With a record of two wins and two losses so far this season, the Trinity football team is ready to enter conference play with increased urgency. The Tigers have traveled from Mississippi to California, but the fact is the teamâ€™s non-conference record has no material impact on their playoff placement; that is fully dependent on their record over the next six conference matchups they are currently preparing for.
The defensive unit was strong in non-conference play, but limited production on the offensive side has hurt the team, especially throughout their most recent loss to Chapman University. Both of Trinityâ€™s losses occurred with the team only one score away from a win, as the Millsaps loss ended with a score of 24-20 and the Chapman loss 19-17. This pattern of close games is evident in their wins as well, each coming at six points and seven points vs Pacific Lutheran and Redlands University, respectively.
Tight games may be exciting for viewers, but for coaches and players, these victories produce stress. Hoping to clean up the act for the rest of the season, the Tigers will need to continue to bolster their offense while remaining consistent on the defensive side of the ball. As quarterback, senior Austin Grauer holds a lot of responsibility for improving the offense, and acknowledges some of the roadblocks.
â€œObviously you never like to lose any games, but one thing that our team has not done is give up. In the two games that we have lost, we lost by a combined six points so we have battled and played to the finish. The next step is finishing those close games and I believe that we will continue to get better every day and finish those close games,â€ Grauer said.
Defensively, the Tigers have been solid, but a discrepancy exists between the quality of run and pass defense. The Tigers have allowed less than 400 yards of rushing on the whole season; yet they have also conceded over 1000 yards of passing offense. Regardless of the noticeable difference, junior Mitchell Globe feels confident heading into conference play.
â€œI think we handled the travel [to Mississippi and California] pretty well for the most part. Now we just need to learn how to finish those games. The biggest positive is all the young guys stepping up and making huge impacts in big moments. Expectations going into the season were to win conference and go 5-0 on the road. We have not been able to do that, but looking forward we look to go undefeated in conference play and will take it one game at a time,â€ Globe said.
The special-teams unit has improved dramatically since the beginning of the season, mostly due to junior placekicker Colby Doyal. Doyal has made some key field goals throughout the last few weeks, and earned the SCAC player of the week honor this past week.
Doyal sees this season as exceptionally meaningful because it is the last year Trinity will be playing in the SCAC, and he is optimistic they will be holding the conference Â trophy at the end of the season.
â€œThis is our last year playing in the SCAC and we want to be the last team to win the conference,â€ Doyal said. â€œIt would mean a lot to not only the team but especially to the seniors to leave that lasting legacy as the last class to win a ring in the SCAC. It is definitely obtainable and we have the players and coaches to get it done.â€
The Tigersâ€™ run at the coveted SCAC title will begin this weekend as they take on Texas Lutheran on their home turf. By the end of November we will have the answer to whether this team can leave their mark in history as the final Trinity Tiger football team to win the SCAC.