Trinity claims district championship with wet, cold win

Published 2:00 am Saturday, October 28, 2017

Shivers ran down their spines and raindrops dripped from every appendage, but as the Trinity Episcopal football team came together Friday night following its game against Union Christian Academy, everyone had a smile on their face.

Despite less than perfect weather conditions, the Saints (5-5, 3-0) pulled out a messy win to claim their first district championship in three years, 18-6.

“It feels good,” Trinity coach Graham Roberts said. “It actually is a really good feeling, but it’s nothing I did. The guys really worked hard for it.”

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As the rain came down and the temperature dropped into the low 50s, Trinity struggled to do what it does best — pass the ball.

Junior quarterback Sterling Yarbrough managed to pass for 101 yards, aided by a 56-yard touchdown completion to Jakarius Caston midway through the first quarter.

Going into halftime tied 6-6, Roberts and the Saints were forced to rework their original game plan.

“I honestly thought we were going to get a break in the rain,” Roberts said. “There was a point in which I was wondering why we couldn’t keep our footing, but then I walked out there and realized how sloppy it was. I knew we had to make an adjustment.”

Trinity then put together a seven-play scoring drive on its first possession of the second half, rushing the ball on every play.

Senior Anfernee Thomas began the drive, as Caston came in to finish with a 10-yard touchdown.

“Any way I can play is good,” Caston said. “From the start, we knew it was going to rain a lot. When we found out that we had to make a change, we just had to figure it out. Every time I got the ball, I was just thinking ‘Go, go.’”

Caston would share the rushing load with Jared Simpson, Dee Fleming and Thomas  — who also score on a 4-yard run — for the remainder of the game.

“I told them in the locker room (at halftime) we were going to use three or four different guys to carry the ball,” Roberts said. “I knew when they would get tackled, they would get muddy and everything would be slippery. I tried to rotate them in and out so they could stay somewhat dry.

“That’s just not what we typically do, but I was just proud of the guys for being able to do that.”

The win not only gave the Saints the outright MAIS District 3-A title, but also high seeding — likely No. 2 — going into next week’s playoffs.

“This week our goal was to win this game, and we knew what was at stake for it,” Roberts said. “My first district championship — I’ll definitely remember it forever.”

Caston agreed the win was extra sweet considering the conditions.

“This is special for everyone,” he said. “It’s a big win for us.”

On defense, TJ Peyton intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter for the Saints.