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PIAA Football

PIAA Football: Trinity has the chance to write more history in 2A quarterfinal vs. Executive Education

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Since finishing the 2021 season with a 3-6 record, the Trinity football team has completed a 6-4 regular season in 2022, captured its first District 3 title since 2010 and won its first PIAA contest in program history.

The Shamrocks’ historic run continues into the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinals when they host District 11 champion Executive Education at COBO Field at 7 p.m. Friday.

Here’s a look at the matchup.

Executive Education (8-3) at Trinity (9-4)

How they got here: Trinity’s first state tournament victory came by way of a 24-0 shutout against West Catholic in a sub-region game. Executive downed District 2 champion Lakeland 42-15 in a first-round contest.

Next up: The winner advances to next week’s semifinals and draws the winner between Bishop Guilfoyle and Southern Columbia.

Number to know: 14.6. While the Shamrock offense has run roughshod for a total 138 points this postseason, the Trinity defense has fenced in opposing offenses. The ‘Rocks have allowed an average 14.6 points per game in the playoffs, highlighted by last week’s blanking of the Burrs. Prior to the shutout, Trinity contained Delone Catholic to 17 points and Annville-Cleona to 27 in the District 3 playoffs.

Trinity player to watch: Tucker Paynter. The junior linebacker leads the Shamrocks with five sacks this season, and two came in the last week’s win over West Catholic. In addition to the pair of quarterback wraps, Paynter notched two more sticks for loss in a seven-tackle performance. He’s compiled 73 total stops this fall.

Executive player to watch: Darmel Lopez. The senior quarterback is the engine that keeps the Raptors’ momentum flowing. Through the first eight games of the season, Lopez threw for 1,695 yards and 18 touchdowns while completing 55% of his passes. To complement the aerial assault, Lopez picked up 183 rushing yards and added another two scores.

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Additional notes: Trinity has a chance to write more history with a win Friday, the Shamrocks’ third quarterfinal-round appearance. The Raptors’ victory over Lakeland was the first state tournament game and win in the program’s history.

Christian Eby is a sports reporter for The Sentinel and cumberlink.com. You can contact him at ceby@cumberlink.com and follow him on Twitter at: @eby_sports

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