September 30th, 2017

No-name receivers grab center stage in The Game

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Paul Najjar

Senior Writer


No-name receivers grab center stage in The Game
Trinity wide receivers Nick Strothman, Anthony Palombino, Ryan Miller and Jacob McCarthy combined for 105 yards on 13 receptions and four TDs / photo: Conor Revell

Buildup to The Game included heavy chatter about an outstanding St. Xavier offensive line that pounded defenses into submission and averaged 235 yards rushing per game.

Could Trinity's undersized defense handle that and stop the vaunted Tigers run game?

The Shamrocks answered that question with a resounding 28-0 shutout allowing St. X just 37 yards on the ground on 27 carries. Add five sacks for minus-32 yards and the Tigers netted just five yards rushing.

That's stifling.

“First thing I want to say is hats off to our defense,” Trinity head coach Bob Beatty said. “They bailed us out in the third quarter time and time again.”

But Trinity’s offense, averaging 33.5 points per game coming into the contest, was mired in a funk of its own through the first quarter. No first downs and no points.

“That (slow offensive start) is on me,” Beatty said. “We looked like me: slow. Then we went no-huddle and we sped things up a bit and I felt like we got a little traction.”

An opening stanza that featured six punts and five three-and-out possessions turned into a passing fancy in the final 36 minutes thanks to Trinity’s sublime receiving corps led by all-everything talent Rondale Moore and four unknowns.

Those unknowns sure did shine on this night. And they had to as Moore was nicked-up early by a well placed helmet to his hip from a Tigers defender on Trinity’s first play from scrimmage. After the Rocks initial drive, Moore stood on the sideline until early in the second quarter.

Senior quarterback Nick Bohn then proceeded to toss four touchdowns to four different receivers in leading team to the win. None of the four possess Moore’s elite level talent, but each one took a star turn under the bright Friday night lights in front of an estimated crowd of 24,000 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

Nick Strothman, Anthony Palombino, Jacob McCarthy and Ryan Miller combined for 105 yards on 13 receptions and those four big scores. They were a force all night long.

“Our receivers work so hard and they’re such good blockers,” Wide Receiver coach Gary Owens said. “Every one of them know the details of this offense and they want to do all they can to help the team.”

Sure, Moore did his thing to the tune of 188 total yards including 107 yards rushing in seven carries and 11 receptions for 81 more.

His highlight of the night? An impersonation of Marcus Allen’s 74-yard touchdown run against the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl 18 where Allen ran left, spun around and ran right through the middle of the defense for the score.

Moore ran left, saw a wall of defenders, reversed his field and followed Bohn and running back Luke McGuire for a 55 yard gain. The similarity to Allen’s run was uncanny and the Texas commit even added a few old-school Tecmo Bowl type moves as he carved his way through the St. X defense.

“This team is bigger than me,” Moore said. “Our receiving corps is great. All the guys put in so much work. They block. They run great routes. They understand football and know where to be and where not to be. We’re blessed to have great coaches who challenge us to be the best we can be.”

Palombino, a junior, dented the scoreboard first on a six yard strike from Bohn that culminated an 11-play, 85-yard drive.

Next up was quick slant to Strothman from the four that polished-off a 12-play, 82-yard drive.

The Rocks then opened the second half with another 12-play drive that netted 90 yards and ended with a 15-yarder from Bohn to Miller to put Trinity up 21-0 and essentially seal the game.

McCarthy’s 23-yard TD catch, which came at the end of a 5-play, 94-yard drive (which included Moore’s terrific 55 yard run), showcased some nifty footwork and maneuvering away from the determined St. X pass rush by Bohn.

“His (Bohn’s) growth since the Male game (Sep. 8) has been something to behold,” Trinity Offensive Coordinator Andrew Coverdale said. “He’s responded as well as you could respond since that game. He was locked-in, smart with the ball late and when the play didn’t develop cleanly he didn’t take sacks.”

Bohn finished 32 of 42 for 237 yards and those four scores. At least five of those incomplete passes avoided big sacks by the hard-charging Tigers pass rush. St. X wouldn’t record a sack on the night primarily due to Bohn’s decision making and a group of receivers who executed with precision.

“We know everyone is focusing on Rondale, but our other receivers are as reliable as he is,” Bohn said. “We had to have other players step up big and they did exactly that.”

To some, Bohn calls to mind former Trinity standout and Louisville quarterback Will Stein. Both are small, but light on their feet, quick with their decisions and some power behind their throws.

Watching from the press box the stark contrast of the two offenses was clear. Trinity’s passing game is advanced and not many teams can duplicate that type of effectiveness on this level. Their discipline, commitment and work rate looks like a well structured college team.

And while St. X employs the strong arm of Jack Albers to lead the offense, his throwing options just weren’t available. He finished the game 10 of 21 for 137 yards.

To have a difference-maker like Moore and a supporting cast producing 13 catches, four touchdowns and over 100 yards in a big game against your arch rival ensures that Trinity will make a deep run in the post season.

Just keep your eyes on those other guys; the guys not named Moore. 

 

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