Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

2017 Spring Football: Lee-21 Trinity Christian-7

Lee High School- It was a regular season feel for a spring football game in the back yard Thursday evening when Trinity Christian traveled to Lee High School. The band was booming, the food was smoking, and the crowd was electric as the scene was set for the most anticipated match up of the spring.

Lee had their best season in over twenty years falling to Plant High School on the road in the Class 7A State Semifinal. The Trinity Christian Conquerors came off their fourth championship in a row last fall defeating Chaminade in the Class 3A State Final. Both teams boasted talented rosters last year and returned several studs in 2017 to which we were able to get a first look at. Right away, one of those profiled players showed why he is one of the highest recruited athletes in the country.

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Trinity’s Tyreke Johnson (rising senior), and ESPN Top 300 athlete, got the action started by scoring on a 30 yard quick pass to the sideline from Quarterback Austin Thomas. Johnson did the rest, out running the General defense to put Trinity up 7-0. Johnson, who is primarily a corner back, showcased his talent at running back along with #3 Marcus Crowley who gashed the Lee defense with read option runs up the middle on the scoring drive. Trinity has shown that they will put their best athletes in positions to get the ball, and Johnson showed his versatility lining up at three positions including wide receiver.

Lee quickly responded on the ensuing drive and it was due to the explosive play of their Quarterback #1 Derrick Jones. Jones took the QB option up the middle for 56 yards and was tackled  at the 14 yard line. However Lee could not convert the 36 yard  field goal after the Trinity defense stiffened in the redzone. The score remained  7-0 into the second quarter. The first quarter went by extremely fast due to the long drive by Trinity who kept it on the ground. Both defenses traded stops and showcased talent on the field. Some notable players were Lee’s #21 Eugene Bowman IV,  and #9 Noah Jackson. Jackson is an undersized linebacker who hits like a freight train. Trinity’s #50 DT Ja’Juan Dowell stood out as well. Dowell led the pressure up the middle on an aggressively talented defensive front which forced  Lee’s Quarterback to scramble on multiple occasions. The defensive standout of the game  was #10 LB Eriq Gilyard. Quick, powerful and instinctive,Gilyard was all over the field Thursday. He made several tackles and recorded a sack and was one of the prime reasons Trinity led most of the first half.

Yet Lee would not be silenced at home on this evening. With about 2 minutes left in the half a young man yelled from the sideline “Get the ball to Taz”. Seemingly on cue QB Derrick Jones hit WR Taz Nicholson on a short out to the right sideline, but Nicholson weaved and rumbled breaking three tackles on his way to the endzone. Nicholson who was already one of the quickest on the team, showed great strength in breaking several tackles. ” Noodle, my cousin Derrick Jones put me on the weights real hard. I do a lot of squats and we come back Monday in the weight room to get right”. – Taz Nicholson. Nicholson would answer the call from the crowd and tie the game 7-7 going into halftime.

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In the second half it was all Lee. The Generals capitalized on big plays from their big play makers, and perhaps the biggest play of the game came against Trinity’s biggest play maker. Midway through the third quarter, Jones saw his wide receiver Juriel Caldwell racing down the middle of the field wide open. Caldwell eluded Trinity’s DB Tyreke Johnson who may have been looking in the backfield on the play. Jones lofted a high arching spiral to the middle of the endzone where Caldwell skied for the ball competing with Johnson who recovered nicely on the play. Caldwell would catch the ball in traffic in the endzone for the touchdown (14-7 Lee), helping his team secure the victory.

Derrick Jones would add the finishing touches on the scoring on a one yard dive over the top in the 4th quarter to ice the victory for Lee 21-7. Said  Jones after the game ” I’m excited to come back to Lee. We are trying to make it to state this year, so everything we do we have to go hard”.

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Lee and Trinity will indeed have to go hard. They both will be in very competitive districts this year in the FHSAA. Trinity moves up to 5A to compete with Ponte Vedra and Bolles, while Lee remains in 7A competing with the likes of Lake City Columbia, Fletcher and First Coast.

 

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