A 12-0 halftime lead for the Euless Trinity Trojans (7-1, 3-1) ended as a 41-20 win over the Weatherford Kangaroos (5-2, 1-2) Friday night at Bedford’s Pennington Field, as self-inflicted wounds kept the latter off balance for much of the night.
After converting a 3rd-and-16 from their own 27-yard line with a 73-yard TD scamper by tailback Zechariah Moore during their first drive of the night, the Trojans capitalized with a pick of Roos’ senior quarterback Ken Seals during Weatherford’s first set of downs of its subsequent drive.
A 64-yard TD reception from Seals to junior wideout Nicholas Schwikal later in the first quarter was called back for an offensive holding call, while the team was pushed out of field goal range on its next drive after a sack of Seals on 4th-and-22.
Looking for a spark, Weatherford (which won the toss and chose to receive at the game’s start) opened the second half with an onside kick attempt, one which the Roos got their hands on but were ultimately unable to corral.
Instead, the Trojans began their first drive of the second half right at the 50-yard line, quickly marching up the short field before quarterback Valentino Foni rushed for a score from eight yards out to push Euless Trinity’s advantage to 19-0 early in the third quarter.
The Trojans pushed their lead to 27-13 by the end of the frame, before using up nearly half of the fourth quarter (6:30 in total) on a 13-play drive, resulting in another rushing score and 34-13 lead.
A 59-yard pick six of Seals minutes later effectively sealed the game for Euless Trinity.
Weatherford Head Coach Billy Mathis said the Roos’ execution was not where it needed to be Friday, while at the same time stressing that Euless Trinity earned the win.
“We definitely did some things to hurt ourselves,” Mathis said.
“A couple times the ball bounced off a receiver and gets intercepted or we didn’t pick up a blitz the way we needed to or Ken took a big sack late when we were down there in field goal range.
“Those things hurt, those are self-inflicted, but Trinity is a good football team. They definitely came out with a different fire than they had than when they played Haltom. I think they spent more time working on us than they did on Haltom. Haltom jumped up there and surprised them, and Trinity came out with something to prove [Friday] and they played hard and did a good job.
“But I think a lot of it was our own mistakes. You take away a couple plays and it’s a different game. We should have got the onside kick right there at the beginning of the second half. Four of our guys touch it, and it pops out from underneath them. We drop an interception on the first drive, we give up a 3rd and 16 for a touchdown. We get the touchdown to Nico called back, so you take away those three or four plays, who knows what the score is gonna be.”
After being held to 12 points in the first half, Euless Trinity rallied for 29 points in the final two quarters, something Mathis said he attributed to fatigue in the face of a massive Trojans’ offensive line.
“They wear on you after you play for a while,” Mathis said.
“Their offensive front averages over 300 pounds, and our defensive line averages 230, so after awhile when you’re playing a team like that, they kind of beat you down.”
The Trojans made good use of that size up front, rushing for a team total 405 yards, despite all but abandoning the passing game (47 yards through the air total, 10 total passing attempts).
The Roos also did well moving the ball, accumulating 371 yards of offense, including 134 on the ground.
Seals finished 23-of-35 for 237 yards, two TDs and two picks, while junior running back Dezmond Forrest fueled the team’s ground game with 155 yards and a score on 19 attempts.
Senior wideout Jorden Wheeler finished with a team-high 86 receiving yards on six receptions, while Schwikal added 71 yards and a pair of scores on five catches.
However, the abovementioned turnovers, as well as untimely penalties (six calls for 43 yards against the Roos) kept the visiting team from capitalizing for much of the night.
The loss also further muddies the playoff picture for District 3-6A, which has San Angelo Central and Abilene tied for third at 2-2 in district, (Euless Trinity and Richland currently hold first and second at 3-1 and 2-1, respectively) while three teams (Weatherford, L.D. Bell and Haltom) sit at 1-2, all looking to muscle their way into the fourth-place spot.
Mathis said the Kangaroos are well aware of what is on the line in the coming weeks, adding that Friday’s loss lit a fire under the players.
“There’s a bunch of teams with two losses in our district,” Mathis said.
“So our destiny is in our own hands. We’ve gotta go out and take care of Abilene Friday night. Practice [Monday] morning was at a different level than most Mondays are because they were pretty upset about losing that game, which they should be. As a coaching staff we’re not happy about losing the game. We expect to win every football game we play.
“Our minds are now focused on Abilene. We’re gonna build off the good we did there at Trinity, fix the bad, go out and stay focused on Abilene this week. The fire has definitely gotta be there. We’ve got to amp up our game and raise our level of play this week.”
Weatherford hosts Abilene in a district game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Kangaroo Stadium.