Published Sunday, November 04, 2012
From STAFF REPORTS
The Metro Area Christian Athletic Conference Championship came down to the final minute of the season between a pair of 8-1 middle school football teams on Thursday.
Trinity Christian made it count.
The Lions converted on fourth-and-10 with 47 seconds remaining and then sacked Harvester Christian’s quarterback on the Hawks’ final snap of the game for a 16-8 championship victory to earn the program’s first MACAC title.
Trinity’s ‘C’ team (fifth and sixth grade) added another first on Saturday while capturing a MACAC title as well with a 48-12 victory over Creekside. The program earned the trophy with an undefeated season in just its second year of existence.
A year after finishing as middle school league runners-up, Trinity Christian’s eighth grade class capped off a three-year journey toward winning a first-place trophy. But it was a difficult climb in a game that was scoreless at halftime.
Both teams had chances early, with the Lions’ offense stopped on downs at the Harvester 18 yard-line. The Hawks meanwhile, recovered a Trinity fumble before the break and got a long run from Logan Tidwell to the Lions 18 only to run out of time.
Trinity, however, struck first in the third quarter on an extended drive that began with Jerrell Smith’s fumble recovery at the Harvester 43. Running backs Jordan Flagg and Ben Kritko followed their blocks from the Lions offensive line to get the ball down to the Hawks 6-yard line late in the period. Kritko carried it the rest of the way and added a 2-point catch from quarterback Jake Estes in the flat to push Trinity out to an 8-0 lead.
Harvester responded on the next drive and scored their only touchdown of the evening when Tidwell scored on a 12 yard run off the left side. The Hawks quarterback added the two point conversion on a sweep to the right side knotting the score at 8-8 with 4:34 to play.
But the Lions immediately countered back for the eventual game-winner starting with a 34-yard kickoff return by Flagg that set Trinity up inside Harvester territory. Another 21-yard run worked the ball to the Hawks 34 and Josh Hess came up with a first-down run to get the ball to the 20.
From there, Kritko and Flagg worked it to the 10 before the run-oriented Lions forced a Harvester timeout by lining up three wideouts to the right.
Even that couldn’t save the Hawks’ defense with 47 seconds remaining. The ensuing snap saw Estes in the shotgun find Kritko work from his left end position into the corner of the end zone. Rolling left, a pump-fake gave Kritko enough space to haul in a touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone for the lead. The two teamed up again on the 2-point conversion to push the lead to 16-8 with 41 ticks remaining.
Harvester put together one final surge, getting the ball to the Lions 40 yard-line 8.8 seconds left. After having an interception by Flagg called back on an interference call, teammates Tray Willoughby and Noah Barrow teamed on a sack of Tidwell to clinch the victory.
Trinity 48, Creekside 12: The Lions gave up a kickoff return to Creekside to start the game, but reeled off 41 unanswered points from there behind an offense led by quarterback Stephen Spurgeon and running backs Dalton Colburn and Judah Johnson.
Trinity’s defense, meanwhile, kept Creekside’s offense from scoring until late in the final period while converting a pair of interceptions into touchdown returns.
The Lions won all three meetings with Creekside this season in a year where they outscored opponents 366-42.
MACAC Middle Championship at Arlington Christian Field, Thursday
Trinity Christian 16 Harvester Academy 8
Harvester 0 0 0 8 — 8
Trinity 0 0 8 8 — 16
TC — Ben Kritko 6 run Ben Kritko (Jake Estes pass to Kritko) 2:16
HC —Lofton Tidwell 12 run (Tidwell run) 4:34
TC —Kritko 10-yard pass from Jake Estes (Estes pass to Kritko) :41