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Trinity rolls past LA

MERRY HILL – Sometimes it’s about the ring.

With the 2008 1A NCISAA state champion Lawrence Academy baseball team honored at halftime in a special ring ceremony Friday night in Merry Hill, the football opponent that night, Trinity Christian School of Fayetteville, may’ve been thinking of football rings of their own since they fell short last season and had to settle for silver..

This year they may be going for the gold in football after besting Lawrence, 54-6.

But in football — even the 8-man variety — you have to keep a short memory, especially with a short work week. After all, it helps you re-focus on the next opponent and the next game.

Coach Mike Dail’s Warriors had little time to bask in the glow of their Monday night storm-delayed win over Oak Ridge, because they were on the field four days later against the number-one independent team in the state.

“They have a lot of speed and a lot of athleticism,” said Dail after the game, “but our kids never quit, and they never dropped their heads. They kept battling.”

They also did something no other team’s done against the Crusaders this season: score a touchdown.

After Trinity scored two quick first-quarter touchdowns: a Dominique King pass to Tracy Kilcrease and Marcus Cone returning a punt for a touchdown, Dail’s “battlers” went to work.

Blake Hill, in one of his gutsiest performances of the year, directed his team 81 yards for a score. The drive was highlighted by a 35-yard strike from Hill to receiver Shane Leggett, who hauled in the catch with one hand and was brought down at the five-yard line. Two plays later, Hill hit Will Norell for the first touchdown scored on the Crusaders this year, and despite missing the extra point, the Warriors only trailed by ten, 16-6.

But surrendering their first six points may’ve fired up Trinity because they tacked on three more touchdowns and lead, 40-6, at halftime.

The second-half, though, belonged to Lawrence. After Trinity scored on the first possession of half to make the score, 46-6, the Warriors were driving on their first possession before bruising fullback Shane Stevens went down with a knee injury and did not return.

The next time they touched the ball, however, the Warriors made a valiant march from their own 16-yard line with a grind-it-out running and short passing game now dominated by Hill and Keith Thompson. Unfortunately, on fourth and five at the Crusaders’ 30-yard line, Lawrence made a bad snap over Hill’s head that was scooped up by Trinity’s LeForice Blue and returned for the final Crusaders’ score of the night.

But Lawrence was unbowed as they began another drive, the highlight of which was another spectacular one-handed grab by Leggett on a pass from Hill that went for 26 yards from midfield to the Trinity 24-yard line. Four plays later on fourth down at the Trinity 20, Hill was looking for Leggett on the right sideline when a Trinity defender stepped in front of him and killed the Warriors’ final threat of the night.

“We had a chance late in the game to put two in the end-zone,” said Dail, “but credit their defense because we just didn’t get it done. I was impressed with Daniel Layton tonight who stepped up big at receiver. Blake was all over the place again, but their defense had him running for his life, and defensively Clint Thompson did a good job of shutting his man down on his side.”

Hill finished with 53 yards passing against one of the best defenses in the state and picked up 22 more yards on the ground. Leggett was four-for-six in receiving with 54 yards and some crowd-pleasing catches, and Norrell was two-for-two for fourteen yards including the Warriors lone touchdown.

After facing down the top two independent teams in the state, the Warriors are 2-2 on the young season.

“Lawrence did a good job of coming out here staying positive and standing up to us,” said Trinity coach, Randal “Chuck” Webster. “They’ve improved a lot, and that’s a credit to them, but we just had a great effort tonight.”

“We know the competition,” added Dail, “and we know where we’re at in rebuilding. Sure, we’d like to be four-and-oh, but for what we’ve been through, two-and-two ain’t bad.”

Lawrence is on the road the next two weeks at Cary Christian followed by Hobgood Academy. They return to Merry Hill October 3rd hosting Rocky Mount Academy on “Kid’s Night”.