Warriors defense stands firm late to beat Trinity

Junior defensive back Pergish Montgomery came away with an interception at the two-yard line in the dying seconds of Friday night’s game, as the Hoopa Warriors held off visiting Trinity for a 14-12 win in a thrilling showdown.

Montgomery’s last gasp heroics not only gives the Warriors their first win of the season, but capped a brilliant performance from the Hoopa defense.

“The defense, I can’t say enough about them,” Hoopa head coach Sonny Ryles said. “They kind of baled us out and carried us tonight.”

There were numerous standout performances on the night, with Ryles utilizing a deep rotation of players, a strategy that paid off late in the game.

The coach praised the interior defensive line of Colton Hayes, Ben Colegrove, Trayce Crutchfield and David Ruiz, as well as the many ends that contributed, Aidan Mendez, Johnny Leach and Wayne McCovey.

Sophomore Derek Hodge also had some valuable minutes late in the game, spotting some of the tired veterans.

“Our defense played really well,” Ryles added.

Just enough offense

Offensively, the Warriors did just enough, coming up with some clutch plays.

Jasper Hostler opened the Warriors account early in the game, scoring on a deep pass from quarterback Tristin Campbell to give his team the lead.

After the visitors tied the game late in the second quarter, they pulled ahead in an exciting and action-filled fourth quarter.

The Warriors had threatened to take the lead themselves only to fumble at the Trinity two-yard line, before the visitors marched the length of the field to break the deadlock.

The Warriors would not be denied, however, storming right back, with Carlos Aguilar pulling in two big catches, the latter for the tying score.

Campbell then gave his team the lead on a two-point conversion, scrambling on a broken play and diving for the end zone at the pylon.

Exciting finish

The visitors made for an exciting finish by immediately driving right back downfield, only to be denied by Montgomery’s big play in the final seconds.

Freshman Buck Logan also had a big game defensively at linebacker, alongside Sam Jones, AJ Perez and Ryan Ames.

“Everyone contributed,” Ryles said. “Our defense was really flying around and making plays, and tackling, and they were clutch.”

The coach also praised the play of sophomore safety Mach Albers and the entire secondary.

The Warriors are now 1-2, while Trinity dropped to 0-3.

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