You could hardly tell from his reaction that Joey Tripp pioneered one of the greatest performances in Rainier history.
Seven touchdowns, 302 yards, a 60-54 overtime victory over top-ranked Amity, and there the senior was alone in the north end zone on Friday at Chris Corl Memorial Field.
He picked up the ball Devion Godfrey had batted away just moments earlier to seal the victory, and handed it to the official. His teammates were dashing to midfield to celebrate. He was picking up their helmets.
And so goes the legend of Joey Tripp. He wears a Superman tanktop underneath his muddied black jersey, but he shows his superhero powers game in and game out.
Amity came in as the No. 1 seed. All Rainier needed was No. 3.
“He’s amazing,” Rainier junior Easton Crape said of his quarterback. “He’s one of a kind, definitely.”
Tripp went 7 of 10 in the air for 119 yards and two touchdowns, including a 50-yard strike down the sideline to Hunter Boulch to tie the game at the end of regulation. He then scored his fifth rushing touchdown in overtime, a 1-yard burst to finish the day with 31 carries and 183 yards.
He also had scoring runs of 4, 10, 4, and 1 yards. David Katon ran for 90 yards and a 4-yard touchdown run to go with his 36-yard receiving touchdown in the first quarter.
“He’s all heart,” Rainier coach Mike King said. “I’ve said just about every compliment I could. The kid is all heart. He never leaves anything. I don’t know what else to say about him.”
It was a battle of two heavyweights who refused to be stopped. And back and forth they went in the thriller in Rainier. Amity took a two-score lead, 22-8, early in the second quarter.
The way the wing-T was humming for the Warriors, it could have been lights out for Rainier. But out came the Diesel offense, taking the ball 65 yards on 12 plays to cut the game to 22-16.
Two plays later, Crape landed on top of an Amity fumble to set up Rainier in Warrior territory, as Tripp finished off a quick drive with a 10-yard score, giving Rainier a 24-22 halftime lead.
“I feel really proud to be one of those linemen involved in that,” Crape said of the switch to the Diesel. “Especially in a game like this to say ‘Hey, no matter what, we’ll be able to stay in Diesel, get yards and get scores.’ It makes me proud as a lineman. It makes me proud of my other linemen to step up and do that.”
After switching to the Diesel, Rainier scored on seven of its final eight drives, an Amity pick-six the lone blemish on an otherwise stellar offensive night. One of those drives was just one yard, courtesy of a 54-yard onside kick return by Korbin Howell to set up a Tripp 1-yard run to tie the game at 46-46.
But Amity could not be stopped either, scoring touchdowns on six of its eight drives, Crape’s fumble recovery the only stop in regulation.
It was Godfrey making the final stop, as Amity opted to throw on fourth and short in overtime despite gaining 330 yards on the ground in the 48 minutes and change prior. A bit of trickery, as the halfback took the handoff and airmailed it to the end zone. Godfrey snuck over in time to knock it down.
Game over. Rainier stayed undefeated (7-0), all but sealing a Special District 1 West title, and putting the rest of the state on notice.
“It was definitely a battle all game. We grind,” Crape said. “Keep trucking, rode on our line. Our skill guys made huge plays … That’s big stuff.”