It doesn’t match Male-Manual in history or Trinity-St. Xavier in hysterics, but the Male-St. Xavier football rivalry doesn’t take a back seat to many in Louisville when it comes to significance and mutual respect.
As Male’s coach from 1992-2009, Bob Redman went 12-15 against coach Mike Glaser’s Tigers and still has fond memories of several of the matchups.
One in particular came during the Class 4-A playoffs in Redman’s first season at Male, a game the Tigers won 28-20.
“There was an onside kick with about two minutes to go,” Redman said. “Of course, I was always halfway out on the field anyway. And the kick was toward Mike’s sideline, and Mike’s digging in the pile to see who has the ball. The officials are screaming at both of us to get off the field. …
“It just became a huge rivalry, second only to Male-Manual for us. And you could pretty much count on playing twice a year, once in the regular season and then in the playoffs.”
The rivalry that started in 1924 will hit a milestone Friday when the teams meet for the 100th time. Male (7-0) – No. 1 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings – will travel all 2.9 miles to No. 5 St. Xavier (5-2) for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
Male leads the series 55-42-2, although there’s still some dispute over who won the teams’ third meeting in 1926. Male won the game 13-0, but St. X officially was rewarded a 1-0 forfeit victory as the Bulldogs were ruled to have used an ineligible player by the name of Irving Sacks.
Since then, the schools have helped form – with Trinity – what many consider the “Big Three” of high school football in Louisville. St. X has won 12 state championships, the last coming in 2009. The last of Male’s six state crowns came in 2000.
Glaser, who was the Tigers’ head coach from 1982-2012, said Male joined Manual and Flaget as St. Xavier’s early rivals before Trinity entered the picture in the late 1960s.
He said the games with Male always were big during his time as the Tigers’ head coach and that he and Redman were friends off the field.
“Every Saturday morning before we played them, I’d stop by his house and pick up their game film and leave mine on the porch,” Glaser said. “He was always out hunting, so we’d just leave it on the porch. Every once in a while his wife would be there and say hello. It was just a fun rivalry and a lot of mutual respect.”
Male’s Chris Wolfe and St. Xavier’s Will Wolford are now the leaders of the rivalry and have led their teams to strong seasons so far.
Male ranks No. 1 in the state in scoring offense (50.9 ppg) and scoring defense (3.7 ppg) and has posted four shutouts this season. Senior quarterback Hayden Shelton has passed for 1,447 yards and 16 touchdowns and hasn’t thrown an interception in 110 attempts.
“He’s probably the best quarterback nobody ever talks about,” Wolfe said. “With the level he’s playing at right now, I wouldn’t trade him for anybody. He makes our offense go, and it’s not just because he’s out there throwing it up for grabs. We have five guys who can catch it, and it’s Hayden’s job to find the open guy.”
Male was off last week, but St. X enters after a solid 27-6 victory over Manual.
The Tigers’ defense has been strong, allowing just 13.9 points per game, but Wolford knows it will be tested by a speedy Male offense.
“When they go five-wide, they have the fastest five guys on the field,” Wolford said before noting the Bulldogs’ 42-13 victory over No. 2 Trinity on Sept. 11. “When you’re able to do that against a team like Trinity, that’s real-deal speed.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and [email protected]
GAME OF THE WEEK
* Who: Male (7-0) at St. Xavier (5-2).
* When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
* Jason’s pick: Male 28-10.