LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Chris Wolfe’s Bulldogs are warming up on a cold November day, just as they have every other week of the season.
But it’s evident in an energy around the team and radiating from its leader, they know this week is different. Friday night’s semi-state matchup against Trinity will represent a point his program’s been building to for years.
“We always have high expectations here,” Wolfe said. “This is where want to be, this is what we work for. We put in a lot of hours, we ask these kids to put in a lot of hours, and you don’t do that to lose in the first round of the playoffs. This is what we expect to be at Male. The last couple of years, we hadn’t gotten past the regionals. So this is a big week for us.”
This week, Male have to prepare for a Shamrocks team that’s playing its best football of the year. Last week, Trinity dominated Ballard in a 50-0 win to secure another trip to the state semi-finals.
“We know it’s going to be a battle,” Wolfe said. “Not many people have beaten Trinity in the playoffs. So it’s going to be a tall task.”
The Bulldogs won the two teams’ first meeting 17-3, during Trinity’s 0-5 start. But the 'Rocks have now won six in a row, and Wolfe says they know they’re facing an improved team.
“You see a massive improvement on offense,” Wolfe said. "Executing in the passing game, and certainly running the ball really well. And they’ve got some new wrinkles with the wildcat formation. The defense has just been shutting everybody out.
One key to victory for Male will be the stellar play of quarterback Garrett Dennis. Dennis has been a powerhouse for Male this season, including 25 carries for 109 yards and two touchdowns in the Bulldogs quarterfinal win over St. X.
“He’s got good measurables,” Wolfe said. “But where he’s unbelievable are his intangibles. He’s one of the most competitive athletes I’ve ever coached. In practice, and certainly in games, he does not like to lose. And he wants to be the guy to win it for you.”
Dennis says the gravity of this situation just adds incentive for the team
“It’s almost unreal that if we win this game on Friday coming up that we will be in state,” Dennis said. “It’s just an unreal feeling that it’s right there. It makes you want it even more knowing it’s right there in front of you.”
Kickoff for this 6A showdown is set for 7:30 p.m. at Male.