HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
Trenton turns to Stokes for boost in playoff victory
Published: Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 11:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 11:24 p.m.
With his team backed up at the 1-yard line on Friday night, Trenton coach Andrew Thomas was not looking for any magic from his two-minute drill against Lafayette. He was simply searching for an escape to halftime.
The top-ranked Tigers had fallen behind 19-7 early in the Class 1A, Region 3 final and badly needed a spark. However, Trenton's previously emotionless offense had inspired little confidence to attempt a 99-yard drive on the Hornets.
“They came out and hit us in the mouth early on,” Thomas said. “We were kind of fortunate it didn't get away from us any worse than that.”
Instead, the Tigers gave senior running back Cedric Stokes a carry to run out the clock and supply some breathing room.
Eighty-eight yards later, the coach was changing his tune.
“That play pretty much turned it around,” Thomas said. “We're on our 1-yard line with under a minute to go and he busts that one. It definitely changed the momentum of the whole game and settled us down. We come out of the second half like a different team.”
Stokes' long run gave Trenton the ball at Lafayette's 11-yard line and led to a 10-yard touchdown score two plays later that cut the Hornets' lead to five before the break.
In the second half, Stokes helped Trenton's triple option attack explode for 28 points in the Tigers' 42-26 comeback win by rushing for 207 yards on 23 carries.
Stokes' 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter gave Trenton a 20-19 lead for the first time in the game.
“His whole demeanor and attitude changed last year,” Thomas said. “He kind of became a believer in what he could be and what this team could be. ... You can see it in his eyes come game time, he's a leader for us on the field without a doubt.”
Advancing to the state semifinals, the Tigers (12-0) will travel to take on a 9-3 Newberry team, led by running back Ra'kheem Hoyt's 103-yard performance, that defeated No. 2 Union County last Friday.
“When you make a run like we're doing,” Thomas said, “and the same thing can be said for Newberry with the Hoyt kid, you got to have kids like that step up and take over.”
RALPH WEBB, GAINESVILLE: Webb helped the top-ranked Hurricanes rebound from four turnovers to beat Vanguard 21-10 at Citizens Field with 174 rushing yards on 16 carries. The senior running back also scored on two long runs and will advance with Gainesville to the Region 2-6A state final against Seffner Armwood.
SAM MALNIK, OAK HALL: The junior center midfielder scored five goals and had two assists Tuesday in the Eagles' boys team's 8-1 win against Baldwin.
KENNY SCOTT, BUCHHOLZ: After falling behind 34-0 at Lincoln, Scott led a late Buchholz surge with 293 yards and a touchdown in the Bobcats' 34-21 Class 7A playoff loss. The senior running back's numbers were aided by runs of 86, 54, 39 and 30 yards.
STEPHEN SMITH, TRENTON: A junior QB, Smith helped complete top-ranked Trenton's comeback against Lafayette with 13 carries for 139 rushing yards in the Tigers' 42-26 playoff win.
J.R. BASS, LAFAYETTE: Bass, a senior running back, rushed for 197 yards and scored two touchdowns on runs of 62 and 74 yards to help the Hornets jump out to an early 13-0 lead in their eventual 42-26 loss to Trenton.
RA'KHEEM HOYT, NEWBERRY: The senior running back had 23 carries for 103 yards and two touchdowns in the Panthers' 18-13 playoff upset of Union County.
ERNIE THEURER, OAK HALL: A left forward, Theurer netted a hat trick against Baldwin. Along with three goals, the junior dished two assists in the 8-1 win.
AILEY TEBBETT, OAK HALL: The eighth-grader made 52 saves in two losses and a tie last week for the Eagles' girls team.
JORDAN REGISTER, SANTA FE: The junior midfielder scored a combined thee goals and three assists in a win against Newberry and a tie with P.K. Yonge.
HANNAH SHANKMAN, SANTA FE: A sophomore goalkeeper, she made 10 saves last week and allowed one goal in two games.
Athletes of the week are determined by nominations from area coaches. Coaches are asked to call in every Sunday between 4-7 p.m.