Okay, let’s get right down to it:
Just a week following Trinity’s impressive nationally-televised victory on an NFL field and just days before the annual St. Xavier-Trinity game, this question has to be asked:
How good is Trinity?
Your humble servant has seen all of the great Louisville high school teams since 1950. I did NOT see the storied duPont Manual team that won the mythical national championship by beating New Britain, Conn., for the mythical national championship in the late 1930s.
I did see the Flaget team that was powered by Notre Dame and NFL great Paul Hornung. I covered the Recreation Bowl in Mt. Sterling in the early 1950s when the Braves scored so much in a rout of Lexington Lafayette, and Hornung kicked so many footballs out of the field that coach Paulie Miller had to get a manager to scrounge in a ball bag for an old ball.
Impressing the Bear
“It was one that I could kick a mile,” said Hornung. “I really got into one and people sitting with the immortal coach Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant stood up and said, ‘Good God Almighty!’”
Bryant was at the game to scout Hornung, but the Bear lost him to Notre Dame because Hornung’s mother insisted that he go to “a good Catholic school.”
I would rate Tom Harper’s 1959 Manual team as the strongest and with the most great players, including Michigan State All-American running back Sherman Lewis. Four of the Crimsons captained their college teams. When Michigan State played Purdue, both teams were led by captains from Manual (Pete Dudgeon was Purdue’s leader and Lewis led Michigan State). Huge tackle Steve Wright surely was the only player to get the best of two all-time great coaches, Bryant at Alabama and Vince Lombardi at Green Bay. They simply couldn’t break his spirit. They would pound on him and he would just laugh.
Rocks’ defense tough
Now for this year’s Trinity team. If the Shamrocks finish undefeated and waltz to another state title, I would have to rank them with the ’59 Manual squad, maybe better.
For a final answer, we will have to see what players from this team do in college and maybe the pros.
Trinity has no evident weaknesses. What the Rocks do have is game-breaking and breath-taking speed, led by Kentucky’s finest prep athlete, James Quick, who snared a pass from star quarterback Travis Wright for the 72-yard touchdown that ensured Trinity’s 24-16 victory over Indianapolis Cathedral. The game was played at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts.
Don’t overlook Trinity’s defense. It is just as outstanding as the Rocks’ offense and makes sure Trinity never has too big of a deficit to overcome.
Friday’s Catholic Classic at Papa Johns will kick off at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at both schools and can be purchased at the stadium Friday.