LARGO – After recording three sacks and a touchdown run in Holy Trinity’s 49-0 win over Indian Rocks Christian Saturday night, Tigers freshman Brandon Brown had an interesting take on his team’s performance.
“I think we played good as a team,” the Tigers defensive end said. “We just need to contribute more on offense. Other than that, we’re good.”
Contribute more on offense? The Tigers just scored 49 points.
“Yeah, we went a couple of possessions without scoring,” Brown said.
Well, if it’s perfection the Tigers want, they need look no further than their record after the first three games of the season. Holy Trinity is 3-0 and has outscored its opponents 141-13.
Saturday night’s game against a 2-0 Indian Rocks Golden Eagles team was pure domination, particularly in the final two quarters.
In fact, as the team gathered after Saturday night’s win, assistant head coach Matt Cammarata told the players it was one of the best second halves of football the Tigers have ever played in program history.
Coach Nate Hooks Jr. didn’t disagree.
“Easily,” Hooks said. “The defense shut them out. No penalties. And the offense was on point. It was very impressive.”
Sophomore Dayday Farmer scored three touchdowns, quarterback Ty Englehart threw for one and ran for one and Jadon Gowins, Brown and Jaylen Latson all scored rushing touchdowns for the Tigers in the rout over the Golden Eagles.
Farmer got Holy Trinity off to a fast start by returning the opening kickoff 74 yards to the Indian Rocks 4-yard line. One play later, Gowins took it into the end zone and the Tigers had a 7-0 lead only 22 seconds into the contest.
“That’s what we need to get the game started,” Brown said. “It gives us more energy.”
Despite the quick start, the Tigers did have a few problems in that first half. An interception set up Indian Rocks near midfield and a couple of 15-yard penalties helped move the Golden Eagles deep into Holy Trinity territory.
Facing a fourth-and-1 at the Holy Trinity 8, Indian Rocks was able to draw the defensive line offside, giving the Golden Eagles a first-and-goal at the Tigers 4.
However, Holy Trinity’s defense stopped Indian Rocks on three straight plays and on fourth-and-goal from the 2, Brown powered his way into the backfield and took the quarterback down for a 15-yard loss.
“I knew we had to have a stop, so I just powered past (the offensive tackle) and got a tackle,” Brown said.
After Farmer scored on a 50-yard run to make it a 14-0 lead following Jackson Fain’s extra-point kick, the Golden Eagles would threaten again.
A long pass down the left sideline put Indian Rocks at the Holy Trinity 20 and eventually led to a 32-yard field goal try by the Golden Eagles that was blocked by Hunter Geesey.
Back came the Tigers as Englehart hit Farmer with a short pass that the sophomore playmaker turned into a 29-yard touchdown with three minutes left in the half.
Holy Trinity went into the locker room leading 21-0, but Hooks was trying to balance being bothered by some of the mistakes his team made – including having an interception wiped out by a roughing-the-passer penalty -- with the fact that his roster includes an eighth-grader (Brogan McNab), 13 freshmen and seven sophomores.
“Twenty-one to nothing, as a head coach, that’s where you want to be,” Hooks said. “But it didn’t look the way I wanted it to look. There’s a difference.
“Then I have to remember, we’re a JV team. So, they’re doing great. I have to do better.”
Whatever was said at halftime certainly worked.
Freshman Nicky Teeter returned a punt to the Indian Rocks 15 and Farmer carried it into the end zone for his third touchdown of the night to make it 28-0.
“Dayday Farmer is as advertised,” Hooks said of his star sophomore. “What I like about him is he doesn’t have to have 10, 15 or 20 touches to be productive.”
After a Farmer interception, Englehart hit Latson for a 36-yard pass down to the Indian Rocks 8-yard line. Englehart then kept the ball and scored another Holy Trinity touchdown, and with the Tigers up 35-0, it was a running clock situation.
Jaden Frances recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, but the Tigers gave it right back with a fumble of their own. On the next play, Thomas Nargi intercepted an Indian Rocks pass and returned it to the 4-yard line.
From there, Brown got a pair of handoffs and scored his second touchdown of the season.
Holy Trinity would bring Latson in at quarterback and the freshman scored on a 25-yard run to complete the scoring.
And now the Tigers are 3-0 after previously beating Melbourne Central Catholic (49-7) and Titusville (43-6).
“That’s what a coach strives for,” Hooks said. “Every coach in the country tries to be 3-0. What’s surprising about it is how many ninth graders we play.
“In a perfect world, MCC doesn’t have that one big play on us and Titusville doesn’t get that one drive. If we correct those things, we’re 3-0 with three shutouts.
“… We’re pursuing perfection. We’re not anywhere close to it, but pursuing it has us 3-0.”