Trinity brings back W. Md. misery, 20-16

TD return allows school to oust Terror again

November 28, 1999|By James Hill | James Hill,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SAN ANTONIO -- Jeremy Boyce's "dream" return proved a nightmare for Western Maryland, as the Green Terror fell to Trinity University, 20-16, yesterday in an NCAA Division III South Regional football playoff game at E. M. Stevens Stadium.

Sixth-ranked Western Maryland had built a 16-13 lead on two third-quarter touchdown passes from Ron Sermarini to Teron Powell. But after the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, Western Maryland rekicked it to Boyce, a freshman from Dallas. He burst up the middle, hit a crowd of Green Terror tacklers and emerged down the right sideline for a 79-yard score, capping the scoring and sending second-ranked Trinity (11-0) to the quarterfinals next week against Hardin-Simmons.

"I ran into a pile of people," Boyce said. "That caused me to bounce to the outside. It was unbelievable. You go to sleep at night and dream of something like that."

For Western Maryland (11-1), it was a flashback to last season, when the Green Terror lost to Trinity, 30-20, in the first round.

"We didn't play perfect," Green Terror coach Tim Keating said after his third trip to the NCAA playoffs had ended. "We needed to. We played a very good football team. They squelched some of the things we were doing."

Western Maryland, which beat Catholic by an identical score last week in the first round of the playoffs at Westminster, had some shining moments on the field.

Down 13-3, senior quarterback Sermarini, the three-time Centennial Conference Player of the Year, connected with sophomore wide receiver Powell on a 9-yard touchdown pass at 11: 33 and then a 43-yarder with 2: 51 left in the third period.

Sermarini completed 23 of 45 passes for 256 yards and no interceptions. He also rushed 17 times for 66 yards. Powell caught six passes for 70 yards.

But the tide quickly turned, thanks to Boyce's return, which gave the Tigers their 23rd straight win at home.

"That was the biggest play of the game," Trinity coach Steve Mohr said of the return. "We had done nothing offensively in the quarter to that point. I'm just glad my kids hung in there."

The Green Terror, though, was not about to give up.

Sophomore defensive back Jason Wingeart of Sparks intercepted a pass from Mike Burton at the Trinity 29 and returned the ball 8 yards to the 21.

Sermarini completed a 14-yard pass to freshman wide receiver Joe Ellis of Columbia to the Tigers' 7 for a first down with 7: 24 left in the game. Junior running back Joe Kendorski rushed for a yard to the 6.

But Trinity sophomore defensive lineman Rich Coffey batted down Sermarini's next attempt, and a third-down chance to Powell was broken up by senior defensive back Andy Peoples. Brent Sandrock, who had kicked a 23-yard field goal with 7: 47 left in the first half, tried another from that distance but missed it wide left.

"Offensively we had momentum," Sermarini said. "There were two good offenses. You didn't see a big score because there were also two great defenses."

On the Trinity side, Burton, the winner of the 1998 Melberger Award as the Division III Player of the Year, completed 20 of 36 passes for 314 yards, with one interception and one touchdown. Burton gave Trinity a 13-3 lead with 1: 41 left in the first half as he hit senior running back Damond Garza with a 16-yard TD pass.

"Western Maryland came to play," Burton said. "They are a hell of a football team. We haven't played four quarters all season. It shows the heart of our team."

Garza led all rushers with 74 yards on 16 carries. Chris Ulmo made field goals of 29 and 38 yards, both in the first quarter. Trinity's Adam Coffman was the game's leading receiver, snagging six passes for 91 yards.

Trinity amassed 100 yards rushing and 314 passing for 414 yards. Western Maryland gained 95 yards rushing and 256 passing for 351 total yards.

The Green Terror defense caused three Trinity turnovers -- one interception and two fumble recoveries. Wingeart and senior linebacker Tommy Selecky had 10 tackles each. Sophomore Kevin Culbertson of Baltimore, a Gilman graduate, punted eight times for 251 yards, for a 31.4 average.

Western Maryland 0 3 13 0 -- 16

Trinity 6 7 7 0 -- 20

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