Trinity falls to Mary Hardin-Baylor 24-17 in second round of Division III playoffs

Tigers score 17 points in second half, but valiant comeback comes up short

SAN ANTONIO – Despite a 17-point second half, Trinity could not overcome a 10-point halftime deficit in a 24-17 loss to the defending Division III National Champions Mary Hardin-Baylor on Saturday.

The Tigers hosted their first second-round NCAA Division III playoff game since 2002, but trailed the Crusaders 10-0 at halftime. Mary Hardin-Baylor promptly made it a 17-0 game on the first play of the second half on Kyle King’s 60-yard touchdown pass to Jamaal Hamilton, and Trinity faced their largest deficit of the season. Four minutes later, the Tigers found the end zone for the first time, capping an eight-play, 80-yard drive with Tucker Horn’s 33-yard touchdown pass to Cole Monago. But the Cru answered right back with King’s 45-yard strike to Brandon Jordan, reinstating a 17-point lead at 24-17.

During their next possession, Trinity’s offense proved that they had finally found their rhythm, and the Tigers quickly marched deep into Mary Hardin-Baylor territory. On first-and-goal at the three, Horn scrambled and found Matthew Kovacevich for a touchdown, but the referees determined that Horn had run past the line of scrimmage before releasing the ball. A few incomplete passes later, and Trinity was forced to settle for a Blake Lin field goal that cut the deficit down to 14 points.

On the ensuing drive, Mary Hardin-Baylor drove to Trinity’s 34, but were ultimately stopped on a fake punt on 4th-and-9. Five plays later, Trinity found the end zone again, this time on a 13-yard touchdown strike from Horn to Kovacevich, and the Tigers only trailed 24-17 early in the fourth quarter. After a Crusaders three-and-out, Trinity’s offense got the ball back with a chance to tie the game. But Horn lost the ball on a sack, and UMHB’s Sante Parker recovered to give the Cru a chance to close the game out. The Tiger defense held firm one last time and forced a missed field goal giving Trinity one last possession with 6:01 remaining.

Thanks to a couple key third- and fourth-down conversions, Trinity moved the ball down to Mary Hardin-Baylor’s 25-yard line, but Horn was sacked for a loss of 14 yards with 22 seconds left forcing a Tiger timeout. Horn’s next pass was incomplete, and he was sacked again on third down, sealing the hard-fought 24-17 victory for the Crusaders.

Trinity’s incredible season ends with an 11-1 overall record.

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Andrew has covered athletics of all levels for more than five years and is dedicated to shining a spotlight on local San Antonio athletes and their stories.