HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Char Valley blanks Trinity; Dalton ejected
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By Matt Shetler,
For the Observer-Reporter
After watching the Trinity High School football team's offense struggle to move the ball during the first half, Hillers head coach Ed Dalton might be glad he wasn't roaming the sidelines for the second half of Friday night's game against Chartiers Valley.
The Hillers managed only three first downs against the Colts' starters and only 104 total yards in a 27-0 loss to the Colts in a Class AAA Big 7 Conference game at Hiller Field.
Dalton was ejected in the second quarterafter receiving his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty - two of the 13 penalties called on the Hillers.
"The game was very over-officiated," said Dalton. "I've never been kicked out of a game before."
Chartiers Valley capitalized on great field position in the first half, scoring on two Jim Riley 1-yard touchdown runs to grab an early 14-0 lead. That would be all the offense the Colts (3-0, 4-1) would need for their speedy defense, which was able to get three and four tacklers to the ballcarrier nearly every play.
The Colts' defense has not given up a point in over the last 14 quarters and only one field goal in their last 16.
"We've got a great defense," said Chartiers Valley coach Chris Sailgua. "Trinity is a much bigger team but we have great speed on both sides of the ball and some great playmakers."
After chasing the Colts around for much of the first quarter, the Trinity defense adjusted to the speed on offense and kept the Hillers in the game. Dalton's ejection lit a spark in the Hillers' defense, as it started shutting down the Chartiers Valley offense.
The Hillers' defensive unit held Chartiers Valley to a season-low 214 total yards. The Colts had gained 1023 yards in their last two games, outscoring the opposition 100-0.
Trinity was able to contain Riley, who despite the two scores had only 17 yards rushing before leaving with a foot injury, and quarterback Santino Curry, who has made big plays with both his legs and his arm.
Despite the defense playing well at the beginning of the second half, the Trinity offense couldn't take advantage. Playing without injured running back Dan Miller, the Hillers finished with only 75 yards on the ground and 29 through the air.
"Our defense played well," said Dalton. "We did nothing offensively. Even though we were playing without one running back, I thought we would do something on offense."
After dropping conference games to Thomas Jefferson and Chartiers Valley - two teams the Hillers are behind in the standings - chances of hosting a playoff game seemed to have slipped away.
After the game, Dalton held a lengthy closed-door meeting with his team.
"I apologized to the team for getting kick out of the game," Dalton said. "I told them we have to figure out how to get this thing on track. Next week is a new week."