|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company
‘Long’ Alto plays burn Trinity Tigers, 44-14
Trinity Standard -
By GREG PEAK
Area news editor
ALTO -- The Tiger defense, which has held strong through the first four games of the season, was not up to the challenge offered Friday night by the Alto Yellow Jackets. During their final pre-district clash of 2012, the Trinity varsity defense gave up six touchdowns to the Jackets, all coming on rushing or passing plays of 35 yards to more. The six TDs propelled Alto to a 44-14 win. The loss drops Trinity to a season record of 2-3 while Alto, a member of District 10-1A1, climbs to 4-1 as both schools prepare to take a week off to rest and recover before they both begin district play on Oct. 12. The Tigers will host the Teague Lions on that night during the annual Trinity High School homecoming football game. Things began badly for the Tigers on Friday night and quickly moved downhill. After the Jackets scored off a 66-yard run on their first snap of the game, the powered their way into a 44-0 lead before the Tigers managed to put together two successful fourth-quarter scoring drives. Following the game, Tiger Head Coach Jarrod Smith said the Yellow Jackets were able to take advantage of a hole in Trinity’s defensive backfield created by the absence of outside linebacker Holden Currie. The 190-pound senior was hospitalized after suffering an injury in practice earlier in the week and was unable to play Friday night. “They really took advantage of us in that area and came up with some long, scoring plays,” Smith said. The coach said the long plays hurt the Tigers but added there were some bright spots for the team during the contest. He noted the offense did a much better job at holding onto the football. “We also did a better job on kickoff returns. Its too bad we had to do it so many times, but we did have a few good returns,” Smith said. Smith, who is in his first season with Trinity, said toward the end of the game, the Tigers started to gain confidence and began moving the ball. “I think if we’d had that same confidence at the beginning, it could have been a completely different ball game.” However, the fourth quarter comeback was too little, to late. “We told the team at halftime that Alto has a very good football tea. They’re big and fast and we just didn’t have enough big plays while they did. One of our goals was to limit them to three or less explosive plays and, man, when you can’t do that, its hard to win football games. “They’ve got a great strength program and that has given them some guys who are big and strong. That is something that we are working to develop, so it was good for us to see what can be accomplished if you get in the weight room,” Smith added. Pointing toward the scoreboard displaying the final score, he added, “That is the result of a lot of hours in the weight room. For a 1A program, they are loaded.” During the contest, the Tigers gained 154 yards from passing and only 116 net yards off rushing attempts. Also gained 138 yards in the air and a net 318 yards on the ground. Tiger quarterback Steve Alexander completed 10 if 28 passes for 123 yards and had two throws intercepted. Sophomore Michael Lewis, who filled in at QB for a few plays when Alexander twisted an ankle, completed one of two throws for 31 yards and had one picked off by Also. The leading receiver for the Tigers was junior Kemon House, who caught three for 90 yards. Senior Tarlus Davis also caught three for 33 yards, sophomore Tyreke Carroll caught three for 27 yards and freshman Aaron Kirkwood caught one for a four-yard gain. On the ground, Davis and Alexander each had a net gain of 58 yards. Davis carried 13 times and picked up both Tiger TDs while Alexander carried 12 times. For Alto, junior quarterback Zac Sturns completed five of three pass attempts for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Junior quarterback Jacolby Whitaker completed two of three tosses for 42 yards and one TD while senior QB Joe Cruz attempted only one throw near the end of the game and completed it for a loss of one yard. Among the Yellow Jacket receivers, junior wide receiver Anfernee Black caught two TD throws for a total of 98 yards, Whitaker caught one TD pass for 35 yards, senior Jonathan Pope and sophomore David Berryman each caught one three-yard pass and senior J.R. Grammer caught one for a loss of one yard. Leading Alto on the ground was Whitaker, who switched between the quarter- and running back positions throughout the night. He carried the ball 11 times for a net gain of 189 yards and two touchdowns. Sturns, who also alternated between QB and RB duties, rushed for a net gain of 89 yards and a TD on his 13 runs. Also rushing for Alto were sophomore Jyran Shaw, who posted a net gain of 45 yards of nine attempts; Black, who had one two-yard gain; and Cruz, who had a net loss of seven yards off five carries. The Game The Tigers got the ball first during Friday’s contest but were forced to punt without gaining a first down. The Jackets first drive was quick and to the point. Sturns handed off to Whitaker on first down and 66-yards later Alto had their first TD with 10:00 left in the opening quarter. The point-after kick by junior Nicolas Leon was good, giving Alto a 7-0 lead. After another three and out by the Tiger offense, the Yellow Jackets took control of the ball at their own 20. They broke another long running play on the first snap, but Whitaker could only gain 50 yards before being brought down at the Tiger 30 by Carroll. Alto pushed down to the four-yard mark before the Tiger defense stiffened and pushed them back to the 11.On fourth and goal, Leon came out and kicked a 29-yard field goal to give the Jackets a 10-0 margin Trinity’s offense was again forced to punt without gaining a first down on their third possession but the Jackets fared no better on theirs when Shaw fumbled a handoff and turned the ball over to the Tigers at the Trinity 23. The Tigers returned the turnover favor two plays later when an Alexander pass was picked off by Sturns and returned to the Trinity 22. The Jackets were then pushed back to the 35 when Sturns was dropped for a loss on a rushing attempt and then sacked while scrambling to pass. However, Alto was not to be denied the end zone. On a third down and 23 play, Sturns connected with a screen pass with Whitaker who scampered through the Tiger defense for the score. Leon’s point-after kick was good and Alto took a 17-0 lead withy 10:15 left in the second quarter. Following the Alto kickoff, Trinity managed to gain a first down off a 32-yard pass from Alexander to House that moved the Tigers into Alto territory for the first time. Trinity managed to pushed to the Yellow Jacket 29 where an alternating string of five-yard penalties bounced them back and forth from the 29 to the 34. They finally surrendered the ball on downs after an incomplete pass from the 34. Alto took control of the ball and used five plays to push to the Tiger 29 where a holding penalty moved them back to the 39. From there, Whitaker completed a pass to Black for a 39-yard scoring play with 3:44 left in the half. Leon’s point-after kick again was good, giving Alto a 24-0 lead that held through the mid-game break. Alto go the ball first in the second half but it took them a while longer to score than it did at the game opening. They had to wait until the second play of the drive to put points on the board, this time off a 55-yard run by Whitaker with 11:01 left in the third quarter. Leon’s point-after kick pushed the Alto lead to 31-0. After taking the subsequent kickoff, the Tigers managed to again push into Alto territory before another interception ended the drive. Alexander’s throw was picked off by Whitaker at the 41. On their first snap of the possession, Sturns put the ball in the air and connected with Black for a 59-yard TD strike with 8:42 left in the third. Leon’s point-after kick hit the crossbar and fell back into the end zone leaving Alto with a 37-0 lead. Alto’s final scoring drive came on their next possession after the Tiger offense surrendered the ball on downs. Starting at the Yellow Jacket 39, Alto used three plays to score. The TD came off a 56-yard run by Whitaker with 4:30 left in the third. The Tiger offense finally gained traction in the fourth quarter when, after taking a four-yard Alto punt, they took possession of the ball at the 50-yard mark. Lewis, who was filling in as QB after Alexander suffered a minor injury, connected with House on a 31-yard pass play that put the ball at the Jacket 19-yard line. Davis took the handoff and blasted through the Alto defense for the TD with 8:34 left in the game. Jordan Ross’ point-after kick was good, cutting Alto’s lead to 44-7. Alto went three and out on their subsequent possession and the Tigers regained the ball at the Trinity 23. With Alexander back in the game, they used 11 plays to force their way into the end zone a second time, this time with Davis carrying it in on a 14-yard run with 1:48 left in the game. Ross’ kick on the point-after was good, leaving Alto with a 44-14 lead. Following the kickoff, the Yellow Jackets had the ball at the Alto 31 with 1:43 left on the clock. Three kneel down plays by Cruz later and the clock was at 0:00 and Alto had the win.