Shamrocks, Tigers will meet at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium
No. 2 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings, the Trinity High School football team (10-1) will face No. 5 St. Xavier (7-4) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in a second-round Class 6-A playoff game at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
A head coach with knowledge of both programs broke down the matchup with The Courier-Journal’s Jason Frakes.
Question: When you prepare for Trinity, what stands out the most in comparison to any other team you face?
Answer: Offensively, it’s their balance. They’re adept at passing and running. You don’t find a lot of teams that can do both with some kind of degree of success, and they’re really good at both. You’ve seen games where they’ve thrown and scored a lot and games where they’ve just run it down other people’s throats. … Defensively, they’re so good against the run. If you can’t throw the ball against them, you play right into what they’re good at. When you look at their schedule, they don’t face many teams that can really throw the ball and their defense just eats them up.
Q: What’s your No. 1 concern when you face St. X?
A: Their quarterback-run game and misdirection is probably better than anyone around. And it’s just going to keep getting better because it’s a new system for them.
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Q: What kind of X factor is junior quarterback Desmond Ridder for the Tigers?
A: He’s good at the running part, but he struggles in the passing game. He throws a lot of interceptions (11 in 11 games this season). Their Achilles’ heel is their passing game. It’s not going to be great because they do put a lot of resources toward the run. They’ll get a lot better once they get an efficient passing game.
Q: What stands out about St. Xavier’s defense?
A: They’re very disciplined, and they’re always well-prepared and take away your best stuff.
Q: Do you see a way for St. X to turn the tide from their 20-15 loss to Trinity during the regular season?
A: I think they can hold their own defensively against Trinity. The question is, to me, whether St. X’s offense can score enough points. They can’t just run their quarterback and beat them. If they can’t throw the ball and hit the big play, something else needs to happen, which means either special teams … or their defense will have to generate some points. I just don’t see how their offense, with their passing game not really up to snuff yet, can consistently move the ball to beat them.
Q: Give us a prediction for a final score.
A: Trinity 20-10.
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Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and email@example.com.