ALLEN (11-0) vs. EULESS TRINITY (11-0)
2 p.m. Saturday at Cowboys Stadium
What: Class 5A Division I Region 1 area game
Here’s what the Trinity Trojans must do to get past the Eagles:
Hog the football: The Trojans affectionately refer to their offensive linemen as the Hogs. Dominating play by the massive offense line has been a cornerstone in Trinity’s three state championships since 2005. Nothing has changed this season. Operating behind a forward wall that includes UCLA commit Hika Lutui, the Trojans are averaging 327 rushing yards per game. Joel Kimpela leads the rushers with 1,645 yards and 22 touchdowns. The more clock Trinity’s drives consume, the fewer times Allen QB Alec Morris gets his hands on the ball.
When least expected, throw: It is a staple of Trinity’s attack to run the ball play after play, forcing the opposing secondary to creep closer to the line of scrimmage. Then, when the time is right, the Trojans love to send a receiver deep for a big play. Trinity has only 59 pass completions this season, but seven have gone for touchdowns.
If it comes down to a field goal: In Trinity’s 37-35 area playoff victory over Allen in 2010, the Trojans kicked three field goals. Senior Austin Lopez hasn’t been needed often this season, but he's connected on field goals of 44, 43 and 37 yards, the latter in overtime for the winning points in a 38-35 District 6-5A victory over Colleyville Heritage.
Maintain turnover trend: Trinity is +11 in turnovers this season. The Trojans’ defense has intercepted 12 passes and recovered 11 fumbles. Despite twice losing three fumbles in games against Abilene and Irving MacArthur, Trinity lost only four fumbles in the other nine games. The Trojans had only two passes intercepted, both against rival Hurst L.D. Bell.
Let’s get physical: Aggressive tackling is a trademark of the Trinity defense. Getting more than one defender to the football and delivering forceful hits eventually wears down an opponent's skill players. LB Brian Nance and DE Polo Manukainiu, an Oklahoma commit, are two of the Trojans’ best.
Remember who they are: With its Haka ancestral dance, the massive size of its linemen and the current run of incredible success (93-7 the last seven seasons), Trinity brings a certain intimidation factor to the table. Although conservative in his overall approach, coach Steve Lineweaver has shown many times in the playoffs that he's capable of making a daring call. The Trojans rarely get flustered and know how to win.