Trinity beats Centreville

Published 12:40 am Saturday, November 12, 2011

Trinity’s Tanner Cage, left, Jake Winston, bottom, and Tip McKenzie stop Centreville’s Colton Terrell during their game Friday night at Centreville Academy. Trinity won 39-19. (Eric Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ —Tip McKenzie’s 74-yard touchdown reception on the first play of the game seemed to set the tone for Trinity Episcopal in the second round of the MAIS Class AA playoffs.

And round two of the playoffs was also round two for the Saints against rival Centreville Academy. While the Saints barely escaped with a win the first go-around back in late August, Friday night was a different story. The Saints used a strong passing game to cruise to a 39-19 win, and head coach David King said his team was going to sink or swim through its air attack.

“They’re just so well-coached that it’s hard to run the ball on Centreville,” King said. “We had a game plan that we put in, and the kids just executed it very well.”

Centreville head coach Bill Hurst said his Tigers squad simply ran into a team that was playing lights-out in all facets of the game.

“Trinity played outstanding. They played much better tonight than I’ve seen them play on film,” Hurst said. “I’ve watched them several times on tapes, and their kids were hitting on all cylinders.

“Coach King did a great job, and he had them ready. You can’t take anything away from what they did. They just had them ready.”

Trinity received on the opening possession, and Saints quarterback Scott Turner hit McKenzie with a pass over the middle of the field. McKenzie then used his speed to run outside and break away against the Tigers’ defensive backfield for a 74-yard touchdown reception. The extra point by Jake Winston made it 7-0 Trinity.

The Saints forced Centreville to punt on its first possession and drove down the field to score again, capped off this time by a 25-yard touchdown catch by Tanner Cage. Winston missed the extra point, giving Trinity a 13-0 lead.

Centreville finally started to move the ball on Trinity, but an attempted pass by Cliff Hurst was intercepted by Winston, giving the Saints a chance to go up by three touchdowns.

Winston was the one who delivered the touchdown, catching a 36-yard pass from Turner with 1:52 left in the first. The Saints were unable to run it in for the two-point conversion, and Trinity led 19-0 at the end of the first.

With 11:46 left in the second, Trinity fumbled on its own 40, and Centreville recovered, giving the Tigers good field position to potentially cut the Saints’ lead. But Centreville coughed it right back up, with a bad snap sailing back to Trinity’s 46-yard line, where the Saints recovered.

The Saints failed to convert a touchdown, forcing Winston to punt the ball. The ball sailed all the way to the Centreville 6, but the fielder fumbled the punt, and Trinity recovered. Three plays later, McKenzie scored his second touchdown of the night on an 8-yard catch with 9:47 left before halftime. Winston kicked the extra point, and Trinity led 26-0.

Centreville’s Colton Terrell took the ensuing kickoff back 75 yards to the Saints’ 15-yard line. The Tigers finally got on the board with 6:54 left with a 3-yard touchdown run by Cliff Hurst. Tyler Towles’ PAT kick cut Trinity’s lead to 26-7 at intermission.

Turner scored on an 8-yard run with 6:19 left in the third, and Winston’s PAT kick made it 33-7 Trinity. The Tigers scored the next two touchdowns, however, making it only a 14-point game with eight minutes to go in the fourth.

Centreville scored at the end of the third on a 38-yard pass from Cliff Hurst to Colby Shaw. The two-point run attempt failed, making it 33-13 Trinity.

The Tigers scored again with 8:39 left in the fourth on a 5-yard run by Terrell. Centreville again went for two, but the pass attempt failed, and Trinity’s lead was down to 33-19.

But the Saints had one more touchdown play in store. Trinity’s Trae McKenzie had two big receptions of 30 and 37 yards to set up an 6-yard touchdown carry by Tip McKenzie, where Tip ran directly into a host of Centreville defenders and somehow shot through the pile into the end zone. Winston missed the PAT, making the score 39-19.

Two interceptions and two fumbles by Centreville made things tough for the Tigers, and Bill Hurst said his prediction about turnovers came true.

“I said earlier (this week), I thought turnovers would be the difference in the ball game, and they didn’t help by any means,” Hurst said.

Centreville finished its season 10-3. Trinity (11-2) will play at Simpson Academy next Friday for the South State championship game.