The big problem for the Seals was their own offensive sluggishness in the first half. With Trinity flying hard to the ball, Selinsgrove’s solid rushing game was hamstrung, producing just 69 yards and no scores.
It took a well-timed play-action pass from quarterback Isaiah Rapp to tight end Dylan Beaver, who slipped behind the whole of the Trinity secondary when they bit like rat on cheese on the play fake, to score.
The 21-yard play with 6:38 left in the second quarter matched an earlier 11-yard touchdown pass by Trinity’s Mike Boguski to Shamrock standout receiver Brandon Kuntz.
But things changed immediately with the second-half kickoff.
Pope gathered the kick at his own 5 and burst through nice blocking on the right side, reaching the 35 before Trinity kicker David Bricker dragged him down at the ‘Rocks’ 35.
Fuse, meet match.
Adams, who was Selinsgrove’s No. 3 rusher in the opening win over Mifflinburg, reeled off runs of 14 and 21 yards for the score and a 14-7 Selinsgrove lead just 30 seconds into the third quarter. Although it would take two more empty series before Selinsgrove scored again on a tackle-breaking 84-yard run by Adams, Selinsgrove had wrapped its hand around the Shamrocks’ throat.
"That kickoff return (by Pope) was gigantic," Hess said. "We had to get a sudden change right off the bat in the second half, and that was it. It was perfect."
Trinity coach Bill Ragni agreed entirely with Hess’ assessment, Well, except maybe the "perfect" part.
"That kickoff return really hurt us," Ragni said. "We played a pretty solid first half and the kickoff nearly made it to the end zone. But that gave them a short field, and there’s no way we could play short fields with that group."