosts with a haymaker. After Warsaw tied the game 7-7 on the first of two touchdown runs by McClone with seven minutes to play in the second quarter, the Kingsmen scored 35 unanswered points.
Penn, now 10-0 all-time versus Warsaw, scored on a six-play drive and a two-play drive in the second period to lead 21-7 at halftime. The Kingsmen, who were state runner-up a year ago, then scored three touchdowns in a span of 4:33 in the third quarter. The first two came on a pair of two-play drives, both resulting in short touchdown runs by senior Matt Hummel, and the final score on a 74-yard punt return by Matt Wirick.
“You don’t want to wake a sleeping giant and that’s what we did when we tied it at 7-7,” said Warsaw coach Phil Jensen, a former standout tight end for the Kingsmen. “I think we made them mad.
“They did what Penn always does. They see what you are doing and make adjustments. They are well coached and have a great quarterback in Oakley, who has so many weapons around him. They just rolled us.
“Our guys played hard and gave everything they had. They did not quit. They’ve worked hard and grown up a lot. These seniors were 1-9 as sophomores. There’s a lot of guys hurting for us. But, that’s a good thing because I know it matters to them. I’m just awful proud of all of them.
“Tristan is just a quality young man. He’s not only the best player, but the hardest worker we have. When you put those two things together, great things come of it like the record he set tonight. He also had some great help from his teammates, including his offensive line.”The Tigers tallied the final 14 points of the contest. McClone, whose first touchdown was a 36-yard jaunt on a fourth-and-one play, raced in from 44 yards out. Then, Austin Head connected with Taylor Cone on a 32-yard perfect scoring strike for the 42-21 final.
McClone, who rushed for 100 yards in a backup role last season, finished the season with 16 touchdowns. He also broke the single-game rushing record held by Brad Seiss of 310 yards with 322 in a win at Northridge.
Head, a junior, was making his first start since being injured versus Wawasee three weeks ago. He hit on 9-15 passes for 116 yards.
Hummel scored three touchdowns and Oakley added two for the Kingsmen. Penn rushed for 322 yards in the dominating win. Oakley, who now has 17 touchdowns this season, racked up 182 yards on just 11 carries. The 6-2, 190-pounder ran wild out of shotgun formation with runs of 31, 46 and 55 yards.
The Kingsmen, who have won six in a row since a 28-20 loss at No. 4 Fort Wayne Snider, attempted just two passes in the game. Oakley completed one of the two for 49 yards.
Warsaw had 16 seniors listed on its sectional roster Friday night.