Saints’ state of mind: Trinity travels to title game today in Jackson

Published 12:04 am Thursday, November 16, 2017

Trinity Episcopal is a small school, and now it has some big chances.

The Saints will travel 18 active players for today’s MAIS Class A State Championship game at Jackson Academy, slated for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.

With a tight-knit group, head coach Graham Roberts said his team seems ready to go.

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��We try to be loose, but you can tell the boys have been really focused,” he said. “For me, everybody has asked what I’m thinking and what’s on my mind. I’m just trying to put a game plan together, while staying grounded and humble.

“It’s a big game, but it’s just another game. We just have to go play.”

Trinity — the No. 2 seed — will face No. 1 West Memphis Christian School out of West Memphis, Ark.

As game time nears, Roberts said it will be hard to dismiss thoughts of the Saints’ journey this year.

Trinity last won a state championship in 2013, while being eliminated in the semifinals the past three years.

“I can remember telling them about our goal in spring and thinking about last year being one game away from it,” Roberts said. “We said we had a chance this year, and here it is.

“We have made it to our goal, and we just have to close it out.”

To make it to this point, the Saints (7-3) endured a tough schedule of schools in higher classifications to begin its season. It did, however, go on to win the District 3-A title with a perfect 3-0 record.

Trinity began its playoff run with a victory over DeSoto School, 34-0. Last week, the Saints notched a semifinal win over Deer Creek School, 48-28.

“None of these kids have played for a state title,” Roberts said. “It’s a new venture for everyone. I’m extremely excited.

“We are trying to stay within our team and understand we have an opportunity. There are really not a whole lot of words for it because it’s surreal.”

West Memphis notched its first round playoff win over Columbus Christian, 49-0, while defeating Tunica Academy last week in the semifinals, 35-12.

Roberts said if anything sticks out about the matchup, is the difference in offensive attack.

“They look a lot like us when they line up, but run 90 percent of the time,” he said.

On the other hand, the Saints have relied a great deal on the arm of junior quarterback Sterling Yarbrough. His main targets include seniors Dee Fleming and Cedric Daniels, as well as speedy Jakarius Caston and Jared Simpson.

In last week’s win, Yarbrough passed for seven touchdowns.

While Roberts won’t know how the game will teeter, he did say he is gracious to have made it this far.

“I’m just thankful for this opportunity and I hope we represent Trinity well,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of support from other schools and fans. That has meant a lot to me.”