It is the Aces of Owensboro Catholic.
The Aces became the first team to end Trigg County’s season three years in a row. All three games came in the second round of the playoffs and all three were on the road.
Halfway through the decade, the Aces have handed the Wildcats exactly 20-percent of their losses. It may sound like a low figure but remember that Trigg County’s four games with the Aces make up just 5.5-percent of their schedule over that time.
Through the history of TCHS football, Owensboro Catholic isn’t the only obstacle that has kept the Wildcats from advancing into the playoffs.
In the decade of the 1990s, Trigg’s obstacle came from Murray, who ended Trigg County’s season three times in a four year span from 1992-95.
Trigg and Murray played 12 times in the 90s, with Murray winning nine of the 12 games.
Because the teams also met in the regular season, the playoff games were often among the most intense in recent memory.
After opening the 1992 season with a 43-20 loss to the Tigers, the teams met again in the first round of the playoffs, which Murray won 7-0 and ignited a brawl during the post-game handshakes that resulted in several swinging helmets. That’s why you see Wildcat teams now shaking hands with their helmets on.
In 1994, the Wildcats beat Murray 17-14 in overtime during the regular season but suffered a 21-0 loss in the second round of the playoffs.
The following year, Murray claimed a 17-0 win during the season and won the playoff game at Perdue Field 14-12. The Tigers took the lead in the fourth quarter when Johnny Harrison returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown, although film replays showed Harrison stepping out of bounds in front of the Wildcat bench.
Ironically, it’s the last time the Wildcats have given up a punt return for a touchdown in a game.
Murray was also Trigg’s nemesis in the 1950s and 60s, when they won 14 straight games over the Wildcats, keeping them from claiming the Class A Region 1 title more than once.
When the Wildcats were able to forge a 6-6 tie with the Tigers in 1967, it ended a streak of 15 straight loss to Murray and helped clinch the school’s first district football title.
And then there is Mayfield.
The Cardinals beat Trigg County 25 consecutive times from 1939-2003, but none were more painful than the four straight times the Cardinals in effect ended Trigg County’s season from 1982-85 – more commonly known as the “Al Baker Years.”
The Wildcats won their first four games of the 1982 season before suffering a 20-6 loss at Mayfield.
Trigg County finished 7-1 that season behind a sterling defense, but were forced to watch the playoffs from home as only the district winner advanced in the playoffs at that time.
That Mayfield team lost in the region finals to Glasgow 6-0.
In 1983, Trigg County entered the Mayfield with a 7-1 record in what appeared to be their best chance of the four years to knock off the Cardinals.
Mayfield won the game 14-7 and again lost in the region finals, this time 7-0 to eventual state champion Fort Knox, who was coached by former Wildcat head coach Joe Jaggers.
In 1984, Mayfield dealt the Wildcats another loss by the score of 10-0. This time. Mayfield won the region but again lost to Fort Knox in the state semifinals.
Mayfield won the 1985 2A state championship. Trigg County’s 14-0 loss to the Cardinals was a smaller margin than Mayfield’s 38-6 first round playoff win over Todd County Central.
The effect of the losses to Mayfield, which meant the Wildcats wouldn’t make the playoffs, was felt in the following weeks as well.
Knowing they had little to play for, the Wildcats posted a record of just 4-3 in the games after the Mayfield losses.
Trigg County was never able to exact any playoff revenge on neither Mayfield in the 80s nor Murray in the 90s. With four seasons left in the decade, Trigg County is hoping they get that chance with Owensboro Catholic.
At the center of the public/private firestorm of last month’s vote by KHSAA member schools was the unlevel playing field public schools suggested the private schools had.
Football powers such as Trinity, St. Xavier, and Lexington Catholic were singled out.
Before you say the argument of an unlevel playing field holds no water, consider this.
When the football playoffs began, 11 of the 128 schools (8.5%) were private schools.
As we approach the state semifinals this week, six are still left standing and make up 38-percent of the field.
In the cases of private schools such as Lexington Christian and Covington Catholic, they were eliminated by private schools.
Heading into this weekend’s play, private schools are 19-2 against their public school counterparts.
In fact, the private schools have a winning record in the playoffs against their public school counterparts each of the last 11 seasons.
Louisville powers St. Xavier and Trinity have racked up an. 846 winning percentage, while the other private schools have won 61.1-percent of their playoff games.
This dominance has been accomplished despite the fact the 14 private schools that play football make up just 6.4-percent of the teams that play football in Kentucky.
Last month, KHSAA member schools voted to create a separate playoff system for public schools and private schools, but the KHSAA Board of Control failed to endorse it.
The Kentucky Board of Education will consider the proposal next year.
Another proposal concerning football only could be sent to the KHSAA for consideration next year.
The state association of football coaches has drawn up a preliminary draft alignment that would increase the number of playing classes from four to six.
The latest enrollment figures would be used to determine each class, which would consist of about 35 teams and would still see the top four teams in each district make the playoffs.
A preliminary draft has Trigg County in 2A Region I, District I along with Reidland and past rivals Mayfield and Murray.
District II would consist of Caldwell County, Fort Campbell, Hancock County, McLean County, and Webster County.
In the 1A First Region, Ballard Memorial, Fulton County, Crittenden County, and Fulton City would make up the First District, while Bardstown Bethlehem, Caverna, Metcalfe County, and Russellville would make up the Second District.
In 3A, Heath, Lone Oak, Muhlenberg North, and Muhlenberg South would comprise the First Region’s First District, while Butler County, Edmonson County, Hart County, and Owensboro Catholic would make up the Second District.
In 4A, District 1 would consist of Calloway County, Hopkins Central, Paducah Tilghman, and Union County.
5A District 1 would be made up of Bowling Green, Hopkinsville, Madisonville, and Warren Central.
6A District 1 would have Christian County, Graves County, Greenwood, and Marshall County in it.
If the proposal passes, it would take effect in 2007.
Incredibly, another basketball season is upon us.
Trigg County’s boys open the season Tuesday, Nov. 29 with Caldwell County at home.
The Lady Wildcats open their season Tuesday, Dec. 6 when they travel to Webster County.
Look for the Cadiz Record’s Preview of the upcoming season in next week’s paper.
Scott Brown is the sports editor of The Cadiz Record. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.