Monday, February 26, 2024

Crosstown Rival Hands Trinity Disappointing Season-Ending Loss

Trinity and Camp Hill have long had a spirited rivalry that dates back some 50 years, as the two, same-town schools have had some memorable battles in various sports. Added to the unforgettable clashes was the Class 2A District 3 football championship on a frosty November 10 at Trinity’s COBO field, where the underdog Camp Hill Lions handed Trinity a loss not easy to swallow by the ’Rocks’ faithful that had been hoping to make another deep run into the state playoffs just as they had done last season.

The Lions of Camp Hill dress less than 24 players and their sideline is not loaded with bodies, nor do they put Division I type talent on the field. But that’s not the case with Trinity, as they are deep at skill positions and boast athletes who will soon be playing in front of 100,000-plus crowds at college stadiums. But, Camp Hill, after narrowly losing to Trinity earlier this season at COBO, came ready to play.

After Trinity went 7-0 in the first quarter following a nifty gimpy-ankled jaunt by Penn State bound Messiah Mickens, Camp Hill struck right back to knot the score. As the first half closed, Trinity added a field goal to take a three-point lead into the locker room.

Camp Hill’s energy and heart were on full display in the second half, as they sniffed a chance at upsetting a bitter rival who, to be fair, has been hobbled by injuries of late and whose energy level and determination to win seemingly did not equal what the Lions were playing with.

Two key turnovers – one a careless fumble by Mickens late in the third quarter, and a numbing interception on an ill-aimed throw by quarterback Caleb Wray – helped give Camp Hill a 13-10 lead midway through the fourth quarter. Add a couple of Trinity personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties that also shortened the field for the Lions, it seemed Camp Hill took advantage of every gift the ’Rocks wrapped for them. On the other hand, Camp Hill took care of the football and limited yellow flags thrown their way, and that is a recipe for winning football games when the stakes are high in November.

Still, Trinity regained its composure and, with seven minutes left in the game, began a lengthy drive behind the wheels of running back Christian Joy, who marched the ’Rocks down the field on eight consecutive carries in which he gained some five yards with every pop off-tackle to set Trinity up to score with little time left for Camp Hill to answer. But the drive stalled inside the red zone, and Trinity had to settle for a terrific 32-yard field goal by Kieran Finegan to knot the score at 13 with only 2:32 left in the game.

It took less than 90 seconds for a focused Camp Hill offense to drive the length of the field and score the go-ahead touchdown as Trinity’s defense was low on fuel by game’s end. Again though, with less than a minute to go, Trinity, behind a couple of big plays, had the moved ball inside Camp Hill’s 25-yard-line in short order with time outs still left to spend. They had a couple of cracks at the end zone as time waned to tie the score, but Camp Hill stiffened and Trinity’s season came to a disappointing end as the Lions jubilantly celebrated their district title on their rival’s home turf, which is not the way the ‘Rocks (8-4) dreamed their season would finish.

(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)

By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness

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