In a meeting of crosstown rivals, five players were ejected as Trinity Christian earned a 56-15 win against Village Christian to claim the NCISAA Big East Conference crown.
After a pushing and shoving match early in the first quarter, the referees decided to kick out three Crusaders (Chris Herbert, Amarion Mack, Zovon Lindsay) and two Knights (Chris McKay, B.J. McCrimmon).
“This game would have been great if that wouldn’t have happened in the beginning," said Trinity Christian coach Chuck Webster.
"Hopefully, all of us can learn from it and move on. I knew that we had the potential for emotions to spill over in the game. It was very emotional. I don’t know exactly what happened because it was on their sideline. Luckily, that’s one thing that we can have the state look at. Hopefully, they can get their guys back and we can get our guys back. … We both want good, wholesome competition.”
Knights coach Emerson Martin added: “I honestly think this is a game that’s been building all year. A lot of stuff was talked on social media with guys getting after each other. It happens in a rivalry. We lost a couple of key guys in Chris and B.J. Losing those two guys, they’re hard to replace. It was just hard to adjust. ”
Following the brief delay, Village Christian (9-1, 5-1) jumped out an early lead with a safety before Trinity (9-0, 5-0) answered with 28 first-quarter points to quickly put the game out of reach.
“In between the lines, it’s war. But at the end of the day, it’s all love," said Jeff Woods, a senior defensive lineman who helped the Crusaders force three turnovers.
"We don’t want anybody to get hurt, We just want to play to the best of our ability and get that win. I knew this was my last regular-season game. We had to give it all we’ve got.”
Trinity Christian, which finished with an unbeaten regular-season mark for the second consecutive year, recovered three fumbles in the opening period and cruised into the half with a 34-2 lead.
“That was big, having those takeaways," Webster said. "We had the safety on the punt snap, but I felt we were the better team. … I thought we executed fairly well offensively in the first half and the defense was lights out. It was good stuff tonight.”
Trinity Christian quarterback Trevon Jones and running back Cha’Von McEachern each accounted for three touchdowns, with tailback Cris Washington adding two more on the ground. McEachern rushed for 119 yards on 15 carries.
Jones, who rushed for 192 yards on eight carries, said "it never gets old" beating Village Christian.
"It’s a rivalry," he said with a smile. "They never beat us, but it’s still a rivalry. We know them and they know us. It’s just a big rivalry that we love to play.”
Washington’s 2-yard run in the final two minutes capped the night for the Crusaders, who scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Jones, who had touchdown runs of 48 and 15 yards, found Deumbre Ginyard for a 14-yard score earlier in the period.
Village Christian quarterback Tim Grate added two passing touchdowns in the second half, connecting with Orlando Flowers for a 41-yard score and Adam Norman on a 66-yard catch to give the Knights a 13-8 advantage in the third quarter.
Martin said Trinity Christian continues to be "the standard."
“To be the champ, you’ve got to beat the champ," he said.
"That’s always the case. I think player-wise, skill-wise, we’re on the same level. They’ve just got older players and we’ve got younger players.”
Staff writer Rodd Baxley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-486-3519.
TRINITY CHRISTIAN 56, VILLAGE CHRISTIAN 15
VC — Safety, ball snapped out of the end zone
TC — Trevon Jones 14 run (Raymond Campos kick)
TC — Cris Washington 4 run (Campos kick)
TC — Cha’Von McEachern 24 run (Campos kick)
TC — Jones 15 run (kick failed)
VC — Orlando Flowers 41 pass from Tim Grate (kick failed)
TC — McEachern 6 run (McEachern run)
VC — Adam Norman 66 pass from Grate (Cody Groover kick)
TC — Deumbre Ginyard 14 pass from Jones (Washington run)
TC — Washington 2 run (run failed)
Rushing: TC — McEachern 15-119, Jones 8-192.
Passing: TC — Jones 2-7-1, 20. VC — Grate 4-11-0, 89.
Receiving: TC — Ginyard 1-14. VC — Norman 1-66, Flowers 1-41.
Records: Trinity Christian 9-0, 5-0; Village Christian 9-1, 5-1.