By Rob Grubbs
Trinity Christian Head Coach Kenny Dallas brought the Lions their first region championship back in 2017 in the Georgia Independent School Association. The Lions made the switch to the Georgia High School Association the following season.
A win on Friday night against St. Anne Pacelli would give them the 2020 Region 4-A Private title and home-field advantage for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs.
The Lions scored in the first quarter on a Tyson Wall 23-yard run and never trailed on their way to a 28-17 victory and the region championship.
Wall’s touchdown was a lateral from quarterback David Dallas behind the line of scrimmage. Wall went in motion to the right of the quarterback and turned upfield. He got a devastating downfield block from Aaron Gates that was key to his journey to the endzone.
The two teams went into the half with Trinity holding a 7-3 lead, but that changed quickly.
Danny Baird took the second-half kickoff at the 9-yard line, slanted to his left, and turned it up. Christian Hanson administered a key block at the 30-yard line when he turned his man to the inside as Baird ran past. Bryce Wilcox was ahead of Baird and escorted him all the way to the end zone for the 14-3 lead.
The Lions struck again with their special teams; Jimbo Batchelor blocked a punt, and Christian Hanson took the recovery 50-yards for the score and a 21-3 lead.
After a couple of third-quarter Pacelli touchdowns tightened the game up to 21-17, Dallas found Baird for a 12-yard touchdown pass to provide the final margin of 28-17.
Dallas made his return as the starting quarterback. He got banged up in Trinity's Oct. 23 game against Whitefield Academy. In his absence, Henry Brodnax led the team to a victory over Brookstone. Also returning to the lineup was Lions kicker Noah Maupin.
Aaron Gates added an incredible reception of a pass from Dallas. The ball was thrown a little behind Gates, so he reached for the pass and trapped it against the defender’s back as they both fell to the ground. The play gained the Lions 32 yards.
Wilcox led the team on offense and defense with seven catches and an interception. He just missed a second interception by an eyelash when he was ruled out of bounds.
The Lions finished the regular season 8-2 and undefeated in region play. It is just the third time they have won eight or more games in a season. They will host the Tattnall Square Academy Trojans (4-6) on Friday night in the first round of the state playoffs. A win there could mean a rematch with Whitefield Academy in the second round.
There is also the possibility the Lions could face a third-round rematch against the Athens Academy Spartans. They faced each other in week one, a 17-10 loss for Trinity Christian.
Last year, Trinity Christian and Tattnall played in Macon during the regular season, a 40-33 win by the Lions.