Despite dealing with a minor lower back injury leading up to the game, Umari Taylor nearly put the entire Holy Trinity offense on that same back Saturday.
Taylor rushed for 217 yards on 34 carries, including touchdown runs of 32 and 51 yards as host Holy Trinity defeated Kellenberg, 28-0, in CHSAA football on a rainy afternoon Saturday.
The quick and shifty running back wasn’t afraid to play between the tackles or down the sidelines. His two touchdowns came on runs up the middle in which he scampered untouched to the end zone.
“My offensive line just cleared it out and then ‘daylight,’ ” Taylor said. “Just go score.”
At 5-9, 175 pounds, Taylor is far from the biggest player on the field but that doesn’t change how coach Tony Mascia uses him.
“He’s a great workhorse for our offense,” Mascia said. “We base our running game around him along with the other two wings we have [Jared Williams and Will Corchado] so he’s kind of the headliner we have for our offense and he’s able to create opportunities for our two wings.”
But Taylor wouldn’t take the majority of the credit. He gave that to his offensive line of Thomas Fleming, Jerry Festa, Steven Austin, John Stroughn and Brandon McLaren saying, “My offensive line they blocked for me strong so it was a great day.”
And his offensive line gave the credit right back to the running back. “He just needs that little room, I don’t even have to drive him down field,” McLaren said. “I just need to give him a little bit of space and he’s gone.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Holy Trinity (5-0) executed a 15-play, 57-yard drive, capped off by Williams’ 4-yard touchdown run on fourth down to take a 7-0 lead. Mascia said he thought about kicking the field goal, but instead kept the faith in his offensive playmakers.
“It was a strong run he had to get in,” Mascia said. “He smelt the end zone.”
The Holy Trinity defense dominated throughout the game, holding Kellenberg to four first downs. McLean and linebacker Jon Brown were constant presences behind the line of scrimmage, rarely allowing Kellenberg quarterback Thomas Sieban to get off a pass without receiving a hit.
“There’s no words to describe it,” Brown said. “Honestly, it’s just the best feeling going in there. You destroy everybody, get in the backfield and that’s it.”
Brown had 11 tackles, including three for losses and McLaren had five tackles for loss, including two sacks. Alex Parciak had 12 tackles, Nick Austin had eight tackles and fumble recovery on a loose ball forced out by McLean and Shawn Moore had a second-quarter interception in Holy Trinity’s second consecutive shutout.
“It’s so fun,” Brown said. “Me and my team just rush the passer all day long. We got great hits on the quarterback but we really wanted sacks today.”