Trinity’s Tyler Burns doesn’t have a strategy on the football field. He would actually prefer less thinking when he’s handed the ball.
“I just keep driving my feet, not going down, just keeping low,” Burns said. “My thought process through that is very instinctive.”
Burns carried the Knights to a 47-26 win over Garden Plain (3-1), rushing for 379 yards and scoring six touchdowns as Trinity advanced to 4-0.
“It was a special performance, biggest one in Trinity history since we beat Garden Plain, a ranked team,” Burns said. “I would say it’s special, but I don’t know if it’s uncommon.”
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Burns ran for 158 of Trinity’s 170 total offensive yards in the first half, and scored all three touchdowns for the Knights, including a 76-yard kick off return with 3:54 remaining in the half.
The Owls finished the first half with 13 first downs to Trinity’s eight, yet the Knights held a 21-12 lead at halftime.
The offensive line helped Burns score three of Trinity’s four touchdowns in the second half, with 65, 61 and 63-yard runs, breaking through the middle of Garden Plain’s defense two of the three times.
“Last week, offensive line-wise we showed a little inexperience,” Trinity coach Jared McDaniel said. “We had some fronts thrown at us that we weren’t quite ready for, but tonight we adjusted well, we communicated, they talked really well up front.”
Burns wasn’t Trinity’s only threat on Friday. The special teams began to click, blocking two punts and recovering one for a touchdown.
“We stayed responsibility sound tonight. Our kids knew their keys, they knew their reads, they fit into them, and special teams was huge for us tonight,” McDaniel said. “We blocked two punts, recovered one for a touchdown, we’ve been waiting all year for that.”
No matter what Garden Plain’s Wyatt Lehner tried to do on offense, Trinity’s defense stopped it. Lehner did connect two passes with Jordan Joplin in the fourth quarter for touchdowns, but finished 3-of-11 passing.
Lehner led the Owls with 115 rushing yards and one touchdown. Ethan Balestracci ran for a two-yard touchdown in the second quarter as well.
“We don’t really have an offensive strategy, it’s kind of ground and pound, and we tried to out physical (Trinity),” Lehner said. “They placed the right gaps, they played good defense, they’re a good team.”
The loss to Trinity is Garden Plain’s first this season.
“We came in aggressive, we just shot ourselves in the foot over and over again, and we’ve got to fix that, I know we can,” Lehner said. “We play hard, we play aggressive, we play physical, I know we can come back and win next week and the week after that.”
T—Burns 4 run (Mosley kick)
T—Burns 1 run (Mosley kick)
G—Lehner 5 run (kick failed)
G—Balestracci 2 run (two-point conversion failed)
T—Burns 76 kick off return (Mosley kick)
T—Kuntz blocked punt recovery (kick blocked)
T—Burns 65 run (Mosley kick)
G—Joplin 10 pass from Lehner (Joplin pass from Lehner)
T—Burns 61 run (Mosley kick)
T—Burns 63 run (kick failed)
G—Joplin 30 pass from Lehner (two-point conversion failed)
Rushing—Trinity, Burns 21-379, Jones 8-2. Garden Plain, Lehner 20-115, Puetz 9-71, Balestracci 12-33, Wright 7-17, Hageman 3-11, Keimig 1-10, Hilger 1-2.
Passing—Trinity, Jones 2-4-21-1. Garden Plain, Lehner 3-11-47-0, Puetz 1-2-3-0.
Receiving—Trinity, Osborne 2-21. Garden Plain, Joplin 2-40, Thimesch 1-7, McGregor 1-3.