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Trinity wins CIF title in blowout fashion

Knights down rival Joshua Springs 47-0 for Division II 8-man crown

Posted: November 30, 2013 11:05 p.m.
Updated: November 30, 2013 11:05 p.m.

Trinity Classical Academy football head coach Mike Buchanan celebrates with his players after they defeated Joshua Springs on Saturday at Valencia High in the CIF-Southern Section Division II 8-man football championship game.

For a 10-minute span in the third quarter of Saturday night’s CIF-Southern Section Division II 8-man Championship, the Trinity Classical Academy Knights football team put forth its most complete effort of the 2013 season — and walked off the field at Valencia High School with a title because of it.

After entering halftime knotted in a scoreless slugfest, the Knights jumped all over four-time defending CIF champion Joshua Springs for the remainder of the game, winning 47-0 to bookend a special 2013 season with a CIF title.

“That’s our M.O., wear them out and beat them in the second half,” said Trinity head coach Mike Buchanan. “Incredible what these boys have done.”

For fans who love offense, nothing about Saturday night’s game was incredible early on.

Both Joshua Springs and Trinity entered their championship showdown averaging upwards of 47 points per contest, yet for 24 minutes neither unit was crisp.

In the first half, Trinity ran 24 plays for 78 yards. Joshua Springs ran 29 plays for 84 yards.

The only legitimate scoring opportunity generated by either team was when the Lightning (9-3) marched down the field and earned a first-and-goal opportunity from the Trinity 5-yard line with just over a minute remaining in the second quarter.

Four plays later, Knights junior Ryan Brooks knocked down a play-action pass as time expired, and the half ended in a 0-0 deadlock.

That was when Trinity’s Spencer Klehn took matters into his own hands.

On the second play of the third quarter, Klehn intercepted a pass from Lightning quarterback Isaiah Bates and returned the ball to the Joshua Springs 32-yard line.

The senior do-it-all playmaker finished things off from there, running it in from 13 yards to give Trinity a 6-0 lead with 9:47 to go in the third quarter.

“When they scored that first touchdown, our guys seemed to kind of shut down,” said Joshua Springs head coach Israel Hagerman. “We had a lot of sophomores out there, and this game proved to be a learning experience for all of them.”

As Hagerman touched upon, Trinity’s senior leadership proved to be the difference as the dynamic of the game shifted from defensive battle to all-out blowout.

Following the first touchdown, Trinity’s defense, led by senior linebacker Patch Kulp, forced a three-and-out.

One play later, Klehn threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Brooks that pushed the lead to 14-0.

And the points kept coming from there.

Kulp stripped Bates on the ensuing possession and, with 5:12 remaining, the Knights took a commanding 22-0 lead in the third quarter behind a 5-yard touchdown scamper from Klehn.

“I believe our conditioning was definitely a factor in this game,” said Klehn, who finished with 153 total yards and four touchdowns after he took an interception return to the house late in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 40-0.

“I was expecting to see success when I came here (to Trinity),” said Kulp, who had 15 tackles and two rushing touchdowns. “Our team chemistry grew as our coaching staff got more comfortable with our team — this feels great.”

Trinity lost to Joshua Springs in the semifinals of last year’s CIF playoffs.

The Lightning beat the Knights 36-34 earlier this season to deny Trinity a Heritage League Crown.

On Saturday, a running clock was in effect as Trinity counted down the seconds to its first-ever CIF title, up 47-0 against the same Joshua Springs team.

It’s hard for things to get much better than that.


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