The Tigers feature one of the nation's highest-ranked sophomore quarterbacks
The Courier-Journal’s Jason Frakes and WHAS11’s Kent Spencer look at this week’s big games in Louisville area high school football including the big match up between Trinity and visiting Cocoa Beach, Fla.
Searching for an identity on offense after an 0-2 start this season, the Trinity High School football team seems to have found one in its rushing attack.
Senior running back Donald Brooks has been the star of the Shamrocks’ recent run, rushing for 437 yards and seven touchdowns during a two-game winning streak. That includes a 290-yard, five-touchdown performance on 37 carries in a 36-27 victory at Cincinnati Colerain last week.
“The linemen did an awesome job, and I did a good job of reading the holes,” Brooks said. “When something’s going good, you don’t break it.”
Trinity will attempt to keep its rushing attack rolling Friday night when it hosts a Cocoa (Fla.) team that is 2-0 and ranked No. 53 in the nation by NationalHSFootball.com. Kickoff is set for 7:30. The Tigers feature five FBS prospects, including one of the nation’s highest-ranked sophomore quarterbacks in Bruce Judson.
“They’re very, very well-coached,” Trinity coach Bob Beatty said. “The athletes they have are long and can run — their quarterback, their receivers — and they have some offensive and defensive linemen that are outstanding.”
Brooks has been outstanding for Trinity for most of the season, having rushed for 648 yards and 10 touchdowns on 103 carries (6.3 yards per carry).
Beatty said Brooks’ high number of carries against Colerain was a result of several factors, including a desire to protect sophomore quarterback Larry Harper III and to take advantage of the opponent’s inexperience on the defensive line.
And, of course, Brooks has proved he can handle it.
“We have a great horse, so let’s feed that horse,” Beatty said. “We have several backs I feel are capable of running, and those guys are showing up.”
Trinity has run the ball on 64.4 percent of its plays this season, a somewhat surprising number given the program’s history of big passing numbers. Beatty said that number is not important and simply is a result of taking what the defense is giving.
He also said the passing game has taken longer to develop this season because more of the team’s skill players also are seeing practice and playing time on defense.
“That timing of the run and pass game takes a while,” Beatty said. “I feel like each week we’re improving there.”
Cocoa’s Judson, a 5-foot-9 176-pounder, has accounted for eight touchdowns (five passing, three rushing) through two games. He has scholarship offers from Florida State, Miami, Clemson and Kentucky, among several others.
“He’s definitely a dual-threat guy,” Cocoa coach John Wilkinson said. “He’s gotten a lot better this year with reading coverages and defenses.”
Junior lineman Jawaan Taylor (6-4, 345) and junior tight end Zach Armour (6-3, 190) are other top recruits on offense. Senior cornerback Jamel Dean (Ohio State commitment) and junior safety Chauncey Gardner (Florida commitment) lead the defense.
Cocoa, a Class 4-A school in Florida’s eight-class system, was scheduled to bring just 30 players on its flight to Louisville on Thursday night, Wilkinson said. The Tigers are accustomed to traveling out of state, having visited Maryland last year, New Jersey in 2012 and Ohio, Texas and Louisiana in 2011.
“We probably have eight or 10 kids who have never been on a plane before,” Wilkinson said. “A lot of kids from our area don’t get out of Cocoa or the county. There are obstacles to the travel … but the experience outweighs all of the obstacles.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and followed on Twitter @kyhighs.
GAME OF THE WEEK
• Who: Cocoa (2-0) at Trinity (2-2).
• When: 7:30 tonight.
• Jason’s pick: Trinity 35-27.