HOPE RUNS HIGH AT TRION WHERE THE BULLDOGS RETURN A LOT OF TALENT off a team that has reached the second round of the state playoffs two consecutive years. With the hard work from the off-season and the summer and the talent returning, the Bulldogs now look to chase a region title and possibly find a way to get further in the state playoffs. 

“We’ve had a good offseason. We are excited about this group. We have a lot of kids back that played a lot of snaps last year,” Trion coach Sean Patrick says. “We are hoping to build on what we’ve done the last couple of years.” 

 “Two years in a row, we have gone to the second round of the state playoffs. We lost a close one to Wilcox County two years ago, and we lost to a very talented St. Francis team last season,” Patrick says. 

With the extra experience and a whole lot of the squad earning huge playoff experience the last two seasons, the Bulldogs find themselves in a bit of a different position entering the 2023 season as opposed to last year. 

“We were really young last year. We were replacing eight starters on both sides of the ball. To have a 9-3 season with reclassification moving us into a different region and with replacing all those starters says a lot about our kids and our program,” Patrick says. 

Ezra Adams

While the Bulldogs had to replace numerous starters on offense and defense last season, this season Trion has the luxury of having eight returning starters on both offense and defense.  

Patrick does note that even with all of the starters returning, Trion is one of the smallest teams in the region and doesn’t have the luxury of depth. 

The Bulldogs return three players who made the all-state team in Toby Maddux, Ezra Adams, and Andy Ramirez. 

Maddux is a linebacker and running back and accounted for almost 1,900 yards last season with more than 1,000 yards rushing and close to 900 yards in receiving and return yards. 

Adams, who plays offensive and defensive line, is an anchor for the Bulldogs on the line and has picked up some college offers. He’s also a three-year starter. 

Ramirez is Trion’s kicker and is also just a junior. The three players give Trion lots of versatility and experience on offense, defense, and special teams. 

“It’s a luxury to have this much talent and experience returning. We’re having to learn some new things on defense. Offensively, we can do a lot of stuff and that’s a credit to our kids learning our system and our coaches,” Patrick says. 

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Toby Maddux

He also points out that quarterback Kade Smith, who is a junior and set the school passing record last season, has been starting since his freshman season. Smith threw for more than 1,700 yards and 16 touchdowns last season 

He also mentions that Lucas Stoker is a four-year starter at linebacker and racked up more than 100 tackles in the past two seasons. 

“Being able to have those two players as our field generals on offense and defense is really big,” Patrick says. 

When asked about how this team can possibly improve on what the squad did the past two years, Patrick doesn’t hesitate. 

“That’s really where intangibles come into play. We’ve got to get great leadership from these older guys. We also need to have some guys step up and make sure they hold their teammates accountable,” he says. “Hopefully, we can break through that second-round curse and move deeper into the playoffs, but we’ve also got to stay healthy.” 

Kalyn Brown

Patrick also notes that Region 7-A, Division I isn’t an easy region.  

“Our region is really tough. We’ve got to strap it on and play every week. Every team in our region can beat you on any night,” he says. 

Trion plays several non-region games to open the season including a date with Model, which reached the Class AA state playoffs last season, before opening the region slate on the road at Dade County. The Nov. 3 contest against defending region champion Darlington could be a huge contest as well. 

An injury while running at Auburn ended Jim Alred’s long-shot hopes of possibly competing in the Olympics, so he turned to writing and has been crafting award-winning stories across multiple mediums ever since. Along the way he’s been chased by a grizzly bear, worked as Goofy at Walt Disney World, been nominated for two Emmys, interviewed celebrities like Tiger Woods, Bo Jackson, Bill Clinton, coaches his daughters in cross country and soccer and can often be found running with his wife, Tara, around Rome.