By Randy Whetstone Jr.
Photo by Damon Atherton
Trinity (No. 1) shutout St. Xavier (No. 2) 28-0 in their historic rivalry last Friday at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. With roughly 24,000 in attendance, it was a game in which both teams came in undefeated (for the first time since 2008) and ranked as the top two teams in the state according to the Associated Press in a Class 6-A poll.
The St. X Tigers (5-1) haven’t beaten the Trinity Shamrocks (7-0) since 2014, but Coach Will Wolford felt good about his team’s chances this year. In the end, however, it was Trinity who displayed their dominance in a crushing victory of their rival.
“One thing about this game is you have to coach in the moment,” said Trinity Coach Bob Beatty after the game. “It doesn’t matter what has happened before, you have to play this game between the white lines and that’s what these kids did. I am really proud of them, our coaching staff with their game plan and our execution.”
Trinity extended its winning streak to 22 games, and they’re a team hungry to repeat as state champions. If they remain unblemished, it would put them at two consecutive undefeated seasons on their way to back-to-back state titles.
In the game Friday, both teams were tied at nil after one quarter. Beatty took the blame for a slow tempo, saying, “That’s on me. I felt like we wanted to change tempo after we came out of the huddle, and we looked like me, slow, then we went no huddle and sped things up a little bit and I felt like we got a little grasp.”
After the change in tempo, there was literally nothing St. X could do to stop the Shamrocks. After a scoreless first quarter, Trinity would strike first in the second. Nick Bohn hit Anthony Palombino for a six-yard touchdown that put the Rocks up 7-0.
On their next possession, Trinity marched down the field with less than four minutes before the half, and Bohn would connect with Nick Strothman on a four-yard pass that made the score 14-0 before the break.
Coming out of the half, Trinity looked to simply behead the Tigers. At the start of the third, the Rocks continued to have their way on the offensive side. On their first possession, they utilized Texas-commit Rondale Moore in various packages, leading them down the field where Ryan Miller would eventually catch a 15-yard pass from Bohn for a score, putting Trinity up 21-0.
Moore, who should be leading the 2017 Mr. Football talks, finished the game with seven carries for 108 yards, 11 receptions for 81 yards.
After the game, he said, “It feels great; it was a great team win. The offensive line and receivers did a great job on the down blocking and Nick Bohn is a great quarterback who makes great reads. Our defense made a statement and we feel we can play with anybody in the country.”
Coach Will Wolford said he was disappointed with how his team played, but Beatty was thrilled to see his defense performing at a high level.
“Hats off to our defense,” he says. “They bailed us out time and time again.”
The Tigers came in with high hopes of beating their arch rival for their first time in three years, but instead left utterly demolished. Struggling to get much of anything going against a fast and hard hitting Trinity defense in the fourth quarter, the bleeding wouldn’t stop. St. X would give up a huge 55 yard run by Moore, who was stopped in his tracks on the play, but then made something out of nothing.
Bohn finished the game completing 76 percent of his passes (32/42), 237 passing yards and four touchdowns.
“It meant a lot,” he says. “We had been waiting for this game all season. When Rondale went out early, I had to step up and the other players did as well.”
Trinity has won the last six games over St. X and improved their series lead to 44-37-2. VT