ALBION, Mich.– The Trine football team scored 21 unanswered points, fighting back from a 17-point deficit in the final 6:12 to stun no. 22 Albion, 55-51 in MIAA-action Saturday afternoon at Sprankle-Sprandel Stadium.
The Thunder faced a 51-34 deficit after a 40-yard touchdown pass from Domonic Bona to Mikal McKoy with 6:12 remaining. Trine needed just a 59-second drive to strike back after a 38-yard kickoff return by John Harris-Scott (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch) set up the Thunder at its own 48. Four plays later, Brandon Rooze (West Lafayette, Ind./Benton Central) connected with Andrew Bonfiglio (Toledo, Ohio/St. Francis de Sales) on a 19-yard touchdown strike to cut the deficit to 51-41.
Trine got a stop on the ensuing possession as Me’Leick Miles (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) stuffed a run on third-and-short to force a punt. The Albion defense appeared to have shut the door after Geordan Carter picked off a pass, but the Thunder defense rose to the occasion again for another stop.
Trine faced the task of needing two scores in the final 2:23 with an 80-yard drive looming, but the Thunder offense drove right down to pull the score within 51-48. Rooze completed 4-of-6 passes on the drive to move the team within striking distance before Mark Wilson (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central) capped the drive with his school record-tying fifth rushing TD of the day. Wilson’s run from eight yards out brought Trine within three with 1:09 to play.
That set up the all-important onside kick. Paul Baker (Columbus, Ind./Columbus East) was able to produce a friendly hop, which the Thunder fell on top of to set up a 47-yard field with 1:07 on the clock.
After Trine converted a first down and clocked the ball, Rooze fired a bullet to Gage Corner (Leo, Ind./Leo) for a 33-yard touchdown strike and a 55-51 Thunder lead with just 21 seconds remaining.
Albion took possession with two timeouts remaining, but Logan Konopka (Grass Lake, Mich./Grass Lake) stepped in front of a pass on the first play to make his first-career interception to seal the victory.
Trine got a record-setting performance from Wilson in the backfield to pace the rushing attack. The sophomore totaled a school-record 327 yards on a school-record 46 carries on the day. Wilson broke Barron Chambers’ 18-year old rushing mark by 73 yards and tied Chambers’ team record with five touchdowns.
Wilson scored on runs of 14, one, seven, six and eight yards on the afternoon. Wilson’s rushing total today was more than he had totaled in his career up to this afternoon’s action (322 career yards prior).
Corner tied a school-record with 13 receptions on the day, totaling 186 yards- tied for the fourth-most in a game in team history. He scored two touchdowns. Corner’s other touchdown reception was a 41-yard grab that cut the score to 33-21 in the third quarter. The senior became the third player in team history to top 2,000-career receiving yards and now has 2,138 in his career.
Rooze turned in a phenomenal effort after entering the game midway through the second quarter. The junior completed a career-high 24-of-36 passes for a career-high 272 yards and a career-high three touchdown strikes. Rooze’s 24 completions in just under three quarters of action were tied for the seventh-most in a game in team history.
Trine set a school-record with 658 yards of total offense in the effort. The Thunder showed a nearly 50-50 balance between yards gained via the run and pass, with 344 yards coming on the ground and 314 through the air. The Thunder converted 10-of-20 third down attempts and 3-of-6 fourth down chances. Trine possessed the ball for 37:50, to just 22:10 for the Britons.
Albion gained 548 yards of their own in the shootout. The Britons entered Saturday’s action fourth in NCAA Division III in total offense and showcased a potent passing attack, as senior quarterback Bona completed 22-of-31 passes for 357 yards and five TDs. The Britons racked up 191 yards on the ground.
Joe Mayone was on the receiving end of two of Bona’s TD tosses. Mayone caught five passes for 121 yards overall. Bona completed passes to six different receivers, with four of them totaling 65 yards or more through the air.
Albion led by as much as 19 after scoring three touchdowns in a row between the late-second and early-third quarters. A 15-yard grab from Mayone with 1:20 to play in the first half gave the Britons a 20-14 lead at the break.
McCoy recovered a fumble off a long run by Mike Czarnecki, eliminating his teammate’s fumble by scooping up the ball and running in from seven yards out to make the score 27-14. Collin Parks added a TD run to give the Britons their biggest lead with 8:18 to play in the third.
Trine was able to keep pace behind the work of Rooze and Wilson. Erik Mawhorter (Ligonier, Ind./West Noble) also picked off a pass in the end zone to halt a potential Briton scoring drive.
Trine will host Kalamazoo next Saturday, Oct. 31 at 1 p.m. in Fred Zollner Athletic Stadium.