Trinity gets its first real test of season in River Oaks Academy

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 17, 2008

NATCHEZ — The Trinity Saints don’t really know what it’s like to play a close game.

But they will most likely find out tonight.

The Saints (8-0, 2-0 District 3-AA) host the River Oaks Mustangs (5-2, 2-0) in a district clash that will go a long way in determining a district champion.

Email newsletter signup

Trinity’s closest margin of victory was 17 points in the season-opener, but coach David King expects that to change tonight.

“River Oaks is a great football team,” King said. “We’ve had some battles with them the past several years. They’re just like us, fighting for a district championship. They feel they’ve got a great chance to win it just like we do.”

River Oaks has lost its two games by a combined three points, dropping a 19-17 decision to No. 5 ranked Porter’s Chapel and falling 21-20 to Central Private last week.

King expects tonight’s game to be much like last years, in which the Saints pulled out a 35-29 victory in their closest victory of the season.

“River Oaks is a team that pushed last year,” King said. “The game was in question until the final drive, and I think this game will be very similar to that.”

King said he is concerned about the fact that Trinity has not been in a close game to this point in the season.

“It’s not that we went out looking for an easy schedule,” King said. “We’ve just been fortunate that we’ve been able to jump on some quality teams early. River Oaks is one of those teams that presents a lot of problems for us. They’re well-coached and have some fabulous athletes. We look for four quarters of good football.”

With both teams being 2-0 in district play, the winner of tonight’s game gets a huge leg up in the standings with one district game to play.

Trinity running back R.J. Fleming knows that makes tonight’s game extra important.

“This is definitely the biggest game we’ve played this year,” Fleming said. “River Oaks has a lot of good athletes. We’re going to have to play four quarters of hard-nosed football if we want to win.”

And because of the critical nature of tonight’s game, Fleming said practice has been even tougher than usual this week.

“Practice has been really intense,” Fleming said. “The coaches have been working hard and the players have been working hard. We’re coming together as a team.”