Injuries can’t stop Holy Trinity from improving to 3-0

Tigers score late, top Orangewood Christian 22-14


Holy Trinity's Kevin Chandler breaks through the line to score a 5-yard touchdown with just over five minutes remaining as the Tigers defeated host Orangewood Christian 22-14 Monday night.


MAITLAND – Over the course of Monday night’s football game against Orangewood Christian, the Holy Trinity Tigers lost …

One of their top defenders.

Arguably their best lineman.

A 14-0 lead.

And finally, their quarterback.

But despite all of those setbacks, the one thing the Tigers did not lose was the game.

Dee Marvine’s fourth quarter interception set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Kevin Chandler and the Holy Trinity defense got a pair of sacks from Trey Palmer and Benji Nicks down the stretch as the Tigers left Maitland with a 22-14 victory.

The game had originally been scheduled for last Friday night, but was moved to Monday because of Hurricane Dorian.

“The last offensive series and the last defensive series … that’s how champs play,” Holy Trinity coach Nate Hooks Jr. said. “They fought. I’m proud of that.”

The Tigers (3-0) are scheduled to play Space Coast (1-1) Friday night at the new Tiger Athletic Complex, which would mark Holy Trinity’s first home game of the season.

Before Holy Trinity takes the field Friday night, however, the Tigers will have to determine how many healthy bodies they will have, and how they will be able to overcome some lackluster play that also took place Monday night.

“Overall, I feel like we did good in certain areas, but there are a lot of areas we still need work on if we’re going to accomplish what we’re trying to accomplish,” Holy Trinity senior Larry Hill said.

“But what I can say is, the heart that we had at the end of the game … it showed that we should be where we are. Overall, in the end, I think we had an amazing game. Being down so many players … that’s one thing I can take out of this game – our heart.”

The Tigers, who started the season with a roster of 24, were already missing several players heading into Monday night’s game. But that injury list would only grow as the night went on.

Chandler scored on a 7-yard run to give Holy Trinity the early lead and then Hill took it in from 1-yard out to give the Tigers a 14-0 advantage midway through the first quarter.

That’s when things started to change as Holy Trinity’s level of play seemed to drop off. The Tigers also lost Carlos Estronza and Rico Frazier to various injuries.

Orangewood Christian (1-1), meanwhile, would score twice in the second quarter to tie the game up at 14-14.

To make things worse, quarterback Ja’Lon Hudgins went down in the fourth quarter, forcing Chandler to move behind center.

But as tough as everything looked for the Tigers, everything changed when Marvine picked off a pass and returned it just inside the Orange Christian 30.

“I feel like that interception is what gave us momentum,” Hill said.
“It was an even sort of game, but once we got that interception, everyone’s head was up, like, ‘We can do this. We can make this happen and make us come out with a win.”

The Tigers got a pair of key third-down runs from Chandler and Hill to put themselves into scoring position. Chandler then finished off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run with 5:02 remaining.

Another run by Hill added a two-point conversion and the Tigers were up 22-14.

Orangewood Christian would have two chances to get the game-tying score, but Holy Trinity’s defense would hold up both times as Palmer and Nicks were able to break through for sacks.

The night certainly ended well for the Tigers, who will put their three-game winning streak on the line against Space Coast on Friday with perhaps 17 players available to take part.

But if Holy Trinity can get a few big plays like they did Monday night, who knows what can happen.

“This game is about energy and effort, which leads to blocking, tackling and running,” Hooks said. “That’s it. It’s a simple game.

“And once that energy changed, it looked like we could dominate them. It’s funny how energy is transferred like that.”