Redemption was sweet – and cold and wet – for the Trinity High School football team’s secondary on Friday.
Seniors Rodjay Burns and Ryan Reynolds and junior Luke Eskins had interceptions in the second half to preserve the Shamrocks’ lead in a 20-15 victory over rival St. Xavier on a rain-soaked evening at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
“There’s no question we’re better from (the back) of our defense than what we were a year ago,” Trinity coach Bob Beatty said.
Trinity saw its seven-game winning streak over St. Xavier snapped last year when Tigers quarterback Noah Houk passed for 186 yards and three touchdowns, taking advantage of a Trinity secondary that was missing three starters.
Reynolds was among those who missed last year’s game with an injury. Eskins, then a sophomore, was one of the young Shamrocks who were forced to fill in.
“He did a great job,” Beatty said of Eskins. “All of them did. Our kids stayed in there and found a way to win.”
Along with the secondary, Beatty praised an entire defense that limited St. X to just 145 total yards, including 54 rushing yards on 28 attempts.
Junior quarterback Desmond Ridder entered as the Tigers’ top offensive threat but ran for just 22 yards on 11 carries and completed 7 of 24 passes for 91 yards with the three interceptions.
“We stopped their run,” said Beatty, whose defense is allowing just 12 points per game this season. “That’s their No. 1 priority, especially in weather like this. … Those guys up front did a heck of a job, too, especially stopping the run and putting some pressure on (Ridder). When you have a dual-threat quarterback like that, that’s tough.”
ASHLAND BLAZER’S BAKER
CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
Ashland Blazer running back Quinton Baker entered the season as a top candidate for Mr. Football honors and has done little to disappoint.
Baker carried 27 times for 208 yards and a touchdown on Friday as the visiting Tomcats beat rival Boyd County 26-6 and improved to 6-0.
Baker has topped 200 rushing yards in four of six games this season and has totaled 1,275 yards and 19 touchdowns on 129 carries. He’s averaging 212.5 yards per game and 9.9 yards per carry.
Baker, a 5-foot-8 196-pounder, has committed to Marshall.
AROUND THE STATE
* In a battle of the top Class 6-A schools from Lexington, Lafayette defeated host Bryan Station 19-12 in a surprisingly low-scoring affair.
Quarterback Walker Wood rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Generals (5-2).
Both teams’ passing attacks were grounded by the rain, as Wood was 2 for 2 for 6 yards and Bryan Station quarterback Andre Davis was 8 of 14 for 27 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.
Wood (seven) and Davis (23) entered the game with a combined 30 touchdown passes.
* Valley improved to 4-2 with Thursday’s 44-6 victory at Shawnee, giving the Vikings four victories in a season for the first time since going 4-7 in 2011.
Valley was a combined 4-26 during the 2012-14 seasons and snapped a 15-game losing streak earlier this year.
* Belfry had its state-best 10-game winning streak snapped in a 49-7 loss at Cabell Midland, the top-ranked team in West Virginia’s Class 3-A.
With Belfry’s loss, seven teams with 7-0 records are tied for the longest current winning streak in the state – Male, North Laurel, Spencer County, Elizabethtown, Adair County, Paris and Paintsville.
Each week Jason Frakes will provide his ranking of the top five teams in the state, regardless of class:
* No. 5 – Manual (6-0). Defense recorded third shutout of season Thursday in 47-0 victory at Butler. But can Crimsons beat St. X for first time since 1993? Up next: hosts St. Xavier (4-2) on Friday.
* No. 4 – Simon Kenton (6-0). Did not play. Up next: at Boone County (0-6) on Friday.
* No. 3 – Scott County (5-1). Did not play. Up next: at Henry Clay (3-3) on Friday.
* No. 2 – Trinity (6-1). Jailen Reed (144 yards, three touchdowns) continued to show he’s one of state’s top running backs in 20-15 win over St. Xavier on Friday. Up next: hosts Eastern (3-3) on Friday.
* No. 1 – Male (7-0). Make it four shutouts for the Bulldogs defense after a 44-0 victory over Pleasure Ridge Park on Thursday. Up next: off next week before traveling to St. Xavier (4-2) on Oct. 16.
Lamarius Kinslow, Fern Creek
The senior wide receiver had three catches for 50 yards and a touchdown in the Tigers’ 39-0 win over Southern on Thursday but was most impressive on defense with nine tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Jailen Reed, Trinity
The senior running back was solid in the Shamrocks’ 20-15 victory over St. Xavier on Friday, rushing for 144 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries. He scored on runs of 2, 5 and 2 yards.
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and [email protected]