Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: In titanic matchup, Trinity delivers late knockout blow vs. Allen
ARLINGTON — Euless Trinity dominated Allen for most of Saturday’s collision of undefeated powerhouses. But in front of 30,000 fans at Cowboys Stadium, the game still came down to one split-second collision.
Allen quarterback Alec Morris vs. Trinity linebacker Chris Fonokalafi and defensive lineman Safari Bolden. Morris tried to get in the end zone on fourth-and-goal, Fonokalafi and Bolden stuffed him, and Trinity earned a 28-21 victory in the Class 5A Division I area-round matchup.
“I didn’t know if he made the touchdown or not,” Fonokalafi said. “Then I heard the cheering.”
The fans of Trinity (12-0), which will play Arlington Martin on Saturday at Bedford’s Pennington Field, were cheering most of the game. Led by Joel Kimpela’s 32 carries for 345 yards and two touchdowns, Trinity gashed Allen’s defense for 510 rushing yards. Trinity also held Allen (11-1), which had averaged nearly 500 yards and more than 40 points per game, to only 260 yards and forced the Eagles to punt five times.
But with six minutes left, Allen trailed by only a touchdown and had the ball. Comebacks were also nothing new for the Eagles, who had erased fourth-quarter deficits in five of their previous six games.
Allen drove down the field and had first-and-goal at the 9. The Eagles got only 1 yard over the next three plays, but on fourth-and-goal at the 8, Morris dropped back to pass and saw open space in the middle of the field.
Trinity’s linebackers and secondary had dropped into coverage, but Fonokalafi knew he had to keep an eye on Morris.
“Watching video of him, I noticed that at the goal line he likes to run it up the middle,” Fonokalafi said. “When he put it down and tried to run, it was my big time to shine.”
And smash. Fonokalafi and Bolden arrived just in time to challenge the hard-charging 6-3, 240-pound quarterback. They stopped Morris a little more than a yard short of the end zone with 2:13 left, allowing Trinity’s offense to take over and run out the clock with a pair of first downs.
Morris’ only choice was to run.
“That’s about all he could do. They had everybody back in the end zone,” Allen coach Tom Westerberg said. “He made a good decision. They just made a great play.”
Trinity made a lot of great plays as it powered its way to a 19-0 lead in the second quarter. A 28-yard touchdown pass from Morris to Andrew Rodriguez trimmed the margin to 19-7 at the half, but it wasn’t until the third quarter that Allen started putting pressure on Trinity.
It began when Allen’s Alex Miller returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown to make the score 19-14 with 8:03 left in the third quarter. Kimpela’s 45-yard touchdown run and a field goal pushed Trinity’s lead to 28-14 before Allen’s Jonathan Williams scored on a 12-yard run to make it 28-21.
After a defensive stop by Allen, the Eagles were in position for another comeback. But in the matchup of heavyweights, the Trojans made the biggest hit.
“I was reminding my teammates that this team could come back,” Fonokalafi said. “I told them to keep fighting. Don’t let up.”