Trinity tosses aside W. Maryland, 30-20 QB Burton's 506 yards eliminate Green Terror

November 22, 1998|By Arthur Garcia | Arthur Garcia,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SAN ANTONIO -- For the second straight year, Western Maryland's season came to an end in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs on the road.

Trinity rallied behind a record-setting performance by quarterback Mike Burton yesterday to claim a 30-20 victory before 1,234 fans at Stevens Field.

Western Maryland, which finished 10-1 for the second year in a row, couldn't stop Burton. He threw for a school-record 506 yards -- including 256 in the third quarter -- and four touchdowns.

The Tigers (11-0), who will face No. 1 Lycoming in the second round, scored on three straight possessions in the third quarter to turn a 7-3 halftime deficit into the 23-13 lead.

The Green Terror fell at Lycoming in the first round last year, 27-13.

"That's a great football team," Western Maryland coach Tim Keating said. "I think they'll give Lycoming a run for their money and I wouldn't be surprised if they beat them.

"And that's the best quarterback I've seen in a long time."

The Tigers also bottled up Western Maryland's offense. The Green Terror managed just 260 yards of offense after coming into the game averaging 396 and nearly 37 points.

"They ran a lot of blitzes and a lot of guys off the edge," said Green Terror quarterback Ron Sermarini, who was sacked seven times. "They did a great job in man-to-man defense and we couldn't sustain drives."

Sermarini did finish 20 of 35 for 233 yards, but he was constantly scrambling out of the pocket to avoid Trinity's rush. And he wasn't helped by the running game, which totaled only 27 yards.

Riding the arm of Burton, Trinity dropped 20 points on the Green Terror in the third quarter and each scoring drive was more impressive than the one before.

Burton said the Tigers were hurting themselves during the first 30 minutes with uncharacteristic mistakes, costing them points.

Trinity possibly cost itself a touchdown with a delay-of-game penalty on the Western Maryland 1-foot line on its first drive, and the Tigers failed to convert on a fourth-and-1 on Western's 28 late in the half.

"In the first half, we felt like we were putting together good drives and not capitalizing," said Burton, who was 33 of 51.

On Trinity's second drive of the second half, Burton led the team 79 yards in six plays and found Bo Edwards for a 22-yard score to put Trinity up, 10-7.

On the next drive, Trinity went 66 yards in just four snaps, with Burton hooking up with Matt Milligan from 16 yards out.

Western Maryland scored on its ensuing possession to narrow the gap to 16-13. Sermarini hit Tim Herb on a 41-yard score to cap the three-play, 80-yard drive.

But Burton wasn't done, and this time Trinity went the distance in only one play, a 66-yard bomb to Canaan Factor.

The Green Terror took advantage of a Trinity fumble to score the game's only first-half touchdown.

Tigers returner Alex Doran fumbled a punt and Western Maryland's Edmund Goldsberry recovered on the Trinity 33-yard line. The Green Terror needed eight plays to score, including a fourth-and-2 conversion on the 15.

Sermarini hit Mike Starke (six catches for 73 yards) on an 11-yard touchdown for a 7-3 lead midway through the second quarter.

Western Maryland .. 0 .... 7 .... 6 .... 7 -- 20

Trinity ........... 3 .... 0 .... 20 ... 7 -- 30

Pub Date: 11/22/98

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