Trinity football opens 2022 season at home

Tiger men look to repeat following a SAA championship game


Andrew Duong

The Tigers practicing game-day situations a week in advance for their home matchup against Sul Ross State

The Trinity Tigers football team returns to action this Saturday at 6 p.m. as they take on the Sul Ross State in their first game. Trinity’s first home game of the season comes against an opponent they haven’t seen in seven years: a 2015 week 3 contest in which the Tigers won 30-12 at home. Sul Ross (2-7 last season) is a relative unknown entering the game against Trinity (9-1 last season), but that hasn’t affected the preparation for the staff, including head coach Jerheme Urban.

“We’re going to be expecting a really fast football team,” Urban said when discussing the upcoming game. “We don’t cross over a lot with them [in recruiting], and they have a new head coach, so we don’t know much about them. They don’t have their [2023] roster posted, so we just don’t know who will be there.”

Lining up across from the Lobos, however, is a roster that sees numerous returning faces, such as senior defensive back Ezra Gore and senior quarterback Tucker Horn, to name a few. Not only does a returning player bring more experience, but it also allows for more stability.

“The stability that we have with some guys has allowed us to start faster,” Urban said. “We have a deeper understanding of returning starters who understand what it takes.”

This stability and experience is a welcome presence for coaches, but they can’t let themselves slow down.

“It’s always good having players back that have performed at a high level,” offensive coordinator Wade Lytal said. “As a staff, we have to find ways to challenge them every single day so that complacency does not set in.”

Trinity returns to the field after a conference championship, their first outright since 2011. According to Coach Urban, returning players will have to work extra hard to win games and have a chance at repeating.

“None of these guys have ever been the defending champions, so that’s new territory for us,” Urban said. “We’ll have to prep and practice and work hard to repeat because we have some really good opponents in the SAA. However, we have the right guys coming back. While it’s hard to replace those guys who did graduate, we have tons of experience. This is a new team, and if we want to be the new standard, we have to push the needle higher.”

Along with the pressure of being returning champions, Trinity will also be following a season that saw an average of 47.3 points per game. “Football is a three-phase game,” Lytal said, crediting the other units of the team as well as his own.

“We have a defense that does a great job getting the ball back to the offense quickly,” Lytal said. “We also have special teams units that do a great job of getting the offense the ball back in great field position. The offense’s chances of scoring increase tremendously with good field position.”

One of the most significant factors in a great team is depth, and this year’s team has it in spades. Alongside a strong cast of returning starters, first-years, in particular, will get their first taste of college football. The first-year prep is a massive jump for incoming students who are still trying to adjust to post-high school play, which is why preseason workouts and practices are vital for players and coaches alike.

“The preseason is huge,” Urban said. “We get a chance to teach football and get them acclimated to the heat and get back in shape. For freshmen, it’s harder for them because the game is faster, and they’re physically starting over. We’re very good on the depth side of things, so we can develop and train guys. It’s a good learning experience for all of them.”

Lytal agreed, mainly when speaking about the preparation first-years will face.

“The big difference for first-years is that there are going to be different challenges,” Lytal said. “Practices and games will be faster and more physical than what they are used to. They are also moving away from home for the first time, adjusting to college classes and getting to know their teammates. Upperclassmen have the experience of understanding how to handle a college course load and knowing the speed and physicality of college football.”

With high hopes and a strong team, Trinity appears to be set for another great season in 2022. With COVID restrictions lifted, fan support at the football stadium will be important and appreciated by the team.

“It takes everyone,” Urban said when discussing fan support at games. “At one point, for Saturday football games, you would look up and see balcony parties. Thomas, Lightner and South were full of banners because the stadium was full. Last year we had tremendous crowds. I’m very thankful for the support, and I felt that our guys did a good job of rewarding people with a great product on the field too. We’re excited to see where it goes.”

A previous version of this story said that the football team was in the SCAC conference, not SAA. This version has since been corrected.