Despite towering preseason expectations, Trinity High School’s football team has somehow managed to over-deliver in the first half of the 2011 season.
Heading into Friday’s rivalry matchup with St. Xavier the undefeated Rocks (5-0) are averaging 44 points a game and have outscored a slate of powerful out-of-state opponents 220-56.
The defending 6-A state champions are ranked among the Top-10 nationally in all major polls and gaudy offensive production from stars such as wide receiver James Quick (34 receptions for 620 yards and 10 TDs) and quarterback Travis Wright (15 TD passes in five games) has turned heads locally and attracted the attention of college coaches across the country.
Operating just outside the limelight – but providing the requisite time, holes and cover for the Rocks’ heralded skill position players—is a dominant offensive line led by senior right tackle Joey Warburg.
The 6-foot-6, 255-pounder is a three-year starter and recently committed to play at Illinois. According to coach Bob Beatty, Warburg and the rest of the O-line have been crucial to the Rocks’ success.
“I think it’s probably the oldest proverb in football…You win the game up front. It all starts right there,” said Beatty. “At Trinity we like long linemen and (Warburg) is very athletic as well.”
“The thing I like about Joey is he never gets too high and never gets too low,” added Beatty. “He’s a very even-keel kind of guy and that’s a perspective a lot of people don’t see.”
Fresh off a 36-14 defeat of Cathedral (Ind.), Warburg took time to share his thoughts on this year’s team and the excitement leading up to Friday’s showdown at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
Trinity has set itself apart from other area programs and garnered national recognition this season.
What do you feel is the most important factor in the team’s rise?
It’s hard to say, really. Nothing has changed from when we (the seniors) were freshmen. We’ve all come through this program…and the coaches have us going in the right direction. It just feels like another year of football.
What is the key to a dominant offensive line?
You need size, strength and speed, but honestly, I think it’s chemistry. We know where each person is supposed to be at certain times and you can’t really teach that. It’s something that develops over time and we probably got it from playing together a lot last year.
In addition to Illinois, you had offers from Louisville and South Alabama. How did you decide on the Illini?
There wasn’t one thing in particular. The coaches really made me feel like part of the family. I was actually up there to watch a game last night. After they won (23-20 over Western Michigan) they let me go into the locker room to hear Coach (Ron) Zook’s speech.
It’s crazy to think about playing at that level next year and how much things are going to change within a year from now.
How do you spend your time away from football?
I water ski competitively. It’s something I do with my dad (Frank). I’ve been skiing in the (Kentucky Waterski Federation) state tournament since I was five and have several titles.
It’s funny; Coach Zook water skis too. He knows the lingo and knows what it takes to be a skier.
I’ve also been powerlifting since my sophomore year with coach (Bob) Maddox. It’s definitely one of the things that makes Trinity so good. For me it’s always been about gaining weight and getting stronger and there’s no better way than powerlifting.
As a starter you are 2-2 against St. X. What does the rivalry mean to you?
Since my parents grew up out of town I was pretty neutral as a kid, but my eighth grade year I fell in love with Trinity.
It’s a huge game and I know they aren’t just going to roll over because we’ve been doing so well. They’re going to come with their A-game and it’s going to be a closer game than a lot of people think, I’m guessing.
Contact columnist Chris Cahill at email@example.com.
Category: High School Sports Report