In what has all the makings of potentially being the high school football game of the year in St. Louis, the undefeated Trinity Catholic Titans (9-0) travel to the fellow undefeated Lutheran High School North Crusaders (10-0) in the battle for the Class 2 District 2 championship this Friday, November 3rd. Trinity is currently ranked as the number one small school in the area by STL High School Sports, but Lutheran North is right there behind them at number two. Lutheran North is coming off a 55-0 win against Carnahan, and Trinity is coming off a 28-7 win against #7 (small schools) Cardinal Ritter.
This is the second year in a row that the two have met in the district championship. The two battled it out at Trinity Catholic High school this time last year in a classic bout that saw Trinity defeat Lutheran North 31-24. The Titans then made a run all the way to state. It was estimated that there were around 2,500 spectators at the game according to STLhighschoolsports.com.
But despite having their season ended by Trinity last season, Lutheran North head coach Carl Reed said this year’s game is not about getting caught up in emotions and trying to exact revenge. “You can’t play football based on emotions. All games are won or lost before they are ever played.” Reed said. “More games are lost than won. Last year has nothing to do with this year. You have to be focused on the task at hand.”
Trinity and Lutheran North are ranked #2 and #3 respectively in Class 2, right behind the Lamar Tigers, the six time defending Class 2 state champions. Both teams have gone on their own tears this season, with Trinity outscoring opponents 396-32, which also included a couple of forfeits by other teams. Lutheran North has outscored opponents 561-87, and have done it against teams such as the 9-2 #8 (small schools) MICDS Rams and the former #1 Class 2 team in Indiana in the Mater Dei Wildcats.
The game this year features two of St. Louis’ best high school football teams, and several Division I prospects. Trinity’s junior quarterback Isaiah Williams is ranked as the third best athlete prospect in the entire country in terms of prospects in the class of 2019 by ESPN. Williams has picked up offers from Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame, just to name a few in the lengthy list that is only going to get longer.
Trinity also boasts the 10th best outside linebacker in the country in class of 2019 according to ESPN in Shammond Cooper. The 6’2” 190 pounder has racked up offers from Oklahoma, Clemson, Notre Dame, and LSU to once again just name a few on the long list.
Williams and Cooper are both four-star recruits, as is junior wide receiver Marcus Washington, who has received offers from Michigan, Florida, Oregon, and Wisconsin among many other schools. But these three players barely scratch the surface on D1 prospects on Trinity’s roster. Others include WR Bryce Childress, RB Alphonzo Andrews Jr., RB Teriyon Cooper, RB Reggie Love, and G Jalen St. John, just to name a few.
On the other side, Lutheran North has their fair share of Division I prospects as well. Perhaps most notably is 2018 Army All-American DE Ronnie Perkins. Perkins is rated as the 10th best defensive end in the country by ESPN for the class of 2018. Perkins committed to the University of Oklahoma, last Sunday, October 29th. Perkins has been offered by Oklahoma, Michigan, Florida, and USC just to name a few as well.
The Crusaders also have three star running back Donovan Marshall. Marshall has already committed to Arkansas State, but has also received offers from several Ivy League schools, such as Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Princeton, and Cornell. Marshall has also picked up offers from power five schools such as Purdue, Minnesota, Iowa State, and Kentucky to name just a few.
Crusaders outside linebacker Isaiah Azubuike received D1 offers as soon as the conclusion of his freshman year. Azubuike is currently a junior, and has been offered by schools such as Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas State, and Iowa State.
Another big player for the Crusaders is 2019 offensive lineman Jack Buford. The 6’5” near 300lb offensive tackle anchors the offensive line for Lutheran North, and has been offered by Florida, Illinois, Mizzou, and Kentucky to name some. Just as Trinity, these few players for Lutheran North are just scratching the surface for D1 prospects on the roster. Some more include ILB Devin Ruffin Jr., DE D’Vion Harris, and RB Canaan Brooks.
All in all between both teams, there be roughly over 20 Division I prospects out on the field in total this Friday night.
There is no lack of storylines in this matchup between the two small school heavyweights. Between the players involved, implications on the game, it’s hard not to find a story in this one. But one of the more interesting ones is that the coaches of each respective team happen to be very good friends. Coach Carl Reed said him and Trinity head coach Cory Patterson have grown close through the game of football. They both share a passion of getting the kids in their program to college.
But when going up against each other, there is no difference than any other game day, according to Coach Reed. “On game day, it is like going up against any other coach.” Reed commented. “We are trying to do everything we can to win the football game.” The two even had a deal on the game last year where the winner would have to pay for the other’s dinner. Coach Reed said that is the wager they have every time the two meet on the football field.
Coming from someone who had the joy of actually playing in Lutheran North-Trinity rivalry football games from 2011 to 2014 (Lutheran North Class of 2015), the games are without a doubt intense and captivating. There is an extreme abundance of talent that will be out on that football field on both sides this Friday night. If you are able to, I highly recommend you make your way to Lutheran High School North this Friday night at 7:00pm for what could be the areas high school football game of the year, possibly even the decade. Good luck to both teams. It’s going to be a great one.