The Euless Trinity Trojans and Allen Eagles will square off at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington Saturday night in the second round of the Texas 5A Division I Football Playoffs. Only, this match-up goes beyond just Saturday night’s contest. These two teams have a recent history as the Trojans and Eagles have gotten to know each other quite well.
Saturday’s game will mark the third straight season that Trinity and Allen have met each other and their fourth meeting overall during that time. The Eagles have taken two of the previous three games while the Trojans have won once. In fact, the Eagles are the last team to have defeated the Trojans after winning on September 18 last season by a score of 35-28. Allen is also the last playoff team to win against Trinity after the 2008 state quarterfinal game that the Eagles won 34-21.
Around the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the rivalry has become pretty well-known. It’s not a bitter rivalry of hatred or ill will, but more like a pair of friends that hate to lose to each other with a bit of good-natured ribbing in for good measure. While every basket of apples does have a few rotten ones, these teams tend to leave it all on the field and won’t allow it to carry beyond that. Nevertheless, this game should feature some intriguing match-ups, especially when Allen has the ball.
The key to victory for the Eagles will be the ability to get the ball to junior running back Jonathan Williams. He’s the area’s second-best 5A rusher in yardage with 2,010 yards on the year and has scored 19 touchdowns this season. However, he’ll face the area’s only 5A defense that has allowed less than 1,000 total rushing yards this season. Further more, the Trojans are the only area defense to have allowed less than 1,200 rushing yards for the year. But the Eagles do have other options offensively.
Yardage-wise, Allen Quarterback Alec Morris ranks eighth among passers with 2,316 passing yards along with 19 touchdown passes and six interceptions. He’s been fairly accurate this season, but the Trojan defense completely shut down an accurate passer last week against South Grand Prairie.
Junior receiver Andrew Rodriguez is the possession receiver of the offense, who leads the team with 44 pass receptions and 597 yards with three touchdowns. He catches well and will move the chains for the Eagle offense while clearing the passing lanes for his team-mate Jonathon Lee. Lee is the deep threat of the Allen air attack and has made some big plays for the Eagles this year. His 596 receiving yards are just one shy of Rodriguez’s total, but came on just 31 receptions for a 19.2 yard per reception average and six scores.
Stopping the versatile attack of the Eagle offense will prove pivotal for the Trojans in this second round playoff game. If Trinity can force turnovers or string together several three-and-out possessions from Allen, then the Trojans will win handily. However, a few big plays here and there to disrupt Trinity’s timing and control the clock could pave the way for a possible upset.