Trinity football is back. The Tigers may have started their football season on the wrong foot in a 32-7 loss against Redlands University, but with their first two conference games, the men of Trinity football proved that they are ready to “be the standard” and dominate within the Southern Athletic Association (SAA). This past weekend’s home overtime win against Chapman University proved just that.

However, the road to success for the Trinity football team hasn’t been quite what they expected.

After their disappointing opener against Redlands, the Tigers were able to recognize areas for improvement and growth before starting conference play.

“I think the biggest thing we missed out on in the Redlands game was doing our own job,” said sophomore wide receiver Tommy Lavine. “It was a wake-up call that we needed to get it together. We went into it thinking ‘We beat these guys last year, we can beat them again,’ but it really woke us up.”

In contrast to the slow start at Redlands, the Tigers began their conference opener against Millsaps University in Jackson, Mississippi by gaining a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. First-year running back Chucky Davis ran 52 yards to score two touchdowns, the first of two of his collegiate career.

“We knew coming in that we need to run the ball down their throats. We needed to play hard and that’s what we did,” Davis said. “The passing game was really relevant, but the rushing game was also really relevant so we had to balance offense.”

Millsaps returned with a vengeance in the second quarter, bringing the game to a 14-14 draw that would hold for much of the second quarter. The Tigers reemerged towards the end of the quarter with senior wide receiver Rhodes Legg scoring on a 44-yard pass from senior quarterback Austin Grauer.

“Our defense came out first drive they were out there forced them to third and out and then we came out there and scored on our first drive. After we got the ball — our defense gave us the ball — we were set for that series,” Legg said, “They went and forced the Millsaps guys three and out which was good. They played strong all game.”

The winning streak continued the next weekend as the Tigers returned to Trinity for their home opener. The game began with a weak start from Trinity. As the first quarter began, Chapman scored three touchdowns.

Meanwhile, the Tigers’ offense lagged at first as the Chapman defense held them back.

“The Chapman defense was very disciplined and they played hard,” Lavine said. “They were a great team all around, we just had a great day and believed that we could come out on top.”

The Tigers were down coming into the third quarter, but that quickly changed.

“Coming out of halftime the team realized that we were still in this and had a whole new half to come out strong and finish things the way we wanted to,” said Mitchell Globe, senior linebacker.  “As for the defense, we knew we were not playing to the level that we could, and focused more on what we were doing rather than what Chapman was. Our coaches made critical adjustments and we focused on executing our jobs which led to stops and big plays.”

Entering the fourth quarter, the score was 35-21, in favor of the Panthers. Jay Foster soon scored a touchdown.

“The game was just an old fashioned shoot-out because both teams fought to the end on special teams and offense,” Foster said, “Our offense effectively ran the gameplay our coaches mapped out for us, and we worked hard to execute all week in practice.”

The defense held off the opposition. Trinity scored another touchdown on a swing pass from Grauer to Foster and with less than three minutes left brought the game to a tie. Blocking Chapman’s attempt at a field goal allowed Trinity to win.

“Honestly, having all the fans there really helped a lot. We’re a very small school, so having as many fans as we can get will help us. As long as we have our fan base behind us, we can definitely perform a lot better,” said Mike Inco, a junior defensive lineman.

“The crowd was electrified and the energy of the play sparked our whole team,” Globe said.

Stay tuned to see if the Tigers keep up the momentum at Birmingham-Southern College this Friday, Sept. 29, at 1 p.m.