Senior Night was a big deal for Trinity Catholic High School’s football team — the start of district playoffs and a hoped-for run to the state championship.
Trinity Catholic, 8-2, headed into districts Oct. 26 with seven straight wins. They made it eight straight with an 88-0 win against Sumner on Senior Night at Trinity.
The night represented much more for the school because this class of seniors has elevated the school’s football program to an elite level. In 2016, the team finished second in the state playoffs, and they’ve been among the top teams all four of the seniors’ years.
The senior players and cheerleaders were introduced at halftime along with their parents. Many will play in college, including 6-foot-3 wide receiver Marcus Washington. He announced before the game that he will attend the University of Texas.
“The senior class came in together as freshmen, and they grew and matured together,” Trinity head coach Terrence Curry said. “They’re the glue for our team this year. They stepped up and helped us out a lot.”
The senior class brought attention to Trinity and its football program, Curry said. “A lot of colleges come out. They still do to look at these guys.”
Curry appreciates that “we have a lot of talent, but we also have a lot of guys who are more concerned about the team. I commend them for that,” Curry said.
A former assistant coach at Trinity, he’s in his first year as head coach; he replaced Cory Patterson, who left to be an assistant coach at the University of Illinois. A St. Louis native, Curry is a 1999 graduate of Kirkwood High School and a member of its hall of fame. He played football at the University of Missouri from 1999-2003. As a defensive back, wide receiver and running back, he was a team captain at Mizzou as a senior.
“I learned from Coach (Gary) Pinkel at Mizzou that it’s not about the individual, it’s about the team,” Curry said. At Trinity, “we had some rough days, some moments we still had to fight through it, but we got through it. Our main goal is to go to state and win it as a team, not each individual get individual awards.”
The team focuses on faith and God’s role in their lives, he said. “We practice our faith as well as our athletics, so we keep God in everything we do.”
Quarterback Isaiah Williams, a senior headed to the University of Illinois, said “every time I step on the football field, I’m giving it my all and doing it for the greater glory of God.”
The focus is on the state championship, he said, but “the main thing is getting better day by day, week by week.”
Bryce Childress, a wide receiver and defensive back, said he played against some of his teammates in a youth football program. “When we came together we saw what we could do as a collective group. We bonded as a team.”
Most people don’t realize “the real hard work” it takes at practices to play together as a unit, he said.
“I just give everything to God. Sometimes things don’t go our way, like last year we lost by two points in the district championship. But we always keep faith and we know how to get there. We have to use each other and use God,” Childress said.
Casey Clark, a senior kicker, is in her first year with the team. Before the season, Curry asked Clark’s mom, Beth, to recommend students to try out for a sorely needed spot as a kicker. Beth, a physical education and health teacher at Trinity, recommended her daughter. Casey said that her mom, Curry and the other players encouraged her to go for it.
“I ended up really liking it and had fun with it,” she said. “Everyone’s very welcoming, especially to me. It’s a family atmosphere. I like when the fans cheer us on. It makes me feel special and excited for the future.”
The season began with a 42-14 loss to a team in Georgia, then a loss in three overtimes to East St. Louis High School. Trinity’s win steak included 48-0 win vs. St. Louis University High School and 33-0 over La Salle of Cincinnati.
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A quality athletic program enhances the experience for students at any high school, according to Dan Grumich, athletic director at Trinity Catholic High School. “Obviously success on the field or court is exciting for the athletes themselves but also for the overall student population. Athletic success leads to more excitement and a much better atmosphere at athletic events.”
Trinity, which formed with a merger of Aquinas-Mercy and Rosary High Schools in 2003, has eight second-place finishes and one third-place finish in state playoffs in boys and girls soccer and a second-place finish in football in 2016, according to the Missouri State High School Activities Association.
This fall, the girls softball team won the district title; the girls volleyball team won 14 games before exiting the district playoffs in semifinals; and the boys soccer team won 13 games and advanced to its district championship game.