Updated: Nov 20, 2018
A missed field goal gave the Conquerors new life and the momentum to go with it, and the team took advantage as Trinity Christian Academy advanced to the 2018 Class 5A Region 1 final with a 28-12 win over a very tough War Eagles team from Wakulla High School.
With a two-point lead at 14-12 early in the fourth quarter, Trinity's defense faced a field-goal situation that would have put the War Eagles ahead by one. Wakulla's left-footed kicker Hunter Busen, who had recently converted a 27-yard attempt in the latter portions of the third quarter, pulled the 22-yard kick wide right from the right hash mark. The miss gave Trinity 1st and 10 at the 20-yard line and the shift in momentum. Marcus Crowley started the 4-play 80-yard drive that ensued with a 36-yard run to midfield. Two plays later, Jacory Jordan hit Isaiah Washington for 43 yards to set up 1st and Goal at the 5. Crowley then busted through the line for the touchdown that put the Conquerors ahead 21-12 and made it a two-possession game.
Trinity got some insurance later in the fourth on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Jordan to Dreshawn Dawkins, who caught the ball at the 18, broke a tackle, and raced into the front corner of the end zone. Still within two touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions with 3:23 left to play, the War Eagles -- as they did all night -- ran the ball consistently and methodically up the field and into Conquerors territory. Trinity's Latrell Wade, though, picked off Jaylon Worsham's pass to seal the win. Wakulla scored first on the opening possession, moving the ball 63 yards and eating up 5:32 off the first-quarter clock. Worsham's 10-yard run culminated the 12-play drive in which Jordon Bolden and Lamonte Peterson combined for 31 yards and Worsham hit Jeremy Harvey for 16 more yards. At that point, the Conquerors knew they were in for a battle. Wakulla led 7-0 after one period. Trinity, though, drew on its experience in the second. Busen missed a 48-yard field goal attempt early in the period. After Crowley's 36-yard run on first down at the 20, Jordan found Washington on the next play, and Washington's 44-yard catch and run tied the score at 7-7. Jordan then hit Malik Myers from 25 yards out on Trinity's next possession to put the Conquerors ahead by seven, and the two teams took that score into halftime.
Wakulla, though, caught a break out of the intermission on a fumbled kickoff that pinned Trinity on its own 8. Two plays later, Keyshawn Green tackled Crowley in the end zone for a safety to make the score 14-9. Busen's 27-yard field goal made it 14-12, and Wakulla appeared to have the opportunity to take the lead at the start of the fourth quarter before the missed opportunity gave Trinity a huge sigh of relief. Crowley finished the night with 203 yards and a score on 19 carries, and Jordan was 6 for 10 for 140 yards and three touchdowns. Trinity's defense had some trouble stopping the crisscross duo of Bolden and Peterson much of the night, but they made huge plays when it counted most. Wakulla marched 63 yards downfield -- spanning the third-to-fourth quarter change -- to the Trinity 30, but the defense held from there and forced the field-goal attempt that would have given the War Eagles the lead.
The defense performed a very similar stop after Wakulla advanced 41-yards and forced the field goal that Busen hit from 27 yards in the third quarter, and Andrew Brown's interception helped secure the win.
Peterson (118) and Bolden (98) worked their crisscross rushing throughout the game and racked up 216 yards on the ground. Worsham was 6 for 13 for 54 yards and 1 interception. The Conquerors will play Bolles in the 2018 FHSAA Region 1 Final at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 23. The winner will face the Region 2 winner, either North Marion or Nature Coast Tech on November 30. The state championship game is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on Friday, December 7, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
--Raymond Bureau, TCA Conquerors Athletics
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