Updated: Oct 18, 2020
Christian Ellis set it up, and Caleb Stevenson finished the job as the Trinity Christian Academy Conquerors pulled off the stunning upset of the nation's #20 overall team with a 3-0 victory to cap off a defensive masterpiece over the American Heritage Academy Patriots Friday night in South Florida.
Stevenson, after two penalties put the ball at the 5-yard line, connected from the 12 as time expired to give the Conquerors the win over the Patriots. Stevenson, in his only scoring opportunity of the night, split the uprights with plenty more than the free 10 yards to spare, and Trinity -- who entered the game as 24-point underdogs -- shocked the experts.
The field goal was set up by a fumble recovery from Ellis, who pounced on a muffed punt with 15 seconds left. Stevenson got the punt off after a low snap from his own 35. The ball sailed to the American Heritage 27, took a bounce, and deflected off punt returner James Williams, who tried to field the hop. Ellis beat Williams to the ball and leaped on top of it at the 15 to give the Conquerors the opportunity to win.
Two American Heritage offsides penalties followed the recovery before Stevenson, who got a perfect snap and hold, nailed the game winner.
Ellis made several big defensive plays, including an interception at the goal line as American Heritage forged well into the red zone following a pass interference call and had 1st and 10 at the 12 with 10:00 left in the second quarter.
American Heritage rushed for 163 yards on 43 carries, which -- by far -- surpassed the average ground yards allowed by Trinity's mighty defense, but the Conquerors stepped up in major ways when necessary. Cornerback Terrell Jackson broke up a potential touchdown pass in the end zone, cornerback Corey Coley blocked a Patriots' field goal attempt, and linebackers C.J. Ross, Lucius Lattimore, Bryce Capers, and Caden Morrell led the defense to takeaways on downs, forced punts, and other big stops in clutch situations to maintain a scoreless tie with MaxPreps's national #20 team (and #6 team overall in Florida) that had scored 66 points in only three games previously with 59 of them coming in the last two contests.
The Conquerors' defense also allowed only 64 yards through the air. Patriots quarterback Vinson Davis was 8 for 17 with one interception.
The Patriots were even stingier on defense, holding Trinity's powerful running game to only 40 yards on 22 carries while also allowing just 12 total passing yards and 5 first downs. Williams let an easy interception slip through his hands late in the fourth quarter to give the Conquerors new life, and Trinity cashed in right at the end when afforded the opportunity.
The Conquerors (3-1) will next visit Jacksonville's undefeated Class 6A Robert E. Lee (4-0) at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, October 23. Homecoming Friday features Trinity vs. Raines on October 30, and the Conquerors will finish the regular season at Ribault on November 6.
Trinity will begin the 3A, Region 1 payoffs at Baldwin on Friday, November 13.
TWEETS: Andre Ellis, Duval Sports
STATS: Larry Withers, TCA Statistician