Christmas has come early; football fans are in for a special treat to close out the high school football season. The St. X Tigers (12-2) will play the Trinity Shamrocks (14-0) for a winner-take-all, championship-or-nothing showdown. The arch-rivals are playing one another for the coveted Class 6A Championship at Kroger Field in Lexington on December 3 at 2 p.m.
There is arguably nothing better than for the championship game to end with the Tigers and Shamrocks taking their historic rivalry and blood-bowling temperatures against the other to Lexington, Kentucky.
This will be the first championship game between the two since 2009 when St. X won 34-10 in Bowling Green. That was the last championship for St. X and since then they have had some painful exits out of the playoffs at the hands of Trinity.
Both teams have met each other every year in the playoffs except 2013. During that span, the Rocks have been 6-0 against the Tigers, sending them home in the postseason without any remorse. They’ve shown no pity in the last six playoff match ups versus St. X, outscoring them 159 (26.5 points a game) to 51 (8.5 points a game).
This season, Trinity’s 28-0 rout over the Tigers during the regular season was the second of six shutout victories for the Shamrocks. As a reminder, the Rocks haven’t lost since November 20, 2015 and are riding a 29-game winning streak. They’re looking to win back-to-back championships and cap off two consecutive undefeated seasons.
Prior to 2009, Trinity beat St. X in the title game in 2003, 2005 and 2007. With history on their side, it will be a tough task for St. X to pull the upset.
Nonetheless, there is hope for the Tigers, who have averaged 33 points in 13 games and have gone 7-1 since their loss to Trinity in the regular season.
The Tigers rush for over 200 yards a game (225.1 per) and will rely on Anthony Moretti who leads the team in rushing and has punched the ball in the end zone 11 times for the season.
When the Tigers have gone in the air, they have been efficient. Senior quarterback Jack Albers has completed 61 percent (91/148) of his passes, 1,434 yards, 10 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. His big target in the receiving game is William Crum, who has 29 receptions for 662 yards and 5 touchdowns.
In the regular season game versus Trinity, their offense struggled against a stingy defense. Moretti rushed for only 47 yards, Albers completed 50 percent of his passes and Crum had one catch for 27 yards. The end result? The team did not score.
On defense, expect some big plays though by Quinn Owen. The junior linebacker leads the Tigers with 73 total tackles and on the September 29 game against the Rocks, he recorded 7 tackles.
Along with the defense, he will have the daunting task of slowing down the Trinity offense. The Rocks’ last close game was back on September 2, when they pulled out a 38-30 victory over Archbishop Moeller in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Since then, the Shamrocks have been relentless. They average 41.1 points a game to St. X’s 33 points, and have only allowed 9 points to their opponents. The reigning champions have suffocated opponents with their dominating defense that combines with an offense that is a well oiled machine.
Senior quarterback Nick Bohn has looked as good as Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers in the pocket, going 229/289 for a ridiculous 79 percent completion percentage, 2,965 yards, 33 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions this year.
He has been able to rely on a good rushing game that pounds the ball for 116.8 hard earned yards a game, but Bohn’s greatest luxury has been senior wide receiver Rondale Moore. If you blink, you just may miss him. He’s scored 13 touchdowns this season and also has a team leading 87 receptions and 1,189 yards a game.
He caused havoc for the Tigers in the regular season, rushing for 108 yards and caught 11 balls for 81 yards. In his final high school game, it would be a great milestone to reach or eclipse the century mark in receptions.
It should be a fun game with tremendous bragging rights on the line. Who am I taking? I like Trinity in a blowout win. I believe they will improve to 30-0 in the last two seasons and hoist the state championship trophy for the second straight year.
Story by Randy Whetstone
Photo by Damon Atherton