2017-11-10 / Sports

Trojans, Red Storm set for rematch with trip to Class A championship on the line

By PAT McDONALD
Sports Editor

The phrase “instant classic” is overused in the sports world, but the regular-season showdown between Thornton Academy and Scarborough certinaly fit the bill.

The visiting Golden Trojans rallied from a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit to pick up a 32-28 win over the Red Storm on Sept. 15.

TA and Scarborough are set for a rematch tonight — and this time the entire season for both teams will be on the line.

“I think at the time we were a really young team and we weren’t sure how good we were, but it showed us that we could certainly play with the top tier teams in this league,” said TA coach Kevin Kezal on his team’s win over Scarborough.

The No. 2 Trojans are coming off a 28-24 win over defending state champion Bonny Eagle, which had cruised to a 49-14 win over TA in the regular season.

While the Trojans were certainly pumped up after last week’s Class A South semifinal win, they quickly turned their attention to the No. 1 Red Storm.

“When you come in Monday you’ve got to turn the page, and certainly we’ve got another really good opponent this week. It’s going to take that same type of effort if we’re going to give ourselves a chance,” Kezal said.

“Really just forget about it, celebrate Saturday and Sunday, but once Monday came around it was all Scarborough,” added TA senior guard Jerry Nason.

Nason and the rest of the TA O-line — senior guard Adam Metayer, senior tackles Jack Webb and Garret Lynn and junior center Cody Agro — have turned into one of the best groups in the state.

“That has probably been the biggest improvement from the start of the season was how far our offensive line has come,” Kezal said. “All five guys have stayed healthy, knock on wood, and they’ve developed. That’s what it takes, it takes time when you’re starting three new (linemen), it takes some time for that to develop and they’ve done a phenomenal job. I can’t say enough about both sides, offensive and defensive lines.”

Metayer and Nason believe the O-line has formed a strong bond, which has helped them be successful on the field.

“Throughout the year we’ve grown a bunch. We just have a tight bond, we are all really good friends and we’ve all played together for so long,” said Metayer.

“We’ve been playing with these guys since second, third, fourth grade. We’ve all been so close and we’ve gotten even closer this year,” added Nason, who believes Agro has quickly become part of their O-line family. “Even Cody, he’s a junior, but he steps up and he’s playing like he’s been playing with us forever.”

Metayer also had high praise for Agro.

“Cody has come a long way, he’s playing really good. He’s learned his assignments and he’s doing good,” Metayer said.

The play of the offensive line has helped open things up for playmakers CJ LaBreck and Anthony Bracamonte.

“They’ve been huge,” said Kezal of Bracamonte and LaBreck. “They have made a lot of big plays for us, offensively, special teams and  obviously last week CJ had a big play on defense for us, so all three phases of the game they have played really well for us — and certainly they make us go.”

Nason and the offensive line know that if they do their job, LaBreck and Bracamonte will make the opposing defense pay.

“It’s huge. If we make our blocks and they do their thing, it’s going to be tough to catch them,” Nason said.

The Trojans have a ton of playmakers on both sides of the ball, but the Red Storm also bring plenty of firepower to the field each week. Leading the way for No. 1 Scarborough is senior quarterback Zoltan Panyi, who can beat teams with his arm and his legs.

“He’s a college prospect, and he’s got all the tools,” said Kezal of Panyi. “He can throw the deep ball, he’s got great touch underneath and he’s a very good runner, you see him take off on those 80-yard runs. He makes them go and he’s got a great supporting cast around him.”

The Red Storm offense, which also features standouts like Connor Kelly and Owen Garrard, can beat opposing defenses with multiple looks — and the Trojans have been preparing all week for whatever Scarborough throws at them.

“I mean they’ve changed a lot. They are playing a different look on offense so we’ve been working a lot of adjustments. I think we’ll be ready to play,” Metayer said.

The TA offensive line has also been preparing for different looks from the Scarborough defense.

“Coach (Nick) Tabor throws every single look at us in practice, so it’s not like we’re not prepared,” Nason said. “We are prepared for everything, so whatever they throw at us we should know how to block that.”

One thing both teams will have to deal with is Mother Nature as a cold front moved into town just in time for the regional championship game.

“It went from summer to winter, and forgot about fall,” Kezal joked. “It doesn’t matter if it’s 80 degrees or 20 degrees, it’s the same on both sidelines and it’s something that you just have to deal with ... it won’t be a factor.”

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. tonight at Scarborough High School.

Sports Editor Pat McDonald can be reached at pmcdonald@journaltribune.com or at 282-1535 ext. 322. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.

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