Trinity looking to climb back into WPIAL football playoffs

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Saturday, August 17, 2019 | 11:10 AM


Jon Miller is embarking on his fifth season as Trinity’s football coach.

Miller and the Hillers are looking for a return to the WPIAL playoffs after missing out last season.

“We have a veteran team coming back, with some nice younger skill,” Miller said. “We are hoping to be much improved on both sides of the ball and make a push for the playoffs.

“The core of the offensive and defensive lines are back, so we are expecting them to carry the team.”

That would include senior guard/end Austin Beels, two-way senior tackles Avery Kern and Gage Martin, senior guard Mason Clemens, and Tyson Brophy, a junior defensive tackle.

“We have something special here at Trinity this year with lots of talent and hard workers,” Beels said. “People talk about us, saying we are this or that, but we are looking to make something special this year.

“We don’t have any excuses anymore. We have lots of guys returning from last year, and a full senior O-line with two great running backs. One goal we have is to start the season 2-0, or even better, 3-0. Trinity hasn’t done that in awhile. Getting that 2-0 or 3-0 jump will help us tremendously for our confidence and in the long run in trying to make the playoffs.”

Beels (6-3, 215), a former baseball player, is a two-year letterman. He started at left guard and defensive end last season, after playing on the special teams as a sophomore.

“Most of us have been nonstop in the weight room,” Beels said. “We started in November for optional lifting and haven’t stopped. Strength was our weakness last year; that’s what we’ve worked on the most from last year. We have guys squatting 500 pounds now. We push ourselves because we know what we can do this season.

“This is one of the best teams we have had in awhile (on paper). We just need to show it on the field. We expect big things, but we have to work for it. It’s not going to be given to us, and we don’t expect that. Coach Miller puts 100 percent effort into this team, and we try our best to return that.”

Other returning starters who will dot the lineup include juniors Kaden Kolson (QB), Micah Finley (RB/DB) and Peyton Thompson (FB/OLB); sophomore Drew Cain (RB/LB), and seniors Marquese Lacks (WR/DB), Talon Cain (WR/DB) and Bryan Byers (ILB).

Beels and Kern are expected to anchor the Hillers in the trenches.

“Austin Beels has been the most improved player over the offseason,” Miller said, “and we are looking for him and Avery Kern, who was an all-conference honorable mention selection, to anchor the lines this year.”

The 5-7, 155-pound Finley is a two-year letterman in both football and wrestling. He led the team in rushing last year and will see time in the “athlete” role in 2019.

“This is going to be a good season for us,” Finley said. “We have a lot of people that doubt us in this area, in our town, and even our homes, but that doesn’t change our energy on the field. My team has a bond that no other team has.

“We’ve been in the weight room almost every day getting bigger for this season. We’ve been focused on strength and conditioning mainly. I would have to say my team has a big heart. We don’t plan on losing many games this year.”

Kolson, who passed for 677 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore, will direct the offense once again with a season of experience under his belt.

Trinity may have a tough hill to climb to the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs as a member of the Big 8 Conference, which has been dominated by Thomas Jefferson and in recent years by Belle Vernon.

The Hillers finished 2-5 in the conference and 2-7 overall last season, allowing 35.6 ppg. There are 21 returning lettermen on this year’s squad.

“Our core group of players are close-knit and work very hard,” Miller said. “It is a very competitive conference that has been strengthened by some transfers and new coaches.

“It will be an exciting year and very competitive week in and week out in this conference.”

Schedule

Coach: Jon Miller

2018 record: 2-7, 2-5

All-time record: 367-503-37

Date, Opponent, Time

8.30, Greensburg Salem*, 7

9.6, West Mifflin*, 7

9.13, at Ringgold*, 7

9.20, Thomas Jefferson*, 7

9.27, at Indiana*, 7

10.4, Belle Vernon*, 7

10.11, at Penn-Trafford, 7:30

10.18, Knoch, 7

10.25, at Laurel Highlands*, 7

*Class 4A Big 8 Conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing: Kaden Kolson

677 yards, 4 TDs

Receiving: Cameron Moran*

12-224 yards, 1 TD

Rushing: Micah Finley

84-443 yards, 4 TDs

*Graduated

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