MCC trounces Holy Trinity, moves into first place in district


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Holy Trinity coach Nate Hooks Jr. addresses his team following a loss to Melbourne Central Catholic

VIERA VOICE Jeff Navin

Friday's Class 3A, District 5 football game between Holy Trinity and Melbourne Central Catholic had a lazy feel to it in the first half as penalties and never-ending conferences between the referees led to a long opening 24 minutes. The officiating crew struggled to come up with a verdict after throwing many of their yellow flags.

MCC then showed why it had outscored its three previous opponents by an aggregate score of 135-12.

The host Hustlers forced two fumbles in a 27-second span late in the second quarter and turned each of the turnovers into touchdowns on the ensuing first-down play calls to turn a sleepy 7-7 tie into a 21-7 halftime advantage. Melbourne Central Catholic eventually won 54-14 to improve to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the three-team district, which also includes Fort Pierce John Carroll.

“I felt we got the momentum right then,” MCC coach Stacy Sizemore said. “We work on a strip drill every day as part of our practice at one of our stations. It's nice to see things that you do in practice happen during the game. Good things happen when you hustle.”

Holy Trinity, which fell to 2-1 overall and 0-1 in the district, seemingly had obtained a first down at its own 40-yard line on a simple run up the middle with 2 minutes, 27 seconds to play in the second quarter. But, a late fumble in a pile of players gave the Hustlers an unexpected possession when it looked as if the Tigers might drive down the field or at least whittle the remaining time off the clock for the first half.

Joaquin Collazo then found Levi Wilson wide open on the right sideline for a 40-yard touchdown pass with 2:17 to play in the second quarter. Will McKegg kicked the extra point to give MCC a 14-7 advantage.

After an unsuccessful onside kick gave the Tigers possession at their own 42, LaAnthony Valentine ran up the middle on first down, but the ball was punched out of his grasp as MCC recovered the ball at the 50.

On first down, Lorenzo Hardy beat one-on-one coverage on the left side as Collazo lofted a 50-yard scoring pass to him with 1:51 to play in the first half. McKegg booted the PAT as the Hustlers extended their lead to 21-7.

“We thought we were going into halftime tied,” Holy Trinity coach Nate Hooks Jr. said. “It was hard to give it to them like that. In man to man, you've got to beat your man to win the game. It's tough to win when you lose those battles.”

The Hustlers took a 7-0 lead on their first possession after Joc Perry's 44-yard punt forced them to start from their own 30. After the first two plays netted four yards, Wilson beat the coverage down the right sideline on third down as the left-handed Collazo lofted a 66-yard touchdown pass with 9:02 to play in the first quarter. McKegg kicked the PAT to make it 7-0.

On the ensuing possession, Valentine ran 13 yards to give Holy Trinity a first down and a late-hit penalty assessed against MCC gave the Tigers another first down at the MCC 45. MCC's A.J. Lewis caught Jashaun Corbin in the backfield for a 4-yard loss to the MCC 49.

Valentine then ran up the middle and cut to the left for a 51-yard scoring play with 6:15 remaining in the first quarter. Carlo Campanini kicked the extra point to tie the game at 7.

Holy Trinity’s Preston Milo recovered the ensuing onside kick at the MCC 26. But, a 15-yard penalty negated a positive run before Corbin ran 11 yards to the MCC 28. Another penalty and Jovan Simon's sack of quarterback Jordan Wojciechoski on third down pushed the ball back to the 41 and forced a punt.

Holy Trinity rushed for 88 yards on 38 carries. Corbin was limited to 42 yards on 16 carries.

“They're an awfully good team,” Sizemore said. “(Corbin) is the best running back in the area, and we just tried to slow him down.”

Bryce Fielding scored on a 55-yard reverse down the left sideline with 5:05 to play in the third quarter to increase the margin to 27-7. The ensuing conversion pass failed.

Holy Trinity’s tenacious pass rush against Collazo forced a fumble that Tay Griffin scooped up for a 63-yard scoring return with 2:15 to go in the third quarter. Campanini kicked the PAT to slice the deficit to 27-14.

But, Pavis Gray's 1-yard scoring run with 43 seconds to play in the third quarter increased MCC's lead to 34-14.

“In the first two games, we rallied against adversity,” Hooks said. “They have to know that as players, you never know what will happen in a game. We’ve got to play better than that, but the good thing is they get another shot next week.”

Holy Trinity will host Cambridge Christian next week, and MCC will travel to Lake Butler to face Union County.

Hardy scored on a 2-yard run, Lavonte Valentine ran 53 yards for a touchdown and Hardy added his third touchdown on a 39-yard run as a quarterback to complete the scoring for the Hustlers. Lavonte Valentine of MCC and LaAnthony Valentine of Holy Trinity are brothers.

Collazo completed 7 of 12 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns.

MCC will host John Carroll on Oct. 14. Two weeks later, Holy Trinity will face John Carroll in Fort Pierce. The Tigers need to win that game to earn a playoff bid or force a Kansas tiebreaker where all three teams will meet after the regular season at one site in a series of three 24-minute contests.