High School Football

Lions look to build off first win of season

by Chris Goltermann

A week after getting roughed up a bit by a John Milledge Academy team that had even better success against a secondstraight opponent from GISA Region 2-AAA, the first, Trinity Christian, experienced a return toward normalcy last Friday.

A 43-22 victory over Community Christian was at the very least, much closer than the expectations head coach Chris Hanson and his staff have for the Lions in 2013.

A victory that had Trinity ahead 29 points by the start of the fourth quarter against Community Christian saw improvements on both sides of the ball, with the Lions starting defense holding the Knights scoreless.

The unit's lone offensive touchdown allowed came late after being held to 106 total yards and just 39 on the ground while earning six takeaways in the process. They included two fumble recoveries, an interception and a safety while led by linebackers Diego Henriquez (13 tackles), Gavin Smith (11) and Conner Owen (6).

But this week's visit to undefeated Dominion Christian (3-0) to wrap up a string of three road games to begin the 2013 season is all about limiting the Knights' high-flying pass attack.

When it comes to Friday's matchup there aren't many secrets involved, even for a coach who likes to keep things on the downlow as much as Hanson during his three years at the school.

The Lions, who scored four rushing touchdowns last week, will try to ground things out while trying to keep it out of the hands of Dominion quarterback A.J. Wilson and 6-3, 220-pound receiver Luke Lewallen, who scored three times in a 33-26 win over The Heritage School at home last week.

'They do what they do. Everybody knows they're probably going to throw the ball 95 percent of the time and everybody knows we're going to run the ball' Hanson said. 'Who executes on game days is what it comes down to.'

Getting back on track following a season opening 33-12 loss at John Milledge meant overcoming adversity, namely in the form of a pair of kickoff returns by Community Christian for touchdowns despite taking a 28-14 lead into halftime.

'I think guys are understanding what's expected of them,' Hanson said. 'The more that your team buys into that team mentality good things happen and you're able to overcome adversity. It's not a matter of if it's going to it, it's when.' Dominion equally stared down its share while trying to ward off a spirited comeback by The Heritage School, which rallied from a 19-0 deficit to take a 1-point lead before trading scores up until the closing 17 seconds.

The Knights caught several breaks down the stretch, taking advantage of a late sideline penalty on the Hawks on an interception return to midfield of a tie game. The team's final drive included a penalty flag that was picked up by officials and a loose ball inside the 10 that was ruled down by contact.

'They've got some good athletes in specific positions that allow them to work in space,' Hanson said of Dominion. 'We've got to be as good if not more fundamentally sound.'

Trinity's victory last week included two rushing touchdowns from both Rodney Neely and J.D. Farlow, who finished with 85 and 79 yards, respectively. Quarterback Daniel Shoates also threw for two scores, connecting with Glen Whisby and Christian Downs, the latter coming off a 100-yard effort in the season opener.

'It's a process and as I think as long as we keep seeing small steps each week and then bigger steps as we get closer to region, that's what we want as a coaching staff,' Hanson said. 'We're definitely not satisfied. We have some things we need to sure up and we've made some adjustments. It just comes down to can we execute when we have to on game night.'

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