High School Football
Trinity preaches patience after back-to-back losses
by Chris Goltermann
Even in times of struggle, Trinity Christian head football coach Chris Hanson is one that promotes patience with his program — one that’s in its infancy compared to Mount de Sales when it comes to the history of the Georgia Independent Schools Association.
Despite a pair of losses to open the GISA Region 2-AAA schedule, Hanson is hoping that patience pays off tonight when the Lions (4-3, 0-2) travel to the Macon-area school which has won 12 region titles in a history dating back to 1961.
Compared to Trinity’s third season of 11-man football, it’s as much a reason why Hanson feels the Lions programs continues to make small steps toward respectability while looking to clinch a second-straight five-win season tonight with a win against a healthier Cavaliers team than at the start of the 2013 season.
Mount de Sales’ Mike Garvin Stadium is one of the most impressive GISA facilities in the state and the program boasts a state-of-the-art weight room.
“Those things take time,” Hanson said. “We’re excited that we’ll be starting a JV program next year. These guys now are a part of the beginning of all this.”
But Hanson equally want this year’s Trinity team to be a part of something special on the field as well. And despite rough losses to two of 2-AAA’s three remaining unbeaten teams — Stratford Academy and Tattnall Square — the Lions have a chance to get back in the thick of the state-playoff race within the region with a win tonight.
“As far as our effort, I’ve been proud of them. They haven’t given up,” Hanson said. “But we just need to compete like I know we can. We didn’t do a very good job of wrapping up and tackling last week. We just need to work on this next opportunity and make the most of it.”
Mount de Sales (2-5, 2-0) has turned the corner since going winless in five non-region games to open the season that included a four-game stretch against Deerfield-Windsor, Westfield, John Milledge and Valwood — which hold a combined record of 25-5 heading into tonight.
Getting healthy at key positions was as much a boost for the Cavaliers, which played without starting quarterback John Ely and senior running back Alex Sands, who scored a pair of touchdowns on 70 yards rushing in his return to the lineup during a 41-10 victory over Westminster-Augusta last week.
Mount de Sales outgained Westminster by a 248-94 margin on the ground while also getting 93 yards from running back Will Jones and 66 from Ely, who also was near perfect in the air on 10 of 12 passing for 127 yards and a pair of touchdown throws to top receiver Carson Leatherwood.
On the other side of the ball, the Cavaliers defense is led by defensive linemen Nick Hannon (6-1, 220) and Zach Eisner (6-3, 250) to go with a talented group of linebackers. Mount de Sales led comfortably 27-3 heading into the fourth quarter while forcing three turnovers.
It’s where Trinity’s defense hopes to pick up the pieces after two sub-par efforts in 27-0 and 47-12 losses to Tattnall and Stratford, compared to an impressive start that had the Lions feasting on opposing offenses. Last week, the unit gave up several big plays against Tattnall that allowed the Trojans to build a 21-0 lead at halftime.
While the defense has only allowed one touchdown from the third quarter the past two weeks, Trinity’s offense has struggled to give the team a lead over the past four weeks while going scoreless through the first quarter.
“We’ve got to get in a rhythm,” Hanson said. “When we can do that and then get a couple of stops and make plays we’re capable of winning games. But we haven’t done that.”