This may be the last time that St. Xavier (Louisville) coach Mike Glaser will prowl the sidelines against archrival Trinity (Louisville). Glaser is stepping down after coaching at St. Xavier for 40 years, the last 31 as the Shamrocks' head coach.
The game is arguably the biggest rivalry in high school sports as 35,000 fans are expected travel Friday night to the University of Louisville's Papa Johns Stadium. Trinity has won 30 in a row and the past four matchups, but St. Xavier holds the series edge, 36-34-2.
Counting his years as a player for St. Xavier, Glaser estimates he's been to nearly 70 of the St. Xavier-Trinity games, either as a player, assistant or head coach.
"It's kind of a nostalgia thing for me," Glaser said. "I'm trying to stay focused, but I've thought what's its going to be like to watch this from the stands. Next year, will be the first time since 1966 that I've not been on the sidelines for this. At one time, it wasn't a good rivalry, it was a mean rivalry. Now, it is a tremendous community affair with both schools having mutual respect."
Despite that respect, don't expect Glaser to hug Trinity coach Bob Beatty when this one is over. The two acknowledge there's been too much competition between the schools for that.
"I'm not one of those guys who comes together with another coach, either before or after the game," Beatty says. "This is a rivalry between the schools and our football teams. It's a very competitive rivalry."
Each coach has a favorite game, but predictably, it is of a fond winning memory.
"One that stands out is when we played them the state championship and iced the game on a fake field goal," Glaser says.
Beatty, who came to Trinity 12 years ago, remembers his first-year defeat of St. Xavier.
"The game had been hyped as our wide-open offense against their traditional power football," Beatty says. "It was 7-7 at halftime and I had called a pretty conservative game. My defensive coordinator, who hadn't been with me that long, looked at me and said, 'Coach we're OK.' I knew what he meant, that it was OK for us to open the offense up. We ended up winning 27-14 after throwing 25-26 passes in the second half."
Trinity-St. Xavier isn't the only big rivalry this week involving a Super 25 team. Four others:
No. 17 Hoover at Vestavia Hills, Friday. This is a natural battle as the schools, both 4-0, are only 10 miles apart. No. 17 Hoover has won 10 of the last 12 meetings, but struggled to defeat Vestavia Hills 34-23 last season. Bucs quarterback Connor Short will have a hard time duplicating the six touchdowns he threw for in just over a half last week against Northridge (Tuscaloosa). Likewise for Vestavia Hills' quarterback Spencer Towns, who needed a little over a half to toss four touchdowns.
No. 9 Camden County (Kingsland, Ga.) at Valdosta, Friday. The Wildcats will win. That's the mascot for both teams. Camden County (4-0) hasn't faced Valdosta since 2005, when it edged Valdosta 16-7 in the 5A playoffs. Valdosta (3-1) has two explosive running backs in Nelson Herring and Malcolm Joseph. Camden County's Wing-T offense is led by quarterback Brice Ramsey, who has thrown for 11 touchdowns. Valdosta's defense has been stingy. Take out the team's loss 28-24 loss to Brooks County (Quitman) and Valdosta has allowed only 4.6 points a game.
No. 18 St. Ignatius (Cleveland) vs. Glenville (Cleveland), Saturday, in Parma. Always a big rivalry. St. Ignatius (5-0) has been led by lefty quarterback Mike LaManna, who has thrown for 1,189 yards and 14 touchdowns. Glennville (4-1) has improved steadily, outscoring its last three opponents 119-0. The Tarblooders will again be without coach Ted Ginn Sr., as he has missed all of the team's games with an undisclosed illness.
No. 15 Goose Creek, S.C. vs. Beaufort, Friday. Beaufort put a scare in Goose Creek last season, leading 9-0 in the second quarter before falling 31-19. Goose Creek (5-0) has won 18 in a row and is averaging 45 points a game behind the running of Tramel Terry and Rico Blanding. Beaufort (3-2) defeated Carolina Forest (Myrtle Beach) 42-28 last week.