Trinity Football Opens With Victory Over Howard Payne
San Antonio – The 16th-ranked Tiger football team opened its 2012 season with a 56-7 win over Howard Payne University on Saturday evening.
Trinity opened with a victory for the 21st consecutive season, dating back to a 1991 season-opening loss to Hamline. The Tigers have also now won 12 consecutive regular season games.
The offensive outburst marks the 30th time in school history that Trinity has scored 50 or more points in a game – the last being a 62-point effort in 2011.
Trinity’s offense piled up 478 yards in the game – including 381 yards passing from three different Tiger quarterbacks. Defensively, the Tigers picked up where they left off last year by forcing four turnovers, and holding Howard Payne to just 233 yards of total offense.
Tight end Mason Lytal led all players with five catches for 124 yards and a school record-tying four touchdowns. Lytal doubled his season total from all of last year in tonight’s game, and becomes the third player to score four receiving touchdowns in a game. Trinity Hall of Famer Bill Hodge was the first, in 1972, followed by Jason Hunt in 2001.
Also tying a school record was kicker Garrett Biel, who connected on 8-8 extra points in the game. Biel also had eight PAT’s against Rhodes last season, tying the record originally set by Todd Canion – who did it twice in 2002.
After the Tiger defense forced a turnover on the second play of the game, the offense took advantage with a 53-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Hagen Kattner. Lytal then caught his first touchdown of the night on the next drive, and it was 14-0 after the opening quarter.
Trinity had two more touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 28-0 lead into halftime, with Lytal and Matthew Kennemer hooking up with quarterback Nykolas McKissic for two more scores.
The Tigers started the second half just like they did the first, as the defense forced a turnover on the first play from scrimmage. The very next play was the third TD of the game from McKissic to Lytal.
McKissic connected on 14-17 passes in the game, throwing for 274 yards and six touchdowns. His last pass was the record-tying touchdown to Lytal, making it 42-0 at the time. McKissic is the second person in Trinity history to throw for more than five touchdowns in one game, trailing only record-holder Roy Hampton’s six TD passes in 2001.
Backup quarterback Mason Blaschke ran in the final score of the third quarter with 61 seconds left, then he also left the game midway through the fourth quarter. First-year Robert Broyles came on and threw just one pass in the fourth quarter, connecting on a 43-yard pass to Jordan Funches for the team’s final score.
Howard Payne got on the scoreboard in the final minute, scoring from 10 yards out with 22 seconds to play. It was just the third drive of the day that covered more than 40 yards. Trinity’s defense had held Howard Payne to just 37 yards of offense in the second half, before that 66-yard drive.
Funches finished with his first career 100-yard game, catching four passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. Kennemer nearly made it three Tiger players with 100 yards receiving, finishing with 92 yards on three receptions.
A trio of Tiger defenders led the game with seven tackles. Jai Boatman had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery to go with his seven tackles, while both J.P. Sanchez and Nick Darling also had seven. Phillip Hiner-Leamon had two fumble recoveries along with four tackles, while Thomas Puskarich had four stops and the game’s only interception.
Trinity returns to action next weekend against Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas. The two teams have both scored lopsided wins the last two meetings. Trinity won 43-14 in San Antonio last year, but TLU scored a 42-14 victory the last time the two teams met in Seguin.