Panthers take on Trinity in district opener

Posted Wednesday, Sep. 25, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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This story has been corrected from the print version.

Euless Trinity is still Euless Trinity. In other words, Steve Lineweaver’s program is the bully of District 6-5A until somebody proves otherwise.

Over the past decade, no one in Northeast Tarrant County has been able to disable the fortress that resides off of Highway 157. The Trojans have carried at least a 58-game district going back to the mid-2000s. The furthest you can go to be certain is 2005. It’s probably longer, but the bottom line is that the Trojans have just been a cut above everybody else.

The closest to an upset was two years ago when Colleyville Heritage took the Trojans to the end before falling 35-28. A couple of HEB rivalry games with Hurst L.D. Bell have been tight, but the Trojans have rolled.

Still, Mike Fuller’s Panthers (2-1) get their chance again in Friday’s 7:30 p.m. District 6-5A opener at Bedford’s Pennington Field. Yes, you saw that record right. If you didn’t know, the 35-14 loss to Denton Guyer turned into a forfeit win after it was learned Guyer used an ineligible player.

Do the Trojans (1-2) appear to be down this year? Well, we’ve said that the last couple of years, and that really hasn’t been the case. Last year, Colleyville Heritage fielded its best team under Fuller and still lost, 31-16.

But the Trojans also weren’t surrendering 61 points like they did to DeSoto two weeks ago, although the Eagles are really good. Trinity finally picked up its first win, a 21-13 victory over Bentonville, Ark., last week. The Trojan defense shut down Bentonville.

That’s the concern Colleyville Heritage and other 6-5A teams will face. The Panthers have been up and down with their offense so far because of some inconsistent quarterback play from senior Griffin Pickler.

But Pickler produced his best game of the year when he directed an impressive 45-7 rout at Flower Mound. That was an important win, because this team didn’t want to come into this game on a bad note.

“He looked good last week in our workouts,” Fuller said. “But the good thing about after the Flower Mound game is that he didn’t treat it any different. He just wants to get better.”

The issue the Panthers face is if they can get something out of their running game. Without question, Demarco Corbin is a standout. But he’s been more effective in the passing game. There is also some hope that wide receiver Bret Bofinger, who missed the non-district season with a broken collar bone, can return.

While they know they can’t simulate it in practice, the Panthers probably have to make some attempt to be as physical as they can with the Trojans to create a little balance.

Colleyville Heritage’s defense is going to have to find a way to hold up against Trinity’s punishing running game. Led by Ja’Ron Wilson, this team always finds a way to spread it around six to seven rushers.

“The formations and shifts with their personnel groups is really a challenge,” Fuller said. “They’re consistent in the plays they run. But they throw wrinkles that you have to tailor your defense for. The question is how you deal with it.”

•  Hurst L.D. Bell (2-1) at Grapevine ( 0-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mustang-Panther Stadium, Grapevine: Coach Dave Henigan has settled in on Adam Sandy as his quarterback. And there are some positives to be taken from it. But the Blue Raiders can score. Witness the 39 and 49 points they scored against North Crowley and Midland.

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