Trinity High School, by most any measure, is the class of Kentucky football. But you already knew that.
The Shamrocks have won 23 championships, matched only by Highlands. They are the only team to have strung together multiple three-peats, winning titles from 1988-90, 2001-03 and 2010-12.
Only twice has Trinity not claimed 6A glory since the class system was restructured in 2007: It fell to fellow private-school power St. Xavier in the 2009 title game and was knocked out by Male in the regional championship in 2013.
Since 2000, when Trinity dropped its season opener in a bowl game against Highlands, the only schools to have beaten Trinity were either from Louisville or from outside the state. It is 170-31 in that span, a winning percentage of 84.5.
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To find a Lexington win over mighty Trinity, one has to go all the way back to Nov. 19, 1999, when Bryan Station toppled the Shamrocks 31-21 in the old Class 4A playoffs. This writer had turned 9 a mere week before; he is 24 now.
Since 2001, Trinity is 12-0 against Lexington teams and has outscored those opponents 559-122.
But, we're about halfway through a new decade and what better time to flip the script? Lafayette, ranked seventh in the state, visits No. 1 Trinity on Friday for the first meeting — regular season or playoff — between the Shamrocks and a Lexington foe since Trinity defeated Lexington Catholic 56-7 in 2010. (The year before, the Knights gave the Shamrocks a scare before falling 14-13 at home.)
"Every game is big," Lafayette Coach Eric Shaw said of this week's contest. "We're going to prepare as such, just like any other week. We're just trying to get better."
Shaw was an assistant coach for the previous two Lafayette teams to face Trinity. Those squads fell 56-6 (2007) and 65-0 (2008). He remembers.
"It was a lot to a little," Shaw said.
But he's noticed a greater investment in football, fundamentally, over the course of his 14 years in Lexington.
"I think there's a difference in the approach to football there (in Louisville) than football in Lexington," Shaw said. "We are a little bit behind, but we're gaining ground each year."
Sam Simpson, who began his 23rd season as Henry Clay's head coach with a 40-13 loss against St. Xavier last week after falling in a scrimmage at Trinity the week before, said that one-two punch to open his season is something he'd do again. He said every chance the city teams can go up against one of those two powerhouses is one they should embrace.
"It's always a big game," Simpson said. "It's a shame we don't see each other more."
While Trinity and St. X have had the upper hand on Lexington teams lately, Simpson thinks on any given night they can trot out a roster that can match up with the Louisville powerhouses.
Simpson knows Lafayette is facing a top-flight opponent Friday night. This Trinity squad, like many before it, has entered USA Today's national top 25 rankings.
He wasn't shy about where his allegiances lie for the big bout.
"Obviously we're pulling for Lafayette," he said. "We'd love to see 'em win."
Trinity is led by Jailen Reed, a senior, who has 220 yards on the season with four touchdowns. Rodjay Burns, who has committed to play cornerback for Louisville, has two interceptions and one fumble recovery. Damon Lowe, who has scholarship offers from Austin Peay, Morehead State and Southeast Missouri, has 17 tackles on the year.
Fans who can't make the trip to Louisville and want to follow along can listen to the radio broadcast online at 970amtheanswer.com.
Several noteworthy teams beaten in week one came out and made sure the same thing didn't happen in week two.
Central Hardin, Highlands, John Hardin and McCracken County all fell in their openers before crushing their next opponents last Friday.
Big-time opponents remain on the schedule for each school, but no team's schedule may be more harrowing than Highlands. After tackling Scott County this week, it plays host to Ryle and St. Xavier, travels to Simon Kenton, plays host to Dixie Heights and goes to Covington Catholic before finally getting a "breather" at home against Grant County — which is off to a 2-0 start.
It's improbable given Highlands' history, but it's possible the Bluebirds could take a losing record with them on the road when they go to Boone County to finish the regular season.
■ Speaking of CovCath, the Colonels are off to their first 0-2 start since 2009, when they began 0-3. Newport Central Catholic has also started 0-2 for the second straight season.
Lexington's top volleyball teams collide for a cause
Henry Clay and Paul Laurence Dunbar, ranked fifth and sixth in the state by the coaches respectively, will face off Tuesday on the Blue Devils' court.
The Bulldogs (3-1 entering Thursday's game at Lexington Christian) and the Blue Devils (5-1 entering Thursday's game at Bryan Station) will meet not just with city bragging rights on the line, but also for a good cause.
It'll be the 16th annual "Raise the Roof/Raise Autism Awareness" night, from which proceeds will go to the Autism Society of the Bluegrass.
Henry Clay Coach Dale Grupe hopes to break the program's attendance record, which is about 400 for a single game.
■ Dunbar senior Leah Edmond, who's committed to the University of Kentucky, was named the No. 7 prospect in the class of 2016 by PrepVolleyball.com.
Two schools received first-place votes and finished outside the top 10 in the season's first Kentucky Associated Press high school football poll this week: Ludlow (which takes a 2-0 record to No. 7 Paris on Friday) and Perry County Central (2-0 at Wayne County this week).
The girls' soccer coaches poll also presented a head-scratcher in week two: Sacred Heart finished No. 1 ahead of Owensboro Catholic, by whom it was beaten 2-1 at home on Saturday. And Owensboro Catholic was ranked first ahead of Sacred Heart the week before. Huh?
■ Congratulations to Perry Central Coach Tom Larkey, who passed Joe Jaggers for eighth place in all-time wins with his 293rd victory, a 40-0 shutout of Lynn Camp on Aug. 21.
■ Senior Jovon Williams tied the Harrison County school record for TD receptions with three in the Thorobreds' 45-35 loss to North Laurel.
To the family and friends of Bradley Camic, a Frankfort soccer player who died Wednesday evening.
Camic, 16, collapsed on the soccer field Aug. 10 and was eventually taken to Kentucky Children's hospital. He was diagnosed with encephalitis.
Last Friday, students at Franklin County and Western Hills raised $9,000 for Camic's family before the schools' football game held at Franklin County.
Gate proceeds from Frankfort's home football game against Estill County on Friday will also be given to the Camic family.
■ To the family and friends of Milan Perpich, the first baseball and football coach at Butler. He died Tuesday. He was 88.
Perpich was inducted into the Kentucky High School Baseball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame in 2001.
■ To the family and friends of Steve Keene of Phelps, a longtime official in the 15th Region. He died Tuesday. He was 53.
■ The Paul Dunbar girls are ranked fourth in the Kentucky Golf Coaches Association's first poll.
Madison Central is rated third by the coaches, while Scott County tied Notre Dame for the fifth spot.
Elizabethtown and Sacred Heart are one and two.
The first boys' poll looks like this: 1. St. Xavier, 2. McCracken County, 3. Union County, 4. Franklin County, 5. Greenwood.
■ The Henry Clay/Tanner Duke Invitational cross country meet will take place Saturday at Masterson Station Park in Lexington. Varsity competition will get underway at 10 a.m. Teams to compete are: Boyd County, Corbin, Covington Catholic, Franklin County, Henry Clay, Lexington Christian, Nicholas County, Pulaski County and Tates Creek.
■ The Scholastic Ball Report kicks off its 13th season Saturday at noon on CWKYT-27.2 in Lexington. Athletes and coaches from Lexington Christian will be featured on the program's season debut.