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A Team for the Ages
December 29, 2011By Betty Coffman of VYPE MAGAZINE - Greater Louisville
By Dave Spoelker
Two thousand eleven was a football season to remember for the Trinity Shamrocks. The Rocks’ 62-21 win over Scott County in the Class 6A Russell Athletic/KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl on December 2nd completed an undefeated (14-0) season and secured a second consecutive state championship and the school’s 21st state football title.
However, that is only half the story. Not only was the team undefeated, it achieved this record by defeating some of the best teams from Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio, as well as the best competition in Kentucky. And the Shamrocks claimed those wins by an average margin of 41.5 points through the season.
Recognition of the Rocks’ prowess spread beyond the state’s borders. They were named the number one prep school program in the nation in several national high school polls, including Sports Illustrated, Rivals.com and Scout.com. Coach Bob Beatty was selected to be an assistant coach in the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and named as a finalist for the Russell Athletic National Coach of the Year Award.
“The most recent edition of the Trinity football team may be the best in school history,” says Jimmy York, a local high school football enthusiast and historian. “The national attention this team has received is unsurpassed.
“Many long-time Trinity football observers felt this group was the best since Trinity first fielded a varsity team in 1955,” says York, adding that this team featured exceptional speed and unity.
York says that until now, he has measured teams against Trinity’s 2002 team led by Brian Brohm that defeated Michael Bush’s Male team 59-56 in the state finals. The 2011 Shamrocks scored 40+ points in all but two games, surpassing the 2002 team. This against arguably the toughest opponents the team ever faced, including a 36-14 victory over 2010 and 2011 Class 4A Indiana State Champion Cathedral. Further, this year’s Trinity team swept through their district foes (Male, duPont Manual and St. Xavier) in the regular season and playoffs, outscoring those schools 245-19 in the five games played.
“This Trinity team is scary good. To flat out dominate the best teams in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee shows the Rocks are men among boys. They are most deserving to be mentioned among the elite teams in the nation,” says Joe Hall, the host of the Kentucky High School Football Scoreboard Show on 84WHAS. “This is by far the best high school team I've ever seen.”
Dane Spoelker was center for the 2005 and 2006 state champion Shamrocks.
“We had really good teams and played with a lot of heart,” Spoelker says. “[However,] their linemen on offense and defense are awesome. While it’s hard to admit, while I know we could score on them, I think they’d take us.”
The Shamrocks’ chief rival in the national rankings this season was Don Bosco Prep of Ramsey, New Jersey, which also was named number one in several national polls. Don Bosco officials proposed a “National Championship” game at Yankee Stadium between the two teams, but national high school athletic officials nixed the idea. The debate over national superiority will have to remain Internet and water cooler chatter for months â€‘ or years â€‘ to come.
If this year’s edition of the Shamrocks is the best Trinity has ever fielded, how then do they compare to the all time best teams from this area?
Manual’s 1938 team was crowned National Champion by virtue of a playoff game arranged against New Britain, Connecticut and played in Louisiana. Manual won 28-20. That undefeated (10-0) Crimsons team had wins over schools from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio.
Coach Paulie Miller of Flaget had an outstanding undefeated team in 1961 with quarterback Rick Nord. For two years in 1974 and 1975, St. Xavier stayed undefeated under Bill Glaser with a stifling defense and a young quarterback named Rick Buehner.
Then there were coach Charlie Kuhn’s Male Bulldogs, who were 11-0 in both 1963 and 1964. And coach Joe Hood’s 1979 Butler Bears who ran the table at 14-0. The list could go on and on.
The 2011 Shamrocks certainly have a place among those legendary teams, and at least one observer believes there may be more to this team’s legacy than a page in high school sports history.
“The Rocks have built a foundation to be a national powerhouse for years to come,” Hall says. “In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if families start to relocate to Louisville just so their sons can play for an elite program. The sky is the limit for this team.”
What do you think? Is this 2011 Trinity team the best high school football team this area has ever seen?
Cast your vote for the all-time best high school team in the area. Email your comments to email@example.com. Next month, VYPE will print as many as possible … and maybe come to a consensus as to who reigns as the best local high school team of all time!
Trinity High School 2011 Varsity Football Record
Date Opponent Score
Aug 19 Brentwood Academy, TN 45-7
Aug 26 Montgomery Bell, TN 66-21
Sep 09 Elder, OH 56-7
Sep 16 St. Xavier, OH 17-7
Sep 23 Cathedral, IN 36-14
Sep 30 St. Xavier 41-6
Oct 07 Manual 58-7
Oct 14 Male 49-0
Oct 28 Moeller, OH 49-14
Nov 05 Simon Kenton 72-0
Nov 12 Manual 55-0
Nov 20 St. Xavier 42-6
Nov 27 Butler 49-6
Dec 03 Scott County 62-21