June 22nd, 2012
LCS.com Year In Review: Football
Local teams combine to sport 39-13 record; one state championship
LouisvilleCatholicSports.com chronicles the 2011-2012 sports year in review. We will bring you every sport, every season, every team’s results in a capsule each weekday until we're finished. From Cross-Country to Softball and all sports in between, here’s what happened in 2011-2012 on the Louisville Catholic sports scene.
The 2011 football season was all about the dominance of the Trinity Shamrocks. Their 14-0 record came against a schedule that was among the toughest in the country. The Rocks claimed their second consecutive state championship and dominated the competition every step of the way. The national attention they received was well-earned as the Rocks were either ranked No. 1 or No. 2 by nearly every national ranking service.
But there were some terrific performances and achievements by all of the local teams. Holy Cross enjoyed a wonderful run in Class A. DeSales showed their typical grittiness. And St. Xavier, who struggled to a slow start, finished strong and showed great improvement throughout the season.
Here’s a look back at the 2011 football season.
DeSales – record: 6-6; Class 2A - 2nd Round of State Playoffs
To put a capsule on the Colts season, you can use one word: turnovers. As in, the Colts suffered from turnovers all season, giving away too many and taking away too few. Coach Mark Sander and the Colts endured all kinds of adversity in 2011, but they put a competitive team on the field every weekend. Among their six wins was a tough, well-earned 7-6 decision over arch rival Holy Cross.
Led by team captain and defensive stalwart Kameron Able, a Morehead State signee, the Colts’ defense were a gritty group that allowed 22 pts/game. They recorded one shutout and limited three other opponents to 6, 7 and 14 points.
The offense was led by seniors Jared Nauert (QB) and Cory Lafever (RB), who were the main cogs in the Colts offensive attack. By the end of the season the Colts found a new game-breaking threat on the ground in rising junior running back Dylan Byrd. Byrd scored two touchdowns in the overtime loss at Christian Academy in the second round of the state post-season tournament and was a threat to score every time he touched the ball.
Holy Cross – record: 11-2; Class A – quarterfinalists
The high scoring Holy Cross offense averaged 49.8 pts/game in their first 12 games of the season. And that included a 7-6 loss to arch rival DeSales. But it was that 13th game, at state runners-up Mayfield, where the Cougars couldn’t muster a thrust across the goal line.
The highs were very high for this team. Led by senior quarterback Cameron Scott and running backs Jessie Keen and junior Aaron Drury, the Cougars assaulted opposing teams with a ground attack that ranked among the state’s best. They scored 49 points in the first 5:24 against Bardstown Bethlehem en route to a 69-3 win, and they did that on just two offensive plays. Two plays, two touchdowns. The other five td’s were scored on returns: a kickoff return, punt return, fumble recovery and two interception returns. They also defeated of tough Jeffersontown team 23-21 with some late-game heroics.
Coach Mike Fletcher, who retired after the season, led this team on an incredible three year run going 28-10. In the last two years, Holy Cross outscored opponents 1,075 to 395.
St. Xavier – record: 8-5; Class 6A – quarterfinalists
From the beginning of pre-season practice and throughout the first two months of the season, St. X head coach Mike Glaser had a consistent message to his team and all St. X fans: we’re preparing for the playoffs; we’re going to have our ups and downs; we’re going to get better.
And he was dead-on with his assessment. A shaky 3-4 start to the season was followed by 5 consecutive wins including a gutsy 7-3 home victory over a very good Cincinnati St. Xavier team. Throughout the season the Tigers developed a strong defensive unit with linebackers George Stone (senior) and Deonte Clyburn (junior) leading the way.
Offensively, St. X was led by senior quarterback Alex Mattingly. When he was on his game and limiting turnovers, Mattingly made the offense run smoothly and efficiently, whether in big chunks or one first down at a time. Sophomore running back Charles Walker proved to be a threat on the ground and as a receiver out of the backfield.
In The Game against arch rival Trinity, Mattingly’s big effort kept the Tigers within striking distance well into the third quarter. But the big turnover—the offense’s biggest problem all season—sealed the Tigers’ fate in that game.
Their late-season 5 game win streak showed just how much St. X improved over the course of the season and that just makes the 2012 outlook a little brighter.
Trinity – record: 14-0; Class 6A State Champions
So you think that Trinity offense was powerful in 2011?
Try these defensive stats: the Rocks defense shut-out three offenses; in seven games they allowed just one touchdown (6 or 7 points); in two games they allowed 14 points; in two other games they allowed 21. The defense allowed only 8.3 points/game against some of the best teams from Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee. Against district foes Manual, Male and St. X as well as their five post-season games against Kentucky competition that defense allowed an absurdly low 46 points in 8 games, or an average of just 5.8 pts/game.
DE Jason Hatcher and University of Louisville signee CB Ryan White were the big-time playmakers for the defense and both will be returning for their senior campaigns.
Ok, so you want to talk about the offense? How’s this: 49.4 pts/game as they scored 41 points or more in 12 of their 14 games. In the other two, they outscored Indianapolis Cathedral (Indiana State 4A champs) at home 36-14 and Cincy St. X on the road in one of the most hostile high school football environments in the country, The Pit, by a 17-7 score.
You know the names of this offensive juggernaut: juniors WR James Quick, RB Dalyn Dawkins and QB Travis Wright. But ask any of the Trinity coaches and they will tell you that the strength of this offense wasn’t necessarily in the firepower as much as it was in the massive, experienced offensive line that created gaping holes and gave Wright plenty of time to survey the field and hit his speedy targets in the passing game.
The national accolades, the Shamrocks were ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in nearly every national poll and No. 1 in the CatholicSportsNet.com poll, were well deserved. Coach Bob Beatty and staff will have a tough time repeating this type of utter dominance week-in and week-out in 2012, but having a bevy of playmakers at his disposal will definitely help.