Revamped offense sparks Trinity over West Mifflin
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By Matt Shetler
For the Observer-Reporter
With its playoff hopes on the line, desperation seemed to be looming over the Trinity Hillers. Entering their Big 7 conference game against West Mifflin in a five-way tie for the fourth and final playoff spot, any loss would cripple the Hillers opportunity at post-season play.
Trinity head coach Ed Dalton returned to the sidelines after serving a one-game suspension and had a challenge of reigniting a Hiller offense that managed only six points in the last two games.
The Hillers came out in many different formations early in the game including running most plays out of a shotgun spread offense. The offense responded by scoring on two of its first three first half possessions, en route to a 33-20 Hiller victory, keeping its playoff aspirations alive.
"We are desperate," said Dalton. "We had to change things up. We have been able to move the ball but haven't put the ball in the end zone the last 10 quarters,"
Things did not go the Hillers (2-3, 3-4) way early, as West Mifflin (1-3,2-5) took the opening drive and ran 6:19 off the clock on a 14-play drive capped off by quarterback Imir Sanders 1-yard touchdown run.
The Hillers moved down the field on their opening possession, but it ended in a Michael Preston fumble. The Hillers defense responded immediately as Alex Frey picked off Sanders on the Titans second play after the fumble, setting the Hillers up in great field position. The interception, one of three by the Hillers, would not be the only big play on the evening by Frey.
"Alex is one of the best players I've ever coached," added Dalton. "He is a gamer, he always is ready to play."
Quarterback Andrew Steratore got the Hillers in the end zone, hitting Jack Jamerson for a 13-yard touchdown. Steratore was very efficient in the game, completing 10 of 13 passes for 100 yards. The junior signalcaller kept the Hillers offense moving early and played mistake-free ball nearly the entire game.
"We have confidence in Andrew," said Dalton. "He did everything we asked tonight and played a great game."
After both teams traded scores in the second quarter, the Hillers special teams made a play to give the Hillers a huge momentum boost. Kyle McWreath, who made several big plays defensively, blocked a Titans punt. Teammate Kenny Wilkins scooped up the ball and raced 24 yards for a Hiller touchdown, giving the Hillers a 20-13 halftime lead.
The Titans tied the score at 20 on their opening possession of the second half, but it was all Hillers the rest of the game. The Hiller offensive line took the game over as the Hillers were exclusively a ground team in the second half. Creating big holes for Preston and Zach Waters, they guys up front helped the Hillers add two touchdowns and keep possession of the ball nearly the entire second half.
"We feel we had a pretty special group up front coming into the season," said Dalton. "The last couple weeks they have started to come together and are playing very well."
Once the Hillers regained the lead, the defense took over. The Hiller defense allowed only two first downs on the Titans final four drives. Titans running back
Duane Burgwin ran for 107 yards, but only had 211 yard of offense for the game.
"Our defense played great," added Dalton. "McWreath was all over the place. The whole unit did a great job."