Trinity savors stunning win over Bishop
Trinity coach Clayton Trivett took the short and sweet route when asked about reviewing video of Friday night’s game.
“It’s gonna be ugly,” Trivett said.
Bishop McGuinness coach Charlie Jones — quite understandably, given his location — elected for an analogy of Biblical proportions.
“I told the kids, ‘He who has not sinned, cast the first stone,’ ” Jones said. “That was the most equal-opportunity disaster I can ever remember being a part of.”
The scoreboard read 12-7 in favor of the Bulldogs at the end of the nonconference game. What didn’t fit on the scoreboard spoke volumes. Both teams dominated weak foes last week. Bishop, despite missing a key offensive weapon, seemed the stronger team considering Trinity’s three straight 1-10 seasons — a notion strengthened when the Villains scored on their first possession.
But the Villains did not score again – even when the Bulldogs did everything but place the ball in the end zone for them. That’s why Trinity defensive coordinator Tim Suggs promised to buy pizza for the team in the postgame huddle, and why several of his players showered him with water and Gatorade afterward.
“The defense was outstanding,” Trivett said.
It had to be. Bishop got the ball 25 yards from the end zone on its first possession when the Bulldogs went for a first down on fourth-and-3. Seven plays later, Villains quarterback Andrew Rowley lofted a perfect pass to Carlos Simmons for a 17-yard touchdown, and Logan Howard’s PAT made it 7-0 with less than four minutes gone.
Trinity’s second possession lasted two plays before Grayson Bennett’s interception. This time, just 34 yards from the end zone, Bishop couldn’t score. The punters got in some work, then Howard had a 45-yard field goal blocked by Austin Thompson and returned 52 yards by John Wagner to the 18.
Two plays later, Trinity fumbled.
The stalemate proved so bad that Jones decided he would not try to score again before halftime. The Villains got the ball back with 2:45 remaining in the half, ran three conservative plays, and lined up to punt. That’s when an illegal substitution penalty by Trinity gave Bishop a first down. A late hit out of bounds and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty helped the Villains set up first-and-goal at the 9 with 34 seconds left.
Rowley raced left for a touchdown … that was called back by a holding penalty. Then he got sacked and time ran out on the half. At the break, Trinity had gained 12 yards on 18 plays, and committed 10 penalties for 78 yards. The Villains had seven first downs to the Bulldogs’ one … and led 7-0.
On this night, the halftime talks didn’t seem to change much. Bishop fumbled away its opening possession thanks to Houston Spivey’s recovery. Trinity running back D.J. Pratt, who gained 209 yards last week, broke off a 21-yard run to set up first-and-goal and scored from 2 yards out. But the Bulldogs missed the PAT, so Bishop still led 7-6 with 5:11 left in the quarter.
The Villains’ answered proved less than ideal. They lost the ball on downs on their next possession and forced a punt that they fumbled on the one after that. The special teams miscue, which gave Trinity the ball at the 7, led to powerful defensive lineman Jordan Johnson — who terrorized the Villains on defense most of the game – plowing into the end zone from 2 yards out. The score remained 12-7 when Trinity’s two-point conversion failed.
Now losing in the fourth quarter, Bishop’s situation seemed especially bleak. The Villains punted … but got the ball back when Pratt fumbled after a big gain. Nothing doing. So the Villains punted again … and Pratt fumbled again.
No problem. Trinity’s Austin Hyler hit Rowley in an amazing play that jarred the ball out of the quarterback’s hand. Hyler grabbed the ball before it hit the ground and raced 58 yards for a touchdown, only to see what would have been the decisive score called back for an illegal block away from the action.
It still didn’t matter. Jax Gregory intercepted a later pass for Trinity, and Pratt kept getting carries despite the earlier fumbles and converted several first downs on the final drive.
“He’s our guy,” Trivett said. “We’re going to give him the ball every chance we get. I know it was hot and sweaty out there. I had faith in him.”