With an undefeated, 9-0 record in its first 11-man 2A football regular season, the Trivium Prep football team completed its best season in its four-year history.
While a 10-1 record, including a first-round playoff win and a loss in the 2A quarterfinals as the No. 2 seed, was something to remember fondly, the bar has been set. Coach Michael Spencer is in the process of getting his players ready for an even bigger challenge.
“We’re not going to sneak up on anybody this year. This is the second time we’ll play the same schedule, so every game is going to be a revenge game this year. We’re going to get a lot of people’s best,” he said.
There are many returning starters and contributors from last year’s successful team, but it is not the exact same group. Among those who were lost to graduation is former senior Mason Moore, who threw for 1,678 yards and 22 touchdowns last season, and added nearly 550 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, according to MaxPreps.
On defense, they graduated several defensive backs. New players will have to step up at corner and safety to hold opponents to low point totals.
With a chance to work on techniques, running routes and making the correct passes, Spencer has time to coach his veteran group on the run closer to the start of the year.
“We have a new quarterback, so we have a new kid coming up that we all need to get in rhythm with, and we’re getting better at that here,” senior running back David Marquez said.
While the Crimson Knights still hope to have a solid passing attack, Spencer hinted that the team’s strength, both on offense and defense, will be up front in the trenches. The offensive and defensive lines return several of the team’s top producers from last year, with another offseason of training and lifting under their belts.
In summer big-man challenges, many players have competed and beaten players from much larger schools, giving them confidence the front lines could be among the best in 2A come fall.
Then, with Marquez, whose power-running style earned him 23 rushing touchdowns last season taking plenty of carries, the offense could prove hard to stop.
“Any run plays, we’re definitely solid,” senior lineman Zion Gamilla said.
There is a lot of excitement surrounding Trivium football this season. It would be hard to expect anything less after such a splash into AIA-sanctioned play, and a schedule of teams the team has recent experience beating.
Junior receiver August Hubbard, however, has the end of the season imprinted in his mind. As the No. 2 seed, the Crimson Knights were not only upset, but blown out 47-7, by No. 7 St. Johns in the quarterfinal round.
Rather than hang his head after a disappointing playoff loss, though, Hubbard and the rest of Trivium are looking to use the past defeat as motivation to prepare at an even higher level.
“Ever since our last game, we’ve been thinking about the next one coming up. We had so many wins, but now we want to do the same and then make a longer playoff run, too,” he said.
The upcoming season will be the final run for senior captains, such as Marquez or Gamilla, that have been with the team since it first started three seasons ago. Spencer hopes they both leave the team in good shape, and have a long, successful run to send them off from high school ball.
“They (seniors) have a chance to continue the success they’ve had for the last three years,” Spencer said. “We’re in good hands with them leading the show.”