Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Last Season's Last-Second Loss Fuels Trinity; Conquerors' Rivals Episcopal, Providence Also Set Sights Higher

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Last Season's Last-Second Loss Fuels Trinity; Conquerors' Rivals Episcopal, Providence Also Set Sights Higher

Article excerpt

Byline: Clayton Freeman

Trinity Christian's football season starts Friday in St. Augustine. The Conquerors have one place in mind for its conclusion.

Destination: The Citrus Bowl in Orlando, site of the FHSAA championships.

"We're going week by week," said tackle Kavaris Harkless. "But our big objective is to go to state."

The three-time state champions thought they were on their way last season. That's when they found that come November, nothing can be taken for granted.

Just when it seemed that everything was falling into place, the Conquerors tumbled out of the Class 3A first round in a 22-21 heartbreaker against Pensacola Catholic.

"We talk a lot about it," coach Verlon Dorminey said. "Not something we are used to."

Trinity led for most of the night, fell behind on a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, and looked on in anguish as their chip-shot field goal attempt was slapped down in the waning seconds.

"In that game, we were up 21-7 and got kind of relaxed at halftime," defensive coordinator Gerard Ross said. "Things didn't go our way in the end, so we've got to have more of a killer instinct."

That killer instinct begins on defense.

Dorminey calls it the team's biggest strength. The Conquerors restricted opponents to single digits in seven of their 11 games last year. With a remarkably deep junior class, this year's version could be even better.

Junior cornerback Kevin Toliver has earned acclaim from ESPN as the nation's No. 2 prospect in the class of 2015. He's already committed to LSU, which has become the unofficial Cornerback U of the 21st century after fielding star corners Corey Webster, Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne within the last decade.

"Once you put him on the other team's best receiver, you pretty much don't have to worry about him the rest of the game because he can handle a receiver by himself," Ross said.

Those man-to-man skills have enabled Ross to install an array of sophisticated blitzes and coverage schemes. …

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