Trinity hangs on to early lead for win

Published 1:14 am Saturday, August 29, 2009

NATCHEZ — Late in the first quarter of Trinity’s home opener against East Rankin, the field’s sprinkler system came on with a burst, before being shut down and trickling down to nothing.

That’s about how the night went for the Trinity football team.

Fortunately for the Saints, their opening burst was enough to get past East Rankin 25-16.

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Trinity jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game and led 25-8 at halftime, but gained just 52 yards in the second half as they had to hang on for the victory.

“We scored right off the bat and it looked like it was going to be a good night for Trinity, but we just completely laid down (after that) and had no intensity,” Trinity coach David King said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been this disappointed after a win. I thought (East Rankin) outplayed us. It was a very average effort in front of our home crowd.”

But it didn’t start out that way. Trinity received the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards in just five plays.

R.J. Fleming capped the drive with a 51-yard touchdown scamper less than two minutes into the game.

Trinity expanded its lead to 12-0 90 seconds later when Chas Moroney jumped in front of the East Rankin receiver on a screen pass attempt and returned the interception 40 yards for a score.

East Rankin got on the scoreboard thanks to a trick play with 4:50 remaining in the first quarter.

Patriots running back Garrett Taylor took a pitch and then tossed a 34-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Tyler Rhodes to cut the lead to 12-6 after the extra point was blocked.

However, Trinity returned the favor in the second quarter after recovering an East Rankin fumble at the 40.

Fleming took a pitch from quarterback Givonni Dent and then tossed a 40-yard TD pass to Kent King with 4:46 left in the first half.

Trinity’s defense then held the Patriots on downs at the Saints 32, and the offense quickly went to work.

Fleming’s 44-yard run set up a Fleming to Dent 19-yard touchdown pass with 2:16 remaining in the half to make the score 25-6 following Moroney’s extra point.

After an East Rankin punt pinned Trinity inside its 10, the Saints did give two points back to the Patriots with 32 seconds left in the half when Fleming was tackled in the end zone.

It was a sign of things to come for the Trinity offense in the second half, as the Saints couldn’t put a drive together.

Of Trinity’s six second-half possessions, four ended in punts and another was stopped by a fumble.

The only scoring in the second half was when East Rankin’s Jake Belt scored on a 1-yard run with 52 seconds left in the game.

Trinity then recovered the onsides kick and ran out the clock. That possession was the only time the Saints offense was on the East Rankin side of the field in the second half.

“The defense played well enough, but offensively, it was very disappointing tonight,” King said. “I think that they just stopped playing football and got disinterested is what it looked like to me.”

And King wanted to give the entire team the chance to see what happened, as he told them to head up to the field house to watch a tape of the game with the coaches.

“I have to go watch the film, but I’m not going to let them go home with the way I feel right now,” King said. “They’re going to stay up here with me and watch it.”