Published Saturday, November 17, 2012
From Staff Reports
PERRY — Had it been last year, Trinity Christian could have probably found more of a silver lining in Friday’s season-ending loss.
But the Lions certainly didn’t seem satisfied here leaving Westfield School with a 10-7 loss in the quarterfinal round of the GISA Class AAA state playoffs.
“They’re a good team and they played well. We just had some mistakes and things that hurt us,” Trinity Christian head coach Chris Hanson. “We had our chances. I feel for our guys and I feel for our staff that’s put in all their hard work.”
Trinity Christian continued to earn respect in its first GISA playoff game where the Lions had as many opportunities to win as a Hornets program that hadn’t lost in the first round game in the 20 seasons under head coach Ronnie Jones.
The Lions made Westfield’s home crowd sweat out the closing minutes in a tight game throughout.
Trinity Christian, which finished its second season since moving from 8-man football at 6-5 overall, struggled to overtake the Hornets in key moments. The Lions turned the ball over on fourth-and-goal inside the Westfield 3-yard line trailing 3-0 late in the first half.
Still down 10-0 in the third quarter, the Lions got a big interception from senior Mark Collier, who returned the ball to the Hornets’ 3-yard line. Dee Snelling’s touchdown run closed the gap again to just 3-points heading into the final period.
Snelling then came up with an interception of his own and the speedy junior returned it through traffic before getting tripped up with just a couple of defenders to beat. The ball popped loose, however, into the hands of a Westfield player, allowing the Hornets to regain possession with just over six minutes left.
“I thought if we keep the ball there with about four minutes to go, we have a good chance,” said Hanson. “We didn’t catch any breaks. But I’m proud of our players and proud of our seniors who stepped up this year.”
A Lions defense that allowed just one score continued to hold to give Trinity’s offense a final chance at the end zone in the closing four minutes. Getting the ball across midfield, the Lions attempted a fourth-down pass with quarterback Connor Adams looking for teammate Jay Warner.
Warner fell to the turf with the ball, but the play was ruled incomplete, effectively ending the season.
“I thought we made a lot of improvement from going 2-8 to 6-4 during the regular season this year. We’ve got some good players coming back and we’ll go watch the film and get back to work on next season.”