Trinity’s efficiency helps Warriors knock off Valley-Wetzel 28-6 for their first win of 2020
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — We’ve all heard talking-head football announcers insist the team that wins the time of possession battle nearly always wins the game. But that depends on what you’re doing with your time when you have possession.
On Friday night during its home game against Valley Wetzel, the Trinity football team ran just 10 offensive plays in the first half, compared to the Lumberjacks’ 41, but the Warriors converted splash plays into scores all night on their way to a solid, convincing and uplifting 28-6 victory.
Valley-Wetzel (1-5), hampered by an injury to its starting quarterback, Gavin Streets, and taking advantage of a significant size advantage up front, started the opening drive on their own 13 and commenced to pound and ground between the tackles. Behind workhorse running back Billy Kuhn and 265-pound draft horse fullback Wyatt Dallison, the Lumberjack consumed over nine minutes of the first-quarter clock in 17 plays before turning the ball over on downs at the TCS 43.
And it took Calvin Blunt Jr. one play and 10 seconds to give the Warriors (2-2) the lead, as he burst through a massive hole off-tackle and raced 57 yards into the end zone.
“The line gave me a beautiful hole to run through,” Blunt said after the game, “and nobody even touched me. The coaches told us all week to remember to hit the hole hard, and that’s what I did. It feels great to see the work we do in practice show up on the field and turn into big plays.”
Following a short Lumberjacks punt, Trinity set up from its own 43 again, and drove for another score, this time in eight plays, the final nine yards on a precise square out pass from quarterback Drew Boczek to diminutive but shifty and tough slot receiver Levi Teets.
Down 14-0 midway through the second quarter, Valley stayed with their conservative, heavy rushing game plan, and its 17-play drive ended with an important 2-yard TD plunge from Kuhn with just one second left in the half. The kick was blocked, making the score 14-6 at the break.
If Trinity fans were concerned the late Valley score might gnaw at the confidence of their team heading into the second half, the Warriors quickly took care of those worries. On their opening drive after halftime, Boczek escaped a strong pass rush by stepping up in the pocket, glided to his left, then flipped a Patrick Mahomes-esque sidearm pass perfectly in stride to Teets, who continued across the field, turned up the sideline, and sprinted to pay dirt for a spectacular 52-yard TD. Then the first three-and-out turned in by the Warriors defense was converted into Trinity’s fourth touchdown drive of the game. A muffed field goal snap was alertly scooped up by Teets, who found space around the right end for a key first down to sustain the drive. Then, Blunt Jr. bounced an off-tackle run to the right all the way around the left edge to the pylon for a 15-yard touchdown run and a 28-6 commanding lead.
From there, the staunch Trinity defense — having made key locker room adjustments — shut down the Lumberjacks’ running game and kept Valley off the scoreboard the rest of the way for the decisive victory.
“The fourth down stop on Valley’s first drive, followed by Calvin’s touchdown really set the tone for us,” Warriors coach Chris Simpson said. “We felt all week that this was a game we could win, and we felt we could make big plays with our speed and skill. And we executed.”
When asked about how his team was able to slow down the run game in the second half, Simpson credited his defensive coaches.
“Mike McKenzie and Russ Patrick have had our defense playing well all year,” he said. “We prepared for more spread from them, and once we started to run-blitz the gaps, we were able to control things from there. It was a real nice team win for us, and we needed it for sure.”