In Play with Tom Markowski

Trenton's stunning victory over Wyandotte had a family feel and was years in the making

Football   | Tom Markowski

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Trenton – Forget about the state playoffs for a minute. Trenton’s victory over Wyandotte Roosevelt on Friday was the program’s most significant in a decade.

Bob Czarnecki has fielded some fine teams in his tenure as head coach, notably a 20-16 victory over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in a 1998 Class BB region final, but his teams hadn’t defeated Wyandotte since 2006 (42-27). Wyandotte had won eight straight including a 27-9 victory last season and a 55-14 thrashing in 2013.

His son, senior quarterback Patrick, scored on a conversion run to give the Trojans a 22-21 overtime victory at Wyandotte. Trenton is tied for first place in the Downriver League with Allen Park at 6-1 and should the Trojans win their final two games they will claim their first league or division title since ’06.

And for the second consecutive season Trenton is in the playoffs.

Wyandotte is the standard bearer since the Downriver League was formed in 2009. Coach Ron Adams has built a sound program, one other league coaches try to emulate. Since the league started Adams is the only coach to guide his team to a state semifinal.

“More times than not they’ve been dominant,” Czarnecki said. “In 2008 and ’09 they converted on fourth down three times to beat us. (This season) we have the players to match them.

“We’ve been lucky. We’ve been healthy. In 2010 we had a good team but we couldn’t put the same 11 out there. We were 2-0 then the season fell apart.”

Trenton finished 2-7 that season.

In addition to experienced and quality players, Trenton has depth. More often than not that’s not been the case. Czarnecki has four, three-year starters and last season, with a young team, he guided his team to a playoff victory over Romulus (20-6) before losing to New Boston Huron, 44-27, in a Division 3 district final.

By enrollment Trenton, at 953, is the second smallest school in the 10-team league. Melvindale has 807 students. A couple of years ago the Trenton school system changed from a closed school district to one that has opened its doors, ever so slightly, to students outside of the district. The open enrollment is restricted to freshmen on a limited basis. This change was made to stabilize enrollment.

Like many, if not most, schools Trenton has transfers, three this season that have enhanced the program at the varsity level.  

One is outstanding. Dontel Hampton (5-8, 180) transferred from Flat Rock and his impact cannot be overstated. He plays running back, receiver, defensive back and he returns kicks. Against Wyandotte Hampton had 98 rushing yards, four receptions for 30 yards and he returned an interception 50 yards.

“That’s helped,” Czarnecki said. “He’s been an extra piece. We move him all over the place. He’s not this giant of a player. Sometimes his 2-yard runs are great. They’re runs others would lose five yards.”

Against Wyandotte Hampton had 98 rushing yards, four receptions for 30 yards and an interception he returned 50 yards.

Offensively, Trenton’s success begins with Patrick Czarnecki, a three-year starter. He threw two interceptions the previous week, a 23-13 loss to Allen Park. He put that in the past and had his best game of the season. Czarnecki threw for 120 yards and rushed for 154.

“He called the two-point play at the end,” Bob Czarnecki said. “He had that look on his face in the huddle. It was a naked boot with a run-pass option. He scored by an inch. We didn’t need any more than that.”

Patrick is second son to play for Czarnecki. Michael graduated in 2011 and played on the 2010 decimated by injuries. Injuries limited Michael to three games his senior year. But he been vindicated. Michael, a senior, is the star running back for an undefeated Albion team and has experienced a successful college career.

“I’m lucky,” Bob Czarnecki said. “Not only do I get to watch my sons play, I get to coach them.”

There’s more on the way. Czarnecki has two sons in middle school who are expected to follow in their brothers’ footsteps.