Trinity hopes tough regular-season schedule has it ready for Sylva Bay

Published 12:01 am Friday, November 13, 2009

NATCHEZ — When Trinity Episcopal School constructed its tough schedule for the 2009 football season, head coach David King hoped it would help prepare his players for the challenges of postseason play.

Tonight, the Saints (8-3) will see if the regular season’s baptism by fire paid off, when they host Sylva Bay Academy (9-2) in the second round of MAIS Class A South State playoffs.

“Sylva Bay is one of the most explosive teams I’ve seen in a long time,” King said. “On offense, they like to lull you to sleep with their pro-style set, then all of a sudden hit some long passes to their two outstanding receivers.

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“Their running back is a slashing-type runner who is one of the best backs we’ll see this year. They’re a high-scoring team that’s scored almost 40 points per game.”

Because the Saints played several Class AA opponents this year, King said he hopes playing teams of those caliber will have his players ready for everything Sylva Bay will throw at them.

“This is one of the main reasons we played a tough schedule, to be prepared for anything,” King said. “Having them at home is a big advantage. The power points we got for our schedule let us have home field advantage (in the playoffs).”

With both Trinity and Sylva Bay being known for their quick-strike abilities on offense, King said the difference in the game will likely come down to which team makes the fewest mistakes.

“We have to play mistake-free. They have the capability to score just as fast as we do. I think whichever team turns the ball over and is penalized the least will be the one that comes out on top.”

Senior Saints receiver Brandon Daggs said he also understands how talented Sylva Bay is.

“They have one of the fastest players in the state playing receiver for them,” Daggs said. “They’re strong in both the pass and run. They also have a lineman that plays both ways that can take over the game if they need him to.”

On offense, King said accuracy in the passing game is important for Trinity.

“They’re a team that likes to play man-to-man on defense,” King said. “(Quarterback) Givonni Dent will have to be precise with his passes. Our line also has a big test — their defensive line is very physical. One through 11, they match up with us pretty well.”

Daggs said he’s excited about the challenge of going against a man-to-man defense.

“I love it when teams play man against us,” Daggs said. “It gives us a chance to break through. We’re going to have to find a mismatch (in the passing game) and execute.”

While Trinity looks to create big plays on offense, its defense will have to prevent them in order to have a chance, King said.

“We can’t afford to give up big plays. We’ve been a victim of those all year, and in this game, we just can’t afford for that to happen.”

Kickoff at Trinity is set for 7 tonight.