Trinity’s Caleb Cross forces the fumble from Columbia Academy quarterback Garrett Magee during the second half of the game. The fumble was one of three turnovers by the Cougars that helped seal the 20-14 home win and at least the No. 2 playoff seed in MAIS District 5-AA. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

Showing senior moves: Trinity secures playoff spot

Published 12:50am Saturday, October 20, 2012

NATCHEZ — A play was needed on senior night, and it was senior Sky Logan who wasn’t going to be denied.

In fact, he met very little resistance.

Trinity Episcopal held a 20-14 lead late in the fourth quarter, but Columbia Academy was driving down the field and threatening to score. The Saints managed to force a fourth and 16 from their own 27 with 1:01 left in the game. Columbia called a time out, and head coach Josh Loy challenged his seniors to make a play.

And that’s just what Logan did. As soon as the ball was snapped, Columbia quarterback Garrett Magee dropped back to pass — then immediately had Logan in his face. Magee could only attempt to get rid of the ball, but Logan batted it down.

Trinity’s Tanner Cage leaps over Columbia Academy’s Logan Cooke as he take the ball down the field during the Saints’ win. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

With Columbia out of time outs, Trinity took two consecutive knees to secure a 20-14 win and assured itself of at least the No. 2 playoff seed from MAIS District 5-AA.

“I knew it would be a pass, and I just got into my pass rush technique, and I just came in and batted it down,” Logan said.

Logan moved so quickly that the offensive lineman he was matched up against simply didn’t have time to react, Logan said.

“He tried to, but I got off the ball pretty fast and went past him,” Logan said.

Loy said after the game that he was proud of how his seniors stepped up and forced a turnover on downs to secure the win.

“We challenged them on that last drive,” Loy said. “Their backs were against the wall, and I knew we wouldn’t have any time left. We were fighting for our playoff lives, and (Logan) rose to the challenge and made a great play.”

Columbia (5-5, 0-2) saw a lot of success against Trinity on the ground, finishing with 272 yards rushing. Trinity, meanwhile, only had 25 total plays on offense, tallying 155 yards rushing and 27 yards passing.

“We didn’t have the ball much on offense, and they couldn’t get into a rhythm,” Loy said. “When we did have it, we had explosive plays that gave them the ball back quickly.”

It was those explosive plays that gave Trinity its win. With the game tied 7-7, running back Tanner Cage had a 69-yard touchdown run to put his team ahead 13-7 with no time left at the end of the first quarter. The extra-point attempt was no good.

Cage scored again on another long run, this time for 41 yards with 5:32 left in the third quarter. Carter Smith’s PAT kick was good, giving Trinity a 20-7 lead.

Columbia answered with a 10-play, 89 yard drive that ended with a 19-yard run by running back Chandler Fairley with 0:41 left in the third. The drive was aided by a controversial late-hit call on Trinity, in which a Saints player fell and allegedly hit Magee after Magee was tackled on a running play.

“I don’t think he actually hit him,” Loy said. “The middle ump (threw the flag), but our sideline judge tried to get him to waive it off. I don’t understand how the head referee made that call.”

Neither team scored in the fourth quarter.

Trinity scored first on a 52-yard fumble recovery by Quinton Logan on Columbia’s opening drive of the game. Smith’s PAT kick was good, and the Saints had an early 7-0 lead with 6:54 left in the first.

Columbia tied the game at the 1:21 mark in the first on a 26-yard touchdown run by Magee.

Fairley led in rushing with 156 yards on 28 carries. Cage tallied 146 yards on eight carries. Trinity quarterback Garrett Vinson returned after being injured last week, going 4-for-5 for 27 yards.

The win sets up a showdown between the Saints (6-3, 2-0) and Brookhaven Academy (6-4, 2-0) next week for the district championship.

“We didn’t execute on offense tonight, and we’re going to have to clean that up to have any chance to win district,” Loy said.

“Our goal all along was to compete and play for the district championship. We got there, now we have to play a lot better to win.”