The Trine University football team saw its season come to an end with a 31-7 defeat at the hands of St. Norbert (Wis.) College in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Division III Tournament at Fred Zollner Stadium in Angola, Ind.
Following a scoreless first quarter, Trine (10-1) broke the stalemate in the second period when senior Cayleel Hill (Owings Mills, Md./Owings Mills) intercepted a pass that came off the fingertips of a St. Norbert (10-1) wide receiver in Green Knight territory and returned it 27 yards for the score. The successful ensuing extra point by junior Lucas Garza (Syracuse, Ind./Wawasee) gave the Thunder a 7-0 advantage. But the score would end up being the lone TD for Trine as St. Norbert scored 31 unanswered points that included a pair of TDs in the second quarter on back-to-back one-yard runs en route to having a 14-7 advantage heading into halftime.
Defense kept Trine in the ball game for the majority of the third quarter that included holding the Green Knights to consecutive field goal attempts on back-to-back turnovers by Trine that gave St. Norbert the ball in Thunder territory. St. Nortbert was able to connect on its second field goal try following a Trine fumble, from 19 yards out that increased the deficit to 17-7 at the 6:07 mark. On Trine's next possession, St. Norbert's defense came up with points by stepping in front of a Thunder pass and went 26 yards to the endzone to make the score, 24-7. Turnovers continued to plague the Thunder as the Green Knights tacked on another score on Trine's ensuing drive thanks to a 35-yard fumble return for TD to end the scoring in the quarter and lead, 31-7, heading into the final period.
Trine looked to gain some needed momentum by driving to the visitor 10-yard line early in the fourth, but an interception in the St. Norbert endzone ended the possible scoring drive and gave the ball back to the Knights. The Trine offense couldn't get anything going after the turnover as St. Norbert went on to the 31-7 victory and advanced to the second round of the tournament.
Offensively, the Thunder were led by senior Lamar Carswell (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) who rushed for a team-high 110 yards on 32 carries. Quarterback Brandon Winters(Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) completed three-of-12 passes for 40 yards. Senior Jeffery Barnett (Fremont, Ohio/Ross) was the lone Trine receiver to record any catches and had three receptions for 40 yards.
On defense, junior Simeon Washington (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) had a game-tying high 11 tackles (four solo and seven assists). Hill finished with three tackles (one solo and two assists) to go along with his "pick 6." Senior Marcus Winters (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) recorded a fumble recovery to go along with four stops (one solo and three assists) and junior Mason McFarland (Berrien Springs, Mich./Berrien Springs) also had four tackles (three solo and one assist), including a quarterback sack. Junior Jonathan Fierro (Kokomo, Ind./Maconaquah) also had a forced fumble to round out the top performances on defense.
Trine ends its season with a 10-1 record and will take its current regular-season unbeaten streak (20 games) into next fall.
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