GEORGETOWN — Scott County Coach Jim McKee rarely minces words, so when asked to size up Trinity, his Cardinals' opponent in the Class 6A finals Friday night in Bowling Green, he didn't hem or haw or qualify his answer:
"They're the best team in the history of Kentucky high school football," he said flatly.
So how does Scott County prepare for the Shamrocks (13-0), who are rated No. 1 in the country by Sports Illustrated and Rivals.com?
The Cards are focusing on themselves and not worrying about the Green Monster that is Trinity football.
"Our total focus has been, let's play as hard as we can, let's compete as hard as we can, and let's try to play one play at a time," McKee said.
Scott County is having a remarkable season, too. It has never trailed and hardly been challenged while going 14-0.
"It's been a phenomenal year," said senior lineman John Scott, who dismissed the notion that the Cards are underdogs in the finals.
Senior quarterback Ben Lawler agreed, saying "it's kind of hard to feel like an underdog if you haven't had the feeling of losing all season."
Besides, Lawler said Scott County can't afford to feel intimidated by Trinity:
"Half the time, teams going in to play Trinity are beat before they set foot on the field because they're scared. We're determined not to have that kind of mind-set."
Scott said the Cards must come out and play their style and try to rock the Rocks: "We've gotta play fast. They're a fast team, too, but we've got to take it to 'em."
That has been Scott County's formula for success this season. It has used its speed on both sides of the ball to jump to quick leads. The Cards have outscored their opponents by a stunning 210-14 in the first quarter.
"It's been proven we come out the gate smokin'," McKee said. "Obviously, we'd rather come out of the gate smokin' against Trinity than falling behind."
Lawler orchestrates the Wing-T attack with aplomb.
He can hand off to a stable of running backs, including Dierrius Dumphord (1,148 yards, 19 touchdowns); Josh Walls (777 yards, 14 TDs); and Kevo Edwards (620 yards, seven TDs).
Lawler is a threat as a runner (432 yards, 12 TDs) and passer (1,416 yards, 15 TDs). His primary receiver is Scott Daniel (46 catches, 923 yards, eight TDs).
The Cards' swarming and aggressive defense is led by Scott, Damon Gray, Avery Ford and J.T. True.
Whether Scott County can execute to its liking against Trinity remains to be seen.
McKee said the thing that impresses him most about the Shamrocks is "they're talented. They have eight kids with Division I offers. We have one kid with one I-AA offer.
"I'm not being disrespectful to Trinity. I respect their tradition, I respect their coaches, I respect their facilities, and their schemes are second to none."
But it helps to have big-time prospects such as James Quick, Dalyn Dawkins and Ryan White.
Scott County won a 2A state title in 1975 and didn't get back to the finals until McKee guided the Cards to the 4A title game in 2004. St. Xavier thumped them 49-9.
Looking back on that runner-up finish, McKee didn't let himself or his players fully enjoy the ride. This time around, he's making sure they savor their time in the spotlight.
"I've done a little better job putting things in perspective," he said. "Winning and losing against Trinity hasn't even been in the conversation.
"We're letting everybody appreciate what we've accomplished. I just want our kids to go play as hard as they can and as well as they can and see what happens."