Saints go marching into Alabama

Published 12:01 am Friday, August 22, 2008

NATCHEZ — Trinity Episcopal was supposed to open its season against Tensas Academy, but when the Chiefs decided to play eight-man football this year, it left Saints coach David King scrambling to find an opponent.

He couldn’t have found a much tougher one, as Trinity will take a four-hour trip to Toxey, Ala., to face defending Alabama Independent School Association Class A state champion South Choctaw Academy Rebels.

The Rebels finished last season with a 13-0 record on their way to the state championship.

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“We always like to play good competition, and this is no exception,” King said. “We’ve been watching film on them all week and they’re a quality opponent. You can tell why they are state champions.”

King said he called every school in Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas trying to schedule a game for the first week of the season, but couldn’t come up with an opponent.

“We thought we had a game with a school in Arkansas, but the headmaster backed out,” King said. “And the public schools start their season a week after us so we couldn’t schedule a game against them either.”

Finally, King found out that South Choctaw had an open date Friday after their opponent backed out. He contacted them and was able to schedule the game.

King said he expects a good game between two schools that have a winning tradition.

“We’re expecting some kids to play physical football,” King said. “Both teams are very accustomed to winning. They won a state championship last year and we won one two years ago. There will be some kids out there who are used to winning.”

After graduating so many key players from last year’s team that began the season 13-0 and advanced to the Class AA South State championship game, Trinity will still be trying to find their way a little bit against the Rebels.

“There are still a lot of unknowns,” King said. “This is a great week for some kids to earn some playing time and starting spots. There are 23 guys dressed out, and all of them will have the opportunity to earn a spot.”

One of the biggest question marks is at quarterback. King said R.J. Fleming, Givonni Dent and Jackson Bryant will all get snaps at the quarterback position tonight.

But while there are some questions about the makeup of the team, there is no doubt about the excitement of their season debut.

“I think they’re excited that we’re going into an unknown, a new league, representing our league and state,” King said. “It’s fun to play somebody different. We don’t know much about (South Choctaw) and they don’t know much about us. We’ll have to grow up quick, but this game will make us better in the long run.”