Trinity, ACCS basking in first round playoff wins, preparing for next games

Published 12:05 am Monday, November 4, 2013

Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat —  Trinity Episcopal quarterback Michael Whitley evades a tackle from a River Oaks lineman during the Saints 36-7 homecoming win last month.

Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Trinity Episcopal quarterback Michael Whitley evades a tackle from a River Oaks lineman during the Saints 36-7 homecoming win last month.

NATCHEZ — Trinity Episcopal Day School didn’t cut Immanuel Christian School any slack in its 55-0 win in the first round of the MAIS Class A playoffs last week.

The win marked their fifth shutout victory of the season, and it was the fourth game the Saints have won by 50 or more points.

Quarterback Michael Whitley has been outstanding for the Saints, but he said the numbers he has been putting up are all thanks to his teammates and coaches.

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“I have great coaches, a great offensive line and great athletes to throw it to,” Whitley said. “They make me look good. I don’t have to do much.”

Whitely completed 12 of 16 passes for 186 yards and six touchdowns in last week’s playoff game. On defense, he returned an interception for 32 yards before being brought down at the 12-yard line.

“I just read the quarterback’s eyes, and it took me right to the ball,’ he said.

Whitley said his team was confident before the game despite not playing the past two weeks.

“We were pretty confident coming in to this game,” Whitley said. “We worked hard for this.”

The Saints will host Newton Academy in the second round of the MAIS Class A playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday.

Adams County Christian School

NATCHEZ — It took until his senior season — actually, a lot longer — but Brandon Ross and the rest of the Adams Country Christian School football team got a victory 31 years in the making.

ACCS rode a strong defensive performance to its first playoff victory in 31 years, a 28-7 win against Central Hinds Academy Friday. For many players, like Ross, it was their first chance to savor a postseason win.

“This feels great on the inside,” senior Brandon Ross, who finished with 14 tackles and a fumble recovery, said. “To know that I accomplished something that we haven’t accomplished in 31 years, it means a whole lot to me.”

After the game, head coach David King, who won several state championships at Trinity Episcopal Day School, said the win was nonetheless a special one to him since it came at his alma mater.

“I was nervous before the game,” King said. “I don’t ever get nervous, but I was nervous, like it was my first time. I’ve been here a hundred times, but it felt like the first time all over again, and I’m just very, very proud.”

Senior Matthew Rymer, a Cathedral High School transfer, already had postseason experience and wins under his belt, but he too said the win was an important one for him personally.

“It was a big win,” Rymer said. “It’s my senior year, and my days are limited here, so to go out here and beat this team on our home field, it’s great.”

Up next for the Rebels (10-1) is Glenbrook School (8-3), which ACCS beat 70-48 Oct. 4. If the Rebels are going to keep advancing in the playoffs, King said they would need to be balanced on offense like they were against Central Hinds. ACCS tallied 182 yards rushing and 117 yards passing.

“You have to be balanced in the playoffs,” King said. “You’re not going to run the football in this Double-A league against everybody unless you can pass it. (Quarterback) Tyler (Stockstill) made some good throws, and we’ve got some really good receivers.”

With his Rebels improving at the right time, King pointed to a 41-0 win against Central Private School — following a 34-12 loss against Centreville Academy — that was a turning point in their season.

“We’ve got a good football team, and what happened is, about Week 4, they realized they were a good football team, and I think they’re hungry for a little bit more.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Friday at ACCS.