Saints’ experience shows up in playoff win

Published 1:43 am Saturday, November 7, 2009

NATCHEZ — Heading into the first round of the MAIS Class A South State Playoffs, Trinity Episcopal coach David King said he was happy his team would be playing on a dry field.

For the first time in six weeks, the Saints didn’t have to worry about playing in the elements. The results of their game against Riverdale Academy Friday suggest that a dry ground makes them right at home, as the Saints pounded Riverdale 48-13.

“We just have a lot of speed, and this was a dry field,” David King said. “The weather’s part of the football game each week, but we’re certainly geared around a dry football field, and I think the fans saw that tonight.”

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The game saw several big plays from the Saints’ key upperclassmen. Seniors R.J. Fleming and Brandon Daggs and junior Kent King accounted for all seven Saints touchdowns.

Fleming got things started for the Saints, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter on runs of 37 and 7 yards.

In the second quarter, Riverdale made several big plays with the run, and tapped off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown carry by Matt Makowsky with 11:29 to go in the second.

The rest of the second quarter was all Trinity. Saints quarterback Givonni Dent hit Daggs for a 21-yard touchdown pass with 11:11 to go before halftime.

On the ensuing Riverdale drive, quarterback Andrew Driggers attempted a short pass, only to have it intercepted by King, who ran it back 28-yards for the touchdown. It was one of King’s two interceptions on the night.

“I just try to do anything I can to make a play (when the ball’s headed my way),” Kent King said. “All week we were working on pass coverage, because we hadn’t been doing well with that.”

Fleming scored the next Trinity touchdown in the second quarter on a 7-yard carry, and Daggs scored his second touchdown of the night on a 73-yard catch with 1:04 to go before the half.

Trinity scored just one more touchdown in the game on a 4-yard run by King with 1:17 left in the third quarter.

Riverdale scored its only other touchdown late in the fourth quarter on a Zach Johnson 50-yard catch.

Dent finished 8-of-10 in passes with no interceptions, and David King said his performance was a good sign for his team’s chances throughout the rest of the postseason.

“It was good to see Givonni throw the football well to several different receivers,” David King said.

Kent King said setting the tone for the rest of the playoffs with a win in the first game was important.

“I think it was really big,” Kent King said. “Hopefully it carries over into the second round, South State and eventually the state championship.”

David King, however, was just relieved his team made it out without any injuries.

“Mainly, we’re healthy,” King said. “We got out of here healthy. Riverdale’s got a good, physical ball club. They were young — I don’t think they’ve been to the playoffs in a long time, and I think our experience there probably made a difference early on in the ball game.”