Kinkajous Hold on Late for 126-119 Victory Over Irukandjis in Cork Bowl 22; Robert Trimble Wins 4th MVP Award with 16 Receptions and 8 Touchdowns, Jeff Henney Goes for 22 Catches and 8 Touchdowns in Defeat; Willy Truitt Throws 18 Touchdowns and 0 Interceptions for the Kinkajous; Rookie Weston Frisz Sets New Rookie Record with 14 Tackles
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Saturday, December 1st - Cork Bowl 22 had a lot to live up to after last year’s game was decided by just one yard. And for the fourth time in the past seven years, the game was decided by just one touchdown as the Kinkajous were able to take a late lead and hold off the Irukandjis in the final minutes for a 126-119 victory. A number of roster issues for both teams in the months leading up to the game caused a great amount of uncertainty. A surprise retirement from Brooks Wilson was followed by an injury to Kevin Ryan, and later a cancellation from Josh Massey. Those incidents opened the door for a pair of rookies (Weston Frisz and Ross Massey) to make their debuts, with both having solid impacts for their teams.

The day began with an emotional press conference from Irukandjis receiver Jeff Henney, who announced that he would be retiring following the game. Henney, who last played in Cork Bowl 19, has spent the past two years in Laos. “A time comes when you realize that dreams don’t last forever,” remarked Henney. “This game has been great to me over the years, but it was time to hang up the cleats."

An unseasonably warm 60 degree day greeted the teams as the Kinkajous began the game with the ball with all-time leading passer Willy Truitt under center for the 14th time in his career. Truitt came out firing hitting on his first three passes as the Kinkajous marched down the field to gain a 7-0 lead on a 14-yard touchdown strike to Evan Barmes. Fresh off his pre-game retirement announcement, Jeff Henney looked anything like a player ready to call it quits as he caught 3 straight passes from Greg Howard to move the Irukandjis past midfield including a 4th and 1 conversion. However the drive stalled as Howard was unable to get a pass off on one play and threw three incompletions to turn the ball over on downs. The Irukandjis held the ball for nearly 8 minutes and ran 8 plays but came away without points. “Cork Bowl is always decided by a handful of missed opportunities, so to start out the game without scoring was a huge disappointment,” said Henney. The Kinkajous took advantage of the defensive stop as Truitt completed 3-of-4 passes and a 2-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Cork and the Kinkajous led 14-0 with 15 minutes to go in the 1st quarter.

The Irukandjis got on the scoreboard on the next drive as Howard completed three straight passes including a 16-yard catch and run touchdown by Jake Hoalt to cut the lead in half at 14-7. The Kinkajous hit a 10 yard pass on the first play of the next drive, but a pair of passes to Robert Trimble were incomplete, including a second down play where Irukanjdis rookie Ross Massey sprained his ankle and had to leave the game. The incompletions set up a big 4th down play with 10 yards to go for the first down. Truitt tried to hit Trimble on a pass to the left, but Chris Cork was able to deflect the pass away and the Irukandjis had a stop of their own and chance to tie the game. On the first play following the stop, Howard’s pass to Josh Williamson was deflected into the air and intercepted by Evan Barmes giving the ball right back to the Kinkajous (VIDEO). The Kinkajous quickly moved the ball to the 8 yard line of the Irukandjis, but were faced with a 4th and goal to go. Truitt tried to hit Patrick Cork in the front of the endzone, but Jake Hoalt made a great defensive play and was able to knock the ball away for another turnover on downs. “I’m not sure there have been 3 straight possessions where neither team scored in the past decade – maybe longer,” remarked announcer and former Cork Bowl great Reggie Truitt. “The defenses were definitely playing at high levels and the offenses were both having trouble getting into a groove.” The Irukandjis were finally able to end the scoring drought with an 18-yard strike from Howard to Henney to tie the game at 14-14 to end the 1st quarter (VIDEO).

In the lowest scoring 1st quarter in Cork Bowl history, the two teams combined for just 28 points as both quarterbacks struggled to find a rhythm on offense. “For the first time in a long time, the defenses had the advantage early in the game,” said Greg Howard. “Every possession was a struggle to move the ball and find the endzone.” Howard completed 8-of-14 passes with all 8 completions going to Jeff Henney (5) and Jake Hoalt (3). Willy Truitt was 11-for-19 in the quarter with Robert Trimble, Patrick Cork and Evan Woodard all finishing the quarter with 3 catches.

The Kinkajous took a 21-14 lead on a short touchdown pass to Patrick Cork to start the second quarter, but Howard connected with Henney three times on the ensuing drive including a 1 yard touchdown toss to tie the game at 21-21. The completion was the 100th of Howard’s short career at quarterback. Truitt hit Trimble on the first pass of the next drive and Trimble was able to shake a tackle and take it the length of the field for a 38 yard touchdown strike and a 28-21 Kinkajous lead (VIDEO). Henney scored from 5 yards out to tie the game at 28-28, and the Irukandjis had a chance to take their first lead of the game as they were able to force a 3rd and 20 on the next Kinkajous drive. They decided to roll the dice and bring pressure on Truitt, but Truitt was able to evade the blitz and reach across the first down line for a 22-yard run to keep the drive alive. Two plays later, Truitt hit Trimble on a dump-off pass that Trimble was able to take all the way into the endzone to give the Kinkajous a 35-28 lead. The touchdown pass was the 200th of Truitt’s illustrious career.

Howard found Henney in the corner of the endzone on a beautifully thrown ball to the game at 35 apiece (VIDEO). Once again the Kinkajous were able to answer quickly with another length-of-the-field touchdown pass to Trimble to move the Kinkajous back in front at 42-35 (VIDEO). To that point in the second quarter, Truitt had completed only 4 passes and all 4 went for touchdowns. The Irukandjis needed just two plays to score on the next drive with consecutive completions to Jake Hoalt and Jeff Henney. The 14-yard strike to Henney was his fifth touchdown reception in a row and tied the game at 42-42 with 6 minutes left in the first half. Truitt moved the Kinkajous deep into Irukandjis territory, but was faced with a 4th and goal from the two yard line. He was able to hit Patrick Cork for a short touchdown and a 49-42 edge with 4 minutes remaining.

Howard found Jake Hoalt for a 14-yard touchdown to tie the game at 49-49 with just 23 seconds left in the first half (VIDEO). After a short pass and timeout, Patrick Cork was able to get behind the defense and haul in a deep throw from Truitt, but Chris Cork was just able to keep his brother out of the endzone with a tackle at the 1 yard line with 9 seconds left. The catch was #275 in Patrick’s career. The Irukandjis blitzed on the next play and Truitt threw the ball away with 6 seconds left on the clock. The game’s first controversial play soon followed as Truitt tried a shovel pass to Evan Woodard but Woodard was stood up outside of the endzone and pushed backwards as time was running out. The Kinkajous called timeout, but it was ruled that time had expired and the first half was over. “I didn’t think there was any way that play lasted 6 seconds, but you have to deal with the calls that are made,” recalled Patrick Cork. "It was a huge momentum killer because we knew they got the ball the start the second half." With the Kinkajous unable to score to the end the half, they went into halftime tied at 49-49 with the Irukandjis starting the second half with possession with a chance to take their first lead of the game.

After a slow first quarter, both teams put 35 points on the board in the second quarter. Greg Howard was 15-for-19 in the quarter with 5 touchdowns for the Irukandjis. Henney led all receivers with 6 catches and 4 touchdowns in the quarter while teammate Jake Hoalt had 5 catches and a touchown. In the first half, Howard was 23-for-33 with 7 touchdowns and 1 interception. Henney had 11 catches and 5 touchdowns while Jake Hoalt had 8 catches and a pair of scores. All 7 touchdowns were scored by Henney and Hoalt. Josh Williamson and Chris Cork each had 2 receptions in the half. After spraining his ankle midway through the first quarter, Ross Massey did not return to the field in the first half leaving the rest of the team on the field for the entire second quarter. “That’s definitely not something I was anticipating,” said veteran receiver Chris Cork. “I think I played more minutes in the first half than I did the entire game last year.” The additional minutes played by the Irukandjis in the first half would seem to have an effect in the late stages of the game.

For the Kinakjous, Willy Truitt completed just 10 passes in the quarter on 17 attempts, but 5 went for touchdowns. Patrick Cork had 4 catches and 2 touchdowns in the quarter while Trimble scored on all 3 of his receptions. Evan Woodard had 3 catches in the quarter. For the half, Truitt was 21-for-36 with 7 touchdowns and no interceptions. Patrick Cork had 7 catches and 3 scores in the half and Trimble had 6 receptions with 3 touchdowns. Evan Woodard recorded 6 grabs and Evan Barmes had 2 catches and a touchdown in the half.

The Irukandjis started the third quarter with the ball, and Ross Massey fought off the ankle injury and returned to the field. His presence was instantly felt as Howard hit Massey for a 23-yard touchdown strike for the first catch and score of Massey’s career (VIDEO). It also gave the Irukandjis their first lead of the game at 54-49. Trailing for the first time, the Kinkajous responded with another quick-strike touchdown drive as Patrick Cork found himself wide open behind the defense for a 38-yard touchdown to tie the game at 56-56 (VIDEO). Howard and Massey hooked up again on the next drive as Massey was able to limp up the sideline for a 22-yard touchdown and a 63-56 Irukandjis advantage. Truitt connected on four straight passes on the following drive which was capped off with a 2-yard touchdown to Weston Frisz to tie the game at 63. It was the first catch and score of his career.

Henney and Chris Cork both hit career milestones on the next drive as Henney hauled in his 100th career reception and Cork caught the 175th pass of his career. The completion to Cork was the 9th straight completion from Howard as the Irukandjis seemed to be rolling on offense, however the next play was a six second “no play” and then Frisz continued to make his presence felt on the defensive side of the ball batting away a pass intended for Massey in the endzone. Another incompletion put the Irukandjis in 4th and goal from just outside the 10 yard line. The Kinkajous brought Trimble on a blitz, and Howard tried to escape but had to heave a throw off his back foot as Trimble closed in. The ball hung in the air for a long time, but Jake Hoalt was able to run under it in the endzone for a crucial 4th down conversion and touchdown to make the score 70-63 (VIDEO). “"I had a brain fade on defense and could have given us a big stop,” replied Willy Truitt who was in coverage. “Trimble had Greg scrambling and I decided to be a spectator at that point. Then I see the ball go up and I still almost had time to get over there and break up the pass. If I would have stayed within five yards of Jake, I would have had enough time to run in the house, grab the Duck Hunt gun, and come back out and shoot down that wounded duck Greg chucked up in the air. Regardless, kudos to them, they had to have that play.” "As soon as Trimble came, I knew we were in trouble," recalled Howard. "I tried to buy as much time as I could and then put the ball up for grabs - thankfully Jake kept working to get open."

The Kinkajous misfired on their first two passes of the next drive setting up a crucial 3rd and 20 with their backs against their own endzone. Despite not having any catches since early in the first quarter, Truitt looked for Evan Barmes on a fly route and hit Barmes perfectly in stride for the most impressive play of the game – and yet another length of the field touchdown for the Kinkajous – that tied the game at 70-70 (VIDEO). “That was without a doubt the biggest play up to that point in the game,” remarked Patrick Cork. "If we don’t get a score there, they’re probably going to go up two touchdowns late in the third quarter and that’s tough to make up.” Howard found Jake Hoalt for a 16-yard score for a 77-70 advantage, but as they seemed to do all game long, the Kinkajous answered immediately with another 38-yard length-of-the-field catch and run touchdown from Robert Trimble to tie the game at 77-77 (VIDEO). In the quarter, the Kinkajous had only run 7 plays from scrimmage, but had scored 4 times. Howard found Hoalt for a touchdown for the 3rd straight drive to put the Irukandjis their last lead of the game at 84-77 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter.

The Irukandjis put pressure on Truitt on the first play of the ensuing drive and Truitt launched a deep throw down the middle that Trimble ran under for a 28 yard gain. Truitt and Trimble connected again on the next play for a 10 yard touchdown that tied the game at 84-84 with time winding down in the quarter. A 14 yard completion to Henney moved the ball near midfield for the Irukandjis, but an incomplete pass on 3rd down set up another big 4th down play. The Kinkajous brought pressure again for only the third time all game and Howard was unable to evade Trimble and attempted to make a throw as he was being taken to the ground and the ball fell incomplete turning the ball back over to the Kinkajous on the last play of the 3rd quarter with a chance to regain the lead. “We didn’t send pressure very often because Greg is tough to bring down if he gets away,” said Trimble. “But when we did, we tried to pick the right times to do it and it happened to work out for us that time.”

For the second quarter in a row both teams put 35 points on the board in the third period. Willy Truitt completed just 9 passes in the frame on 12 attempts, but the Kinkajous scored 5 times. In the 2nd and 3rd quarters, Truitt only had a total of 19 completions but did have 10 touchdowns. Robert Trimble led the way for the Kinkajous with 4 catches and 2 touchdowns in the quarter. Patrick Cork had 3 catches and scored once while Evan Barmes and Weston Frisz each scored on their only catches in the period.

Greg Howard was 14-for-21 in the quarter as the Irukandjis ran 23 plays in the quarter compared to only 12 for the Kinkajous. Jake Hoalt had 5 receptions and 3 touchdowns in the quarter to lead the Irukandjis. Henney had 4 catches and Ross Massey scored on both of his catches after returning from a 1st quarter ankle injury.

With the 4th down stop of the Irukandjis on the last play of the 3rd quarter, the Kinkajous had a short field to work with and wasted no time turning the stop into points as Truitt hit Patrick Cork in the flat and he was able to stretch across the goal line for the score to put the Kinkajous back on top 91-84. They would not trail again the rest of the way. The Irukandjis found themselves with another 4th and 10 play on the following drive and Howard hit Hoalt on a short pass and Hoalt was just able to fight across the first down line on a solid tackle by Weston Frisz to keep the drive alive. Hoalt capped off the drive with a 2 yard score – the 50th career touchdown pass for Greg Howard. The Kinkajous struck quickly once again as Truitt connected on two straight passes to Woodard and then a short 2-yard scoring toss to Trimble to make the score 98-91.

With 15 minutes remaining in the game, the Irukandjis needed to continue to score to keep pace with the Kinkajous, however on the first play of the drive, Jeff Henney was stripped of the ball by Robert Trimble and rookie Weston Frisz, who was everywhere on defense all game long, scooped up the loose ball and returned it 10 yards for what appeared to be a touchdown, but he was ruled out of bounds at the 6-yard line (VIDEO). “Turnovers are always the deciding factor in Cork Bowl,” remarked Henney. “I had just told the guys at halftime how important it was to protect the ball and then I put it on the ground at the worst possible time.” With all the momentum in their favor, the Kinkajous again scored on the first play following a defensive stop as Truitt hit Trimble on a short crossing route, and with 13:30 remaining in the game, the Kinkajous had a two-score lead at 105-91. Howard found Henney for an 8-yard score on the next drive to make it 105-98, but the Kinkajous marched down the field and took some valuable minutes off the clock with a six play drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown for Evan Woodard, and a Superman celebration in the endzone that pushed the lead to 112-98 (VIDEO).

With less than 9 minutes to go in the game, the Irukandjis were in hurry-up mode and scored on a two-play drive with completions to Henney and Hoalt to cut the lead in half at 112-105, but the Kinkajous, as they seemed to do all day, responded with a one-play drive of their own for a score. Patrick Cork found himself open on his patented out route near midfield and followed a Robert Trimble block into the endzone to put the Kinkajous up 119-105 (VIDEO). In desperate need of quick scores, the Irukandjis started the next drive with two long incompletions – losing precious time off the clock in the process. They eventually converted a 4th and 4 at midfield on a nice catch and run by Josh Williamson, and Howard Henney in the endzone yet again to make the score 119-112, but the drive took nearly four minutes as the clock ticked under 4 minutes to go. “That drive was big for them because it took them a long time to get in the endzone,” said Willy Truitt. “We knew if we could make them use clock that we might only have to score one more time to seal the game.”

A short completion to Trimble set up a 2nd and 17 play and once again Patrick Cork was wide open at midfield but he let the ball get into his body and dropped the easy pass, and the Irukandjis had life again. “That’s unacceptable at any point in the game, but at that point it was even more crucial,” remarked Cork. “All we had to do was move the ball and keep putting points on the board and I really let my team down there. Thankfully, Willy and Trimble stepped up and sealed the game for us.” Now with a 3rd and 17 deep in their own territory, the Kinkajous were expecting a blitz and they got it from the Irukandjis. Truitt took off to his right and was pushed out of bounds by Jake Hoalt short of the first down marker. With two minutes left, and the Kinkajous faced with a 4th and 5 play, Truitt hit Trimble over the middle after a nice spin move on his pattern and Trimble raced into the endzone for what would be the game-sealing score to make the game 126-112.

The Irukandjis used their first timeout and tried to put together a game plan for the next drive. A 20 yard completion to Ross Massey started the drive, but a pass intended for Henney was knocked away by a diving Trimble and the Irukandjis had to use their second timeout as the clock clicked closer to one minute. “That play was huge because it made sure they couldn’t score before the 1 minute warning,” added Cork. “That would have given them another timeout and would have forced us to get a first down to finish the game.” The next play resulted in another long incompletion before Howard hit Henney in the front of the endzone on a great diving catch to make the score 126-119 (VIDEO), but there were only 49 seconds remaining and they had just one timeout. “At that point, all we had to do was complete passes and stay in bounds,” said Willy Truitt. And that’s exactly what they did. Truitt took the pressure off the Kinkajous with a 1st down completion to Patrick Cork who was able to scamper across the first down line forcing the Irukandjis to use their final timeout with 35 seconds left. The Irukandjis blitzed with Greg Howard on the next play and Truitt made the smart decision to go down to keep the clock running. The sack was the first sack in Cork Bowl since Josh Williamson recorded one in Cork Bowl 12. One last play as time expired ended Cork Bowl 22 with the Kinkajous victorious by a score of 126-119.

For the third straight period, the Irukandjis scored 35 points with Howard completing 15 passes on 23 attempts. Henney led all receivers with 7 catches in the quarter and 3 touchdowns. Hoalt had 4 catches and the other 2 scores. For the Kinkajous, Willy Truitt saved his best quarter for last as he was 13-for-17 with 6 touchdowns. Trimble led the team with 6 catches and 3 touchdowns. Evan Woodard had 4 catches and a touchdown and Patrick Cork had 3 catches and scored twice.

The time of possession was dominated by the Irukandjis by a 68-32 margin. They ran 81 plays to 70 for the Kinkajous. Part of the reason was the no-huddle offense of the Kinkajous, but not only did they hurry up between plays, the scored in a hurry as well. The Kinkajous had 10 plays in the game of 25 yards or more in length compared to just 2 for the Irukandjis. The Kinkajous had 7 scoring drives of either 1 or 2 plays in length compared to only 2 for the Irukandjis. After turning the ball over on downs on their last 2 possessions of the 1st quarter, the Kinkajous scored on every one of their remaining possessions save for the last drive of the first half when they ran out of time and the last drive of the game when they ran out the clock. “It seemed like we had to work awfully hard to score the entire game,” said Irukandjis quarterback Greg Howard. “We would have a drive that took 5 or 6 plays and last 4 or 5 minutes long and then the Kinkajous would score on their first play.” "I honestly believed we only stopped ourselves on some early drives,” said Willy Truitt. “The guys were figuring out their routes and working to get into rhythm. TrimbleTron had a couple drops early, which were uncharacteristic. I wasn't worried. We had all the tools we needed on offense."

Greg Howard set new career highs in completions (52) and attempts (77) in the defeat. He threw 17 touchdown passes and had 1 interception and rushed the ball on several occasions effectively with opposing blitzes. Jeff Henney’s last game was one of his best as he tied his career highs in receptions with 22 and touchdowns with 8. Jake Hoalt had another strong outing tying his career high with 17 catches and scoring 7 touchdowns (one off his career high). Henney and Hoalt combined for 39 of the 52 completed passes on the day for Irukandjis. Chris Cork had 5 receptions, but failed to find the endzone for the first time in his 22 year career. Ross Massey, after missing most of the first half with an ankle injury, returned in the second half to catch 4 passes and score 2 touchdowns. Josh Williamson also recorded 4 receptions, but also failed to find the endzone for the second year in a row.

For the Kinkajous, Willy Truitt was 43-for-65 with 18 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. He also scrambled away from pressure on a number of occasions totaling just under 50 yards on the ground. The 43 completions were the fewest Truitt has had in a Cork Bowl since Cork Bowl 15 when he led his team to a sloppy, snowy win with just 37 completions. For the second year in a row Truitt did not turn the ball over through the air, and has not had a pass intercepted since the 2nd quarter of Cork Bowl 19 – a span of 191 attempts. And he has only 1 interception dating back 332 attempts to Cork Bowl 16. “Turnovers are the key to winning Cork Bowls, and Willy Truitt simply does not turn the ball over,” remarked brother Reggie Truitt who announced Cork Bowl 22. “It’s no wonder he has led his team to four straight championships while playing quarterback.” Truitt’s only loss since Cork Bowl 16 was in Cork Bowl 20 when he played receiver.

Robert Trimble led the way for the Kinkajous on offense with 16 receptions and 8 touchdowns. Patrick Cork had 13 catches and 6 scores and Evan Woodard was the third Kinkajous receiver to hit double figures with a career-high 10 catches, including one touchdown. Evan Barmes had 3 grabs and scored twice and rookie Weston Frisz scored on his only catch of the game. Trimble collected his third MVP award in the past five years for the winning Kinkajous. Trimble had no less than 3 catches in any quarter and made big play after big play throughout the second half on offense, and forced the game-turning fumble early in the 4th quarter. "It was great to have Trimble back on my team,” remarked Willy Truitt. “What a player. When it comes to playmakers, there is Trimble, then there is the rest."

Defensively, rookie Weston Frisz set a new Cork Bowl rookie record with a game-high 14 tackles for the Kinkajous. The previous record had been held by Jeff Henney who tallied 12 tackles in his first game in Cork Bowl 11. Frisz also recovered the crucial fumble in the 4th quarter and knocked down a handful of passes throughout the game in the secondary. “He was everywhere for us on defense today,” remarked Willy Truitt. “He was making tackles and breaking up passes from the first drive on. I think he was a little timid on offense, but he was anything but that on defense. He’s got a great future ahead of him – especially if he can find ways to get more involved on offense.” Robert Trimble had 10 tackles and a forced fumble, and Evan Barmes recorded 5 tackles and had the first interception of his career. Willy Truitt, Evan Woodard and Patrick Cork all had 4 tackles in the game.

Jake Hoalt led the Irukandjis with 10 tackles and Jeff Henney had 6. Josh Williamson had 5 tackles and Chris Cork had 4. Greg Howard recorded 3 tackles and had the first sack in a Cork Bowl since Cork Bowl 12 late in the 4th quarter. Ross Massey had one tackle in his first game.

Other than Henney, there were no immediate retirement announcements made following the game. It will be interesting to see if Kevin Ryan can make his way back into the game after missing this year’s game with a foot injury. With some young players like Barmes and Frisz beginning to make their impacts already, the future is looking bright for the next generation. Some veterans were determined to come back for another season, including Willy Truitt. "I'm looking forward to coming back for my 18th season. Like I always say, it's in the hands of my agent and the league. Feeding my 16-pound Beagle, Eddie, is not cheap. Something has to pay the bills."

Complete Cork Bowl 22 Higlights

Cork Bowl 22 Game Notes:

Willy Truitt has gone 194 passes without throwing an interception and has thrown just one in his past 332 attempts.....Robert Trimble and Jeff Henney became the 6th and 7th players to join the "Century Club" with over 100 career receptions - Trimble has 113 and Henney 108......Jake Hoalt moved from 11th to 8th all-time in receptions with 85......Weston Frisz is tied for 18th all-time in tackles after just one game......Robert Trimble is now just one tackle shy of 100 in his career.....Greg Howard moved into 4th all-time in passing with 140 completions and 54 touchdowns......Willy Truitt now has more than double the next player in completions (572 to 278) and touchdowns (213 to 93) and has gone over 900 career attempts......Patrick Cork extended his all-time receptions to lead to over 100 over the next receiver (281 to 177) and is 3 touchdowns away from 100 in his career.....

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