Trinity comes from behind to win

Published 1:15 am Saturday, August 27, 2011

Centreville Academy’s Gage Chandler gets past Trinity’s Wesley Gore during their game Friday night at Centreville Academy. (Eric Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — The Trinity Episcopal football team was less than 30 seconds away from starting its 2011 season 0-2.

The Saints were trailing Centreville Academy 28-27, and they were staring at a fourth down and 20 from Centreville Academy’s 35-yard line.

But Trinity quarterback Scott Turner still had one more throw left in him, and he was able to hook up with Tip McKenzie at the goal line with just 15 seconds to play to give the Saints a 33-28 lead that they would hold on to and defeat the Tigers.

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“My heart was pounding,” Turner said. “I could see the middle of the field open, and I knew who I was going to go to, I just had to get the ball there.

Trinity’s Tip McKenzie gets past Centreville’s Gage Chandler during their game Friday night at Centreville Academy. (Eric Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

“This is the best feeling of my life.”

Trinity head coach David King said the touchdown play is one the Saints work on every day.

“It’s a play we run in practice, kind of a desperation play that worked out for us,” King said.

Trinity was forced to play catch-up for much of the game after it took a 7-0 lead on the first drive of the game when Turner found McKenzie for their first 35-yard connection of the contest.

Centreville answered quickly with three straight touchdowns before halftime using a strong running attack.

Gage Chandler had a 1-yard plunge for the Tigers’ first score. Chandler found the end zone again early in the second quarter with a 27-yard scamper. Then, quarterback Tyler Towles snuck in from 1 yard out to give Centreville a two-touchdown lead at the break.

King said he was forced to challenge his team at the half.

“There were a lot of mistakes, and we had to battle back,” he said. “(We) showed character, and we kind of questioned our ball club about (character) in the first (half). We came out and had to challenge them, and they responded.”

Trinity came out and scored two touchdowns in the third quarter. The first came on a 70-yard interception return by McKenzie. Then, McKenzie was able to find the end zone on a 5-yard run after Daniel Dunaway blocked a punt to give the Saints good field position.

Trinity took its first lead since the opening drive of the game with 7:02 left in the fourth quarter when Jake Winston caught a 41-yard pass from Turner. Winston would miss the ensuing extra point however, leaving Trinity up 27-21.

Centreville answered with a touchdown by Randy Bell with 3:45 left, and the Tigers made their extra point to take a 1-point lead.

Trinity got good field position on its next drive, but McKenzie fumbled on a third and 6 play and Centreville’s Jake Darden recovered, with less than three minutes to play.

Two plays later, Trinity’s defense stepped up and got the ball back, giving the Saints a chance to win when Towles fumbled the snap and McKenzie recovered for Trinity.

A Trinity penalty and two incompletions then set up the big play from Turner to McKenzie to give Trinity the win.

“There were a lot of big plays, and we are very fortunate to get the win. It was just a great ball game,” King said.

Turner finished the night with 273 yards passing and three touchdowns. McKenzie had 91 receiving yards and scored two receiving touchdowns, one rushing touchdown and a defensive touchdown.

Winston also had a big night receiving for the Saints with 92 yards on three catches and one score.

Centreville piled up 314 yards rushing on the Trinity defense in the loss. Bell had 93 yards on 17 carries and a score. Chandler ran the ball 10 times for 68 yards and two touchdowns.

Centreville coach Bill Hurst said he was disappointed that his team lost a two-touchdown lead.

“No guts from Centreville (was the difference),” he said. “We have to have heart. They were just a better team than us.”

Both teams are now 1-1 on the season. Trinity hosts Bowling Green next week, while Centreville travels to Parklane.