At first it was two city rivals, Male High and duPont Manual, that ruled the roost. Their game filled up Manual Stadium on Thanksgiving Day and was the place to be on Turkey Day. Both teams always were powerful – Manual even won a national championship in the late 1930s.
St. Xavier eventually caught up, but never relinquished the spotlight until a St. X grad, Paulie Miller, took the reins at a new Catholic school in the West End, Flaget, and made the Braves into what Trinity is now – a national power.
Meanwhile, some of the Jefferson County Public schools, Valley, Fairdale, Fern Creek, Jeffersontown and Eastern, took turns at fielding good teams but they weren’t consistently strong until Eastern, under Emmett Goranflo, Valley under Dallas Arnold, and Butler, a new school, began to hold their own with the city schools. Pleasure Ridge Park also was a contender.
After merger of the City and County systems, even Shawnee, under George Sauer, was a short-term power. Same with Atherton under Frank Yeager. Yes, Atherton. And two of the newest schools, Waggener (yes, Waggener) and Westport took turns in the spotlight.
Central all along was good, but St. Xavier, to its ever-lasting credit, was the only white school to play all-black Central, which won mythical national black titles.
Class football? Yes!
The most significant change that Kentucky ever made was when the Kentucky High School Athletic Association members voted to start class football playoffs in 1959.
The first four AAA champions were Manual, Male, Flaget, St. X and Male again in ’63 and ’64. Seneca, a new school, became the first County school to win when the Redskins ruled in ’65.
It takes numbers to win in football and each time Trinity and St. X take the field, they each suit up more than 100 bodies.
Trinity wins and just keeps winning and winning. Do the Shamrocks recruit? If they do, they have never been caught.
At Catholic grade school games, which are big in Louisville, it’s easy to spot Trinity and St. X coaches in the stands. It is no secret that winning impresses grade-school players and in recent years Trinity has won and also has attracted more top-caliber players.
Both St. X and Trinity broadcast their games on radio. They get calls and emails during games from fans all over the world.
X-Rocks No. 1
While the Male-Manual rivalry has lost some of its appeal, Trinity vs. St. X games attract more than 30,000 to UofL’s Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
All the fun starts anew Friday night.
All good things must come to an end, and this season will be the end of a good man’s career as St. X coach, Mike Glaser, who succeeded his brother, Bill, 31 years ago. I have covered both Glaser brothers throughout their careers. Any parent should feel blessed for a son to play for either brother.
Mike Glaser and Danville’s Sam Harp are tied for fourth with seven state crowns. Dale Mueller of Fort Thomas Highlands is first with 10 titles. Trinity’s Bob Beatty is runnerup with nine. Beechwood’s Mike Yeagle is third with eight crowns.