August 18th, 2012
Trinity Starts Slow, Overpowers Brentwood Academy
Shamrocks score 35 unanswered to notch first win
For all their talent; for all their blue-chip recruits; for all the talk about how loaded the Trinity Shamrocks are at the skill positions, Friday’s opening night contest against Brentwood Academy (TN) would prove to be a stern test.
And for nearly one half of football, the packed house at Marshall Stadium was stunned to see the visiting Eagles from suburban Nashville take a 23-17 lead on the mistake-prone Rocks.
But, in typical Trinity fashion, the Rocks dropped 35 unanswered points on the wilting visitors from Tennessee to win 52-23. They did, however, create several self-inflicted wounds before finding their collective stride.
First, a fumble by senior all-everything wide receiver James Quick; then three sacks allowed by a brand new offensive line; and to top it off, defensive breakdowns that allowed a 20 yard touchdown pass, a 71 yard touchdown run and a 69 yard touchdown pass, giving Brentwood all the momentum for a major upset in the first week of the season.
But all that changed at the end of the first half when Trinity mounted a 10-play, 87 yard drive that took 4:45 off the clock and resulted in the go-ahead touchdown pass from senior quarterback Travis Wright to junior wide receiver Reggie Bonnafon. The 16 yard TD hook-up was the first of 35 unanswered points by the fired up Shamrock bunch.
“When you’re young and you haven’t played a lot, the only way to grow up is to get under live fire,” state Trinity head coach Bob Beatty. “You can practice all you want, but until those kids see that speed and experience that speed, then there is no substitute.”
With a slim lead going into halftime, many of the Trinity faithful were puzzled by what they had witnessed. In the locker room, though, cool heads prevailed; the team maintained their composure and responded with four touchdowns in their first six possessions of the second half.
“I thought the kids took control of the locker room at halftime,” said Beatty. “We talked about, ‘this is why we do what we do in January. And this is why we do what we do in May and June.’ It’s not to be up 59-0 at half, but to be able to take control of the game when we only had a one point lead.”
And this is how that focused Trinity team took control in the third quarter. First, they knocked Brentwood backwards for -13 yards on three plays. Then the Rocks took just four plays to go 30 yards with senior running back Dalyn Dawkins hitting paydirt from 8 yards out.
After stopping Brentwood on two more possessions, Trinity went 73 yards in 5 plays culminating in a picture-perfect 45 yard touchdown strike from Wright to Quick to take a commanding 38-23 lead and taking the last breaths out of any comeback chance for the Eagles.
The Rocks tacked on two more scores on sophomore running back Donald Brooks’ 3 yard touchdown run followed by a Dawkins 4 yard score with 5:29 to go in the game.
“They got after it in the second half,” said Brentwood’s first year head coach Cody White of the Trinity effort. White, who cut his coaching chops on the fields of the Texas prep football scene, knows good football when he sees it. And he saw plenty of it in that second half-plus from the Rocks.
“They’re Texas good,” remarked White of how well Trinity played. “That’s a great team. I told all my friends back home that this team is as good as any in Texas. They do a good job with their offense and it’s a tough draw to get them early in the year because they’re so deceptive. They play hard, they play fast and they play the game well.”
Don’t be mistaken, though, Brentwood gave the Rocks all they could handle in the first half. With big-time talent in quarterback Max Staver (Florida commit), wide receiver/safety Jalen Ramsey (USC recruit) and running back D’Montre Wade, the Eagles used the big play to maintain pace with the Rocks.
Staver hit junior Brandon Taylor for a 20 yard td score to pull the Eagles to 7-6 (two point try failed) in the first quarter. Then Wade took a handoff around right end and blistered down the sideline in front his team’s bench for a 71 yard td scamper to bring his team to within one at 14-13. A 31 yard field goal from senior kicker Ben Boatwright gave the Eagles their first lead at 16-14.
After a Trinity field goal, Staver capped off a solid 15 minutes of play from the visitors as he hit Ramsey in stride for a 69 yard touchdown pass to give Brentwood a 23-17 lead with nine minutes remaining in the first half.
And that was all. From that point on the Trinity defense began harassing Staver in ways that he could not appreciate.
Senior defensive end and USC commit Jason Hatcher, who blocked a punt deep in Brentwood territory and scooped it up for a 6 yard touchdown run, was in Staver’s face for a good majority of the last 30 minutes of the game. And when it wasn’t Hatcher, it was defensive tackle Jabari Jordan or Bobby Bryant causing havoc.
“Our maturity, under some pressure, was very, very good,” said Beatty. “Our base defense allowed us to play fast. The guys got comfortable with it and our safeties grew up a little bit. When you allow the players to play fast and they don’t have to think too much, they get a lot better.”
Trinity, ranked No. 1 in Kentucky 6A and among the nation’s best, will travel to Nashville next week to play Montgomery Bell Academy, a team that has beaten the Shamrocks in the past.
“I’ve said this a million times: you don’t get better beating people 51-0 at halftime, because you find out nothing about your football team,” said Beatty. “We found out something about our team tonight as we reacted to some adversity. The players took control of the team at halftime. The maturity level of the team was strong. We had guys saying ‘we have twenty-four more minutes and this is why we do what we do.’ This is why you sign up for Trinity: to take control of a game when it’s on the line.”
- Wright finished the evening 21-31 for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns; he was sacked 3 times.
- Quick caught 6 passes for 116 yards and a score while being bracketed in double-coverage all night.
- Dawkins rushed 18 times for 122 yards and scored 2 touchdowns while dealing with leg cramps in the second half.
- Cody Swabeck caught 5 passes for 72 yards and one touchdown while Bonnafon caught 3 for 37 yards and one score.
- Bryant led all Trinity defenders with 6 solo tackles, with Ryan White registering 4; Jordan and senior linebacker Jack Meyer each nabbed 3 solo tackles.