It was the final road trip of the season and the final time the Tigers would play a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference turn Southern Athletic Association team, and the Tigers went out with the final word. Trinity handily defeated Sewanee: The University of the South 48-7 on Saturday afternoon to improve to 6-3 on the season.
“It was a fun game for our kids,” said assistant coach Paul Michalak. “It was an overall team win. Special teams played a big part with punt returns especially. We had a game plan that was easy and the guys enjoyed executing it. It was fun because you could see them executing exactly what was coached.”
The Tigers got off to a quick start with senior kicker Garrett Biel sending in a 45-yard field goal in the first quarter. Sewanee committed a turnover later in the period, leading to a three-play, 11-yard drive ending with sophomore quarterback Mason Blaschke passing to senior tight end Mason Lytal for a touchdown.
“The kids came out really well early, and offense had a good drive by putting points on board right away,” Michalak said. “We also had a couple good series on defense, getting the ball back in good field position. We really got the ball rolling and offense capitalized.”
The offense strung together a few big plays early in the second quarter to put up another touchdown before senior defensive back Hunter Ramsey scored another with a 64-yard punt return. The Tigers cruised into halftime 24-0.
“We started rolling down the hill pretty fast,” Biel said. “Right off the bat it was 24-0 in the first half and all the momentum was ours. They usually average about 280 yards rushing a game, and we stopped them at 150 or so. Their whole offense was based on the running.”
Going into the second half, the Tigers widened the gap with another field goal by Biel. Blaschke then ran in a touchdown with the start of the fourth quarter, which was then followed by sophomore wide receiver Matt Kennemer’s 50-yard punt return for a touchdown. Sewanee finally got on the board with a touchdown, but the Tigers responded with one more to finish the game off.
“Overall we all were able to have a great game in special teams,” Biel said. “It really was like the X-factor in that game. We really put the nail in the coffin.”
The two punt returns that resulted in touchdowns marked the first time since 2005 that Trinity even had one in a game. The last time the Tigers had two in a single game was in 2003. Ramsey’s return helped to earn him the SCAC Special Teams Player of the Week honor. Kennemer had a few other strong plays, including a 67-yard punt, to rack up 156 all-purpose yards in the game. Biel’s two field goals were both over 40 yards to help the Tigers power through Sewanee.
“The game went really well for us, obviously,” Ramsey said. “We came out strong on offense and put up points early, and the defense was solid throughout the entire game. We controlled the pace of the game for the entirety of the game.”
The high-powered offense had more than 200 yards rushing, piling up 373 yards of total offense in the game for four offensive touchdowns.
“The offensive performance was great,” Biel said. “Granchelli ran the ball really well, and Mason had some good runs. Offensively we are really versatile; it’s a good mix. That really helps because it keeps their defense on their toes.”
Blaschke was responsible for three touchdowns, two he ran in himself and the other he passed. Senior running back Patrick Granchelli led in rushing with 80 yards on 12 carries. Junior wide receiver had two catches for 72 yards and Lytal had a touchdown and 21 yards.
On the defensive side, the Tigers kept Sewanee to only 271 yards of total offense and forced three fumbles and an interception in the game.
“There was not one breakdown throughout the game,” Michalak said. “As far as them playing their assignments and doing their 1/11, it was probably the best game of the year as far as on the defensive side.”
Senior linebacker Nick Darling headed the defense with 13 tackles and the Tigers’ interception. Senior linebacker and SCAC Defensive Player of the Week Tom Puskarich recorded 10 tackles and recovered a fumble.
“We have played some of our best football the past two weeks and look to continue that this weekend,” Ramsey said. “The practice atmosphere has been fun this week anticipating Alumni Weekend and Senior Day.”
The Tigers will compete in their last game of the season at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow at home. They will host the Austin College Kangaroos for the Senior Day game.