By Randy Whetstone Jr.
Photos by Damon Atherton
The Trinity Shamrocks capped off a second consecutive perfect season (15-0) after upending their rivals St. X, 38-21, in the Class 6A Russell Athletic Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl. In front of 9,791 in attendance, Trinity displayed its dominance once again under the bright lights of Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky.
“I can’t say enough about our guys’ investment,” said Coach Bob Beatty after the victory. “The investment of the kids, their families, our coaching staff and the investment of the school is very, very special. It’s a huge investment, but the rewards are very good.”
Coach Beatty has won 13 state championships overall, but this is the first time he has had back-to-back undefeated seasons. Trinity now has 25 state titles in the program’s history.
“This group right here may be one of the most coachable groups we have had and they listened to us and they got better. To persevere through our season and to do what we did and to go undefeated against national teams and then take care of business in Kentucky, it is a great way to finish,” he added.
It was a game in which St. X wanted to redeem itself from a regular season shutout at the hands of Trinity at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, but it would be Trinity widening the gap between the two programs cherished rivalry, improving their win streak to seven straight over the Tigers.
“Give Trinity credit, they have a nice ball club to say the least,” said St. X coach Will Wolford after the game. “They have one of the best teams in the nation and they proved that today. Our kids also proved that they have a lot of heart, mind and guts.”
It was a bit surprising to see Trinity down early, but it grabbed their attention quickly. “That’s a part of it,” said Rondale Moore after the game. “We had to regroup, get everything straight and we came back out and were firing on all cylinders.”
On Trinity’s next possession, the Shamrocks did just that. After a Nick Bohn to Nick Strothman 48-yard touchdown was wiped away because of a holding penalty; on the very next play Bohn would hook up with Rondale Moore for a 62-yard touchdown, tying the game at 7-7.
On the Tigers’ next drive, Albers would be intercepted by Jacob Dingle. This time the Shamrocks would take advantage of the turnover. Rondale Moore was given the ball on a rush attempt, and the speedy “catch-me-if-you-can” receiver made a couple jukes, displaying his elusive ability and speed as defenders tried catching him to prevent the 93-yard touchdown run.
It was just the spark Trinity needed to shake off a slow start. That run put the Rocks up 14-7.
“I just saw the hole, made my cut, used my speed and I went to the end zone,” Moore said of the 93-yard run.
St. X would answer though. After a couple of punts from both teams, the Tigers closed out the first quarter with Jack Albers passing to Ben Mueller for a 35-yard touchdown score, tying the game at 14-14.
In the second quarter, Trinity extended their lead to 21-14 when Bohn found a wide open Nick Strothman for 36 yards. That’s when the Shamrocks’ offense began to look like an unstoppable freight train that started to steam roll the Tigers. They would score again, making the score 28-14 after a Rondale Moore 3-yard touchdown run.
St. X showed signs of life though in the third quarter. Looking refreshed and rejuvenated, Jack Albers led the Tigers within 14 points, after a 13-yard touchdown run, making the score 35-21. In the entire second half, the Tigers fought with heart and with class, but it wasn’t enough to make the desired comeback.
“We lost that momentum right there at the half and we talked about that at halftime, that you have to play a full game,” Beatty added. “That’s the way the game is, I knew it wasn’t going to be a shutout this time, but we persevered through it and played very well.”
Senior quarterback Nick Bohn ended his senior season breaking Tim Couch’s state record for completion percentage (75.1) set at Leslie County. Bohn finished the year completing 79.7 percent of his passes (290 of 364), which is a national high school record. In the game, he threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns and was elated after claiming his second straight championship.
“At Trinity, we expect this and this is the best feeling.” When asked what it meant to get a championship against his rival, he said, “Regardless, a ring is a ring, and I am going to love it no matter who we play. But to come in here against them, obviously it is awesome to get the win.” VT