San Antonio – The Tiger football team scored a 20-10 victory over Birmingham-Southern (AL) College in Saturday's showdown between two of the top teams in the Southern Athletic Association standings.
Birmingham-Southern got on the scoreboard first with a 13-play drive that stalled in the red zone, leaving the visitors with a 29-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
Trinity answered with an extended drive of its own, covering 65 yards in 15 plays, and ending with a 27-yard field goal from Charlie Sheppard. The back-to-back scoring drive ate up most of the first quarter, which ended with a 3-3 tie.
Birmingham drove just beyond midfield early in the second quarter, but a 14-yard sack on third down pushed the Panthers back inside their own 40.
Chris Stewart returned the ensuing punt 44 yards to set the Tiger offense up at the BSC 41 yard line. Three plays later, quarterback Wyatt Messex hit Stewart for a 26-yard touchdown to give Trinity its first lead of the day at 10-3.
The Panthers attempted a fake punt after their next drive stalled around midfield again, but Trinity was not fooled and tackled the runner for a two-yard loss.
Trinity took over with just 2:49 remaining in the half, driving down the field for a 38-yard field goal as time expired to take a 13-3 halftime lead.
Birmingham drove 78 yards on 12 plays to start the third quarter, converting a pair of third downs, and finishing with an 11-yard touchdown that cut the lead to just 13-10. That would wind up as the final score of the day for the Panthers.
Trinity was back in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown late in the third quarter, but it was called back for offensive pass interference. Messex then hit Austin Bertness from 15 yards out just two plays later to score another Tiger touchdown, making it a 20-10 advantage for the home team.
Birmingham's first drive of the fourth quarter chewed up 8:29 on the clock, covering 72 yards on 15 plays. The Panthers were left with a 22-yard field goal attempt on fourth-and-goal, but the kick sailed wide left and the game remained 20-10.
The ensuing Tiger possession lasted just 68 seconds and Birmingham once again drove into the red zone. Facing fourth down again, the Panthers lined up for another field goal to cut it to a one-score game. The 29-yard attempt missed to the right this time, and Trinity was able to run out the final 1:24 on the clock.
Trinity won its sixth straight game to improve to 7-2 this season, including a 6-1 mark in SAA play. Birmingham-Southern falls to 6-3 overall and 5-2 in conference.
The Tigers remain tied atop the SAA standings with 22nd-ranked Berry (GA) College.
Caleb Harmel led three Trinity defensive players with double-digit tackles, finishing with 15 total stops, a forced fumble, and a pair of quarterback hurries.
Austin Bertness led the Tigers with four receptions for 60 yards, including his seventh touchdown of the season.
Wyatt Messex was 14-22 for 195 yards and two touchdowns through the air, connecting with seven different receivers in the game.
Chris Stewart finished with three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown, as well as breaking a 44-yard punt return to lead the team with 83 all-purpose yards.
Trinity will close out the regular season in Memphis, Tennessee, taking on Rhodes (TN) College on Saturday, November 16, at 2:00 p.m.