Facing fourth and goal from the nine yard line on your first possession of overtime isn’t easy.
The pressure to score is immense. Fail to get in and the opponent has a chance to walk off with a win on either a field goal or a touchdown.
Trinity didn’t let that happen Saturday night. After handing the ball off to John Thibault 19 times over the course of the game, the Pioneers faked to him and handed it to his younger brother James on a reverse, and he ran free before breaking a tackle at the 5-yard line and getting into the end zone. Trinity 31, Campbell 24.
Trinity came up with a big stop when it was the Cougars' turn to try to tie or win as Avery Fraser burst through a gap and stuffed Connor Sweeney in the backfield on fourth down, sealing the win.
“It was all because of my D-line,” Fraser said. “They opened the holes and I shot the gap.”
The game started in disaster for the Pioneers.
After receiving the opening kick off, Trinity’s Peter Alisandro was stripped of the football and the play ended with Campbell recovering on the 5-yard line, setting up first and goal.
Keegan Mills took a handoff on the Cougars’ first play from scrimmage and scored. A successful two-point conversion followed, putting Campbell ahead 8-0 with 11:45 remaining in the first period.
Three-and-a-half minutes later, the Trinity defense forced a three and out and took over on the Campbell 38-yard line. The Pioneers began the drive with a hand off to John Thibault, who took the ball down the right sideline and scored.
Liam McCoy tacked on a field goal at the 3:04 mark to give Trinity its first lead, 11-8.
The first half ended with a 47-yard Thibault rushing touchdown with 2:04 left before halftime. Trinity stood strong on Campbell’s ensuing possession and got off the field when Dante Taylor intercepted Carter Vedrani at the goal line.
Cam Barrett brought the Cougars within two when he scored on a two-yard rush with 8:40 to go in the third quarter. A little over seven minutes later, Vedrani completed a 35-yard pass to Barrett for the go-ahead touchdown on fourth and nine. Campbell led 24-18 going into the fourth.
John Thibault tied the game with a 14-yard rushing touchdown with 6:33 left in regulation.