Trinity’s Lions celebrate win on ‘Serengeti’
If Friday’s game was any indication, Trinity Christian’s new football field, dubbed “The Serengeti,” will a place fit for celebrating victories. Trinity Christian School christened its brand new football field with a less-than-perfect, but extremely thrilling 23-15 win over Flint River Academy on The Serengeti in front of a substantial crowd in its first on-campus home game.
“It’s a big win against a great opponent,” Trinity head coach Chris Hanson said. “We knew they were going to be a good football team coming in. To come out and play through some adversity and come out in the second half… I’m proud of our guys.”
The win improved the Lions’ overall record to 3-1, and also kept them on track for one of their goals, to be unbeaten on their home field.
“We talk about it all the time, with our own home turf, we want to be undefeated,” Hanson said. “That’s the goal. We got to 1-0 tonight on our home field. We’ve just got to keep plugging and working. We’ve got a lot to fix, but we’ve got another opportunity next week and that’s all we ask for.”
The first half produced little offense from either team, save for Will Couch’s 12-yard scoring run on the third play of a drive that began just two plays earlier on the 18. It was the result of a miscue by the Trinity punt team.
The Wildcats tacked on Jay Adams’ 25-yard field goal after teammate Bretwt Williamson stripped the ball out of a Trinity runner’s hands and returned it from midfield to the Lions’ 15.
The score was 9-0 with 1:19 left in the half and Flint River driving yet again. But faced with a 4th and 8 on the Lions’ 41, the Wildcats attempted to keep the drive alive. A bad snap on the play was scooped up at midfield and returned by Christian Stearley for a touchdown. The PAT was blocked and the teams went into the half 9-6.
“We just told the guys to keep fighting and not get down on themselves,” Hanson said of the changes made at halftime. “The biggest thing was to keep fighting and not let the adversity affect you. Come out and unify yourselves. Play as a team.” Neither team was able to put together much in the way of offense for most of the third quarter. The closest anyone got to putting points on the board was when Flint River came up short on a 44-yard field goal attempt.
The turning point in this one came with 3:54 left in the third quarter. The Wildcats started a drive with a pass completion from Seth Short to Nathan Strickland. Before the runner could be brought down the ball came loose and was recovered at the Flint River 44 by Wyatt Martinez.
The ensuing drive took 2:38 off the clock and resulted in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Shoates to Christian Downs . Downs made a very impressive leap over the defender in the front corner of the end zone to come up with the grab.
Shoates’ second touchdown pass of the game came with 9:01 left to play. On a 4th and 5 play, he found Glen Whisby streaking across the middle of the field. He blew past the Wildcats’ defenders for a 20-yard touchdown and a 21-9 lead.
The Wildcats cut it to an 8-point game with an 11-yard touchdown pass with 7:17 to play. They seemingly took all the momentum back when their defense stopped a Trinity drive at the Flint River 15 with a fumble recovery. However, Short couldn’t handle the snap on their first play following the recovery and was sacked recovering the ball in the end zone for a safety. The Lions ran the clock out from there.
“This is a very good first game memory,” Hanson said. “And we’ve got four more home games this year and we just want to keep defending our home turf.”
LIONS 23, WILDCATS 15
FR 6 3 0 6 — 15
TC 0 6 8 9 — 23
FR — Will Couch 12 run (kick failed), 1:34
FR — Jay Adams 25 field goal, 3:49
TC — Christian Stearley 50 fumble recovery (kick failed), :21
TC — Daniel Shoates to Christian Downs 24 pass (Shoates to Glen Whisby pass), 1:16
TC — Shoates to Whisby 20 pass (Daniel jones kick), 9:01
FR — Seth Short to Jay Adams 11 pass (pass fails), 7:17
TC — Safety, Short sacked in end zone, 3:24