Young Raiders have strong start in loss

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By Dave Taylor

“How can I not be upbeat about the future?”

Trimble County High School’s first-year football head coach William Blair suppressed his disappointment over his team’s season-opening loss by focusing on the positive aspects of the game.

Visiting Berea got on the scoreboard first, taking a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter en route to a 19-8 win over Trimble County Friday. Berea scored again with 3:26 to go in the first half but the kick for the extra point failed and Trimble trailed 13-0.

The Raiders threatened late in the quarter but failed to score and gave up possession on downs to end the half.

Berea had the first possession of the second half but Trimble’s defense forced the Pirates to punt after four plays. Ten plays later junior quarterback Kyle Sparks found senior receiver Stuart Barnes open in the end zone with a 10-yard pass and the Raiders were on the scoreboard. Sparks connected with Barnes on a two-point conversion pass moments later and the score was 13-8.

“Stuart Barnes made a lot of big plays tonight,” Blair said. He also praised the work of Sparks who worked much of the late stages with cramps but never let on. “He chose to not tell us about it and he stayed in there and toughed it out. That’s the difference between last year and this year. There’s no quit in them. They’re relentless and they are willing to do whatever it takes to win.”

Trimble threatened again midway through the fourth quarter but the Pirates forced a fumble and Berea recovered the ball. Berea’s Eli Woodie had a 58-yard pass reception from Darius Whitaker to complete the scoring with 4:14 remaining in the game.

“It’s a young team, the first game of the year and there could have been a lot more mistakes,” Blair said. “I thought we might give up more passing touchdowns and we only gave up the big one.”

Trimble played without the services of Josh Baker, one of the team’s two seniors. Baker had a knee injury prior to the start of the season. Blair hopes to get him back in the lineup by district play.

“We put a lot on our freshmen this game,” Blair said. “David Marsh played a heck of a game. TJ Payton came in and played well. We lost Josh Baker and our freshmen stepped up. At one time I looked up and we had six freshmen and we stopped them down here inside the 20.”

Statistically, Trimble had 11 first downs to Berea’s nine.

Trimble picked up 171 yards rushing on 45 carries. The Raiders had one pass reception in nine attempts for 10 yards making Trimble’s total yards 181.

Junior fullback Trent Taylor had 88 yards rushing on seven carries. Sparks had 61 yards rushing on 19 carries.

Berea had 186 yards on 33 carries and was one for nine in the air worth 58 yards for a total of 224 yards.

Trimble had three penalties for a total of 15 yards, Berea had seven for 55 yards. Trimble fumbled three times, lost possession twice. Berea fumbled three times and recovered all three.

Blair was very upbeat in his post-game comments to the team: “Boys, you gave them everything you had and they were dropping like flies. This is a game that if you took one play, a couple of fumbles or a couple of catches on our side and we’d be up 21-8. But that’s the game of football. You’re going to be sore and you’re going to be tired. You can’t worry about this. This is over. You can’t worry about all the things that happened. Move on.”

Trimble travels to Clinton County on Friday.