Published Sunday, September 30, 2012
From Staff Reports
All of a sudden, the Trinity Christian Lions stand alone atop the Metro Atlanta Christian Athletic Conference’s Western Division among its two juggernauts.
In a continuation of a thriving middle school football rivalry between the Lions and The Heritage School’s standout programs, Trinity Christian found itself coming out on top for the first time in three years against the Hawks, snapping their three-year unbeaten streak in conference play with a 38-16 home victory at East Coweta Middle’s McKnight Field.
Jordan Flagg’s 48-yard run in the third quarter finally helped Trinity create some distance in between Heritage following an intense first half that included a scoreless opening quarter. The Trinity runner added two more scores in the final period to help outscore the Hawks 22-8 in the second half.
Trinity improved to 6-0 with the win while Heritage moved to 5-1 with a very good chance that the two teams will meet again later this fall when the MAC playoffs arrive.
Both teams get a week off before returning to play on Oct. 11. Trinity will travel to Flint River while Heritage hosts Harvester Christian.
Last week’s showdown between unbeaten division rivals began with a deadlock in the first quarter. Trinity drove the ball to Heritage’s 41-yard line on its first possession before coming up short on 4th-and-1 on a stop by the Hawks’ defense.
Heritage responded by driving the ball the opposite way on a long 59-yard drive that ended early in the second quarter on a touchdown by running back Chase Evans for an 8-0 lead after Hamp Smith’s two-point conversion.
It didn’t take long for the Lions to even the score, however, as quarterback Jake Estes connected with Ben Kritko on a 62-yard touchdown pass. Kritko also added the extra point to tie the game, 8-8 with 4:13 left in the first half.
“We expected this to be very intense atmosphere and a very physical football game,” Trinity coach Brian Grady said. “To respond to their opening drive with a quick touchdown on a well-executed pass play shows that we are growing and learning how to be football players and how to be a good football team.”
Having been stopped on fourth-and-short in the first quarter, Trinity got a chance to return the favor late in the second half. A defensive effort led by Nate Schuh, Jerrell Smith, and Noah Barrow were able to stop the Hawk on a fourth-and-1 play to regain possession.
Lions running back Ben Kritko had a couple of strong runs for the Lions to set up another long strike from Estes to Kritko, this one from 45 yards for his second touchdown with 1:00 left in the first half.
Kritko again in the extra point for a 16-8 lead at the break.
Heritage had a chance to quickly get back into the game early in the third quarter, but a long drive ended with a fumble on the Lions’ 17-yard line.
After a couple of long runs by the Lions running backs, Trinity put the ball into Flagg’s hands and he broke out of the backfield and ran for a 48 yard touchdown to take a 22-8 lead midway the third quarter.
Down by two scores, Heritage’s Smith brought the Hawks back within a touchdown on a drive that included a clutch fourth-down conversion on the Lions 20-yard line. The ensuing snap saw Smith run a sweep to the right for a Heritage touchdown that closed the gap to 22-16.
Trinity held, however. After defending an onside kick by Heritage, the Lions turned to Flagg again for a 57-yard touchdown run and ensuing two-point conversion to push a 30-16 advantage.
The Lions defense then forced a turnover on downs to help set up a final score from Flagg. This time he followed blocks up the middle for another 50-yard run and his third touchdown before Estes addedw a final two-point run.
SCORING SUMMARY – Lions 38, Hawks 16
Trinity Christian 0 16 6 16 — 38
Heritage School 0 8 0 8 — 16
HS — Chase Evans run (#8 Run)
TCS — Jake Estes 62 yard pass to Ben Kritko (Kritko run)
TCS — Estes 45 yard pass to Kritko (Kritko run)
TCS — Jordan Flagg 48 yard run (extra point failed)
HS — Hamp Smith 5 yard run (Evans run)
TCS – Flagg 57 yard run (Flagg run)
TCS — Flagg 50 yard run (Estes run)