Trinity's improved offense showed up against Staples on Friday, but for the Crusaders, it was far too late. Trinity had an opportunity to take advantage of Staples' mistakes in the second quarter, but squandered it with mistakes of its own. The offense could not get on the board until late in the fourth quarter, by which time Staples had built an insurmountable lead. The Crusaders fell in the opener, 31-16.
"You can't make mistakes like we did against a team like this," Trinity head coach Pete Stokes said. "Staples owned our defensive line. We could have come back from 14 points, but after that they really took the wind out of us."
Trinity was on its heels early when the defending FCIAC champions came out with a strong drive to the end zone in the first quarter. Things turned for Trinity when it recovered a fumble early in the second quarter. But then running back Tre Crumbley fumbled the ball right back to Staples. The seesaw went back Trinity's way when Sammy Dominguez intercepted on the next play. Then Trinity gave the ball back again on a Mike Rivas fumble. Four possessions. Four turnovers.
From that point on, Staples was nearly flawless, picking apart the Crusaders' defense. Staples quarterback Chet Pajolek hit Jason Mawicke for multiple deep passes, including a 46-yard touchdown. Trinity finally got things going late in the fourth quarter with three impressive drives. Mike Rivas provided the offensive highlight of the day for Trinity, muscling through multiple defenders for a 36-yard touchdown run. Rivas provided a second short touchdown run after a spectacular 32-yard catch by Shawn Robinson. But it was too little, too late.
"We played physical football, we got to them, but then we laid back," Stokes said. "It doesn't get any easier next week against New Canaan."
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