After consecutive losses to Booker T. Washington and Colquitt County in Weeks 7 and 8, respectively, the Conquerors stormed back to defeat the 6th-ranked Class 6A Robert E. Lee Generals, who had previously won four of their last five contests, including downing a pair 2018 state champions (4A Raines, 8A Mandarin) and this season’s top-ranked North Florida 6A team (Columbia) during that stretch.
Terrell Jackson’s pair of clutch defensive plays in the fourth quarter helped stave off a comeback effort from the opposition, and a second-quarter offensive outburst held up as the Conquerors picked up a very crucial win on the home turf. Trinity, who entered play as the #6 seed in 3A, Region 1, scored three times in the second period and held on to win 21-12.
With the Generals trailing 21-6 as they ran their first offensive drive of the fourth quarter, Jackson chased down a bomb from Lee quarterback Cale Zarah to wide receiver Terry McKinney; just as McKinney reached to make the catch, Jackson got his right hand inside the arms of the receiver and knocked the ball away without making contact. That play forced 4th and 10 and allowed Trinity nose guard William Tippens to stop the pass on the next play to give the ball back to the Conquerors on downs with 9:01 left in the game.
Jackson ended Lee’s next drive with an interception at the 4:12 mark after Lee’s Cobie Bates marched the ball 41 yards on two wildcat plays to the Trinity 44. Those three defensive gems kept the Conquerors’ lead at 15, which proved vital down the stretch.
Trinity scored all three touchdowns in that big second quarter. Kyjuan Herndon scampered 49 yards for the first score with 11:01 left until halftime as part of his 24-carry, 179-yard night. Pedro Velez capped a 6-play, 45-yard drive with a 2-yard power run into the end zone at the 8:18 mark. Two minutes later, quarterback Jacory Jordan then hit Marcus Burke for a 79-yard touchdown pass that Burke caught on the dead run at the Lee 42 before outrunning his defender to give the Conquerors a 21-0 lead, including three extra points from Clayton Roerig.
Lee fought back with a third-quarter touchdown after driving 63 yards. Zaire Lee rushed in from two yards out, but a Trinity lineman deflected the extra-point attempt wide of the right upright to keep the score 21-6. That play turned out big as Lee scored again on Zarah’s 28-yard quarterback keeper with only 47 seconds left to play. Lee went for two to try to make it a one-score game and have a chance at an onside kick, but two opportunities – thanks to a penalty – failed, and the Conquerors held onto their nine-point lead.
Miles Brooks and D.J. Clea each recovered fumbles to take possessions away from Lee, and C. J. Ross blocked a field goal attempt in the first quarter to keep the game scoreless at that point. Ross later intercepted a pass; he also had eight tackles (five solo). Tippens totaled five tackles. Corey Cooley defended two passes while Brooks, Jackson, and Fred Davis each knocked down one to help lead the Trinity defense and keep Lee out of the end zone.
Jordan completed 8 of 15 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown while Burke caught 5 passes for 115 yards and a score. Velez carried 5 times for 23 yards and a touchdown.
For the Generals, Bates (107) and Zarah (102) combined for 209 yards rushing on 18 total carries. Zarah and McKinney combined for 7 completions and 115 yards on the night.
The Conquerors (4-5) will finish the regular season at 2018's Class 4A state champion Raines (5-2) at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, October 25. Raines won 40-0 over Yulee Thursday night. A win would give the Conquerors another huge boost in the Class 3A RPI rating as did Thursday night’s win over Lee.
Trinity is then idle in the season’s final week. The Class 3A playoffs begin on Friday, November 9.