After two and a half months of games, the Trinity football team ended their season this past Saturday, Nov. 15, at home with a 41-0 victory over Austin College. This was the first shutout Trinity has recorded since 2002. The Tigers now have an all-time record of 44-30-6 against Austin Collegeâ€”a team they have faced since 1904.
With the win against the Roos, the Tigers improved their overall record to 4-6 and their conference record to 2-1 to finish second in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference ahead of Austin College and Southwestern University but behind Texas Lutheran University. Since the Tigers did not win SCAC they do not move on to the NCAA National Championship.
Both teams remained scoreless until junior running back Jeremy Simmons caught a 33-yard pass from senior quarterback Mason Blaschke with 12:26 on the clock. First-year kicker Payton Kisor then scored the PAT to put the Tigers up 7-0. Later in the second quarter, Kisor kicked a 35-yard field goal at 5:04 to bring the Tigers to 10-0 heading into half time.
In the third quarter, Simmons scored two more touchdowns for the Tigers, the first coming off of a 27-yard run with 11:58 left in the quarter and the second coming from a 60-yard run at the 4:26 mark. Kisor converted both of the kicks and the Tigers led 24-0 heading into the last quarter of play.
During the fourth quarter, the Tigers continued their shutout and added 17 points to the board. With 11:29 left in the game, sophomore defensive back Adam Saunders had a 46-yard interception return. First year Miguel Mendiola converted the kick. Later in the quarter at 6:32, senior running back Desmond King ran for a 14-yard touchdownâ€”the Tigers last touchdown of the game. First year William Rutan converted the kick. The final scoring play of the game came with 2:07 left when Kisor kicked a 31-yard field goal.
After the game, Simmons and sophomore linebacker Julian Turner were named SCAC Players of the Week. Simmons earned SCAC Offensive Player of the Week for three touchdowns and 196 rushing and receiving yards. Turner was awarded the SCAC Defensive Player of the Week after leading the team with 12 tackles, including 1.5 that led to losses for the Roos. Turner led the team in tackles for the season with an average of more than 10 tackles per game.
The Tigers were proud of their performance during this game and feel that it was one of the most collaborative of the year.
â€œI think it was our first true three-phase performance from start to finish. Â The offense came out and protected the football the best they had all year and it was awesome to see, considering it was cold and wet and the ball was slick,â€ said head coach Jerheme Urban and they still protected it. The defense played with a chip on their shoulder the whole game. Â It was a bunch of young guys who have been growing up throughout the season. Â And the special teams played solid so it was the best full team effort, without a doubt.â€
While the winning percentage was not what the team had hoped for, they were still proud of the team and seniors this season.
â€œItâ€™s a little disappointing when you look at the record, but I still think we improved as a team and I think there is a lot more we can improve on,â€ Turner said.
Urban agrees that seniors performed well this season and feels the future is bright.
â€œThey (the seniors) Â all did a great job accepting the role even if it wasnâ€™t something that they thought they would be doing as a senior but I think they laid a great foundation for these young guys to look at, to model themselves after as they continue to grow older and those 13 guys will have a lasting impression on this foundation for years to come,â€ Urban said.
With 13 seniors graduating, the Tigers have some big spots to fill but are confident and excited heading into the offseason and next fall.
â€œWe will have a lot of the guys back. Â Weâ€™re going to have a good base. Â We had a young team last year so we are looking forward to it,â€ Simmons said.
The goal next season to reclaim the SCAC title remains the same as the team heads into the off season.
â€œThe goal is to make playoffs and we didnâ€™t do that, so thatâ€™s going to be something we will really work towards next year,â€ Turner said.