Saints and Tigers clash

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, August 23, 2011

eric shelton | The Natchez Democrat Trinity’s Tip McKenzie, left, had 108 yards rushing in the Saints’ loss against Jefferson County Friday night in Fayette. Jefferson County won 28-17.

NATCHEZ — The Trinity Episcopal football team is coming off its first loss since the 2009 season. The Saints won 21 consecutive contests before falling 28-17 to Jefferson County High School last week.

This week the Saints are preparing to travel to Centreville Academy, the last team to beat them before they started their run of success, which included two state titles.

Despite the loss to open the season, Trinity coach David King said he is still pleased with the progression of his 2011 squad.

“I feel good about where we are,” he said. “We had to replace a whole lot of good players from last year.”

King said this year’s schedule was designed to test his team early.

“Centreville is an outstanding program, and we played a very athletic team last week,” he said. “After (these games) we feel we’re prepared for anything we see the rest of the year.”

Centreville had little trouble in its first game against Amite School Center. The Tigers cruised to a 45-12 win, behind a solid running game and big plays in the passing game.

“Centreville is very physical, and they are one of the top programs in the state,” King said. “I think they are deeper skill-wise (this year) with everybody back from a good team last year.”

King said stopping the Tigers’ ground attack would be crucial.

“We have to stop their run attack,” he said. “They are very good with the run. They run the football as well as anybody.”

King said one advantage he has in preparation this week is that he is more familiar with what Centreville coach Bill Hurst likes to run than he was with Jefferson County.

“We’ve been playing Centreville, and we’ve got a little bit more of a feeling of what they will do,” he said.

The Saints battled cramps and injuries in last week’s game against Jefferson County, and King said one positive did come out of dealing with those issues.

“We had several starters go down with injuries, and I thought it was good to be able to get some young guys out there, and they battled.”

If Trinity can replicate the way they played for most of the game against Jefferson County, King said his team should be fine.

“I hope we can play about like we did last week, but just keep sustaining it,” he said.

King said Centreville would be a good barometer for how his team will compete later in the season.

“Centreville will be one of the best teams in AA, if we can play with them we can play with anyone,” King said.

Hurst could not be reached for comment Monday.

Centreville and Trinity will kickoff at 7 p.m. Friday.