First things first: Trinity running back Ja’Ron Wilson is just fine.
After pulling Wilson early in Friday’s 31-0 regular-season ending win over Richland after just one carry, coach Chris Jensen said Wilson did tweak an ankle on the run, a seven-yard gain, but also that it was so slight that Wilson could have remained in the game with it if the Trojans needed him. Sitting Wilson was part precaution, part rest for the back that had piled up 937 yards and 11 touchdowns in the previous three games.
“Plus, we feel great about No. 9,” Jensen said of Wilson’s fellow star in the backfield, De’Jaun Garrett, who carried the ball 19 times for 201 yards and a touchdown against Richland. “And when he needs a little rest, we feel great about [Javontay] Powe.”
Speaking of rest, the Trojans (10-0, 6-0 District 7-6A) enter their bye week after completing the regular-season run for the second straight year. Jensen said after last year’s experience, the Trojans will be handling the two-week layover a little differently than the team did a year ago.
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Last season’s slow start to the bi-district matchup almost sent the Trojans home early against South Grand Prairie. Trinity allowed 22 second-quarter points and the offense turned the ball over three times in a 32-29 overtime win over the Warriors.
South Grand Prairie is again a possible bi-district round opponent for Trinity, and the Warriors (6-3, 3-2 District 8-6A) would again be a dangerous one. If DeSoto (4-5, 3-2) wins its regular-season finale at Duncanville (2-7, 1-4), SGP would get its rematch with Trinity to open this year’s Class 6A playoff.
Jensen wants to practice differently this year in the two-week wait for the playoffs than the Trojans did last year in hopes of preventing another slow start.
“Initially we looked at the schedule and we thought the bye before the playoffs would be ideal,” Jensen said. “But for some reason last year we were just playing very slow in that first playoff game.”
“We’re going to keep more consistency in padding up and getting out on the field quickly. We want them to keep getting the feel of getting on and off the field quickly,” Jensen said. “With two weeks in front of us, we might cut practice times in half some days but we always want them to be primed to get on and off the field.”
After the win over Richland, the Trinity staff finally gathered a few teaching moments from the game film after the Trojans had played clean and consistent football, wearing opposing defenses down for nine weeks prior. A lack of enough mistakes to learn from is a good problem to have, Jensen admits, but the Richland game will provide enough to at least fill some practice time in the coming two weeks as the Trojans prepare for whichever team it will face in the bi-district round.
“Either way it’s going to be a tough one,” Jensen said. “We’re going to have to put our best foot forward to win.”