The Holy Trinity Tigers came up one big play short of pulling off a huge upset in their home debut Friday night.
The fact that they came up short in a 20-15 loss to visiting Victory Christian will serve as the message they will hearing henceforth from coach Nate Hooks Jr.
"We made some noise," Hooks said. "We made them know that we’re here. But … I’m not an ‘almost’ kind of person. I’m not satisfied with almost and I don’t want a team that I’m associated with to develop the character of an almost (is good enough).
"We’re going to practice and preach -- finish, finish, finish."
The Tigers looked like they were going to turn back the Storm, but Victory Christian quarterback Caleb Lewis hit wide receiver Alvin Harper Jr. with a 43-yard touchdown pass with 2:30 remaining for what proved to be the game-winning score. Earlier in the drive, Lewis avoided a sack by flipping the ball out to running back Cecil Cherry for a 27-yard gain on third-and-23.
Both of those plays were devastating to Holy Trinity (1-1), which moments earlier appeared to have Victory Christian (2-1) – ranked No. 5 in Class 2A in the AP poll and the 2013 state runner-up – on the ropes.
Trailing 14-7 early in the fourth quarter, the Tigers offense suddenly came to life. Quarterback Daniel Welch threw a quick pass to speedy freshman Jashaun Corbin, who made a nice cut inside a gap in the Victory Christian defense and raced 33 yards for a touchdown.
It was the second touchdown pass of the night for Welch, who had hooked up with Tony Jenkins on a 5-yard score earlier in the game, and it put the Tigers within an extra point of tying the game.
However, Hooks decided to go with a fake PAT, and when Joc Perry found the end zone, Holy Trinity was up 15-14 with 9:09 to play.
"I’m a gunslinger," Hooks said. "If we’re in a fight, I’m going to be the aggressor. I put it all on the line on that play and thought, once we got it, it would take their heart. But give them credit. They kept their poise."
Holy Trinity would stop the Storm and get the ball back with 6:17 to play, but an incomplete pass on fourth-and-1 from the Victory Christian 43-yard line gave the Storm the ball with 3:20 to play for what turned out to be the game-winning drive.
While there was disappointment in the end, there were also a number of moments the Tigers can use to build on for the future.
"Plenty of good things happened," Hooks said. "One more big play and we win that game."