Two consecutive – and massive – 4th-quarter plays (one defensive, the next offensive) led to the final margin of victory as the Trinity Christian Academy Conquerors completed a come-from-behind victory over the Warriors of Orlando Christian Preparatory School in the Class 2A State Semifinal Friday night in Winter Garden, Florida. Trinity won the game 29-21 in dramatic comeback fashion.
On 4th and goal, the Conquerors leading by 1 at 22-21 with 3:03 left, the Warriors had their last real opportunity to win.
Warriors drive 90 yards
All within the previous 7 minutes, the Warriors’ defense forced a Trinity fumble well inside the red zone, and OCP’s Jayden Shaw recovered the ball on the Warriors’ 9 yard line with 10:17 left to play in the 4th quarter. The Warriors then drove 87 yards, thanks in part to a controversial defensive pass interference call in the end zone on 4th and 12 from the 24 followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the play. Orlando Christian Prep then had 1st and goal at the Trinity 6.
Crucial goal line stance
It took 3 plays for the Warriors to advance 5 yards to the 1:
• Cam Anderson stopped running back Brian Thomas for a 1-yard gain on 1st down.
• Caden Morrell and L.J. Kelly made the tackle on a 2nd-down 2-yard gain from quarterback Vilay Nikkoun.
• Anderson and Jonathan Goddard then stopped Nikkoun at the 1 for a 2-yard gain on 3rd down to set up the most crucial play of the night.
On 4th and Goal at the 1 with 2:57 left to play, Nakkoun, who had 52 yards rushing on the night, tried to sneak it up the middle for the go-ahead touchdown. Morrell, however, made the initial hit at the line of scrimmage, and Deon Briggs completed the tackle that kept the quarterback out of the end zone for a turnover on downs.
The score remained 22-21 in favor of the Conquerors.
The 20-play, 90-yard drive consumed 7:20 of the clock, but the Conquerors were still pinned at their own 1, where even a safety could have ended their season. Treyaun Webb, though, made sure that did not happen.
Webb’s record run
On 1st and 10, Webb was hit at the line of scrimmage as he rushed up the middle; Webb, though, broke the tackle, and burst around the right end. He then outran the entire defense, raced toward the right corner, threw a stiff-arm at the 10, and completed the 99-yard touchdown run to give the Conquerors a huge insurance score and their final margin of victory.
The 99-yard run is the longest play from scrimmage possible and a record that can never be broken.
Defense secures the win
The Warriors though still had 1 possession and got a little help with another controversial pass interference call on 1st and 10 from their own 20. The Trinity defense then forced an incompletion from the 35.
On 2nd and 10, Nakkoun completed a pass to Jayden Alberty for an apparent 1st down with 2:22 left, but Morrell forced a fumble, and Javon Nobles recovered to seal the win for Trinity Christian. The Conquerors had a net gain of 17 yards before letting the clock expire to end an improbable comeback win.
Bleak first half
Orlando Christian Prep dominated the entire first half. The Warriors scored a touchdown only 1:59 into the game on a 58-yard pass from Nakkoun to Nick Rawls. Two receivers and one defender all batted the ball into the air before Rawls caught it on the 20 and raced untouched into the end zone; the extra-point attempt failed due to a partial block, and OCP led 6-0.
Trinity’s Seth Bialek connected on consecutive field goal attempts from 29 yards near the end of the 1st quarter and 35 yards early in the 2nd to tie the score at 6, but the Warriors’ defense had stopped both Trinity possessions inside the red zone.
OCP scored again on a bullet slant pass to a wide open Demarion Jenkins, an Arizona State University commit, for a 55-yard touchdown catch and run to take a 14-6 lead with the successful 2-point conversion.
Again, the Warriors stopped Trinity, who started the drive at the OCP 22 with 5:13 left until halftime. Bialek connected from 31 yards out to make the score 14-9, but Orlando Christian Prep took what looked like a commanding 21-9 lead after a very methodic 6-play, 73-yard ensuing drive when Nakkoun rushed in from 5 yards out.
The teams went into halftime with OCP leading by 12.
The comeback begins
Trinity regrouped during the intermission. They received the kickoff to open the 3rd quarter and drove 64 yards for their first touchdown. On 1st and 10 at the OCP 41, quarterback Colin Hurley found receiver Keaton Thomas open downfield. Thomas, normally a defensive safety with well over 20 D-1 offers, pulled the ball in off his fingertips and outran the defenders for a 41-yard touchdown reception.
Thomas was not finished.
Now on defense, Thomas intercepted Nakkoun’s pass on OCP’s first play after the kickoff. Thomas returned the ball 14 yards to the OCP 21. Hurley then hit Fred Highsmith for 19 yards to the 3, and on 3rd and goal from the 1, Webb scored his first touchdown of the night from the Wildcat formation.
Webb’s touchdown gave the Conquerors their 22-21 lead, but the 2-point conversion attempt failed.
After getting very little yardage in the first half due to strong OCP defense, Webb totaled 177 yards overall and 2 touchdowns on 17 carries. Darnell Rogers rushed 11 times for 45 yards. Hurley was 14 for 20 for 216 yards and 1 TD.
Thomas’s TD reception was his only catch of the night, but it propelled the comeback effort.
The Conquerors’ defense held OCP to only 77 yards rushing, but Nakkoun threw for 254 yards and 2 scores on a 16-of-27 performance. Rawls (81) and Jenkins (64) combined for 145 of those yards, and each scored.
Thomas picked off his 7th pass of the season, and Morrel and Anderson each tackled 12 Warriors. Thomas is tied for 2nd in Class 2A and 10th in all of Florida in interceptions, and Morrell now leads Class 2A by 9 tackles with 139, which is also tied for 16th in all of Florida.
Championship game - December 9
The Conquerors (9-4) will play for their 9th overall State championship – and 1st in Class 2A – at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 9. Their opponent is the 2020 Class 2A champion, Champagnat Catholic School (11-2) from Hialeah, Florida. The game will occur at Gene Cox Stadium in Tallahassee and will air live on Trinity’s Mixlr channel: Trinity Christian Academy -- Jacksonville, Florida.
PHOTOS: TCA Football Fan Zone on Facebook
STATISTICS: Larry Wither, TCA Statistician
Raymond Bureau | December, 2021