Malden football team meets its match, falls to Trinity in Class 2 semis
ST. LOUIS -- After an entire season of scoring at will, Malden's offense came crashing down.
The Green Wave only scored once in the first quarter and late in the fourth as Trinity Catholic scored a touchdown in each frame to dismantle Malden for a 53-13 victory in a Class 2 quarterfinal Friday night at Gallagher Field.
Third-ranked Trinity (11-0), which came in having allowed just 83 points all season, yielded only 94 yards to the Green Wave (11-1). Offensively, Trinity accounted for 442 total yards while ending Malden's two-year run as state semifinalists and its hopes of reaching the title game for a second straight year.
The loss also marked the first time since Nov. 11, 2013, that the Green Wave have lost by 40 points and just the third time in that span they have given up 50 or more points in a game.
"It was like they had 13 guys out there against two of ours. We couldn't do a thing," Malden coach Joel Wyatt said. "It goes back to our defense being on the field our whole first half because our offense was just three-and-out after three-and-out mixed in with some turnovers.
The Titans advanced to the semifinals for the first time in school history with the win. They will face Lawson (11-2) in the final four.
"I think our guys were a little too pumped up at the start -- we've never been this far before," said second-year Trinity coach Cory Patterson, whose team won the school's second district title a week ago. "But once we got it out of our system, settled down and started playing Trinity football, things started falling into place for us."
The host Titans scored first, taking advantage of a first-possession fumble by Malden two plays into the game. They went up 6-0 a minute later on a 39-yard scramble by Isaiah Williams.
"Too much momentum that we never got back," Malden quarterback Pete Brown said. "We've started like that before, but in this game, we knew we couldn't be that careless with the ball."
The Green Wave put it past them momentarily. After going three-and-out on its second possession, Malden blocked a punt on the Trinity 17, which was picked up by Bryce Nelson and carried down to the 7.
Brown scored on a keeper one play later, and the extra point from Dee Triplett gave the visitors a short-lived 7-6 lead with 2 minutes, 53 seconds to play in the first quarter.
Trinity went on to score the game's next 40 points before cruising to victory, due in large part to some underclassmen playing well above their age.
Even without his top receiver and running back, Williams, the Titans' dynamic sophomore quarterback, completed 15 of 23 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 90 yards and two scores.
"He's a special kid, and I've had the honor to coach him for a long time," Patterson said of Williams. "He's an athlete, a good student and a kid you always want to have around."
Down 7-6 midway through the opening half, Trinity began to impose itself on Malden. The Titans' quick and aggressive swarming defense shut down the Green Wave, allowing the Trinity offense to kick into high gear.
A couple of big pass plays midway through the half helped the Titans regain the lead. On the final play of the first quarter, Williams hit James Frenchie, who had 5 catches for 107 yards, with a short pass in the flat, and the freshman broke a couple of tackles for 52-yard gain. A play later, Williams fired a bullet down the middle to Bryce Childress for a 27-yard gain. Torre Boland then powered his way into the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown and a 12-7 lead with 11:04 to play before halftime.
Midway through the quarter, Trinity added to its lead when Williams took a keeper to the left, picked up a couple of blocks and raced down the sideline for a 20-yard touchdown with 7:10 to play in the second quarter. Brendan Larkin's kick helped Trinity take a 19-7 lead into halftime.
Malden, meanwhile, punted five times in the first half, turned it over twice more and tallied a season-low 24 yards at the break.
"We just couldn't move the ball, and it wasn't any scheme they did different," Wyatt said. "Offensively it was not a good night for us. It's a game we'll have all offseason to think about."
Trinity took the second-half kickoff and moved methodically for another score. On his fourth completion of the drive, Williams found Childress open down the middle for a 25-yard touchdown that pushed the Titans' lead to 26-7 with 9:44 to play in the third quarter.
Frenchie scored on a 4-yard run after taking a direct snap to cap the next Trinity drive for a 33-7 lead. A 23-yard TD pass from Williams to Frenchie with 1:45 to play in the third quarter made it 39-7.
As if things could get any worse for Malden, a snap over the head of punter Triplett was recovered in the end zone by Trinity's Childress, stretching the lead to 46-7.
Malden answered with its best drive of the game, cutting the lead to 46-13 on 9-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Broddric Annesser. Brown completed 5 of 7 passes for 66 yards on the drive but finished 6-of-20 passing with two interceptions in the game.
"I didn't help my team enough today," Brown said. "Yeah, they were big, and they were physical. But I've got to be better, and I plan to be better next year."
Trinity closed out the game and ran out much of the clock with a drive capped by a pair of powerful runs by Boland. His 5-yard TD run with 4:12 left closed out the scoring and a chapter for 10 Malden seniors.
"It's a shame it's got to end this way," Bryce Nelson said. "But at the same time we weren't even supposed to be here. We lost everybody, and this team still played like champs."