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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. - No. 9 Louisville (Ky.) Trinity proved it remains a regional power, proved it has a strong offense, defense and special teams and proved it deserves to stay in the Top 10 of the RivalsHigh 100 for another week.
But is it ready to stake a claim as the best in the country? That's still unclear following its 45-7 thrashing of a young Brentwood (Tenn.) Brentwood Academy team Friday night - and head coach Bob Beatty will be the first one to tell you.
Beatty is glad his team began a tough opening stretch with a win, but he knows it still has work to do as his club was far from perfect.
"We didn't practice the way I wanted to practice this week, our tempo wasn't what it needs to be," he said. "I am proud of this win and those boys, but we have a long way to go."
Indeed. With games against Nashville (Tenn.) Montgomery Bell Academy, Cincinnati (Ohio) Elder, Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier, Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral, and Louisville (Ky.) St. Xavier all before the end of September, there will be plenty of tests to the rankings.
The first one proved plenty tough.
After scoring on its first possession on a short touchdown run by Dalyn Dawkins, Trinity went more than a full quarter without a first down.
"I was happy to see us fight back," Beatty said. "I wasn't happy with back-to-back three-and-outs there early, but I was glad to see us get back on track."
Credit the defense for that. It put pressure on Brentwood Academy all evening - forcing eight punts and a fumble - and had an interception return for a touchdown in the middle of the second quarter that turned the game.
The 46-yard return by Matt Brewer put Trinity up 14-7.
"It was a big play for us, no question," Beatty said. "It was a spark for us and probably a bit of a disappointment for them. It really gave us an emotional lift."
Trinity junior quarterback Travis Wright then took over. He threw for a TD and then ran for another to give Trinity a 28-7 halftime lead. He then threw TD passes on the first two possessions of the second half to build a 42-7 advantage.
"I have a better knowledge base this year versus last year," he said. "We worked hard in the offseason to get bigger and stronger. Now that I am an upperclassman, I feel like I can take charge more and be more of a leader."
And while Wright was happy with his play, he wasn't satisfied.
"I think we played pretty good," he said. "Pretty good isn't what we want to be though. We can play better and we have to work to get there."
Beatty said Wright will do just that.
"Travis is a very mature kid," he said. "He has already asked me what he can do to get better and I told him it all happens in practice.
"There is practice speed, scrimmage speed and game speed. We have to make our practice speed closer to game speed if we want to get to where we are capable of getting."
For now, the team will remain firmly in the Top 10.
Any higher? That, they say, will come later.
"You know, we really don't look at rankings," junior receiver James Quick said. "We just want to work hard and come out ready to play. Those things will take care of themselves and we will check it out at the end of the year."