By Steve Spiewak
Few sports rivalries at any level elicit the type of communal passion and excitement as the Trinity-St. Xavier game. Each year, supporters of both schools flock to Louisville from far and wide to witness the contest, which is almost always competitive.
This year's game should be no different, as fans are expect to pack Papa John's Cardinal Stadium to watch the 64th meeting between the two Catholic school powerhouses. With a promising weather forecast, 35,000 could turn out to watch the top two ranked teams in the state of Kentucky, each playing well heading into the showdown.
St. X is looking to avenge a weather-shortened 10-0 defeat last year.It has been impressive thus far on its way to a 5-0 record, including blow out wins against Lexington Catholic and Male. Coach Mike Glaser's squad has been led by junior running back Deuce Finch.
Finch has been nearly unstoppable thus far this season, and he is the main reason why the Tigers' ground attack has been so effective. He has already racked up 890 yards and 11 touchdowns, and he has emerged as an excellent replacement for the graduated Victor Anderson, now at Louisville.
Senior Ben Zoeller has provided poise at the quarterback position for St. X. Executing a run-heavy offense, Zoeller has still managed to complete 23 of 45 passes, and has not thrown a single interception. He has also rushed for 413 yards and five TD's.
His positional counterpart, Will Stein, has been equally effective,commanding the Shamrocks to a 4-1 record. Trinity is undefeated in the state of Kentucky, as its only loss came at the hands of St.Xavier (Ohio) in Cincinnati. It led into the 3rd quarter of that game, and Stein ended up throwing for 375 total yards.
As if airing it out against St. X. in Cincinnati wasn't a big enough challenge for Stein, this week he'll deal with the unenviable task of playing against one of his best friends, St. X. cornerback Connor Hale.
Hale mentioned that in the days leading up to the game, the two don't talk.
"He's one of my best friends, but we haven't spoken," Hale said earlier in the week.
Stein has a number of sure-handed receivers, including identical twins Alex and Nathan Dutton. Scott Radcliff is another viable option for Stein, who, along with running back Tim Phillips, helps contribute to a balanced offensive onslaught.
Trinity's biggest playmakers might just be on the defensive side of the ball. Jordan Whiting and Wes Weitlauf are two of the states best linebackers in the state, and present problems for Coach Glaser'soffense. They are both adept at stopping the run, but fast enough to drop back and play the pass.
Though the names change through the years, the competitive nature of this rivalry does not. This seems to be the theme of a new book coming out on the eve of the game called Game of the Year. Author Joe Barito, a Trinity grad whose sons played at St. X., details the rivalry as it enters its 51st year.
On Friday night, another chapter will be added to the epic Trinity-St.X. rivalry. With both teams playing well, and generations of fans tosupport them, odds are that this newest chapter will be a great one.