High School Football
Facing the Giant: Trinity takes on defending state champs
by Chris Goltermann
Trinity Christian’s football team doesn’t have to look far to find a motivational tool when preparing to face defending GISA Class AAA state champion Westfield School for the third time in as many years this Friday in its home opener.
There’s plenty of dark horse stories that have been played out in film. “Miracle,” “Hoosiers,” and “Facing the Giants” would all be recommendable material.
Or they could just simply turn their bibles to 1st Samuel for the oldest underdog triumph of all time.
Either way, Lions head coach Chris Hanson’s job this week was to keep his team believing that better days are ahead following a dis- appointing 0-2 start, not always an easy task considering arguably the best opponent Trinity may face all season is staring them down this week.
Westfield, which has gone 195- 65-3 in head coach Ronnie Jones’ 22 seasons, was finally able to celebrate a state title last year following a string of close finishes that included four state runner-up finishes and eight more seasons that ended in the GISA state semifinals.
With 14 returning starting split equally between offense and defense, the Hornets opened the 2014 season as favorites to repeat, especially with several successful Class AAA programs becoming members of the Georgia High School Association.
“Any given week, an opponent can fall,” Hanson said. “Whether you’re an underdog, whether you’re a big dog, whatever. The biggest thing is we’ve got to come out, stay together as a team like we have the last two weeks, focus on the fundamentals and details and let the rest take care of itself.”
The Lions, though, are more than familiar with Westfield’s recent success. The first meeting between schools during the first round of the 2012 state playoffs ended with the Hornets holding on for a 10-7 win at home before being eliminated the following week by The Heritage School.
The two programs met again in last year’s first round, with Westfield winning 42-13. The Hornets, who went on to defeat Southland Academy 27-24 and Stratford Academy 34-31 averaged 32.8 points per game in 2013.
Juniors Ryan Fitzpatrick (6-1, 190) and Giles Amos (6-3, 200) return at quarterback and as the Hornets’ top receiver, respectively, in a hybrid of the wing-T based on motion and misdirection.
The bulk of last year’s starters on the offensive line also return including seniors Camron Washington (5-11, 330) at center, Khory Holliday (5-11, 230) at guard and Dehmal Amrit (6-3, 310) at tackle. Fullback Josh Jenkins (5-7, 150) also is back.
“It’s a familiar opponent. Coach Jones does a great job. They’ve been running this offense and defense for years,” Hanson said. When you want to see where you’re at, this is a good team to do that.”
Turnovers have been a constant in each of Trinity Christian’s first two losses this year. Last week at Flint River, the Lions didn’t have much of a chance to settle into hos- tile surroundings after the Wildcats converted three miscues into 21 early points en route to a 35-6 loss.