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January 20, 2012
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.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The trophy has been presented, banners hung, and congratulations shared.
Now Louisville (Ky.) Trinity is preparing to get back to work.
"Success is never final," head coach Bob Beatty said. "It took a lot of hard work to accomplish what we did this past season, but it is all in the past.
"We took some time off and now it is time to get back to work."
The 2011 RivalsHigh 100 National Champions are ready to get back into the weight room for off-season workouts.
"We start weight training on (Monday)," Beatty said. "As much as our kids enjoyed Friday nights, it is the work that they put in on those Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays that helped us."
Junior defensive end Jason Hatcher can't wait to get started. He understands how different next season will be after this season's success.
"We worked hard this year," he said. "We are going to have to work harder next year because people will want to come after us."
The 'us' will change.
That being said, the Shamrocks will graduate a class of roughly 40 seniors, including its entire offense line. The departures will be noted.
"Our offensive line is going to be hard to replace for sure," Hatcher said.
On and off the field.
"We would not have accomplished what we did without those kids," Beatty said. "Our seniors led with their helmets and not their mouths."
But while the team will make replicating its senior leadership a primary goal, repeating as national champions will not come up. After all, It didn't this season.
Beatty said the team's goal will remain the same - to win the state of Kentucky. He'll let outsiders subjectively judge his program against the rest of the nation.
"We are honored that people that are so heavily involved with high school football would think so highly of us," he said. "We did not get wrapped up in it. Our goal was to not move backwards and keep getting better.
"All of these awards and accolades are nice, but it wasn't what we played for."
And if Trinity took some teams by surprise last season, it won't next year. The school will face the same list of opponents in 2012:
Middle Tennessee private schools Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy and Nashville (Tenn.) Montgomery Bell.
Cincinnati's famed GCL-South opponents St. Xavier, Elder and Archbishop Moeller will all look for revenge.
And Indiana's defending state champion Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral.
Athletic Director Dennis Lampley said that the schedule was built partly out of necessity and also by design.
"We couldn't get people to play us," he said. "And most of those teams couldn't get teams to play them. We had to schedule like that, but it was good because we had the team for it."
Whether or not the Shamrocks will be able to have that same kind of success in the upcoming season is yet to be seen, Beatty, however will not be worried about anything outside of his realm of control.
"We will go about our business as usual," he said. "Be in the best team in the state is all we can control."
And being the best starts Monday.