Simpson eliminates Trinity 21-14

Published 12:56 am Saturday, November 10, 2012

Trinity Episcopal Day School’s Zach Young (11) gets stopped by Simpson Academy’s Chris Sullivan (3) in Trinity’s 21-14 loss Friday night. (Will Devening \ Special to the Democrat)

MENDENHALL — Trinity Episcopal only lost one fumble, but Simpson Academy made the Saints pay for it.

With the score tied 14-14 at the 7:04 mark in the third, Trinity’s Garrett Vinson dropped the ball as he was sacked on the Simpson 48-yard line. Patrick Benton then picked it up and ran it 52 yards to put the Cougars ahead 21-14.

The Saints failed to score again, and Trinity’s season ended Friday night in the second round of the MAIS Class AA South State playoffs.

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“That was huge — it was a game-changer,” Saints head coach Josh Loy said. “It was 14-14, and the defense played lights out. We had just scored on the last possession and had momentum, and they just got a little too much pressure I guess.”

Trinity’s Tanner Cage had tied the game with a 24-yard touchdown carry at the 8:36 mark in the third. On the ensuing Simpson possession, Saints lineman Sky Logan recovered a fumble on the Simpson 38, giving Trinity momentum.

But the turnover proved costly, and the Saints finished their season with an 8-5 record.

“My kids fought,” Loy said. “They competed, and they gave everything they had. We just came out on the short end. Someone had to lose, and unfortunately, it was us.”

With 3:50 to go in the first quarter, Simpson’s Andrew Berry scored on a 23-yard pass from Josh Hankins to put the Cougars up early 7-0. The Cougars extended their lead 14-0 with 6:25 left in the second quarter on a 9-yard touchdown reception by Chris Sullivan.

Cage scored the Saints’ first touchdown with 1:38 before the half on a 3-yard carry, and Trinity trailed 14-7 at intermission.

Trinity was without running back Demarcus Fleming for much of the game when Fleming injured his ankle after a 29-yard punt return in the second quarter.

“That was big for us,” Loy said of Fleming’s injury. “It changed a lot of the game plan, where we had to shuffle some things around and do things differently. I won’t say we weren’t prepared, but we didn’t plan on doing those things.”

Cage finished with 130 yards on 23 carries. Zach Young added six rushes for 25 yards. Vinson was 4-for-13 in passing with 21 yards.

With the season over, Loy said he’s hopeful his inaugural season as coach has laid the foundation for a strong future at Trinity.

“We did a lot in a short timespan, and these kids believed,” Loy said.

“They never quit believing, and I’ll never forget that. They’ll always have a special place in my heart as long as I coach. Hopefully the underclassmen will be hungry for next year and be ready to work (this offseason).”