Trinity football has second shutout of the season

Tigers stay undefeated after dominating in recent conference game, score 46-0

Trinity’s undefeated season continued today with a dominating 46-point showcase by the Tigers in a game that never looked in doubt. The Tigers at 4-0 were ranked #23 heading into the game and proved why they deserved more as they faced off against Southern Athletic Association rival Millsaps College out of Jackson, Mississippi.
Walking into the stadium for the fifth game of the season, Trinity supporters were greeted by fantastic weather that complimented the incredible performance on the field. With the mercury never rising above 73°, spectators saw the Tigers post double-digit points in every quarter but the second while maintaining a shutout.
Junior quarterback Tucker Horn went 20-for-32 on the afternoon, racking up 231 yards and three touchdowns before exiting the game in the third quarter. He was replaced by senior quarterback Will Chaney, who was two for five with 36 yards and a touchdown (TD). The game was finished by first-year quarterback Ryan Back, who went two for four and 14 yards.
Sophomore running back Winston Hutchison carried the ball for 142 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, catching four passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. Senior wide receivers Austin Bertness (four catches, 66 yards) and Chris Stewart (two catches, five yards) had touchdowns — Bertness on a catch and Stewart on a six-yard run. Juniors Ryan Merrifield (three catches, 30 yards) and Ethan Boyer (one catch, 26 yards) had a score each.
Before the game, the Tigers were ranked at #23 in NCAA Division III, sitting at an undefeated 4-0 record. First-year Raider Horn (DB) credits the team’s success to experienced players.
“It’s awesome, and it’s a testament to how hard we work during the week. A lot of people don’t realize how many hours we put in in the summer before school started,” Horn said. “We’ve got a great group of older guys leading us. You can’t have a good football team without great leadership. They’ve done a great job of stepping up and letting us know what our goals are.”
When asked about the team’s chances against Millsaps, offensive lineman Joe Mehary said they had a great week of practice and that if they stick with what they’re supposed to do, the team is unstoppable.
Trinity did what they were supposed to do. Hutchison took the ball 70 yards to the endzone on the game’s first drive, and the Tigers never looked back from there. Trinity was firing on all cylinders in the Conference matchup with six TDs (four passing, two rushing) and 563 yards of total offense. On top of the massive offensive output, the defense held Millsaps to just 72 total yards, alongside two interceptions and a blocked punt for a safety in the third quarter.
Following an early interception by senior defensive back Jeremy Irving, both offenses seemed to slow down, according to head football coach Jerheme Urban.
“In the first half offensively, we tried to be too perfect, and we didn’t make the plays that I thought we could have,” Urban said.
Even though the team had 20 points going into halftime, there was still work for Urban and the Tigers.
“We refocused at halftime, came out in the second half and played really good complementary football,” Urban said.
Trinity’s defense was as strong as it’s been all season, according to Urban, holding Millsaps to just 72 yards of total offense in the shutout.
“We just need to focus on ourselves, one play at a time. I think that if we play all three phases of complementary football, then we’ll be able to do some really special things. If we get too far ahead of ourselves, things can get away from us pretty quick. Our guys are taking a lot of pride, and they understand that they have a chance to have a special year,” Urban said.
The game wasn’t without struggle for Trinity, however, as a fumble in the third quarter set Millsaps with the best field position they had all day. Even with the poor field position for the defense, the team rallied back quickly with a crucial turnover. Junior defensive back Ezra Gore made a perfect read on Millsaps QB Brody Davis, getting the ball back for the Tigers when it mattered. Gore’s interception was emblematic of the defence’s success in Urban’s eyes.
“We had a short field, and then we had the interception by Ezra. It was an absolute refusal to let them score, and the zero on the scoreboard was important to the defense. Then, when younger guys played later in the game, they got a chance to play at a high level,” Urban said.
Another struggle for Trinity was one that every coach, from peewee to the pros, hates: penalties. Trinity allowed just 72 yards of total offense but 95 yards off of eight penalties. The third quarter was especially snappy with multiple personal fouls against both teams. A member of the defensive line was ejected from the game for two personal fouls, which Urban said they would work on.
“We had some unsportsmanlike conduct that was really close. We had 15 yards from removing a helmet a couple yards from the sideline. He was extremely exuberant, and he was coming off ready to celebrate too early. It had nothing to do with the play. We were just celebrating with the guys. That’s something that we talk about. It’s about all of us. It’s never about just one guy. […] We do have to clean some stuff up, but I thought today that some of the things were us celebrating with ourselves and being fired up,” Urban said.
It was easy to stay fired up with the crowd of 1,776 fans never getting out of the game. The home field advantage is vital in every sport, and it can sometimes be the difference between victory and defeat in a close game, according to first-year defensive end Foster Malloy.
“If you can get a lot of people out there to support us, it’s going to have a huge effect,” Malloy said. “People don’t even realize what an atmosphere can do. If there are just a couple fans, you’ve got to rely on your teammates, but if you have a bunch of people out there cheering for you, it’s a totally different feel.”
Unfortunately for the Tigers, they lose the home field advantage this upcoming weekend as they travel to Sewanee, Tennessee, to take on the Sewanee Tigers (0-5), who are coming off of a reeling 59-0 loss to Berry College. Urban is excited to see the team continue to improve.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the maturity of the team improve. We’ve never been in this sport before in terms of being undefeated for this long or being ranked where we are. At least not since these young men have been here. I think there’s a chance we might get recognized a bit higher this week, and we just have to handle that success. They’ve earned it. We’re going to celebrate it, but #23 this week [in the polls] is not where we want to be. We are working for more, and we’ll do everything we can to keep everyone grounded and focused,” Urban said.

Trinity’s next game is October 23rd @ Sewanee (0-5). The next Home game for the Tigers is October 30th vs. Hendrix (1-4).