Hill scores six TDs as Tigers roll past Berean Christian
Holy Trinity' team captains (from l-r) Dru Nickson, Sully Altman, Lino Odenat and Seth Coleman chat with the referees and the captains from Berean Christian before Friday's game. Holy Trinity won 78-0 to improve its regular-season record to 1-2.
VIERA VOICE Jeff Navin
Larry Hill rushed for 199 yards and six touchdowns on just nine carries Friday night as Holy Trinity defeated Berean Christian 78-0.
After the Tigers built a 58-0 halftime lead, a running clock was utilized for the entire second half.
The victory to remember broke a two-game losing streak as Holy Trinity improved to 1-2 after falling 10-0 on the road to Merritt Island in what had been a scoreless game with 7 minutes remaining, and 35-14 to Delray Beach American Heritage. In that second game on the road, American Heritage scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter after leading just 21-14 with 12 minutes remaining.
“I’m happy for the kids after this win,’’ said Holy Trinity coach Nate Hooks Jr., whose squad was happy to play its home opener Friday night after the two difficult road games. “We open up with Merritt Island on the road with all that history and tradition. They’re a perennial power. And then we play the No. 3-ranked team in the state. Tonight, it was good to get the W.’’
There was one unanswered question after Hill’s Herculean effort. How did Berean Christian hold Hill to zero yards on his first rushing attempt on second down and 10 from the Holy Trinity 47-yard line?
On the ensuing third-down play, Dru Nickson ran 8 yards on a quarterback keeper to the right side. Hooks decided to go for it rather than punt on fourth down. The move was shrewd as Hill broke two tackles on a run to the right for a 45-yard touchdown run with 8 minutes, 37 seconds to play in the first quarter.
James Linnabary kicked the first of his eight successful extra-point attempts. The Tigers completed two conversion passes and failed on one two-point conversion run.
Nickson intercepted a pass by Berean Christian’s Wade Gill on the right side and returned it 17 yards to the Tigers’ 47. Nickson then ran 10 yards on first down to set up Hill’s 43-yard scoring run with 5:23 to play in the opening quarter.
Hill, a junior, took a long pitch from Nickson on the right side to score on a 6-yard run with 23 seconds to play in the first quarter. Linnabary kicked the extra point to extend the Tigers’ lead to 21-0.
Holy Trinity held Berean Christian (1-2) to negative 34 yards on 23 carries. Gill completed 8 of 23 passes for 88 yards as the Bulldogs from West Palm Beach finished with 54 yards of total offense.
The Tigers rushed for 368 yards on 19 carries. Nickson completed 6 of 9 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns as Holy Trinity had 503 yards of total offense.
“It doesn’t matter who produces,’’ Hooks said. “And, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing. If you execute, you have a shot. We didn’t run any different plays than the first two weeks. If you run, block and catch, you have a chance to win.’’
Tyrel Harris scored on a 17-yard pass from Nickson, and Linnabary’s conversion kick made it 28-0 early in the second quarter. Consecutive passes from Nickson to James BlackStrain for gains of 21 yards and 13 yards set up the scoring play.
Two minutes later, Hill cut to the right on a run up the middle to score a 21-yard touchdown. Preston Milo’s conversion pass to Harris made it 36-0 with 7:35 to play in the first half.
BlackStrain caught a short pass from Nickson on the right side and sprinted 55 yards for a touchdown with 5:55 to play in the second quarter.
Hill scored on runs of 40 and 15 yards, and Harris caught a conversion pass from Milo after the second touchdown to increase the margin to 58-0 with 8 seconds remaining in the first half.
Jaden Gowins scored on a 68-yard run early in the third quarter, and backup quarterback JaLon Hudgins added a 20-yard scoring run later in the quarter.
Carlos Estronza’s 25-yard run midway through the fourth quarter and Linnabary’s PAT kick pushed the margin to 78-0.
“Everyone’s healthy,’’ Hooks said. “We scored a lot of points, and we took a lot of guys out. Our third quarterback came in to play, and our ninth graders played and produced.’’
Next Friday, Holy Trinity will travel to Orlando to face West Oaks Academy. After a week off, the Tigers will again travel to Orlando to face Orlando Christian Prep on Sept. 28.
Holy Trinity’s next home game will be Oct. 5 against Pembroke Pines Charter.