High school notebook: Is Trinity's dominance bad for Kentucky?

mfields@herald-leader.com,Mike FieldsAugust 16, 2012 

Any doubts that Trinity is a lead-pipe cinch to win its 10th state football title in 12 years, and 22nd overall, this season were erased last week.

The defending national champion Shamrocks tuned up for their 2012 schedule by obliterating five-time defending state titlist Highlands in a scrimmage in Fort Thomas last Friday.

"Did you see the halftime score?" Scott County Coach Jim McKee asked incredulously to begin a phone conversation this week.

"It was 51-0!"

Trinity went on to bury the Bluebirds 63-31, kind of like the way the Rocks rolled Scott County 62-21 in last year's Class 6A title game.

Trinity, underrated at No. 13 in USA Today's pre-season Super 25, has at least four Division I prospects in seniors James Quick, Jason Hatcher, Ryan White and Dalyn Dawkins.

While Rocks' fans are giddy about their program's dominance, McKee doesn't think it's good for Kentucky high school football.

"Trinity winning nine of the last 11 titles, that's not healthy in my opinion. Neither is Highlands winning five in a row."

But that's how it is in Kentucky, where established powers in each class hoard most of the big trophies.

"It was awesome last year to see Hazard cash in (and win its first Class A title)," McKee said. "That kind of thing needs to happen more to keep the interest level up."

Class 6A (formerly 4A) rarely allows an upstart to win a championship. Trinity and St. Xavier have won the big-school crown 11 consecutive years, and 16 out of 20.

"Something needs to change," McKee said. "And it's not, 'You all need to work harder.' We're working our tails off."

■ St. X Coach Mike Glaser, whose 328 career victories rank fourth best in state history, announced last week that this will be his last season leading the Tigers. Glaser, 59, will stay on as a teacher and also become director of activities. He is a St. X lifer. He played for the Tigers, and was an assistant coach for eight years before becoming head coach in 1982. He's led St. X to seven state titles. Glaser said he's kept as busy as possible lately, "trying not to think about" this being his last season. "It was a tough decision. I'm a coach at heart. But it gets a little harder every year. I couldn't do these 16-hour days much longer." Glaser would love to cap his career by beating archrival Trinity. The Shamrocks have dominated St. X in recent years, and they're favored to maintain that edge this season. "They're extremely talented and have so much speed. They've got a swagger to them," Glaser said. "But I think we've got a shot."

■ Belfry's Philip Haywood spent most of last fall answering questions about his pursuit of the state record for most coaching victories. He finally eclipsed the mark held by Bob Schneider and Dudley Hilton in late October, and finished the year with 350 wins. Ten months later, the self-effacing Haywood still sidesteps any personal glory. He considers the record an accomplishment shared by "all the great assistant coaches and great players I've had over all these years." Haywood didn't expect so much hoopla to accompany his pursuit of the record. "It was a little bit of a distraction, but it was a positive thing for our school, program and community." Belfry, which lost to Central in the state finals for the third time in five years, is considered a state contender again. The Pirates are led by Tony Messer, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior tight end/defensive end.

■ Paris held its "Big Orange" preview night this week and pulled out all the stops as it tries to revitalize a football program that has a rich history, including state titles in 1973, '81 and '82, and an icon coach in the late Blanton Collier. Among those in attendance Monday night were Collier's three daughters — Kay McLaughlin, Carolyn Ware and Jane Hansen. Blanton Collier coached Paris from the late 1920s to the early 1940s. He later coached the University of Kentucky (1954-61) and the Cleveland Browns (1963-70). He led the Browns to the NFL title in 1964. Paris named its field after Collier in 1983. "Our hearts are all still here at Paris," Jane Hansen said.

■ Madison Central, which lost to Boone County in the first round of the playoffs last year, plays the Rebels in the Mejier Roy Kidd Bowl at EKU on Saturday. Their game will follow the 5:30 p.m. opener between Letcher County Central and Southwestern. Paul Rains, who led Lexington Christian to a state title in 2009, is making his debut as Letcher Central coach.

■ A list of new football coaches compiled by the KHSAA should have included Phil Russell, a former assistant at Union College, who has taken over at Lynn Camp. That list also had Graham Heasley no longer the coach at West Jessamine, but that was due to a computer glitch. Heasley is still in charge of the Colts. "To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of my demise are exaggerated!" Heasley said in an email. West Jessamine hosts the VisitNich.com Bowl on Friday night. East Jessamine plays Somerset at 5:30 p.m., followed by Tates Creek taking on West Jessamine.

■ The 65th Recreation Bowl — the oldest bowl in the state — features a doubleheader on Saturday. The 5 p.m. opener matches Lewis County and Nicholas County, followed by Rowan County playing host Montgomery County at 8.

■ Elden May, the KHSAA's sports information director since 2009, is leaving that position in October to pursue other opportunities. He and his wife are expecting their first child in November, and May said he would like to have a job with regular hours and less travel.

■ When Scott Chalk took the job as boys' basketball coach at Paul Laurence Dunbar in May, he knew he was inheriting a talented team that included high-scoring guards William Gary and Mike Smith, big man Taylor King, and Eric Trigg, a promising transfer from Lexington Catholic. But Dunbar has added another impact player in E.J. Floreal, a 6-foot-4 senior who moved to Lexington from California this summer when his dad, Edrick Floreal, was hired as UK's new track and field coach.

E.J. averaged 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists for Palo Alto High last season. He's also a track star. Chalk confirmed this week that Floreal has enrolled at Dunbar. "Yes, he is here and excited about the season," Chalk said.

■ Former Lexington Christian and Transylvania soccer star Matt Vogel is the new boys' coach at Mercer County. Vogel earned all-state honors at LCA in 2002, and was an All-America defender at Transy in 2007.

■ Central Hardin grad Steve Delabar had a Major League Baseball first Monday night. A relief pitcher with the Blue Jays, Delabar struck out four White Sox batters in the 10th inning, and wound up getting the victory in the 11th inning. He's the first Toronto pitcher to record four K's in an inning, and the first in major-league history to do it in extra innings.

■ Woodford County pitcher Clinton Hollon will play in the Under Armour All-America Baseball Game at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Saturday. It will air live on the MLB Network. Hollon, a hard-throwing righthander who helped Woodford County win the state title two months ago, is rated as one of the top pitchers in the Class of 2013.

■ Former Lafayette pitcher Logan Shaftner and Tates Creek infielder Reid Van Bussum signed to play baseball at Northwestern State, a Division I school in Natchitoches, La. Shaftner was at Parkland (Ill.) Community College last season. Van Bussum was at Wabash Valley (Ill.) but didn't play following wrist surgery.

■ Warren East senior pitcher Hunter Green has committed to Kentucky. The 6-4 senior-to-be left-hander went 6-2 with a 1.76 ERA as a junior. He also batted .400.

Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Email: mfields@herald-leader. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com

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