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Arlington Martin wins battle with Euless Trinity

BEDFORD, Texas -- Four times in the last five years, Arlington Martin’s football season ended in a playoff loss to Euless Trinity.

On Saturday afternoon, in conditions made difficult by howling wind, Martin finally decided enough was enough.

The Warriors beat Trinity at its own game with better execution of fundamentals in a 19-7 victory in front of a packed house of 12,500 at Pennington Field.

Martin (12-1) advances to the Class 5A Division I Region I title game against the winner of today’s second game matching Southlake Carroll and Arlington Bowie.

“We won the battle up front today and that’s a heck of thing to say when you’ve just played Euless Trinity,’’ Martin coach Bob Wager said.

Martin’s defense did the unthinkable, limiting the powerful Trinity offense to no first downs in the second half and only three for the game. The Trojans lost one yard on their only pass completion and finished with 134 total yards.

“They’re physical, so we just had to be physical right back,’’ said Martin defensive end Devonte Fields. “I’m just glad we finally got them. We showed a lot of people who didn’t believe in us.’’

Bi-district games between Trinity and Martin weren't close in 2006 (41-0) and 2007 (31-0).

Martin closed the gap the last two seasons in third-roun playoff losses to the Trojans, 37-19 in 2009 and 42-21 a year ago. In both games, Martin stuck with Trinity only to fade in the fourth quarter.

This time, it was Martin that had the fourth quarter surge. A 46-yard field goal by Ben Grogan snapped a 7-7 tie with 8:47 to play, capping a 51-yard drive.

Running back Kyle Hicks iced it with a 19-yard touchdown run in the final minutes after Trinity had taken an intentional safety.

“That has to be the sweetest touchdown I’ve scored,’’ said Hicks, who led all rushers with 20 carries for 125 yards. “I had to put some bumps and bruises out of my mind and run my hardest.’’

Martin quarterback Brodie Lambert completed 8-of-16 passes for 80 yards, including two big ones to Eric Hughes. A 24-yarder set up the first touchdown and a 25-yarder led to the field goal.

“I’ve never played in wind like that,’’ said Lambert, who was being treated for strep throat just hours before kickoff. “We knew it would come down to the wire with two good teams. Our defense was outstanding. Once we got the field goal to go ahead, I knew we had it.’’

Trinity (12-1) never led, but answered Martin’s early touchdown in the second quarter on a 51-yard run by Joel Kimpela (17 carries, 88 yards).

Penalties wiped out a couple of promising Trinity runs. Trinity narrowly missed avoiding a delay penalty that nullified a long fourth-down run to the Martin 23 in the final quarter.

“Just when we were saying, ‘All right, we broke one,’ it would come back,’’ said Trinity coach Steve Lineweaver.

Trinity came into the game with a 31-4 playoff record over the last eight seasons.

“The wind was a factor for both teams,’’ Lineweaver said. “Martin got its pads lower and won the battles on both sides of the ball. I thought we had a chance when we went to halftime tied, but we couldn’t get anything going in the third quarter when we had the wind.

“They did a better job of blocking and tackling,’’ Lineweaver said.