Inspired Trinity wraps up McGuffey
10/30/2010 3:31 AM
By Matt Shetler
For the Observer-Reporter
Trinity High School's football team entered Friday night's game with a shot at a home playoff game.
First, the Hillers had to defeat McGuffey at Hiller Field and hope for some help from Elizabeth Forward against Belle Vernon.
The Hillers did their part, using a solid ground attack and a strong effort of defense in defeating the Highlanders, 35-7, in the Big Eight Conference finale for both teams.
But Belle Vernon's win over Elizabeth Forward relegated the Hillers to third place in the conference and a road game in the first round of next week's playoffs.
"We played very well on defense," said Trinity head coach Ed Dalton. "We are starting to learn to make the big plays. We are starting to strip the ball more and create turnovers. I always say that good teams get better every week towards the end of the season, and that's what I think we are doing."
McGuffey (1-6, 2-7) took the opening kick and ran nearly eight minutes of the clock, but their 14-play drive stalled and were forced to punt.
Trinity punted the ball right back to the Highlanders, but on McGuffey's next possession, the Hillers defense started to take over.
Defensive end Patrick Jennings recovered a fumble that set the Hillers up with excellent field position. A few plays later, Patrick Frey put the Hillers on the board with a 20-yard touchdown run.
Kyle McWreath recovered another Highlanders' fumble in the second quarter. This one led to a three-yard scoring run from quarterback Brad Martin shortly before halftime.
Trinity came out of the break and went up three scores with an 11-play, 79-yard drive to begin the third quarter. The drive ended with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Martin to Matthew Dewees that put the Hillers up 21-0.
Jennings recovered his second fumble of the game in the third quarter, and Frey turned it into another Hillers' touchdown, scoring from seven-yards out.
"Patrick and Kyle keep getting better every week," said Dalton. "They are seniors, so we expect that out of them. We've been preaching for the defense to strip the ball and they are starting to do that."
The most exciting play of the game came in the fourth quarter. After a McGuffey punt pinned the Hillers inside their one-yard line, Dalton elected to be aggressive. He called for a play-action pass and Martin hit Ty Billie down the right sideline for a 99-yard touchdown.
"I said before the play that I will probably be called an idiot if it didn't work," Dalton said. "I thought we had an edge speed-wise on the outside, and we could take advantage of their man coverage. I'm glad it worked."
After having only one yard passing in the first half, Martin finished the game completing 6 of 10 for 174 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Billie caught three passes for 151 yards and the long score.
For the Highlanders, the jump to Class AAA has been tough. McGuffey had success in Class AA, but finished the season with only two wins.
"We knew it would be a struggle," said McGuffey head coach Derek Bochna. "It's a matter of depth. I will take my top 11 guys against anyone. It's a matter of having 20 or 30 guys who can play well at this level though. That's what we need to work on now."
McGuffey senior quarterback Derrick Whipkey rushed for 120 yards.
"I wouldn't trade Derrick for anybody," said Bochna. "He's the heart of this team. He's such a great athlete and will be next to impossible to replace."
Trinity will find its first-round opponent at Monday night's WPIAL pairings meeting.
"It's going to be a great tournament," said Dalton. "It really doesn't matter who we play first round and where, because there are so many good teams out there. We are going to draw someone tough eventually. We will be ready."
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