A good team knew it was coming but couldn’t stop it.
After Euless Trinity running back Ja’Ron Wilson had been named the Ford Player of the Week on the tails of a 339-yard, three-touchdown performance in a 37-35 win over Southlake Carroll. After flash flood conditions around the Metroplex rendered the passing game on offense a nonstarter for most teams able to get a game in on Friday, Coppell knew what was coming to town.
But the Cowboys couldn’t stop the Trojans’ vaunted rushing attack, which earned high praise from Carroll coach Hal Wasson after rolling for 606 yards on the ground against the Dragons in Week 8 when Wasson told 247sports.com that “Euless Trinity is the most dominant, physical running team ever.”
Those are big words probably best interpreted as a comment on the legacy and tradition Trinity has established by running its way to three state titles over the past 10 years, but coach Chris Jensen isn’t taking such a wide view with one game left in the 2015 regular season. He offered no comment on the lofty compliment simply because this year’s team “hasn’t done anything yet.”
Though last week’s convincing 49-14 rain-soaked win at Coppell (4-4, 2-2 District 7-6A) gave Trinity (9-0, 5-0) its ninth district title in the last 10 seasons, with a streak of 58 straight district wins interrupted last season by a 10-6 loss to Carroll and leading to a runner-up finish, Jensen doesn’t want to talk superlatives until Trinity has a few more skins on the wall.
During what the Trinity coaching staff has termed the late-season “surge,” the key stretch of Trinity’s final four district games beginning with Week 7’s 56-17 dismantling of rival Hurst L.D. Bell, Wilson has been Jensen’s lead hound, collecting trophy kill after trophy kill in the form of bigger and bigger rushing outputs that culminated in 350 yards and five touchdowns at Coppell in a game that saw a delay and two stoppages due to lightning in the area.
“We adopted the saying ‘surge’ before the Bell game, because that’s when we needed to start climbing and progressing and looking better and better,” Jensen said.
Against Bell, Wilson carried the ball just seven times but scored three touchdowns and racked up 248 yards before being rested in the second half. Against Carroll in the closest game of the season, Wilson unleashed a 339-yard and three-touchdown night when the Trojans needed him the most.
Then at Coppell, he did the unthinkable by topping it on a night when running the ball was clearly the only card Trinity wanted to play.
“Conditions like that are something you can’t practice,” Jensen said. “It’s a strange deal. It’s kind of a test of wills; who can hang in there the longest without getting frustrated or distracted, but there’s no doubt the weather hurt Coppell more than it hurt us, based on offensive schemes.”
All in all, Wilson is one of the hottest call-carriers in the state, eating up 937 yards and 11 touchdowns in the last three games. In that span Trinity’s rushing attack has generated 94.8 percent of its offensive yardage, to the tune of 599 yards per game on the ground with Wilson accounting for basically half of the load.
“It’s always a shock to hear the numbers after these games,” Jensen said. “He’s not out to get to 300 yards, but he is out to run the ball well on every snap, and that’s what has gotten him to this point.”
For context, nine games into this season, Wilson’s 1,729 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns nearly equal his output in last year’s 14-game season (1,791 rushing yards, 25 total touchdowns). Those stats, especially if Wilson erupts again in the regular-season finale against Richland to get close or break the 2,000-yard barrier, call to mind another great year for Trinity football with another great high school running back in the spotlight: Dimitri Nance, who in 2005 became just the second running back to rush for over 3,000 yards in a season and win a state title the same year.
Nance went on to play at Arizona State and had one professional season with the Green Bay Packers.
But standing in Trinity’s way of a spotless regular season is Friday’s finale against Richland (3-5, 2-2), and though playoff implications aren’t in play for the Trojans, they certainly are for the Rebels. Trinity will get Richland’s best shot, as a win against the Trojans is the only way Richland has hope for stealing the district’s fourth playoff spot out from under Coppell.
“We know they’re a worthy opponent; that they are capable of beating any team in this district,” Jensen said.
Richland would also need Coppell to fall to winless Haltom next week.
The Rebels are a 65/35 pass-oriented offense featuring another of District 7-6A stud wide receivers in senior Aaron Denson (6-0, 180), who already has 58 cathces for 1,025 yards and 10 touchdown catches.
Though Trinity has one of the top defenses in the area, big receiving targets have been a bit of a thorn in the Trojans’ side along the way. Colleyville Heritage sophomore Ke’Von Ahmad torched the Trinity secondary for 15 catches, 257 yards and two touchdowns in Trinity’s district opener, and Southlake Carroll running back Lil’Jordan Humphrey hurt the Trojans as well for 197 yards from scrimmage and two total touchdowns.
Regardless of how the matchup against Richland plays out, Trinity could get a big test in the first round of the playoffs after the Trojans’ bye in the final week of the regular season. One of the reasons Jensen considers the game against Coppell one of the biggest of the year is that it often determines Division I playoff seeding from the district, since the two schools are both larger schools in terms of enrollment and carry strong football tradition, and it secured Trinity the first seed from 7-6A in the Div. I bracket again this year.
But that means that as District 8-6A works itself out, Trinity will likely draw either DeSoto or South Grand Prarie, both dangerous matchups, in the bi-district round.
“The way we look at bi-district is that they’re all going to be good,” Jensen said. “We know going in we’re always going to have our hands full.”
Matthew Martinez 817-390-7760; Twitter: @MCTinez817