In their final game of the season, the Trinity football team made a late comeback to upset the Berry College Vikings. With their 21–17 victory, the Tigers handed the Vikings their first regular season loss in over two years.
Although neither team was able to score in the first quarter, Trinity was the first team on the board after a successful 42-yard field goal attempt by first-year kicker Charlie Sheppard with 8:27 left in the half.
“I was nervous to get onto the field for my first college kick, but I knew that I could make it. I just focused on the ball and made sure to repeat what I’d practiced all week,” Sheppard said.
Immediately following Sheppard’s field goal, the Berry College team was able to complete two touchdown passes in the second quarter, giving the Vikings a 14–3 lead heading into the third. Despite strong offensive drives by the Tigers, including a 43-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Wyatt Messex to first-year wide receiver Tanner Lacy, Trinity was unable to score again until another field goal attempt by Sheppard. With a successful kick from 28 yards out, Sheppard brought Trinity within eight points.
“Charlie was fantastic during the game. I was really proud of the way he attacked the challenge to come in and kick some crucial field goals for us, especially considering the circumstances, with us losing our starting kicker at practice this week and Charlie just coming back from a previous injury himself,” Messex said.
On their final drive of the third quarter, the Tigers completed a 74-yard catch-and-run from Messex to Chris Stewart to cut the Vikings’ lead to 14–12. To tie the game, Trinity completed a two-point conversion on a pass from Messex to junior wide receiver Tommy Lavine.
“In my opinion, that was just the spark we needed. We had some incredible talent all around the field, including Tommy and Chris. I saw Chris at the top of his route with leverage on the corner and just gave him a shot. He did some magic and put the ball in the end zone,” Messex said.
The Vikings reclaimed the lead with a 37-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. Although the outlook of the game was looking grim for the Trinity team, the Tiger offense excelled under pressure as Messex completed a touchdown pass to sophomore wide reciever Peyton Tuggle with less than a minute left on the clock.
“I was ecstatic after Peyton’s catch. What made this win so awesome was the fact that as a team, we felt like we should have won last year’s game against Berry, so we had quite a bit of built up anger. I wanted more than anything to give the seniors a win over Berry as they went out,” Messex said.
Head coach Jerheme Urban believes that Tuggle’s catch was the perfect way to cap off the season.
“I think most of the guys would tell you that I’m an emotional person, so I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t holding back a few tears. I can’t overstate how proud I am of this team. We had one of the highest strength of schedules and hardest road game stretch of any team in the country, so for them to continue to fight, compete and come out with a season ending win against a top ten team was just amazing,” Urban said.
With this victory, the Tiger extended its win streak to four games. The team finished the season with a 7–3 overall record and 6–2 conference record.
For the class of 2019, this game was their last in a Trinity uniform. Among this year’s graduating class are Jay Foster, Justin Ventura, Evan McDowell, Gavin Huse, KaDarius Lee, Jordan Williams, Vail Miesfeld, Brock Brown, Garrison Meeks, Robert Kuhne, Chris Fanick, Starjjil Shelvin, Brad Long, William McElvogue, Joel Holmes, Brady Blanton, Caleb Madole, Elliott Blott and Michael Inco.
“There are so many seniors that have made a significant impact on my time here at Trinity, whether that be in terms of football, school or my personal life. This year’s senior class was one of the first that coach Urban recruited, and was a key factor in the program’s advancement. Coach Urban pushes for a ‘family first’ atmosphere among the team, and this group of guys shows nothing less than that,” Messex said.
Urban explains that this talented group has a special significance to him both on and off the field.
“The class of 2019 was the first true recruiting class that we put together as a new staff. These guys were the first class where we limited our numbers and were very intentional in laying out our expectations for our players. I’ll forever remember Joel Holmes being my first-ever home visit on the recruiting trail and sitting down with him and his parents, asking them to entrust their son to a young head coach who had a vision but not much of a résumé. Evan McDowell chose to be a Tiger over an opportunity at Southern Methodist University, and Brady Blanton chose Trinity over some strong DII scholarship opportunities. These are just a few examples, but all of the young men took a leap of faith. The class of 2019 has seen their efforts change a culture, raise the team GPA above a 3.0 and help recruit talented classes behind them. In the end, they finished with a win against a top 10 team. I think it’s definitely safe to say that they have left their mark on the program,” Urban said.