MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – We continue our 2021 High School Football Previews series by taking a look at the small, but mighty, Trinity Christian Warriors.
“We finished up eighteenth last year, one victory away from making (the playoffs). It was bitter sweet. And we know what the expectation is this year,” said head coach Chris Simpson.
After finishing the 2019 season on an eight-game losing streak, Trinity Christian went 4-3 in 2020, falling just short of making the postseason.
As the program enters Year No. 3 of its return to the gridiron, the goals and expectations are simple.
“I think we’re going to be a lot better than we were last year, and I want us to make the playoffs,” said senior lineman, Jack Burrell.
“The next goal would be to make the playoffs. That’s definitely the goal for this year,” Levi Teets, the Warriors junior running back, said.
But how does this upstart program accomplish that goal?
“Strafing. That’s what coach always says. You got to work. I think, again, our skills, working hard. Our linemen are always working hard,” sophomore quarterback, Jaylon Hill said.
“We just got to keep putting in the work. I think we’re doing really well so far this year. We’ve been going hard in the weight room, on the field. So, I think we’re headed in the right direction,” added Teets.
Hill will start at quarterback this year after being a wideout last season. He doesn’t have a ton of quarterbacking experience, but is a good athlete, and appears to have the traits necessary of a good QB.
While Hill will mostly work with short passes in Simpson’s offense, the true big-play capability lies in the backfield with Teets.
“There’s a couple plays last year where I was a couple steps away from breaking it for a touchdown. I thought that through the offseason I would work, just making sure those plays, this season, would be touchdowns for sure,” Teets said.
Trinity’s most noticeable improvement from last season may be the size on the offensive and defensive lines. You can tell the Warriors have gotten bigger just by looking at them.
Leading the way up front is Burrell.
“I just try to push them to be the best that they can be. Not necessarily pushing them down, but I try picking them up, and show them what to do if they don’t know what they’re doing,” said Burrell. “I try my best to be a good leader all the time.”
The growth on this team isn’t just in the trenches, but across the board, and not just physically.
The warriors are a more tight-knit unit now than ever before. According to the players, and to Simpson, they did it on their own.
“I think culture takes care of itself. When you say close as a program, when you meet expectations, when you rise above expectations, it brings folks together,” said Simpson. “They buy in to the system itself. It’s unbelievably important. So these kids, they’ve done it on their own, and organic growth is the best kind of growth.”
Trinity Christian begins the season at home against Bridgeport (OH) on Sept. 3. The Warriors’ open date is scheduled for the first week of the season.