Angola, Ind. – The Trine football team lost a nail-biter to Alma on Senior Day Saturday afternoon at Zollner Athletic Stadium, 41-33.
The Scots scored two touchdowns in the final minute to complete the victory after they trailed by as much as 23 points. Brandon Rooze (West Lafayette, Ind. / Benton Central) threw for a school-record 424 yards to lead the Thunder, completing 28-of-42 passes and throwing for a touchdown. Dylan Zaborowski threw for 208 yards and three touchdowns for Alma. Trine saw its MIAA title hopes dashed with the loss as the Thunder fell to 6-3 overall, 3-2 in conference play. The Scots improved to 6-3 overall, 3-2 in conference play.
Jeffery Barnett (Fremont, Ohio / Fremont-Ross) tied the Trine school-record with 244 yards receiving. He accumulated it on 10 catches and found the end zone once. Andrew Bonfiglio (Toledo, Ohio / St. Francis de Sales) had 104 yards on 11 catches for the Thunder, and Mark Wilson (Indianapolis, Ind. / Lawrence Central) carried the ball 26 times for 110 yards and a touchdown.
It was all Thunder early after Marcus Winters (Toledo, Ohio / Central Catholic) picked off a pass on Alma’s opening drive. The INT was Winters’ seventh of the season, the second-most in a season in team history. The sophomore has 11 career picks, the fourth-most in program history.
Three plays later, Rooze found Barnett for the first of many times for a 79-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Trine added two more touchdowns early in the second quarter, both on runs from Evan Wyse (Archbold, Ohio / Archbold). He scored on runs of 11 yards and 33 yards respectively. A Lucas Garza (Syracuse, Ind. / Wawasee) field goal halfway through the second quarter gave the Thunder a 23-0 lead.
The Scots started their comeback with about seven minutes left in the half, when Zaborowski connected with Danny Hugan II for a 40-yard touchdown pass. Zaborowski added another touchdown pass three minutes later, hitting Essa Kellah for an eight-yard score. The teams went into halftime with Trine leading 23-13.
Alma drew closer late in the third, when Zaborowski ran one in from 10 yards. Trine’s Erik Mawhorter (Ligonier, Ind. / West Noble) thwarted another potential scoring drive with an interception in the end zone.
Trine answered on the ensuing drive early in the fourth on a Wilson four-yard run. But then Alma’s Caleb Reinhart responded with a 56-yard touchdown run. Garza then tacked on a 26-yard field goal with six minutes to go to put the Thunder up 33-27.
Zaborowski led the Scots on a last-minute touchdown drive, culminating in a 20-yard touchdown pass to Lars Murray after scrambling out of the pocket. The score gave the Scots the 34-33 lead with 42 seconds remaining. A potential game-winning Trine drive was thwarted by a 75-yard pick-six from Chris Luckhurst.
Trine outnumbered Alma in first downs (31-25), passing yards (424-208), and total yards on offense (573-457), and was more successful on third downs, converting 13 of 17 (Alma was 8 of 15). But the Scots outrushed the Thunder (249-149), were 2-3 on fourth downs, and was more successful in the red zone. Alma was 2-3 in the red zone, while Trine was 4-7.
Trine finishes up its season Saturday, November 12th, at Olivet. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.