Constant rain left the field a sloppy mess, but the Wildcats (6-4) were able to stay on their feet long enough to guarantee a winning record regardless of the outcome of postseason play, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Owensboro Catholic (see story on this page).
“We started talking about that after [beating Caldwell County], and they’ve bought into it,” Trigg head coach Shannon Burcham said of the ‘Cats’ chance of salvaging a winning season after starting 0-3. “I told them they’d be 6-4 if they’d keep doing what they did that night, and that’s where we are.”
After recovering a Raider fumble on the game’s second play and scoring the first touchdown seven plays later on a one-yard run by Akeem Wilson, the ‘Cats struggled through the remainder of the first half.
“We didn’t play with a lot of emotion in the first half and beat ourselves about every way we could,” Burcham said. “We didn’t do those things in the second half. We just challenged the guys and said, if you want to be what you think you can be, we’ve got to come out and play right. It was positive, and we came out and played great.”
Justin Tobias tied the score midway through the second quarter when he recovered a Dillon Cionko fumble and ran it back 38 yards for a touchdown. Later, however, it was Trigg that capitalized on Warren East’s inability to handle the ball. The Raiders fumbled 11 times, losing seven. In the fourth quarter, Trigg scored on fumble recoveries by Cionko and Sean Bebee.
“We’ve been talking since [losing to] Graves County about turnovers, scooping and scoring,” Burcham said. “We’ve hit it every week since then.”
Trigg’s biggest adjustments of the second half included a mental challenge and making a concerted effort to run closer to the sidelines rather than the boggy center of the field.
“There was a little bit of grass on each side of the field, so we had to run there,” Burcham said. “But the biggest thing was attitude. In the first half, we weren’t coming off the ball, they were trying to take things away from us, and we weren’t getting somebody on everybody on the other side. We knew they were loading the box up, but we had to get somebody on everybody, and we did that.”
Trigg also scored on a two-yard run by Josh Adams (and subsequent two-point conversion run by Andrew Stewart) and a one-yard run by Stewart.
Defensively, Trigg had another stellar performance, holding the Raiders to 92 total yards, 70 of which came on a 70-yard touchdown run by Darrenger Grayson with 19 seconds to go in the game and Wildcat reserves on the field.
“We like the guys we’ve got in the places we’ve got them,” Burcham said. “They’ve played well all year except for the first week, and we’re proud of what they’re doing.”