Knights honor their 14 seniors in pregame ceremony
The Trinity Knights (3-6, 0-5) closed out their season with senior night on Friday, but it was not a happy ending as the Western Christian Fighting Lancers (5-5, 2-3) came out with the win, 36-12, in Mesquite League action at College of the Canyons’ Cougar Stadium.
“They fought hard. It’s a good group,” Trinity head coach Mike Parrinello said. “It’s sad to see these seniors go, been coaching a lot of these guys since they were in like first and second grade.”
Trinity will graduate 14 seniors, including Parrinello’s son, Nick. One of those seniors, Dominic Smith, scored the only points for the Knights, running in a 30-yard score early in the fourth before ripping off a 67-yard run for a touchdown midway through the final frame.
Smith, the starting quarterback for much of the season before an ankle injury sidelined him in the two previous games, was a game-time decision for coach Parrinello, but Smith wanted to play and close out his football career with a bang. He finished with 131 rushing yards on just seven attempts, though he was unable to get the passing game going, throwing three picks in his eight attempts.
“Dominic, he’s been a great quarterback for us all year,” coach Parrinello said. “It doesn’t surprise me. I know what he’s capable of. Coming in tonight, we weren’t sure what we had. He had the ankle injury, been out a couple of games. You know, I’m talking to him and he wanted to go, but we were going to kind of see how it looked and give him a few here and there and he seemed healthy enough. And obviously he was. You know, he’s dynamic, he brings us an edge that we just don’t always have.”
Besides those two plays, the Knights had trouble on both ends of the field. The Fighting Lancers scored three times in the first half, including a touchdown just over two minutes into the game, to take a 22-0 lead into the break. A touchdown late in the third and another just before Smith’s second score had the Knights chasing the entire game.
Many of Western Christian’s drives began in great field position due to Trinity penalties, while the Knights were handicapping themselves by committing turnovers on some of their big plays. Coach Parrinello said that those issues have been “the story of a lot of our losses this year.”
“We talk about our three major goals, and it’s to win the turnover game, win the special teams game and to have fewer penalties,” coach Parrinello said. “And you know, we lost all those and we lost a football game. And that’s pretty much been our season. We win those battles, we do well. We lose those battles – you know, it doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. And that’s something we’ll work on. That’s something we’ll get better for next year.”
Trinity’s starting quarterback, sophomore Noah Visconti, threw for 66 yards on 10-of-22 passing, throwing three interceptions. Senior Rocco Izzo had two catches for 13 yards, while senior Anderson Howell had four catches for 44 yards and an interception on defense on the final play of the third quarter.
It was an emotional ending for the Knights, who were in the midst of their first season in the Mesquite League, a season that coach Parrinello knew would be a challenge. But he also knew that his players would learn from the challenges and the losses even more than they would learn from beating teams that weren’t quite as good.
“We’re in one of those positions where we’re a small school,” coach Parrinello said. “You know, we don’t have a JV team. We don’t have a freshman team. So we got a bunch of freshmen out there, some of them never played football in their lives. The good part is, they’re learning from those seniors, they’re learning from our starters, they’ve learned at practice. They go against top-quality guys every day, and it makes them a heck of a lot better.”
After the game, all of the Trinity coaches made sure to thank each and every one of the players, and coach Parrinello was emotional saying goodbye to his son and the rest of the seniors, many of whom he’s known for over 10 years.
“We wanted to make sure they’re all starting and then we’re kind of going through it and go, ‘Yeah, they pretty much all start anyway,’” coach Parrinello said. “So we found a spot for all of them. We’ll never replace any of them. It was a great group.”
The focus now turns to next season, one in which the Knights will again be tasked with going through the Mesquite League, and coach Parrinello is looking forward to the challenge.
“Our expectation is we’re going to we’re going to step up,” coach Parrinello said. “We’ve always been next-guy-up mentality because we’re never a deep team. Injuries are a big part of this game. I’m grateful that a lot of these young guys got some opportunities to play even though it wasn’t a lot.
“We’ve got some really talented young guys, a very inexperienced bunch. This group [of seniors] at least had a little more football experience. So we’re gonna have to do a little more fundamental work, but talent wise, we got some guys, and a lot of them got some experience, so it’ll be exciting to see where they go.”