By the time the third quarter rolled around Sunday at Cougar Athletic Complex in West Islip, Holy Trinity had a four-score lead on the road against St. John the Baptist. But a commanding lead wasn’t a cue for the Titans to ease off the gas.
"St. John is never going to be out of it!" Holy Trinity assistant coach Vahhon McCullers shouted into his headset from the booth. "They can really score!"
On the sideline, Titans head coach Kahmal Roy said he and his staff were still "chirping at our kids, making sure they continue to execute their job description, never mind the big lead."
Roy’s players bought in during Holy Trinity's 45-21 win over St. John the Baptist (3-1) in a CHSFL game.
Wide receiver Dylan Braithwaite, even after three touchdown catches in the first half for Holy Trinity (4-0), still was diving to tip passes on defense in the second half.
"We weren’t going to let up," said Braithwaite, who had scoring catches of 30 and 40 yards from Zion Woodhull-Trippett in the first quarter, and a 19-yard TD grab in the second quarter from Rocco Rainone. Quarterback Christopher Bacon added two rushing scores for the Titans.
One of Braithwaite’s pass breakups in the fourth quarter sent the loose ball into the arms of teammate Josiah Brown, who had been dealing with a calf cramp.
"I felt [the cramp] right after I caught [the interception] and started to run," Brown said.
No matter. Brown said he heard his teammates and coaching staff cheering him on from the sideline as he cut right before racing for a 70-yard score that gave the Titans a 45-15 lead.
After the play, he remained on the ground for more than two minutes as a trainer tended to him.
"I owed it to my team and coaches," Brown said of his effort. "I was like, ‘I’ve got to do it for them.’"
On St. John the Baptist’s previous possession, Brown came through with another high-effort play when Mark Anthony Scott broke into open field for the Cougars. The Cougars running back had proved difficult to wrap up all day, and this time he had nothing but daylight in front of him.
Brown, fighting off his cramp, chased down Scott and stopped him at the 3-yard line.
"When we talk about pluses on our grade sheets, that play right there is an effort play. That’s double pluses," Roy said. "That’s the effort we’re looking for, and that’s what we got."