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Football 2014: Trinity Academy Knights

Published August 19 at 11 a.m. | Last updated August 15 at 3:09 p.m.

Depth is a concern each season for Trinity Academy coach Jared McDaniel. Numbers tend to be an issue, which is why he suits up 14 or 15 junior varsity players, and, during a 7-on-7 league in the summer, Trinity had 12 players while other teams had 40 or more.

Depth became a critical issue in 2013 for Trinity after it opened the season at 4-0 with wins over Cheney and Garden Plain. Suddenly injuries hit hard — running back/defensive back Tyler Burns suffered an ankle injury, and it got to a point where the Knights were so depleted at receiver that they were forced to use a third-string quarterback there, plus someone who had a broken finger.

“We’re one, two injuries away from that happening (again),” McDaniel said. “We need to stay healthy. We’ve got to increase our depth, and we’re trying.”

Trinity returns 17 starters, which has allowed a greater focus on expanding the schemes and spending little time on reviewing formations.

“This year it’s ‘you know it, let’s move on.’ That’s been big for us,” McDaniel said.

The offense is strong with Burns, who had 1,296 rushing yards in 2013 despite missing one game and most of two other games. Senior quarterback Matt Jones, who had a Central Plains League-high 1,043 passing yards.

“A lot of teams want to key on Tyler, which is fine,” McDaniel said. “In our read game, Matt can pull it and he may go to the house on you or he may not. He’ll definitely keep you honest. He has a very strong arm, and he’s just gotten stronger every summer since I’ve been here.”

The offensive line has been a question mark the past few seasons, although Jackson Troutman, Mitchell List and Jacob Meyerhoff are experienced. If the offensive line can provide the skill players with some time, Trinity can score.

“We try to take advantage of every scoring opportunity we have,” said McDaniel, whose team scored 267 points, nearly 30 per game. “We’re going to score points.”

Jones agreed.

“I feel that our strengths are in speed and scoring,” he said.

The defensive strength is in the experienced secondary with Burns, Josh Osborne, Jacob Johnson and Terrance Floyd.

A LOOK AT TRINITY ACADEMY

Coach: Jared McDaniel, third season, 9-9

League: Central Plains League

Last season: 5-4

Last five seasons: 23-22

Projected 2014 playoff team? Yes

TOP SKILL PLAYERS

Player Ht. Wt. Pos. Yr.
Tyler Burns6-0205RB-SSr.
Matt Jones6-3185QB-SSr.
Matt Harkness5-11180WRSr.
Josh Osborne5-11190WR-SJr.

TOP LINEMEN

Player Ht. Wt. Pos. Yr.
Jackson Troutman5-11200OL-DLJr.
Mitchell List6-3230OL-DLJr.
Garrett Kuntz6-0170DLSr.
Jacob Meyerhoff6-1255OL-DLJr.

2013 RESULTS

Opponent Score
ChaparralW,55-28
Belle PlaineW,59-0
CheneyW,7-0
Garden PlainW,47-26
Conway SpringsL,34-14
DouglassW,30-6
CollegiateL,49-14
AugustaL,28-24
Rose HillL,44-17

2014 SCHEDULE

Date Opponent
Sept. 5Douglass
Sept. 12at Independent
Sept. 19Chaparral
Sept. 26at Belle Plaine
Oct. 3at Cheney
Oct. 10at Conway Springs
Oct. 17Andale
Oct. 24at Haven
Oct. 31at Clearwater

Matt Jones on his team

What Trinity does well: “We’re not a real deep team, so staying together and fighting together is a big thing. We don’t have the numbers to bring kids in to stay fresh, so we stay together. We do that well.”

What has to improve: “Never giving up on a game. Even though, say, we’re down three touchdowns, you can’t give up.”