It was a game that began as an old-school slugfest but it ended with some new-school fanfare.
Two long creative passes were enough for the No. 2 Blessed Trinity Titans to pull away from the St. Pius X Golden Lions for a 35-21 victory on Friday night at Blessed Trinity Stadium. The Titans (2-0) have now extended their win streak over the Golden Lions to five straight games.
With the Golden Lions having just tied the game at 14-14 in the third quarter, the Titans began their second drive of the second half at their own 33-yard line. On the third play of the drive, junior quarterback Jake Smith hung in the pocket as his wide receiver Ryan Davis ran a hitch-and-go route down the right sideline. Smith hit the junior in stride and Davis dashed away for a 57-yard touchdown to put the Titans ahead 21-14.
“It was an emotional roller coaster all night, but I think that was the big momentum shift in the game,” head coach Tim McFarlin said. “It was a pretty good call. We had another play called but audibled to that.”
After the Golden Lions turned the ball over on downs, the Titans took over at their own 41-yard line to begin the fourth quarter. That is when coach McFarlin, running back Steele Chambers and Smith decided to dial up some trickeration.
Smith tossed the ball to Chambers on what appeared to be a sweep, but then Chambers all-of-a-sudden stopped and threw a pass to a wide-open Will Carlton, who caught the ball and completed a 57-yard touchdown.
“We had been working on that all week in practice,” Chambers said.
“I taught him how to throw it a little bit in the offseason. He had a really nice touch on that ball,” Smith said.
The entire first half was played at a very different tempo than those two big, exciting plays. Both teams stuck with a ground-and-pound style of offense, which included long drives and methodic plays – four yards here, five yards there.
This was especially prevalent for the Golden Lions and their triple option attack, which was giving the Titans fits in the first half.
“I felt like there was an edge missing tonight,” McFarlin said. “They run the triple option so well and they were just exploiting us.”
The Golden Lions put together two scoring drives that lasted more than 10 plays and 4:13 each and featured B-back Scott Braswell. He was a workhorse on their first drive as he rushed for 44 yards on nine carries during that drive including punching in an 8-yard touchdown to make the score 7-7.
The Titans followed the trend on their next drive (16 plays, 80 yards, 5:49), which was capped off by a nifty 18-yard touchdown run by Chambers to put the Titans ahead 14-7 heading into the locker room.
Chambers would add his third touchdown late in the game to seal the victory for the Titans. The junior has six total touchdowns in two games this season.
“It feels pretty good,” Chambers said. “I really trust my line right now.”
7-0, 5:30, Blessed Trinity 19-yard pass from Jake Smith to Ryan Davis
7-7, 6:39, St. Pius 8-yard run by Scott Braswell
14-7, :50, Blessed Trinity 18-yard run by Steele Chambers
14-14, 3:37, St. Pius 1-yard run by Connor Egan
21-14, 2:53, Blessed Trinity 57-yard pass from Jake Smith to Ryan Davis
28-14, 11:44, Blessed Trinity 57-yard touchdown pass from Steele Chambers to Will Carlton
35-14, 6:55, Blessed Trinity 5-yard touchdown run by Steele Chambers
35-21, 3:12, St. Pius 15-yard touchdown pass from Connor Egan to Jacob Pajer
QB Connor Egan: 4/9, 60 yards, one touchdown, 10 carries, 10 yard, one touchdown
RB Scott Braswell: 22 carries, 121 yards, one touchdown
RB Michael Benefield: 6 carries, 58 yards
QB Jake Smith: 12/18, 119 yards, two touchdowns, one interception
RB Steele Chambers: 18 carries, 101 yards, two touchdowns, 1/1, 57 yards, one touchdown
RB Elijah Green: 13 carries, 32 yards
WR Ryan Davis: 6 catches, 102 yards, two touchdowns
WR Will Carlton: 4 catches, 86 yards, one touchdown