With Ridley gone to LSU, Trinity seniors lead Saints

Published 12:02 am Friday, October 26, 2007

NATCHEZ — Not a lot of people expected much from Trinity this season.

Yes, the team was coming off a MPSA Class A State Championship last season, but the Saints moved up to Class AA and their do everything player Steven Ridley had moved on to the LSU Tigers.

However, a group of Trinity seniors have proven the doubters wrong and have the Saints right back where they want to be, in contention for a state championship.

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“This group of seniors has continued the long line of winning tradition at Trinity,” coach David King said. “They worked hard in the summer in preparation for the season so we could have this kind of success.”

The Saints (9-0, 3-0) head into tonight’s home game against Riverfield with a perfect record and the District 3-AA championship on the line.

The Saints can clinch the district championship with a win over the Raiders (4-4, 2-1). Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

While the Saints have kept the winning tradition alive this season, the way they are winning is completely different.

Instead of giving the ball to Ridley and letting him run wild, the Saints are relying on numerous players, especially seniors Parker Brumfield, Clint Easom, Matthew Freeman, Langdon Morrison, Matt Barnes and Jordan Vance.

Another senior, Kyle Ketchings, was supposed to play a big factor on the team, but suffered a concussion in the preseason jamboree and was not medically cleared to play this season.

“There’s a lot of good athletes in this group,” King said. “They are used to winning and expect to win every Friday night. They’ve seen seven or eight years of good football in front of them and didn’t want to disappoint when they got their chance.”

Even so, King said with Ridley gone, he was a little surprised at the raging success the Saints have had this season.

“I’m surprised at the ease with which we’ve won some of the games this year,” King said. “I thought we would have a good team, but the ease in which we had won some games has surprised everyone.”

Senior tight end and linebacker Vance, a transfer from Newton County High School in Decatur, said he was a little surprised with the way the season has progressed as well.

“I wasn’t expecting to be 9-0 (before the season),” Vance said. “But when I look around and see all the weapons we have, it doesn’t surprise me now.”

The amount of weapons the Saints do have, especially on offense, is the reason for their success, King said.

“Our opponents can’t just scout one player,” King said. “Every kid contributes, which makes it difficult for other teams.”

The player with the most pressure on him going into the season very well may have been Brumfield.

The senior quarterback didn’t have to do much last year other than hand the ball to Ridley or toss the ball to Ridley.

This season, however, he is responsible for running the offense and getting the ball to all his playmakers.

“I felt tremendous pressure coming into this season because last year, when we did something wrong, Steven was there to bail us out,” Brumfield said. “I’ve gone from throwing the ball five or six times a game to over 20 times a game. I have to get everyone in the right spots and make the offense go.”

So far, so good for the Trinity seniors, all who play on both offense and defense.

The Saint offense is averaging 44 points per game while the defense is allowing only 6 points per game with five shutouts.

If the Saints can keep it up, they just might accomplish the goal they set for themselves every year, a state championship.

“As far fetched as it sounds, our goal every year is to win the state championship,” King said. “We owe it to the kids that are here to have that goal.”

And while there is no Steven Ridley to bail the Saints out of a sticky situation, the way the Trinity seniors have been playing this year, they don’t need him.

“We’re going out to prove everyone who doubted in us wrong,” Brumfield said. “Everybody thought the team was all Steven. We’re proving that there are others who have talent and can win.”