Carried by its defense all night, the Trinity High School football team found an offensive spark from its diminutive — and hobbled — running back in the final minutes to pull out another victory.
Dalyn Dawkins carried 10 times for 50 yards on the Shamrocks’ final drive, capping it with a 3-yard touchdown run with 29.7 seconds left in the game. Drew Ward’s point-after kick gave Trinity a 14-13 victory over visiting Cincinnati St. Xavier on Friday night.
Dawkins, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound senior, suffered an ankle injury in last week’s victory over Cincinnati Elder and didn’t start against the Bombers on Friday. Before the game he told coach Bob Beatty that he was “88 to 90 percent.”
“Part of football is learning to play with pain, and he’s not used to being hurt,” Beatty said. “Mentally he had to get over that hump.”
Dawkins had just five carries for 18 yards before Trinity took over at its 21-yard line with 7:05 left in the game, trailing 13-7. He touched the ball on 11 of 15 plays as the Shamrocks marched down the field.
“We rode his back like a horse,” said Trinity defensive end Jason Hatcher, who then made a Kentucky Derby reference. “We thought it was May 5 out here. We have faith in him.”
Trinity (4-0), No. 1 in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings, extended its winning streak to 29 games despite being outgained (269-245 yards) and committing the game’s only turnover.
Bombers coach Steve Specht said his team gave one away — again.
“We shot ourselves in the foot one too many times offensively,” said Specht, whose Bombers (2-2) lost in the last seconds to Cincinnati Colerain 31-28 last week. “We did what we needed to do defensively to slow them down. That’s two in a row, and it rips your heart out.”
St. X had three possessions in the Trinity red zone in the second half and managed just six points.
Travis Wright’s first interception of the year gave the Bombers the ball at the Shamrocks’ 12 early in the third quarter. Four plays later the visitors had first-and-goal at the 2 but couldn’t convert. On fourth down Nick Tensing completed a short pass to C.J. Hilliard, but Nolan Morris tackled him for a 1-yard loss.
“They were in a bad situation time and time again, and they bowed their neck down there,” Beatty said of his defense. “We showed some tremendous heart tonight.”
The Bombers had to settle for field goals by Aaron Berry on their next two possessions, getting a 24-yarder for a 10-7 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter and a 33-yarder for a 13-7 edge with 7:11 left in the game.
Then Dawkins took over.
“It was hurting tonight, but I had to suck it up,” said Dawkins, whose 5-yard TD reception tied the score at 7 just before halftime. “I knew how big of a game this was. We really wanted it as a team.”
His longest run of the winning drive, a 14-yarder, gave Trinity a first down at the St. X 42. Wright had a 12-yard pass to James Quick on third-and-seven from the 28. Quick finished with 10 catches for 74 yards.
Dawkins caught a 9-yard pass and followed with a 5-yard run to the 2. After a 1-yard loss, he pounded it in from 3 yards out for the winning score.
When it was over, Beatty praised the heart of his team, led by Dawkins.
“I don’t think he’s 100 percent, but Dalyn Dawkins at 88 percent is better than a lot of people at 100 percent,” Beatty said. “We went with him … and I thought he did a great job.”
|Cinc. St. Xavier||7||0||0||6||–||13|
CSX – Cameron Dunn 25 pass from Nick Tensing (Aaron Berry kick); T – Dalyn Dawkins 5 pass from Travis Wright (Drew Ward kick); CSX – Berry 24 FG; CSX – Berry 34 FG; T – Dawkins 3 run (Ward kick).