ARLINGTON, Texas -- With just over two minutes left in the game, Allen’s season was hanging in the balance.
On fourth down from the Euless Trinity 9-yard line, quarterback Alec Morris scrambled through the line to try to pick up the game-tying score. He pinballed off a few defenders but was brought down a yard short of the goal line.
That was it. Trinity had done it again. The Trojans downed Allen on Saturday at Cowboys Stadium, 28-21, in the area round of the 5A Division I playoffs for the second straight year.
Running back Joel Kimpela led the way for Trinity, rushing for 357 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries.
He was already over the 300-yard mark when he had to leave in the third quarter with an apparent injury to his right leg, but returned after Trinity’s defense stopped Morris and racked up 38 more yards as the Trojans put the game away.
“We just stick with the game plan and whatever comes each week, we just go with it,” said Kimpela, who was sidelined again with just seconds left on the clock but added that the injury was nothing and that he would be fine.
Fullback Wawa Leota helped provide running room for Kimpela.
Leota spent most of his day throwing monstrous lead blocks, including one that opened up a gaping hole for Kimpela to stroll through for a 4-yard touchdown in the second quarter to put Trinity up 19-0.
“No one is going to touch my running backs,” the 6-foot, 255-pound Leota said.
But Leota, who also plays on the defensive line, may have made his biggest play when he combined with linebackers Chris Fonokalafi and Safari Bolden to make the tackle on Morris a yard short of the goal line in crunch time.
“I saw him pull the ball and I saw him go up the middle and he made a play,” Leota said. “I saw his knee hit the ground, and it was a big play we made as a team.”
Allen’s high-powered offense was held to just 248 yards for the game and had converted only one first down midway through the second quarter.
The Eagles made a surge in the third quarter, scoring on a 75-yard interception return by Alex Miller and a 12-yard run by Jonathan Williams.
Trinity was able to keep the lead through the frame thanks to a 45-yard rush by Kimpela and a 46-yard field goal from Austin Lopez. Lopez hit from 49 yards out and from 21 in the first quarter on a 3-for-4 night.
Trinity only loss at Cowboys Stadium in the last two years came against Pearland in last year’s 5A Division I state final. So the Trojans know a win over Allen in the 5A Division I area round doesn’t guarantee anything.
“It only gets tougher from here,” Kimpela said.
Trinity will host Arlington Martin at Saturday at Pennington Field.