COLUMBIA — Fr. Tolton Regional Catholic High School coach Chad Masters tears up just thinking about it. Four years ago, his football team played its first game. The Trailblazers lost 61-0.
Friday, the team played for a Class 2, Division 7 title.
The Trailblazers (10-2) fell 59-29 to Lafayette County High School, ending the most successful season in school history on its home field.
“We went from nothing to something,” senior tailback Will Tindal said.
Players cried afterward, slumped on a soggy field. Parents hugged. Team managers collected jerseys.
Tolton Chaplain Fr. Mike Coleman presented his team with the runner-up trophy at midfield. Players didn’t want to look at it.
“It’s there,” Masters said of a District title. “It just wasn’t our time yet.”
But the Trailblazers laid a foundation, he said, for underclassmen looking to return to the playoffs. Tolton hadn’t won a playoff game before this year. Last week, it beat rival Hallsville. Friday, it fell behind by a quick 20 points. The Huskers (12-1) scored their third touchdown moments into the second quarter.
Tolton quarterback Trip Gibson threw an interception on the next drive. Lafayette County scored again on Malcolm Elmore’s second touchdown of the game. He finished with two more scores and recorded four on the night.
The Huskers didn’t punt until the fourth quarter. Two receivers, Eisley Hinton and Elijah Thirkeld, eclipsed 100 yards. Elmore ran for 123 more.
“They had a bunch of studs in the backfield,” said Tindal, who also played linebacker. He rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.
Tolton made it a two-possession game late in the fourth quarter after two touchdown passes from Gibson to Damon Jennings.
But Elmore ran through four tackles down the sideline for a 28-yard score the next possession. Then Thirkeld, who also plays corner back for Lafayette County, snapped Gibson’s next pass out of the air and ran it back for another touchdown.
Masters took off his coaching headset and gazed at the scoreboard as the extra point sailed through the uprights. A flush of underclassmen players wearing clean jerseys — next year’s starters — took the field during the next Tolton possession.
Supervising editor is Christian Clark.