Saints capitalize on Wildcat gifts

Published 12:52 am Saturday, September 10, 2011

Trinity Episcopal’s Jake Winston steamrolls down the field past Silliman’s Hunter Chidester Friday night during the Saints’ 41-7 home win. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Silliman Institute was in a giving mood Friday night — giving Trinity the ball, giving Trinity points and ultimately giving the Saints the win.

The Wildcats provided the Saints with a slew of interceptions — three that were returned for touchdowns — as the Saints rolled to a 41-7 blowout win.

Every time Silliman (2-2) mustered a drive into Trinity (3-1) territory, the Wildcats looked as though they could not resist hitting the self-destruct button. Saints head coach David King said he was pleased with his players’ ability to position themselves to make plays.

“We’ve got some really good play makers that make a habit of reading the football well,” King said. “I think they did a good job tonight of getting a good jump on balls that stayed in the air long.”

The Saints started off slowly on offense, trading possessions with the Wildcats before scoring with 6:31 left in the first. Trinity drove down the field and scored when Tip McKenzie lined up at quarterback and hit his brother Trae McKenzie from 18 yards out.

On the ensuing Wildcat possession, Silliman quarterback Colt Ducolt threw the first pick-6 of the night on the first play from scrimmage. Tip McKenzie was the lucky defensive back, returning it 39 yards for a touchdown with 6:12 left in the first.

Tip McKenzie would add another pick-6 with 4:43 left in the first when he picked off a throw and ran it back 45 yards for the touchdown.

Trinity had two touchdown drives in the second quarter. The first was capped off by a 25-yard reception by Tip McKenzie and the second a 2-yard run by quarterback Scott Turner.

Silliman provided the Saints with one more pick-6 before the half, when Trinity’s Tanner Cage caught an errant pass and ran it back 77 yards for a touchdown. Trinity led 41-0 at the half.

Silliman’s only score came with approximately nine minutes left in the third quarter. Wildcats quarterback Jason Palmero connected with Caleb Blackard for a 73-yard touchdown reception.

The clock ran continuously in the second half, and Trinity kept the ball mostly on the ground as the game winded down.

“We started a little sluggish, but Silliman is a well-coached team, and they did some things we hadn’t seen on film,” King said.

“Our defense is getting better every week, and that’s what they’re going to have to do. This is a good win against a quality opponent, a playoff-caliber opponent. We did what we had to do in the first half and did some preparation for the rest of the season in the second half.”

Trinity running back Daniel Dunaway injured his knee after a 56-yard reception in the first half. King said he didn’t know how serious the injury was.

King said he’s happy with the way his players have stepped up the last few weeks and matured in that time frame.

“We’re excited about the rest of the season,” King said. “We have some guys that are growing and getting close to where we want to be.”

Trinity will travel to River Oaks next week.