Trinity, WCCA set for high-stakes matchup Friday in Woodville

Published 11:57 pm Wednesday, October 18, 2017

For the majority of this decade, when rivals Trinity Episcopal School and Wilkinson County Christian Academy squared off district championships and playoff implications have been at stake.

This season will be no exception when the Rams (1-7, 1-0) host the surging Saints (3-5, 1-0) for homecoming with first place in MAIS District 3-A on the line. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. Friday.

Two weeks ago, WCCA won at Union Christian Academy. It was not just a win in the Rams’ district opener, but also their first victory of the 2017 season. Then last week, the Rams gave up 35 first-half points in a 42-6 setback to Class AA Clinton Christian Academy.

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“We just didn’t play well, plain and simple. We didn’t block and tackle like we should’ve,” Rams head coach Mac Newcomb said. “We didn’t execute our game plan.

“We made some mental mistakes. When you got a bigger school like that, you can’t make mistakes.”

During last week’s game, starting quarterback D’mario Weathersby went out with an injury and will not play this week. Sophomore Brayson Boeta, who finished the game for Weathersby, will likely start this week.

“We’re in a bind,” Newcomb said.

WCCA faces a Trinity team that has won its last two games, including a dramatic 34-32 win at Class AA Greenville Christian School last week.

“They’re good. They’ve got more athletes than we do. It’s going to be a tough task for us,” Newcomb said. “They’ve got a good quarterback that can throw the ball well. We got to contain their speed, mainly. Speed eventually will win out once you turn the ball over a lot.”

As for his take on the Saints’ win last week, head coach Graham Roberts said he is pleased.

Junior quarterback Sterling Yarbrough had three touchdown passes in their win.

“Felt good to win another one — good to beat a AA school,” he said. “We’ve still got some mental mistakes we’ve got to clean up.”

Roberts said he was most pleased with the way his team played.

“It came down to the end. The boys never quit,” Roberts said.

With this not only being a big district game for both teams, but also the Rams’ homecoming game, Newcomb said he is “very concerned” about the players being focused in practice this week.

“Most coaches will tell you they don’t like to play a big game (for homecoming). They would rather play a weak opponent. You also have to deal with the distractions,” Newcomb said.

However, Newcomb said he is glad that homecoming is being played late in the season rather than in mid-September because heat and humidity should be low.

“Unfortunately, we’re facing a tough opponent instead of a weak opponent,” Newcomb said.

Roberts said the biggest challenge that the Rams present is in their backfield.

“They’ve got a couple of pretty tough running backs. I know they’re going to play us hard.” Roberts said. “It’s not a rivalry, but we’re pretty close to each other.”

As for what he feels like the game will come down to, Roberts said it should be close.

“It’ll be whoever wants it more,” he said. “When you have sort of a rivalry game or two teams that are close to each other, that’s what it comes down to.”