Down 17 points to Southlake Carroll after the first 24 minutes of play, Euless Trinity came out for the second half with a philosophy Friday night.
Keep calm and Haka on.
Running back Courage Keihn had 213 yards rushing and two second-half touchdowns, and senior quarterback Esteban Larranaga capped the game-winning, 12-play drive with a 1-yard plunge in the Trojans’ 21-20 victory over the Dragons in a District 5-6A game between heavyweight football traditions at Pennington Field.
While the offense did its part, the Trinity defense collected two second-half turnovers, including Nigel Blount’s interception at 1:36 of the fourth quarter to seal victory.
The Trojans moved to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in district. The Dragons are 3-2 and 1-1.
Keihn, Trinity’s senior workhorse runner who carried the ball 27 times, churned out 111 yards in the final two quarters.
The matchup, featuring programs with a combined 11 state championships, turned out to be a tale of two halves.
Carroll took a 17-0 lead into halftime, turning two Trinity turnovers into 10 points.
Running back T.J. McDaniel, who had 157 yards on 29 carries, scored twice in the first half, on 12 and 1 yard runs. Carroll’s junior runner, however, was held to 49 yards in the second half.
On the kickoff following McDaniel’s second TD, Carroll’s Patrick Traynor stripped the ball from the returner to set up the Dragons at the Trinity 8. The Trojans’ defense stiffened, though, holding Carroll to Neal Koskay’s 28-yard field goal.
Trinity came out for the second half seemingly unfazed.
Keihn scored on each of the Trojans’ first two possessions, on 24- and 5-yard runs, and the Trojans’ defense again didn’t break on Carroll’s only second-half possession into the red zone, again holding the Dragons to a Koskay field goal.
Taking over at its own 41 and down 20-14 with 7:53 left, Trinity knew what to do.
Get behind its line and run.
Simeon Ellsworth did the bulk of the work, carrying six times for 32 yards on what soon became a successful 59-yard drive. Keihn had 21 yards on four rushes.
Larranaga twice kept the ball, once to keep the drive alive on fourth-and-1.
When he breached the goal line for the winner at the 2:40 mark the Trojans readied their celebrated Tongan ritual Haka dance for the triumphant postgame festival.