Written by Matt Wixon
Trinity takes advantage of single turnover to end Southlake Carroll's run and return to 5A quarterfinals
ARLINGTON — Euless Trinity’s defense returned to the field with nine minutes left Friday, hoping to dismantle the seesaw. But in a matchup dominated by offense at AT&T Stadium, what chance was there that a defense would finally ride high?
About the same chance, it seemed, as seeing a 6-0, 283-pound defensive lineman fly.
And then Hafoka Olie, Trinity’s imposing defensive tackle, took flight to flop on a Carroll fumble. In a game of nearly unstoppable offense, it was the lone turnover that finally stopped the flip-flopping in Trinity’s 42-38 victory.
“When I saw that ball, it was like a dream,” Olie said.
It was a dream come true for Trinity (11-2), which will next play the winner between DeSoto and Arlington Martin in the Class 5A Division I Region I final. The offenses combined for more than 1,100 yards, and the lead changed hands five times in the second half as Trinity and Carroll (11-2) scored on five consecutive drives.
Trinity rushed for a whopping 448 yards, led by senior Isaac Ellsworth’s 18 carries for 245 yards and three touchdowns. But the Trojans scored their final touchdown on Christian Hammack’s 23-yard pass to Will Taylor with 9:19 left.
It was hard to believe that would be the game-winner, however. Carroll’s seven drives to that point had produced five touchdowns, one field goal and a punt. On its eighth drive, Carroll quickly marched to Trinity’s 24-yard line.
“We needed an interception or to knock it loose,” Trinity coach Steve Lineweaver said. “I knew we needed one.”
Trinity got it when Carroll junior quarterback Ryan Agnew, who threw for 449 yards and three touchdowns, swung a pass to the left sideline to sophomore running back Lil’ Jordan Humphrey. Trinity senior linebacker Turner Woolley applied a big hit, and the ball popped loose and stayed just inbounds.
Olie chased the ball down and took a Superman leap on to it with 5:40 left.
“You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do for your team,” Olie said.
Trinity’s sidelines erupted, along with its side of the stands at AT&T, where the more than 20,000 fans were evenly split. But Trinity still needed a few more heroes — and first downs — to clinch the victory.
“The offense still had to go to work,” Lineweaver said. “We had to eat some clock.”
No team has done that better over the last decade than Trinity and its powerful rushing attack. And this season, the Trojans have their typical thunder plus two lightning-fast backs: Ellsworth and sophomore Ja’Ron Wilson (17 carries, 114 yards, one touchdown).
Ellsworth scored on runs of 70, 51 and 42 yards.
“He can really go,” Lineweaver said.
In the final minutes, Ellsworth, Wilson and Trinity didn’t need to go far. The Trojans needed only to kill time to earn their first victory over Carroll in three tries (the losses came last season and in the epic 2006 battle of undefeated defending champs).
Trinity wiped out more than five minutes with a 12-play drive against a good Carroll defense desperately trying to give its offense one more chance. Wilson and Hammack each converted a third down with a run, forcing Carroll to use all its timeouts.
Carroll had passed its way down the field all game, with Agnew throwing to backs and receivers such as senior Luke Timian, who had 13 catches for 219 yards and two scores. But by the time the Dragons got the ball back a final time, only 24 seconds remained.
They were also 73 yards from the end zone, allowing Trinity’s defense a comfort zone in a game that was very uncomfortable for the defenses.
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter @mattwixon.