Second-half defense propels Trinity over St. Xavier

Second-half defense propels Trinity over St. Xavier

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Second-half defense propels Trinity over St. Xavier

Rocks' Jailen Reed rushed for three scores in the first half

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Rocks' Jailen Reed rushed for three scores in the first half

Video | Trinity celebrates after defeating St. X

Behind a big first-half ground effort by Jailen Reed and a superb performance from its secondary in the second half, the Trinity High School football team slogged its way victory over its biggest rival Friday night.

Reed rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns – all in the first half – and three Trinity defensive backs intercepted passes in the second as the Shamrocks beat St. Xavier 20-15 in front of a rain-soaked crowd estimated at 13,000 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

“In rivalries like this, you find a way to win,” Trinity coach Bob Beatty said. “I thought our kids showed a tremendous amount of chest there in the second half, especially in the second half. I’m pleased with the win, but we have a lot of room to get better.”

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Trinity – No. 3 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings – improved to 6-1 and took a 40-37-2 lead in the series that started in 1956.

Along with Reed’s big game on the ground, senior quarterback Jacob Woosley completed 21 of 25 passes for 158 yards. Dalton Jones and Rodjay Burns both had seven receptions.

No. 7 St. X (4-2) held Trinity scoreless in the second half but couldn’t overcome its turnovers or its struggling rushing attack (28 carries, 54 yards).

“We have a lot of young kids that are going to learn a whole lot from this game tonight,” St. X coach Will Wolford said. “We had a lot of juniors out there, and for a while the game was too big for them. It was great to see them fight back and battle to the bitter end.”

Trinity’s punting game struggled throughout the night and led to St. Xavier’s first points early in the first quarter.

After a snap went over the head of Trinity punter Jay Nunamaker, St. X recovered at the Shamrocks’ 2-yard line. Two plays later quarterback Desmond Ridder trotted in for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead at the 8:41 mark of the first half.

But Trinity responded in style, led by the pounding attack of Reed.

He capped three straight Shamrocks drives with touchdown runs – going 2, 5 and 2 yards. The last one gave Trinity a 20-7 lead with 7:10 left in the first half.

Reed had 108 yards on 20 carries in the first two quarters.

“The line saw it, and I got behind them,” Reed said. “It was just me trusting my line and our other running back (Jovan Smith). It paid off.”

Trinity’s punting game faltered again late in the second quarter and gave St. X momentum. On fourth-and-1 from their own 31-yard line, the Sharmocks attempted a quick punt by Woosley. But it was blocked by Chris Beets.

That allowed Sam McDonogh to kick a 27-yard field goal on the final play of the first half, pulling the Tigers within 20-10.

McDonogh’s 25-yard field goal pulled St. X within 20-13 with 7:23 left in the third quarter. Trinity’s next possession ended with another high snap on a punt attempt, with this one rolling through the end zone for a St. X safety that made it 20-15 at the 5:45 mark.

Trinity’s offense was stagnant for much of the second half, but the defense protected the lead. Three straight St. X drives ended with interceptions, with Luke Eskins, Burns and Ryan Reynolds each recording a pick.

St. X’s final possession started at its 22-yard line with 1:12 remaining, and the Tigers advanced to midfield in the final seconds. Ridder’s Hail Mary attempt on the final play was batted down short of the end zone.

Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and jfrakes@courier-journal.com.

ST. XAVIER          7               3              5              0 – 15

TRINITY                7              13           0              0 – 20

SX – Desmond Ridder 2 run (Sam McDonogh kick); T – Jailen Reed 2 run (Jay Nunamaker kick); T – Reed 5 run (Nunamaker kick); T – Reed 2 run (kick blocked); SX – McDonogh 27 FG; SX – McDonogh 25 FG; SX – Safety, ball snapped out of end zone.

SX                           T

First downs         10                           19

Total yards          145                         266

Rushes-yards     28-54                     45-108

Comp-Att-Int     7-24-3                   21-25-0

Passing yards     91                          158

Fumbles-lost      0-0                          2-1

Punts-avg            5-35.4                    3-21.7

Penalties-yards  2-20                       5-44

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