Trinity International — the cure for what ails you.
Despite freshman Declan McDonald making his first start at quarterback and sack leader Ryan Zitkus out with an injury, St. Ambrose had no issues Saturday night as the Bees rolled to a 63-7 win over the Trojans, remaining tied with Saint Xavier atop the Mid-States Football Association Midwest League.
The two teams meet in two weeks following a bye for St. Ambrose.
"We talked during the week about a trap game and talked in the locker room about getting off to a good start," head coach Mike Magistrelli said, "and I don't know if you can get off to a better start than what we did."
St. Ambrose (3-3, 3-0) scored on its first drive, taking advantage of great field position, needing to drive just 30 yards for a touchdown, a 7-yard run from receiver Vince Vignali out of the wildcat at the 11-minute, 36-second mark of the first quarter.
Jacob Holmes forced and recovered a fumble on the first play of Trinity’s next drive, setting up a 7-yard run from Isaiah Hawkins to put the Bees up 14-0 with 10:45 left in the quarter.
"I feel there's a lot of plays that increased the intensity that we had and I feel like that might have started it," said Holmes, who finished with seven tackles, three for loss. "I feel like we bring that intensity every game and we always look to build on it."
After Jeremiah Jackson Sr. recorded his fifth interception of the season, St. Ambrose gave the ball right back to Trinity (1-7, 0-4) on a Garret Tiarks fumble. The Trojans’ best — and only — scoring chance of the night went for naught as Carter Andrade missed a 40-yard field goal.
Vignali’s second touchdown of the night came nine plays later, and the rout was on. St. Ambrose pulled out to a 44-0 halftime lead and led 61-0 before the Trojans broke the shutout in the fourth quarter.
The Bees scored a special teams touchdown on a blocked punt and also recorded two safeties in the game. Defensively, the Bees forced five turnovers for the second straight week.
Brandon Baalman had 117 yards on nine carries while Hawkins finished with 112 yards on four carries — a 28.0 yard per carry average that included a 93-yard touchdown run — as the Bees rolled up 451 yards on the ground.
Hawkins started the year at wide receiver but since returning back to running back three games ago has rushed for 256 yards, averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
"It's been nice. I knew I could play running back better than the slot but I just wanted to see how I'd feel in the slot," Hawkins said. "With a complete set of healthy backs, our offense can be a real powerhouse."
St. Ambrose outgained the Trojans 471-197, though 111 of those Trinity yards came in the fourth quarter when the Bees had reserves in on defense.
Though asked to throw the ball just four times, McDonald still showed flashes, including a 28-yard touchdown run to open the second quarter and finished with 33 rushing yards and 20 passing before being pulled in the third quarter with St. Ambrose leading 58-0.
"That was a tough call. At halftime, we really talked about subbing at every position ... and the quarterback was a tough one," Magistrelli said. "Declan needs as many reps, but we kind of got a little nervous there and put (freshman Rian Schimdt) in with about five minutes to go in the third.
"I told them afterwards, I felt like we did what we expected to do. We expected to play well and it was nice to do it in all phases of the game."
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