High School Football

Trinity looks to rebound against Tattnall team

by Chris Goltermann

Their head coach may be in his first year at the school, but Tattnall Square players are certainly familiar with Trinity Christian’s football program following last year’s 47-21 loss that ruined Homecoming night at the Macon-area GISA school. 

At 5-1 and 1-0 in Region 2-AAA, the Trojans not only have a chance at revenge on Friday, but an equal opportunity to add some distance in league play between a Lions team looking to rebound from its worst night of the season. Tattnall is well rested following a 28-24 win over Westminster-Augusta, where it built a 28-point lead through two-plus quarters.

In his first season, Tattnall head coach Clint Morgan has quickly got the Trojans back on course as a state championship contender, where they were for the majority of 324-game winner Barney Hester’s 31 seasons at the school. This year’s list of victories includes efforts over Southland (21-2) and defending Class AAA champion Deerfield Windsor (12-0).

Both Tattnall and Trinity lost games to 6-1 John Milledge Academy over consecutive weeks by respective margins of 28 and 21 points.

“We expect them to be ready. Any Friday night we expect the team we’re playing to be prepared, but after last year, I’m sure they’ll be ready for us,” Trinity head coach Chris Hanson said of Tattnall. “We’ve just got to be able to be there to match it and just not show up.”

Little went right for Trinity (4-2, 0-1) in a 47-12 loss to Stratford Academy, which stormed out of the opening kickoff for 30 unanswered points in the opening quarter.

“You talk about adversity, that’s about as much adversity that you can have in one half of football,” Hanson said. “Our guys could have easily quit in the second half, but they didn’t. We were able to get some young guys in to get some work. But we’ve got to come ready to play this week.”

The night took a turn for the worse immediately with a bad punt snap that was recovered by Stratford in the end zone for a score. The Eagles then converted a short punt off the Lions’ second possession deep in Trinity’s zone for another quick score.

“They’re a good team,” Hanson said of the Stratford loss, pinning the responsibility on himself foremost. “I think if things go differently on those opening three possessions it could have been a different ballgame. But that’s why on any given Friday you’re not ready to play, that’s what can happen.”

Entering the last Friday of a four-game homestand, Trinity remains a slow starter on offense having gone scoreless in the first quarter the past three weeks. While able to rally back against Flint River and put together 13 unanswered second-quarter points in the following week’s win over Piedmont, the early deficit against Stratford was too much to overcome.

“We’ve got to come out of the gates firing on all cylinders,” Hanson said. “We can’t wait for something to happen. It doesn’t work like that. We need to play Lion football and that’s attack, attack and attack. I don’t think we attacked the other night. But you learn from those mistakes and you get better from those mistakes. That’s what we’ve done this week is said what do we have to do to get better.”

Despite struggling a bit to slow down Stratford’s wing-T offense, Trinity gets another opportunity against Tattnall, which uses a variation of the three-back set.

The Trojans returned 16 starters this season including senior quarterback Lane Watson (6-2, 170), who rushed for over 400 yards and three touchdowns over six games. Sophomore Aubrien Kemp (5-11, 180) has given the offense a boost while teammate J.J. Battle put together a team-high 179 yards rushing, including a 75-yard touchdown, in the win over Westminster.

If there’s a positive for Trinity — especially a defense prone to takeaways this season — it’s that Tattnall turned the ball over three times in its 2-AAA opener, two of which on interceptions. The lineup has overcome injuries much of the year and could be without junior defensive end Aaron Johnson, who wasn’t practicing on Tuesday. His status for Friday is unknown.

“In this part of the season, it’s next man up,” Hanson said. “The biggest thing is no mental errors, every player has to do their job and not rely on somebody else, and play with intensity.”

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