Varsity Kansas

Football 2015: Trinity Academy attempts to replace Burns’ firepower (+video)

Trinity Academy came within a victory over the 2014 football playoffs.
Trinity Academy came within a victory over the 2014 football playoffs. The Wichita Eagle

Expectations surrounding the Trinity Academy football program were at its highest, perhaps, a year ago, when star running back Tyler Burns topped 1,600 rushing yards with 26 touchdowns.

When people turned their attention to Trinity, they saw Burns. But Burns has left for Kansas State, leaving some to wonder what’s left at Trinity.

“Some people are saying, ‘He’s gone, so they’re gone,’ ” coach Jared McDaniel said. “Right now nobody believes in us, because one guy is gone. I think, among our guys, there’s a hunger there because of that.”

There isn’t a single player of Burns’ caliber on the 2015 roster. Skeptics may be quick to use that fact against this year’s team. The Knights have a different perspective.

“We knew we could rely on Tyler to save us in certain situations, but now we know we have to rely on the team,” senior Caleb Hoyt said. “We’re more accountable now because of that. We want to prove people wrong. We want to prove to ourselves that we can do this.”

One player didn’t build the program, and the absence of one player won’t ruin it. Three years ago, Hoyt and the other freshmen found themselves on the varsity roster because there was plenty of room.

“We’ve always been a soccer school,” Hoyt said.

But now the program will see its largest football roster. Trinity christened a new football stadium last year and came within a win of a playoff appearance. Building off that momentum and success is this season’s goal.

“We don’t have that one guy,” McDaniel said. “We have five guys. The driving force is our senior class. It’s a big class with those guys who were forced to play as freshmen, but now we’ve got over 40 guys today. We’ve got that experience coming back.”

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