Posted: 7:35 pm Friday, December 10th, 2010

Final quick hitters: Trinity Christian 27, American Heritage 10 

By Jeff Greer

Some quick thoughts at the conclusion of the Class 1A championship game between American Heritage and Jacksonville-Trinity Christian. Trinity Christian won 27-10.

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FOURTH-QUARTER THOUGHTS
Play of the quarter: Had to be Andrew Buie’s final rushing touchdown of the game, a 13-yard scamper that put the final nail in American Heritage’s coffin. The Stallions just couldn’t stop Buie tonight, and he capped off a great performance with his fourth touchdown. He finished with 242 rushing yards on 31 carries, good for a 7.8 average per carry.

Stats: You know Buie’s stats. Nestor Lantigua led all American Heritage rushers with 87 yards on nine carries. Greg Bryant finished with 56 yards and a score on 15 carries. Marcus Davis took 10 carries for 12 yards. He was 10 of 16 for 128 yards and two interceptions. He rarely had any time to do much.

THIRD-QUARTER THOUGHTS
Play of the quarter: Trinity’s Andrew Buie was all closed off in the backfield, but he cut back and found a window. He was gone after that. Hard to imagine someone outrunning the American Heritage secondary, but Buie did, 54 yards to pay dirt. After stalling three consecutive possessions, Trinity got the one big play that could make the game, going up 20-10 and slowing American Heritage’s momentum.

For American Heritage, it was a simple play. On first and goal from the Trinity 14, American Heritage ran off tackle left with Greg Bryant. The speedster slipped through a tight crease and was pushed out at the 5 after a 9-yard run. It doesn’t seem like much, but it gave American Heritage a confidence boost in its second red-zone possession of the night. The first one ended with an interception.

Two runs later, Bryant punched it in from 2 yards out to make it 13-10.

Bryant ballin’. Sophomore Greg Bryant suddenly became the focal point of the Stallions’ offense in the third quarter. With running back Nestor Lantigua (87 yards on nine carries) out of the game with a groin injury, Bryant took a majority of the carries in American Heritage’s first touchdown-scoring drive. He had 36 yards and a score in the third quarter.

Stats: Bryant 54 yards and a touchdown. Marcus Davis is 3 of 6 for 59 yards. Andrew Buie has 22 carries for 181 and three touchdowns.

SECOND-QUARTER THOUGHTS
Play of the quarter: Driving, American Heritage’s offense finally got going. A few big runs by Nestor Lantigua set up a critical red-zone possession for the Stallions. Down 13-0, American Heritage needed at least a field goal, something to get going. Pressured out of the pocket, quarterback Marcus Davis scrambled right and lofted an ill-advised toss toward the end zone. It was picked by Andrew Buie, killing the drive and the scoring chance.

Waking up a little bit. American Heritage’s run defense woke up just a bit in the second quarter, finally figuring out a few ways to stifle Trinity Christian’s devastating rushing attack. The Stallions forced a punt for the first time of the game with 4:15 to play, then Lantigua went back to work, needling his way through Trinity for some nice yardage.

The drive stalled at the Trinity 29, and Troy Manheimer nailed a 46-yard field goal to get on the board. Maybe that will help with momentum in the second half, and if that doesn’t, then possibly American Heritage’s stop of Trinity Christian to end the half will. That’s two consecutive stops for the Stallions to close out the half after starting very poorly.

Halftime stats: Nestor Lantigua has nine carries for 87 yards, Greg Bryant has 18 yards on four carries. Marcus Davis is 1 for 4 for five yards and one pick. Trinity’s Andrew Buie has taken 16 carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns.

FIRST-QUARTER THOUGHTS
Play of the quarter: Fullback Marvel Taylor, the third back for Jacksonville-Trinity Christian busted loose for a big 36-yard run to erase any advantage American Heritage had earned on a 51-yard punt that pinned Trinity Christian back at its own 9.

How they started: American Heritage’s pocket has collapsed on almost every down. There just aren’t any lanes for the Stallions’ rushers early on. Quarterback Marcus Davis has completed one pass down field to Kyle Reynolds and it was short. In short, Trinity Christian is literally shedding blocks, shooting gaps and confident in its cover-zero, one-on-one secondary so far.

On offense, Trinity Christian racked up 116 yards rushing in the first quarter. The Stallions’ movement-based defense isn’t fooling the Conquerors, and the multiple-linebacker sets American Heritage runs haven’t gotten any penetration early on.

Stats: American Heritage has 19 total yards of offense after the first quarter. Marvel Taylor has 64 yards rushing, Andrew Buie has 39 yards and a touchdown.