Saturday night fever: Trinity Christian expects physical region gameBy CHRIS GOLTERMANN
The bus ride home from Macon last week for Trinity Christian’s football team was eerily quiet and reserved, the way coaches describe it.
And that was a good thing.
“The guys are starting to see that all the hard work makes a difference,” Lions head coach Chris Hanson said. “Our coaches said that bus ride home from Tattnall, they were kinda quiet. I think that’s reflective of them giving everything they had. At the end of the game they were tired.”
An extra day to prepare for tonight’s region game against Mount de Sales (2-6, 1-1) equally hopes to work in the Lions favor while preparing for a physical battle against a Cavaliers team that also dominated Westminster-Augusta 40-14 at home to earn their first region victory last week.
Game time remains at 7:30 p.m., for the rare Saturday night kickoff at McKnight Field on the campus of East Coweta Middle School.
Trinity Christian's aggressiveness paid off against Tattnall. The Lions took a 21-7 lead on senior fullback Drew Gibson’s 84-yard touchdown run and held on from there. But it took two quick scores in the third quarter, the first on Connor Adams’ clutch 58-yard scoring throw to Dee Snelling on third and long, helped the Lions take complete control of the game.
“Looking back I thought we did a great job attacking on defense, offense and special teams. But we’ve shifted our focus to Mount de Sales,” Hanson said. “Coach [Robert] Slocum does a great job with that program. It’s another opportunity for us.”
Last week, Snelling finished with five catches for 153 yards and two touchdown receptions for the second straight week. One of them came on a game-opening halfback option from Jay Warner, who continued a solid senior year with 141 yards rushing on 14 carries and a score. Adams finished with two touchdown runs of his own while Trinity’s defense shut down Tattnall’s running attack, which averaged just under three yards over 48 attempts.
“It was the hardest hitting game I’ve ever coached [in],” added Trinity Christian defensive coordinator J.P. Weaver.
Both schools are among three 2-AAA lineups jostling for position with 1-1 records. The Cavaliers dropped their region opener at home to The Heritage School in a 36-22 loss, a game that went to halftime tied at 14.
Despite their overall record, the Cavaliers haven’t budged against opponents, scoring at least twice in every game after returning seven starters from last year’s 7-4 state-playoff team. They include quarterback Ryan McCallie who finished 12 of 21 passing for 209 yards to go with a touchdown and an interception in the loss to Heritage. Justin Jones had a 100-plus yard receiving effort against the Hawks.
Last week, McCallie was 9-for-14 for 228 yards and three touchdowns, including a pair to Carson Leatherwood. He expects to challenge a Trinity Christian secondary that gave up the near same output to Tattnall quarterback Lane Watson (9-14-205) with the Lions also recording an interception
With one of the largest enrollments in the GISA, Mount de Sales brings sizeable front lines led by senior defenders Jeremiah Cotton (6-4, 250) and Ben Buster (6-4, 230) on one side of the ball and guards Niko Anderson (6-4, 260) and Jordan Elliott (6-2, 230) on offense.
“It’s going to be that Ravens-Steelers type of game,” said Hanson, a former NFL punter. “That’s what we have to expect these last three weeks. But if we keep working on improving on the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.”