December 8th, 2019

Trinity captures 26th state football title

Block_eric thorne

Eric Thorne

Staff Writer


Trinity captures 26th state football title
Trinity found multiple ways to score against Male/photo by Eric Thorne

 LEXINGTON, (KY) – Trinity has many weapons in its football arsenal and used a wide variety of them defeating Male 28-6 on Sunday at the University of Kentucky’s Kroger Field in the KHSAA Class 6A championship for its 26th state title.

On the ground it was Brad West carrying for 189 yards and a touchdown. In the pocket it was Nathan McElroy completing 11 of 15 passes and 2 touchdowns and catching those it was Ryan Miller with 103 yards including a 96-yard score.

And for good measure Branden Stearman picked off a pass and ran it 13-yards for a touchdown on the defensive side.

Male (14-1) entered the game undefeated and averaging 40.9 points a game and 407 yards of offense. They finished with just 6 points and 150 yards of total offense.

“The first game against them earlier this year we weren’t loose, but today even though it’s a weird week playing on Sunday Coach (Bob) Beatty had us prepared perfectly and ready and it showed because we played our butts off. This is the result of that hard work.”

The Shamrocks (13-2) lost 20-17 in double-overtime in the regular season matchup against Male, and while Beatty doesn’t believe in revenge motivation, he believed it was the learning bit-by-bit every game that was pivotal in winning the title.

“It took four quarters, but this group was very resilient, and this group wanted to get better and not let what happened against Male the first time happen again,” Beatty said. “The schedule got to us in the (Indianapolis) Cathedral game and everyone was worn out, but once we got that out of our system we got continuously better.”

It wasn’t the prettiest of starts for either team in a first half filled with penalties, miscues and missed opportunities.

 Both had chances to score from the 4-yard line and each came away empty. Trinity missed a 34-yard field goal and Male threw it out of bounds on fourth down.

“The offense was struggling and not getting points, but if you win the turnover battle in a game that really propels you to the win in the end,” Stearman said.

Stearman was standing right behind the line of scrimmage from his inside linebacker position and Elijah Parish’s pass came straight to him. The junior hauled in the pass and sprinted untouched for the score giving Trinity a 7-0 lead with 2:56 left in the half.

“This means everything to us after 144 days of hard work, and for me to get that pick six was a big momentum for us to put points on the board,” Stearman said. “I read the quarterback, caught it and headed to the endzone. I just can’t help but smile standing her state champions.”

It was the defense and ball control in the second half that paved the way after that.

Trinity rushed 50 times in the game for 234 yards and controlled the time of possession 33:19 to 14:41. The Rocks defense picked off two passes and recovered one fumble.

The Rocks took the second half kickoff and drove 56 yards behind West and a shifty 13-yard scramble by McElroy who carried the ball one-handed. West then sliced through the Male defense for a touchdown with 7:45 left in the third quarter and a 14-0 lead.

“After that first half we knew we just had to bear down, clean up the penalties and we could get first downs pretty easily when it was 10 yards, but first and 25 it tough,” McElroy said.

Male rallied back needing just 5 plays to go 45 yards as Parish hit VJ Anthony over the middle for a 34-yard touchdown. The point after failed by Jordi Gomez as the Bulldogs narrowed the gap to 14-6 with 5:11 left in the 3rd quarter.

Selah Brown recovered a fumble for Male and returned it to the Trinity 41 to close out the third quarter. On the Bulldogs first play of the fourth quarter Trinity’s Chris Forehand Jr. intercepted Parish at the Rocks 4-yard line.

McElroy wasted no time and found Miller in stride at the Trinity 40-yard line and the he outran the Male pursuit for a 96-yard touchdown and a 21-6 lead.

“Everyone wants to talk about revenge and RPI but really it’s all about just winning the next game,” Beatty said. “We did that and low and behold we are in the state championship and guess who we are playing. There is no formula for human nature, and when you want something bad enough you just work that much harder for it. That’s what it came down to. They executed and did what they needed to do.”

It was McElroy then hitting Kaelan Racculia for a 23-yard toss to ice the victory with 6:19 left in the game.

“It’s such a surreal and super special moment to stand here and just take all this in,” McElroy said. “The safely just sat there on the pass to Ryan and I lofted over the top and he just ran and ran 96 yards. This is an extra special day I will always cherish.”

 

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