Trinity youth team set for playoffs

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, November 5, 2013

VIDALIA — The McDonald Collision Saints went from not being able to field a team to making the playoffs in youth football.

The Saints play in the 6- to 8-year-old division of the Miss-Lou Youth Football league, but with the team being made up entirely of Trinity Episcopal Day School children, they would normally be playing AYA ball.

“There weren’t enough kids,” Saints head coach Sam Gwin explained. “They wouldn’t allow second graders to go to the third- and fourth-grade group.”

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But with Miss-Lou Youth Football allowing 6-year-olds to play, Gwin said they qualified for the Vidalia league. Now, after going 5-5, the Saints will take on the Pecan Acres Gators at 6:30 p.m. tonight in the first round of the Miss-Lou Youth Football playoffs at Vidalia High School.

“We started out very slow,” Gwin said. “None of them had ever played football before, and with it being tackle and full pads, it makes you nervous. But there were no significant injuries, and we’ve done very well. We went from herding cats to having a real football team, and it’s been awesome to see.

Gwin described quarterback Conner Cauthen as “lightning fast” and said two-way athlete Reed Blanton is a star on offense and defense.

“He’s saved us numerous times chasing kids down and catching them (before they score),” Gwin said.

The team also likes to run a center sneak, where the quarterback puts the ball back in the center’s hands after the snap — a legal play in Miss-Lou Youth Football.

“He gives it back through the legs, and off he goes,” Gwin said. “My son, Scott Gwin, plays center, and he’s had some pretty good runs.”

With three 8-year-olds, one 7-year-old and eight 6-year-olds, Gwin said he hopes what they’re learning now will pay off later when they put on a bigger Saints uniform at Trinity.

“These kids are learning, and I’m hoping it will have a real impact once they hit high school,” Gwin said.