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Trinity tops Bulloch Academy
walker barks signals

DUBLIN — Bulloch Academy may have won most of the battles on Cleve Warnock Field Friday night but, when the smoke cleared, Trinity Christian School had won the war.

The Crusaders cashed in on some scoring opportunities and shocked the Gators, who outgained them by 100 yards, by taking a 21-14 victory and hurting Bulloch’s standing in Region 1-AAA for post-season play.

With the score knotted at 14-14, the Crusaders (5-3 overall and 3-3 in the region) held Bulloch on a three-plays-and-out deep in their own territory. A short punt gave TCS the ball at the BA 38 with 6:59 in the fourth quarter.

Sean McNatt popped off a 17-yard run on the first play for a first-down at the 21-yard line. Patrick Evans had a five-yarder down to the BA 19. Evans led the Crusaders with 92 yards on 18 carries while McNutt added 34 yards.

Two penalties and two ejections later, TCS had the ball at the 13-yard line. Evans gave his squad a first down at the nine. The Gator defense stood firm but McNutt burst through from six yards out on third-and-goal for the lead with 3:36 left.

Bulloch (6-3, 4-3) got a 23-yard return from Ellis Lane on the ensuing kickoff and set up shop with 3:29 remaining in the game. A heavy dose of fullback Lestonz Lewis put the ball at the Gator 45. Lewis led Bulloch with 173 yards on 22 carries.

After BA head coach Clint Morgan called his final time out to give his troops the game plan, quarterback Brandon Walker hit wide receiver Morris Prince over the middle and Prince raced for a 25-yard gain to the TCS 31. Lewis blasted 11 yards down to the Crusader 20 with 1:37 left as BA raced toward the end zone.

The Gators tried to hurry the offense but the Crusaders caught Lewis for a one-yard loss and BA was flagged for illegal procedure with 1:08 left.

Walker found Prince again, this time for seven yards, down to the TCS 15. The Crusaders stuffed Lewis on the next play as precious seconds ticked away.

Walker’s desperation pass over the middle on a fourth-and-nine fell to the turf with 10.1 seconds left, giving Trinity the ball on downs and the game.

The night started off unexpectedly for Bulloch as Jaylen Evans fumbled the opening kickoff and the Crusaders gained possession at the BA 25.

Three plays later, McNatt blasted over from five yards for a 7-0 lead at the 10:54 mark.

The titantic defensive battle waged back and forth until BA’s Lewis broke free early in the second quarter. He tore through the heart of the TCS defense and raced 78 yards for the score with 11:02 remaining. But John Harden’s PAT attempt sailed wide right, leaving Trinity with a 7-6 advantage.

After Prince intercepted TCS quarterback Chris Hobbs on Trinity’s next possession, the Gators got things rolling with a six-play, 45-yard drive. Lewis finished it off with a two-yard TD blast and Walker hit Prince in the end zone for the two-point conversion for a 14-7 lead with 7:27 left.

On the ensuing kickoff, Evans got behind a wall of blockers and turned on the jets for a 92 yard return down to the BA three-yard line. Bulloch’s defense held McNatt out for two plays but he finally burst into the end zone. Jon Luke Cannada’s PAT tied the score at 14-14 with 6:26 left.

The remainder of the second and the entire third quarter was a hard-hitting, defensive battle with neither team giving up much ground.

The Gators have next week off and take on region foe Pinewood on Nov. 5. Trinity has two more region games. If TCS wins both, against Southland and Tiftarea, and the Gators beat PCA, then the Bulloch and Crusaders would tie for third in the region standings but TCS would get nod because they had beaten Bulloch.