Brandon Theus led Euless Trinity (7-1, 4-1 in District 3-6A, Division I) over Abilene, 34-16, at Pennington Field Friday night to qualify for the playoffs. The senior running back rushed 13 times for 186 yards and three touchdowns even though he was used sparingly.
Theus scored touchdowns on Trinity’s first two drives, one from 42 yards and the other from 19 yards. He had rushed four times for 105 yards including the scores on the two drives less than halfway into the first quarter. However, although it appeared he was not injured, he did not return until late in the first half.
In the meantime, the Trojans scored only once, a 10-yard touchdown by A.J. Barnett to lead 21-9 at halftime.
Both teams took advantage of turnovers deep in the other team’s territory in the first half. On a double-reverse there was a mishandled exchange between Trinity running backs Barnett and Colby Parton. Dylan Wright recovered the loose ball on the ground for Abilene (5-5, 2-4) in the Trinity backfield at the Trojan 5-yard line.
On the following play, Phonzo Dotson, lined up as a quarterback in shotgun formation, ran in off-tackle for a touchdown to pull within eight, 14-6.
Abilene then stopped the Trojans on the ensuing Trinity possession and forced a punt. But just as it appeared momentum was swinging Abilene’s way, the punt returner bobbled the catch and Trinity recovered at the Eagle 20 yard line. Three plays later, Barnett scored up the middle for a 21-6 Trinity lead late in the first quarter.
One reason Abilene was able to stay in the game is because the Eagles committed no penalties while Trinity accumulated 12 for 115 yards.
Game was over when: Theus scored his third touchdown from 10 yards out for the final score with 6:52 left in the game.
Play of the game: On the second play from scrimmage in the second half, Nigel Blount stepped in front of a pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown and a 27-9 Trinity lead.
Offensive player of the game: Brandon Theus.
Defensive player of the game: The defensive line and secondary for Trinity. The Trojan defense limited the Eagles on the ground to 64 yards on 24 carries. The secondary held Eagle quarterback Kallin Sipe to 77 yards in a 9-25-2 showing. Some of Sipe’s passes were dropped.
Though in a losing cause, Wright for the Eagles recovered both of Trinity’s lost fumbles. Both turnovers led to Ablilene’s only two touchdowns starting on Trinity’s side of the field in both cases. The second one came after a mishandled punt attempt set up shop at the Trinity 39-yard line. Five plays later, the Eagles scored with a diving catch by Qua Hill from Kallin Sipe for 12 yards.
Unsung hero of the game: Though he had no touchdowns, Malcolm Washington rushed nine times for 73 yards in Theus’ absence. It complemented Barnett’s 56 yards in 15 attempts.
What’s next? Euless Trinity will face Richland, 7:30 p.m., next Friday, Nov. 9, at Birdville FA/AC in North Richland Hills for its final regular season game. Abilene’s regular season is over.