Holy Trinity will open up offense under Hooks Jr.


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They may be small in number, but there is one thing the players on the Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy football team have never lacked:

Heart.

So go ahead and overlook the Tigers. They’re used to it. Just don’t be surprised if they make you pay for it.

“I think that’s our advantage against everyone out here,” senior quarterback Daniel Welch said. “I think everyone always underestimates us. That was a big advantage we had last year.

“Everyone was like, ‘Oh, Holy Trinity, they only have 20 or so people’ and we’ll come out and hit them in the mouth. They don’t really see that from a private school.”

The Tigers are certainly off to a good start. Holy Trinity defeated Agape Christian 23-6 Thursday night. A 33-yard field goal by freshman Carlo Campanini got things started for the Tigers, who then increased their lead to 10-0 on a 60-yard fumble return by linebacker Justin Ganiban.

A 15-yard run by Welch made it a 16-6 game at the half and J’V’on Butler caught a 40-yard touchdown pass on the Tigers’ first possession of the third quarter to help give new coach Nate Hooks Jr. his first win at Holy Trinity. Last week’s game against Father Lopez was canceled due to a lengthy lightning delay.

Playing an aggressive style of football is all part of Hooks’ game plan for Holy Trinity.

The Tigers went 7-4 last season under former coach Mark Ainsley, who preferred more of a running style of offense.

Hooks plans to open things up.

“We’re not big and we’re not strong, so we’ve got to use our advantages, which are quickness, speed and aggressiveness,” Hooks said. “I’ve said it to them a hundred times: ‘We’ve got to be tough gentlemen.’

“Holy Trinity is a highly-disciplined, highly academic school. Now, we’re getting ready to be known for being tough.”

Welch, who will also play safety, is a big reason for all the optimism this season. So is the play of senior receiver/defensive end J’V’on Butler.

Other players to watch out for this season include receiver Jashaun Corbin, running back Demetrius Shaw and linemen James Rauhofer, Andre Neuharth and London Gowins.

“We’ve got a couple of athletes out here that people don’t really know about, but they will – Jalen Brown, London, Jashaun Corbin, Demetrius Shaw and Joc Perry on defense – are great athletes who will help us this year,” Welch said.

The Tigers played their Kickoff Classic game on the road at Liberty (Kissimmee) on Aug. 22 before officially opening the 2014 season at home against Father Lopez the following week.

While there is always a bit of an adjustment period when a new coach comes in, Welch believes the Tigers are already past that point, so familiarity will not be a factor.

“Coach Ainsley was a real personable coach,” Welch said. “He really got to know us a lot. But Coach Hooks came in and he really connected with us early. So I think we had that adjustment period during the spring and now we’re clicking.”