Video: Highlights - De La Salle vs. TrinityNo. 1 De La Salle was shocked in Texas.MANSFIELD, Texas —
Chalk one up for Lone Star State in a Texas-sized showdown.
A big, physical Trinity (Euless, Texas)
squad used some big physical plays to post a huge 26-21 victory over national No. 1 De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)
at Vernon Newsom Stadium late Saturday night.
Actually, due to a 90-minute lightning delay, and endless TV timeouts, this one ended after midnight and into Sunday.
It was well worth the wait for the Trojans, who won the head coaching debut of Chris Jensen in this much anticipated showdown between Texas and California powers.
Long touchdown runs by Ja'Ron Wilson
(22 carries, 118 yards) and 6-foot, 239-pound quarterback Tyler Natee
(12-82) and an even bigger 39-yard fumble touchdown return by Sam Leotai
paved the way to probably Trinity’s biggest win over an out-of-state opponent.
The three-time large-school state champion, who lost all but two offensive starters to graduation from last year's 12-2 team, beat a renowned program that had a far below par game in its first visit to the Lone Star state.
Three turnovers, several dropped passes and penalties and countless missed tackles led to the painful defeat.
But chalk up Trinity’s big bodies and strength that led to many of those missed tackles.
"That was a Texas-style win," said fired up quarterback Tyler Natee
right after the game. "Those Cali boys were ready to play and put up a good fight. But the boys from Euless had just too much."
De La Salle, down 26-14 early in the fourth quarter, closed to 26-21 on a brilliant 81-yard touchdown by Antoine Custer
(17 carries, 139 yards) with 10 minutes remaining.
The Spartans still trailed by five points when they started their final possession with 5:24 remaining, 83 yards from the goal line. They drove as close as the Trinity 28 in the final minute and just missed connecting on a potential game-winning double-pass on their next-to-last play.
Before the missed pass, the Spartans were called for a holding penalty and then a quarterback snap was dropped leading to a four-yard loss. With no timeouts, De La Salle spiked the ball to stop the clock. Then the perfect play call was executed perfectly, but the pass was long.
It figures to be a long flight back to California early Sunday morning for the Spartans.
"It was a miracle we were even in the game with a chance to win against a
team like that, with all the mistakes we made," De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh said. "Those
guys were really, really good, but we played really poorly."
The Trojans made the debut of Jensen a memorable one.
"Early on we were trying to make plays that weren’t there," Jensen said. "Finally we just took what the defense gave us. Then we made some special plays … That was a pretty crazy game and it was a whirlwind of a week."
Trinity went 94 yards in nine plays for its first lead of 19-14 on a 44-yard scoring keeper by Natee with 4:05 in the third period. A fumble recovery by sophomore safety Cameron Jones
precluded the Trojans' march, blunting a De La Salle threat on its opening possession of the second half.
Trinity increased its advantage to 26-14 early in the fourth quarter on a 13-yard sweep off left end by De'Jaun Garrett
. The senior running back bounced off a solid tackle before finding an open crease to the end zone.
De La Salle took a 14-12 lead to the halftime locker room, the difference a pair of successful extra points.
Senior quarterback Anthony Sweeney
staked the visitors to a 7-0 lead with a 39-yard touchdown run midway in the opening quarter.
Wilson answered with a 33-yard scoring run in the final minute of the opening quarter, but Trinity's extra-point kick failed. An interception by Jones set up the Trinity points.
Facing third-and-25, De La Salle demonstrated its explosiveness when Custer turned a simple bubble screen into a 79-yard touchdown gallop and a 14-6 Spartans' advantage in the opening minute of the second period.
A fumble recovery by Devin Asiasi
stopped a Trinity threat in the final three minutes of the half, opening the possibility of the Spartans widening their advantage before the break. After what looked like a sure long touchdown pass was dropped, De La Salle went with a reverse call that looked destined for a big gainer.
Instead, the Spartans fumbled the exchange, Trojan junior linebacker Leota scooped it up, thwarted two would-be tacklers and rambled 44 yards for a touchdown, cutting the lead to 14-12 with 28 seconds left in the half. Natee's two-point conversion attempt failed, so the Spartans maintained a halftime lead.
"Honestly (on the play) I thought I was going to get burned," Leota said. "But every Tuesday we run scoop and score drill. I just picked it up and my teammates did the rest."
Not really. The smallish De La Salle backs had clean shots at Leota, but the 6-foot, 255-pounder simply would not go down. He finished off a possible 13-point swing and gave the Trojans momentum into halftime.
"Adrenalin," he said.
De La Salle outgained Trinity 423-344 and both teams managed 19 first downs. The Spartans also had twice as many penalties (eight to four) and two more turnovers.
"Hats off to Trinity for sure, but we left so many points out there on the board," Alumbaugh said.
Asked if this was a great win for Texas football and Jensen said: "It was a great win for Trinity football." MaxPreps correspondent Randy Jennings contributed to this report.