ARLINGTON MARTIN (11-1) vs. EULESS TRINITY (12-0)
Noon Saturday at Bedford's Pennington Field
What: Class 5A Division I Region I semifinal.
When we saw them last: Kyle Hicks rushed for 100 yards and four touchdowns in Martin’s 43-12 victory over 10-2 San Angelo Central at Cravens Field in Arlington. Trinity made a late defensive stand deep in its own end to protect a seven-point lead and Joel Kimpela rushed for 345 yards and two scores in a 28-21 victory over 11-1 Allen at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
Last in the playoffs: Martin wilted in the second half and lost to Trinity, 42-21, in a regional playoff at UT-Arlington’s Maverick Stadium in 2010. Trinity’s 2010 playoff run ended in a 28-24 loss to Pearland in the state championship game.
What’s at stake: The winner advances to meet the winner of Saturday’s late game at Pennington Field matching 9-3 Arlington Bowie against 12-0 Southlake Carroll.
Key matchup: Martin’s defensive front against Trinity’s offensive line. Trinity’s “Hogs’’ were able to control one of the area’s best defensive fronts in Allen last week. In last year’s regional playoff, Martin’s defensive front won the battle in the first half, but wore down in the second half. Operating behind a forward wall that includes UCLA commit Hika Lutui, the Trojans averaging 342 rushing yards per game. Martin’s defensive front boasts end Devonte Fields, a TCU commit.
Players to watch: Hicks, a junior who shared time early in the season, has rushed for 1,469 yards and 24 touchdowns for Martin. Senior quarterback Brodie Lambert has thrown for 1,109 yards and 11 touchdowns, Kicker Jaden Oberkrom, a TCU commit, has booted seven field goals. In the Warriors’ secondary, the Amoako twins, Eric and Stephen, have committed to Oregon. Kimpela has rushed for 2,002 yards and 24 touchdowns for Trinity. Defensively, linebacker Brian Nance and end Polo Manukainiu, an Oklahoma commit, continue in the Trojans’ tradition of big hitters.
Prediction: Trinity has four playoff wins over Martin in the last five seasons, the last two coming in regional playoffs. Martin is closing the gap, but it is hard to overlook Trinity’s playoff record over the last eight seasons, a daunting 31-4: Trinity 31, Martin 24.