November 27th, 2010

Rocks Return To State Game With 28-9 Win

Chris Jung

Senior Writer

Rocks Return To State Game With 28-9 Win
photo by Dr. John Meyer

Bishop scores three touchdowns to lead Trinity win over Ryle

Trinity football Head Coach Bob Beatty waited until Friday night to bite into Thanksgiving dessert.

And as he sank his teeth into the wooden base of the Class 6A semi-state football trophy to celebrate his team's 28-9 victory over Ryle, Beatty did so as the new, all-time winningest coach in Shamrocks history.

Beatty, who is in the midst of his 11th season at the helm of the Rocks, now sports an all-time record of 139-21 - exactly one win better than long time Trinity football coach (and current Athletic Director) Dennis Lampley. And with his record-breaking win on Friday over the Raiders in Union, KY, Beatty has led the Rocks back to the state championship game for the 10th time in 11 seasons with Trinity.

Despite scoring on the game's first play from scrimmage - a 65-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Travis Wright to sophomore wide receiver James Quick - It wasn't always easy for the Shamrocks (13-1). A slew of penalties, some of which were questionable calls, kept Trinity from creating the up-tempo rhythm it has utilized to overwhelm its opponents all season, and often times kept the Rocks out of sync. For the game, Trinity was penalized 12 times for 100 yards, while Ryle only accumulated three flags for 21 yards.

But Quick's touchdown to open the game - his 15th of the season - was enough to give his team a 7-3 halftime lead, as the Shamrock defense was quick to the ball and disrupted a Raider offense that had averaged 36 points per game coming into the state semifinal contest. Ryle's (12-2) lone first-half points came on a Garrett Mead 31-yard field goal with 1:03 to go before the half.

Trinity, whose offense has been equally affective all season, seemed to succumb a bit to the extremely frigid weather conditions in northern Kentucky.

"As much as I didn't want to admit it, I think the cold (weather) bothered us a little bit on our timing, and our passing game a little bit," said Beatty. "We made some adjustments on that, tried to get the ball out a little quicker for our jet sweeps and things like that. We talked at halftime that we had the lead, it was 7-3....let's not panic and get back out and get it done."

With that mentality coming out of the locker room, there was no better person for Trinity to rely on than its most consistent player - senior running back Derek Bishop. And following back-to-back big plays from Quick (a 15-yard misdirection run and 14-yard catch from Wright) to ignite a third-quarter drive, Beatty showed his absolute confidence in Bishop in the redzone.

Lined up in the "Wildcat" formation, Bishop took the direct snap and ran it in for an eight-yard touchdown. But the officials called a false start on the play, erasing the points and pushing the ball back five yards.

Without blinking an eye, Beatty called out for the exact same play to be run again. And with a determined bounce in his step, Bishop again took the direct snap, got to the outside corner, and bullied his way into the left side of the endzone for a 13-yard touchdown run, and a 14-3 Trinity lead with 3:37 remaining in the third quarter. The sequence seemed to light a fire under the Shamrock sideline.

Just over a minute later, sophomore defender Jason Hatcher added gasoline to the flame, sacking Ryle quarterback Conner Hempel on a 3rd and 7 play, which completely shifted the momentum to the defending state runner-up Shamrocks.

Trinity regained possession early in the fourth quarter and took complete control of the game with 9:05 to go, as Bishop burst through the middle of the field and scurried into the endzone for a 41-yard touchdown run and a 21-3 Rocks lead. After a long kickoff return and solid drive by the Raiders, Hempel went for the long ball, but was intercepted by Trinity senior Dylan Steele in the endzone with 7:30 remaining in the game.

Coming into the matchup, Ryle junior running back Travis Elliott had racked up over 2,100 yards and 32 touchdowns on the ground, but Trinity's defense kept the strong runner at bay for most of the evening. Elliott finished with 73 yards on 14 carries, but the majority of those came on a 31-yard run with 4:18 to go and the game all but decided.

Elliott's long run did set up Ryle's first touchdown of the game, as Hempel rushed to the right for a six-yard touchdown scamper. Down 21-9, Ryle Head Coach Bryson Warner elected to have his squad attempt the two-point conversion, but an offensive pass interference penalty cost the Raiders the points and kept Trinity's 12-point lead in tact.

"We've gone against some great backs," said Beatty. "(Conor Hundley), the Cincinnati St. X running back is one for sure. He was a tremendous back, but we did a great job on him except for one play, and he took it 92 (yards). Manual had some backs. (Louisville) St. X had some good backs. So this is nothing new for us. We felt like teams that we played, that's what they featured - the running game. And our kids felt good going in against that."

Bishop's third touchdown of the night - a two-yard run with 1:37 to go - sealed the game and sent Trinity back to its familiar surroundings of the state title game. Bishop finished the game with 171 yards on 24 carries to accompany his TD trio. It was his sixth, three-touchdown game of the season. The aforementioned Quick finished with 111 receiving yards on six catches, which gives the sophomore 1,081 yards on the season.

Wright did not have his best game of the season, but was effective when it mattered and finished 8-of-14 for 136 yards and the lone touchdown. Trinity also kept up a 2010 postseason trend with a close first half and efficient second half. In four playoff games thus far, the Rocks have outscored its opponents 45-23 in the first half, but 121-15 in the second half.

Shamrocks punter Clayton Meyer was superb in the special teams game, as the senior launched six booming punts for a total of 228 yards, which helped Trinity win the field position aspect of the affair.

Trinity sophomore cornerback Ryan White, who had an interception, six tackles, and four punt returns for 35 yards in the win, said the whole team, especially the defensive unit, was taking the Ryle team very seriously.

"We've been watching film all day and knew they were a great team," said White. "Coming into the game, we knew we couldn't take them lightly and that their quarterback and running back is really good - their 'go-to guys,' so we knew we had to shut them down."

With the win, Trinity will return to the title game for the 24th time in program history, and sets up a Class 6A state championship showdown with fellow Jefferson County foe Male High School. The Bulldogs (11-3) defeated Scott County 28-12 on Friday in the bracket's other semi-state game. Male is led by running backs Raejon Morris and John Giddens. Trinity defeated Male 31-6 in last season's third round and 38-34 in a 2006 third-round game.

The best known game in the all-time series between the Rocks and Bulldogs is the 2002 state championship classic, where current NFL players Brian Brohm (Trinity) and Michael Bush (Male) combined for 1,020 passing yards and 15 touchdowns, and an eventual 59-56 title victory for the Rocks.

With the game scheduled to be played next Saturday evening in Bowling Green, KY, Beatty said after the game that the coaches will alter the team's regular schedule during the week to simulate a traditional preparation for the state tile game.

"You've got to set things back and you can't get in a hurry," said Beatty. "We'll have to treat Monday like our (traditional) Saturdays, because you don't want to be ready on Thursday to play a Saturday game, because now you've got two days. We've got some kids with some nicks, but we've got time to (get them ready) because of the extra day, and we'll be ready to give (Male) heck."

Kickoff for the Trinity-Male Class 6A state championship game is set for 8/7pm CST on Saturday, Dec. 4 at Western Kentucky University's Houchens-L.T. Smith Stadium. Information regarding tickets and other game details will be available after the weekend.

Vist the home page for video highlights and a photo gallery from this game.



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