Thunder Exterminate Hornets in MIAA Conference Opener

After opening up a 17-0 lead on Kalamazoo behind a strong rushing attack and the receiving talents of JaVontae Hence, Trine (3-2, 1-0 MIAA) pulled off a 30-20 victory over Kalamazoo (3-2, 0-1 MIAA). Trine did not turn the ball over and won the battle in the trenches, with the defense posting an outrageous seven sacks.
The Thunder began with quite an opening statement, unleashing the power running game behind emerging running back Michael Inge. Ryan Hargraves also contributed a big play, a 41 yard pass to tight end Zachary Hess, which setup Trine deep in enemy territory. Trine punched the ball into the end zone two plays later for a 7-0 lead.
Trine’s defense held the Hornets on their first drive, shutting them down on 3rd and 1 after an offsides penalty gave Kalamazoo a great chance to move the sticks. Beginning on its own 30, Trine decided to utilize Hargraves, who accounted for almost all of the yards on the drive with his arm and legs. The drive stalled inside the red zone and the Thunder settled for a field goal and a 10-0 lead late in the first quarter.
A key second down sack by defensive end Louis Danesi forced the Hornets into 3rd and long and ultimately to punt. The Thunder offense continued to break down the Kalamazoo defense, starting at midfield and getting a big play from Hargraves to Hence to score for the third consecutive drive. Trine now had a commanding 17-0 lead early in the second.
The Hornets stung back however, as the Thunder defense gave up a 50 yard run to quarterback Aaron McGuire. Cornerback/return specialist Myron Puryear had a huge 47 yard return on the ensuing kickoff but the Thunder could not cash in on it.
Kalamazoo, led by the passing of Aaron McGuire and the complement of running back Dimeko Price before finishing with a 24 yard pass to Josh Wise to get the Hornets back in it, 17-14. Following a Thunder three and out on the next drive, Kalamazoo closed the half with a failed two minute drill.
Despite having the lead entering the third, Trine began to lose its grip on the game when Kalamazoo marched down the field to take the lead 20-17.
Scoring would pick up again in the middle of the third, as the Trine offense once again took advantage of the poor punting day of Gray Veeland, who punted the ball just eight yards after a Hornet three and out. Hargraves to Hence resulted in a 30 yard gain and placed the Thunder in prime place to score inside the Kalamazoo five yard line. Hargraves scored from the one and gave Trine the lead, 24-20.
With a 30-20 Thunder lead after hitting two field goals in the fourth and the game coming to a close, it was becoming desperation time for the Hornets. The Thunder defense stood tall, forcing one of the few errors by Aaron McGuire on the day in form of a fumble and recovery which gave Trine a chance to eat the clock and finish off Kalamazoo.
Trine now has won two straight, and with its most complete effort all season is in good shape for when Albion comes to Zollner Stadium for homecoming next Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

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