Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

Game of the Century lives up to the hype and more

WESTSIDE- Nearly every kid on the field wasn’t even born the last time Bolles and Trinity Christian last played seventeen years ago. However, that didn’t matter to the players on the field Friday night, as they were well aware of the intense rivalry between the two historic programs.
Despite 18 state titles between the two and being the two most successful programs in the city, this was just the fifth meeting all-time between the two rivals.
If last nights game was any indication of how much fun and energetic the rivalry is, perhaps fans wont have to wait another 20 years to see another meeting. Trinity held off visiting Bolles 40-28 at Conquerors Stadium to seize control of District 4-5A with the win.

Former Trinity greats Gus Scott and Gerard Ross have etched their names into the Trinity folklore with solid performances against Bolles back in the day, perhaps ten or even twenty years from now people will remember the performance of Marcus Crowley.
Held to just 29 yards on 4 carries in the first half, Trinity rode the endurance of the junior tailback in the second half as Crowley (187 yards on 19 carries) finished the second half with 158 yards.
Clinging to a 27-21 lead with less than ten minutes to go, Trinity called Crowley’s number 9 of the 10 plays on the ensuing drive as Crowley gained 61 of the 65 yards to put the Conquerors inside the 1-yard line.
That’s when Scott, the offensive coordinator, called the perfect play a fake handoff to Crowley and a bootleg keeper by quarterback Austin Thomas, which was executed perfectly for an easy 1 yard run and 33-21 lead for the Conquerors with 3:32 left in the game.
However, Bolles wouldn’t go away though as Josiah Johnson connected with receiver Chris Sanders for an amazing tight rope 35 yard completion down to the 9-yard line. Two plays later, Jayden Mcloud raced 10 yards down the left sideline untouched cutting the lead to 33-28 with 1:38 left.
The high onside kick bounced into the hands of Dominique Killens giving the Conquerors the ball back at midfield with a chance to run the clock out. Crowley wouldn’t let that happen though as on the ensuing play he busted through a gaping hole and raced 49 yards before tackled inside the 5-yard line.
Two plays later, Tyreke Johnson (80 yards on 8 carries) scored his third touchdown of the game on a 9 yard run which gave the Conquerors a 40-28 lead with a little over a minute remaining.
With its offense struggling through two games, the Conquerors relied on its special teams to set up two scores which ultimately decided the game.
After both teams scored on their opening drives of the game, as Tyreke Johnson ignited the rivalry quickly with a 75 yard
run on the first play from scrimmage and James Omlor quickly tied the game at 7-7 with a 14 yard run on the Bulldogs opening drive; leave it to a special teams play to seize the momentum.
With Bolles lined up for a chip shot 20 yard field goal from Santi Leon Villegas, Jonathan Ealey broke through the line and blocked the field goal and scooped up the loose ball returning it 80 yards for a 13-7 lead with eight minutes remaining till halftime.

Junior tailback Marcus Crowley accounted for 187 yards and one touchdown to lead Trinity to the win over Bolles

On Bolles next possession, Johnson lost the grip on the ball and linebacker Eriq Gilyard recovered the loose ball at midfield. Thomas connected to Winston Sweeting for an 18 yard completion and three plays later, Crowley raced 15 yards up the middle untouched to increase the lead to 20-7 with three minutes remaining till half.
That’s when things got even more bizarre as the refs seemed to lose control of the game as both teams picked up personal fouls as well as several questionable and unexplainable calls.
The half appeared to end as the refs sent both teams to their locker rooms for the half, but then as Bolles coach Wayne Belger  questioned the refs about a late call; the refs told both teams to get back on the field for one untimed down as the half can’t end on a defensive penalty.
Johnson, 18 of 25 for 271 yards, bought his receivers some time and then launched a perfect Hail Mary pass that fell into the hands of Mcloud for a 40 yard touchdown pass stunning the home crowd and giving the visiting fans something to cheer about as the Bulldogs cut the lead to 20-14 at the half.
The stunning play coupled with receiving the second half kickoff seemed to be the spark the Bolles offense needed to not only get back in the game but take their first lead of the game as well. Johnson hit Wale Onasanya for a 47 completion down to the 21-yard line and six plays later, Mcloud rumbled in from 2 yards out giving the Bulldogs a surprising 21-20 lead midway through the third quarter.
Thomas hit Sweeting again for an apparent first down but the officials ruled he fumbled before hitting the ground at the 17-yard line. A quick three and out forced by the Trinity defense forced another punt from Nick Criss, however this time it shanked off his foot and rolled 15 yards at the 32-yard line.
Four plays later, Tyreke Johnson rumbled 5 yards down the left sideline putting Trinity back ahead 27-21 on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Chris Sanders had a huge night in the loss catching 10 passes for 158 yards, while Omlar finished with 93 yards on 21 carries.
However this night belonged to Crowley, who literally carried the  team on his back when his team needed him the most, carrying the ball 12 times in the last 14 plays of the game.
“That’s who he is, he’s an extremely hard worker, he’s built for that and he carried this team on his back tonight,” said linebacker Eriq Gilyard. His coaches echoed those exact words also after the game.
“He’s had that availability, we’ve been waiting for that break out game and you saw it tonight,” Trinity defensive coordinator Gerard Ross stated. “Our line is so young with sophomores and juniors we’ve been struggling early on but they have been getting better each week and jelling and finally had a big game. Marcus is a big time player who is the kind of guy you could see end up at Georgia or Miami.”Other coaches on staff agreed it was a special and breakout game for Crowley and one they hope keeps continuing.
“Sometimes you just keep giving him the ball and your like shut up as a coach and go with the hot guy,” Trinity offensive coordinator Gus Scott stated. “He felt it tonight, he locked down and he did the rest.”
Many hope with the history and the electricity of the packed crowd were enough for both schools to agree to make this an annual game from now on.

While others say there is a great possibility of a rematch down the road in the playoffs several weeks from now as well. Lost in the chaos of last nights game was the fact it was a District 4-5A game which made it even more important for playoff implications.
“Absolutely we want to continue to play them, this is great for our city,” Trinity head coach Vernon Dorminey stated. “There was a lot of talk which team was better but were thankful to play tonight and we’re expecting a potential rematch in the playoffs.”
Trinity (3-1, 2-0) host Palm Beach Lakes next Friday, while Bolles (2-1, 0-1) returns home to host Melbourne Holy Trinity next Friday.

Scoring Summary
Trinity Christian 40, Bolles 28
TC: Tyreke Johnson 80 yard run (7-0)
B: James Omlor 14 yard run (7-7)
TC: Jonathan Ealey 80 yard block field goal return (13-7)
TC: Marcus Crowley 15 yard run (20-7)
B: Josiah Johnson 40 yard pass to Jayden Mcloud (20-14)
B: Jayden Mcloud 2 yard run (21-20)
TC: Tyreke Johnson 5 yard run (27-21)
TC: Austin Thomas 1 yard keeper (33-21)
B: Jayden Mcloud 10 yard run (33-28)
TC: Tyreke Johnson 9 yard run (40-28)