Ensworth’s Thomas Freeland (14) was able to hold on to the ball after making the catch as Trinity Christian’s Blake Corbett (2) makes the tackle during the second half Friday. Ensworth won 21-14.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Trinity running back Donald Brooks said it best: “Ensworth finishes well.”
The Tigers scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and then held off the visiting Shamrocks 21-14 in the season opener on Friday night.
Trinity has won 22 state titles in Kentucky, and Ensworth has claimed the past four Division II-AA championships.
The Shamrocks drove to the Tigers’ 21-yard line with 1:31 left, but Ensworth’s defense held.
“I just knew somebody would eventually step up and make a play,” Tigers cornerback/running back Donovan Sheffield said. “We were just better conditioned than them today. I attribute that to the conditioning staff during the summer and all the hard work they put in.”
Ensworth’s Rodney Owens broke a 7-7 tie when he caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from P.J. Settles with 9:32 left. Settles dropped the ball, kept his poise and found Owens in the end zone.
Two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on Trinity set up the TD.
“We’ve got to do a better job of holding our poise,” Shamrocks coach Bob Beatty said. “We got a couple of unsportsmanlike conducts when the ball was trapped (on an Ensworth pass play). Our kids got excited, but you’re not going to get those calls on the road.”
Sheffield, a Vanderbilt commitment, scored on a 16-yard run to give the Tigers a 21-7 lead with 4:35 left.
But Trinity battled back, making it 21-14 on Brooks’ 8-yard run with 3:43 left.
“It wasn’t a pretty game, but I thought we played with some heart,” Ensworth coach Ricky Bowers said. “When we had to have it, we made some plays late. Holding Trinity to 14 points is good football.”
Ensworth took a 7-0 lead on its first possession when Rico McGraw caught a 27-yard pass from Settles.
Sheffield fumbled late in the first half and Trinity’s Alex Reisert recovered at the Tigers 3-yard line.
Three plays later Brooks’ 1-yard run tied the game at 7 with 1:42 left in the first half.
McGraw fumbled after a 10-yard reception from Settles at the Ensworth 32 on the Tigers’ next play, but the he defense held.
Settles completed 12 of 15 for 181 yards and two TDs in his first game since a late-season knee injury in 2013.