September 11th, 2020

Trinity kicks off 2020 efficiently toppling Moeller

Block_eric thorne

Eric Thorne

Staff Writer


Trinity kicks off 2020 efficiently toppling Moeller
Jack Mitchell snares a 15-yard touchdown in Trinity's 44-7 win. (photo by Eric Thorne)

 It had been a long wait for the Trinity football team to find its way back to the field to defend its Class 6A championship, but one would never know it as they defeated visiting Cincinnati Moeller 44-7 Friday night at Marshall Stadium.

Senior quarterback Nathan McElroy completed 13 of 19 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns and ran one in for another.

“It was awesome being out there tonight,” McElroy said. “I love football more than anything and it felt great to be back out there. I had no idea what was going to happen for the longest time this summer, but we kept prepping and getting enough looks and reps waiting for good news.”

The Rocks (1-0) came in ranked No. 1 in the state rankings and No. 17 in the USA Today national poll. Coach Bob Beatty knows the early season rankings mean nothing and it is a fresh season but liked what he saw – for the most part.

“I’m pleased with the win but the camera in the sky doesn’t lie and I know we have a lot of things to work on,” Beatty said.

Trinity rang up 268 yards of total offense while holding the Crusaders to just 119, most of which came in final quarter on a two-play 79-yard drive that resulted in their only score.

“With the whole Covid and uncertainty and until things started to get better all we could do from June 15 till they turned us loose was condition,” Beatty said. “We couldn’t throw a ball, block anything or get a sled out. I think tonight you saw we were in shape which I didn’t think so until this past Saturday.”

Trinity’s offense took the opening drive and methodically moved the ball 80 yards in 17 plays taking 7:57 off the clock. McElroy was flushed out of the pocket facing a third-and-goal and sprinted left for the score.

“A very methodical and balanced drive like we usually try to start with,” McElroy said. “It was pretty cool to get that first touchdown rushing because I only had one of those last year, and to get one in the first game is pretty electric.”

Getting their offense its first work Beatty called nine running and eight passing plays during the drive.

“When you are in that opening drive, you are getting a real feel for what is happening, but I honestly wasn’t really pleased with our running in that drive,” Beatty said. “So many people think its easier to run the ball than throw it and that’s not true. I had to get lineman comfortable, and move the chains and in reality we were throwing it well.”

The Rocks defense took the field and promptly forced a fumble on Moeller’s first play that Blake Ruffin recovered. However, Trinity had to settle for a Kellan McLaughlin 34-yard field goal.

After forcing Moeller to punt, Roman White dropped back to receive the kick and raced 63 yards untouched for a touchdown just 22 seconds into the second quarter and a 17-0 lead.

McElroy then tossed a strike to Jack Mitchell for a 15-yard touchdown with 5:57 left in the half making it 24-0

Armon Tucker sprinted away from the Crusader defense for a 57-yard touchdown down the right sideline as the Rocks needed just a single play to extend the lead to 30-0 with 4:19 left in the half.

“At first I won't lie I thought I was about to get hit and they clowned me for doing a little high step which I really do to try and read the person," Tucker said. "But when I broke free it was amazing to see what if feels like to really run again."

Colin Book was the recipient of a McElroy 30-yard touchdown pass as the senior connection boosted the Rocks halftime lead to 37-0.

“Personally, I could have played better, but as a team we also could have done better and left a lot of points out there on the field,” McElroy said. “I was so anxious today I had a hard time focusing. I also had to do school from home as well.”

Moeller got the ball to open the second half and just like the first half fumbled it away with Elijah Davis coming up with the loose ball.

Just two plays later Tucker rushed left for nine yards and his second touchdown giving the Rocks a 44-0 lead with 7:48 left in the third quarter. The junior carried nine times for 80 yards. He also caught three passes for 63 yards.

Moeller finally struck back as Thomas Rotello found Terrel Bryan streaking down the left sideline and the sophomore got behind the Trinity defense for a 75-yard touchdown with 6:24 left in the quarter making it 44-7.

Rotello completed just 4 of 17 passes and tossed an interception for 92 yards. His team also fumbled the ball away twice. The Crusaders had nine possessions of which resulted in  four punts and three turnovers and were driving as time expired.

Trinity will host rival Male next week.

“If we stay focused and execute, we can keep the train rolling along all this year,” McElroy added.

 

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