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October 28, 2011
Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - If the next five potential opponents of Louisville (Ky.) Trinity were to believe the evaluation of Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller coach John Rodenberg, they probably would lose a bit of confidence.
"They are exceptional," Rodenberg said after his team - which once openly talked about a national title - was soundly beaten, 49-14, Friday night.
"We haven't seen a team like that this season; we won't see a team like that in our playoffs."
And Moeller has seen plenty of talent.
The school has beaten nationally ranked Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier and Pickerington (Ohio) Central as well as lost to nationally ranked Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward and Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral. And its path through the Ohio Division I playoffs could include as many as four more nationally ranked teams.
If the next five potential opponents of Trinity were to believe the evaluation of Shamrock coach Bob Beatty, well, they would probably would lose a little more confidence.
"We haven't played our best football yet," he said. "Not even close to it."
That's hard to believe.
Louisville Trinity, currently the No. 2 team in the RivalsHigh 100, came off of a bye week and beat Moeller by 35 - its seventh opponent this season to fall by that margin or more.
The team was able to get its starters out of the game before the fourth quarter - and after a sequence starting in the second quarter that saw the 'Rocks defense force eight out of nine drives to end in either a turnover or a three-and-out while its offense scored touchdowns on five out of the next seven drives.
"Our defense came out and played well tonight," Trinity quarterback Travis Wright said. "Offensively, we didn't really get into a groove until the middle of the second quarter so it was on them to keep us going."
Beatty did not think it was as much his offense not performing well so much as it was a compliment to the defense of Moeller.
"When we don't come out and score right away, the first thing we hear is that we didn't start well," he said. "A lot of that has to be attributed to what that team did against us. They did some things we did not expect and it took a bit of adjusting."
The team was forced to punt four times in the first half, the most in any game this season, but it also was able to go in at half leading 21-7.
The advantage was due to the play of the defense and special teams.
Junior defensive back Ryan White scored on an 88-yard punt return in the middle of the second. He also was involved in a tipped interception by Timmy Smith that was returned to the Moeller 10 and later punched in by running back Dayln Dawkins.
Dawkins added another 49-yard touchdowns in the third quarter and finished with 157 yards on 15 carries.
But it was White's return the ignited the team.
"We knew their quarterback was going to punt that ball," he said. "So I was ready for a return and they weren't able to get enough guys down the field. I was able to follow my blockers and make something happen."
It was a spark that Trinity needed and a major letdown for Moeller.
"I think that punt really let us down," Rodenberg said. "It killed us."
And that was it.
"Once we got into that groove it was a lot easier," Wright said. "Once we get going, it is like being in the driver's seat of a Lomborghini."
Wright continued his assault on the Trinity and Kentucky records by completing 14 of 19 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns - both to James Quick.
Quick hauled in seven passes for 112 yards - helping him rewrite the Trinity receiving record books.
The receiver is a leader on the team that, according to White, keeps it loose when they need it.
"James is crazy man, stupid crazy," he said. "He makes us laugh and just is a goof."
It was White though that Beatty had high praise for.
"He is the finest cornerback I have ever coached," he said. "I say that knowing that I have current cornerbacks in the NFL.
"Ryan has some of the finest coverage skills, tackling skills, closing speed of anyone I have coached in 34 years."
With five games remaining on the schedule to win a Kentucky Class 6A title, the Shamrocks continue to keep their focus on that sole goal; not focusing on any national polls.
"We can only control Kentucky," Wright said. "The rest of that stuff isn't up to us."
Beatty took it one step further: "We coach for the moment and we play for the moment," he said. "If we don't win next week those national polls won't mean anything."
But if the team does start to play its best football in the last month, it could mean one thing: No. 1 Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco may lose more than just a little bit of confidence.