LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Bob Beatty insisted it didn't come up when his team opened with wins over two Tennessee schools.
And not when it followed that with victories over two top teams from Ohio and then one against a tough foe from Indiana.
Or even when his squad ran the table to a state title in Kentucky, each victory seemingly more impressive than the previous.
No, only after his Louisville (Ky.) Trinity team had demolished all 14 opponents on an impressive regional schedule did Beatty allow his team to think it had a chance to become the national champion for finishing atop the RivalsHigh 100.
"We didn't talk about it all season," he said after the school was honored with the RivalsHigh trophy. "For me, this is an honor that I hadn't focused on all that much until really recently."
For the team, it was the result of an impressive body of work.
Trinity outscored its opponents, 697-116, over the season. It failed to break 40 points only twice (and it had 36 in one of those contests). It only allowed four teams to break double-figures, despite going to its second-team in nearly every game.
The team was honored in a morning ceremony at Steinhauser Gymnasium on Tuesday morning. In front of the student body, family members and local media the school accepted proclomations from the Mayor of St. Matthews and the Governor of Kentucky. It received a National Title sign for in front of the school and reflected back on the season that was.
It was a time to celebrate success - and look back at how it all happened.
Beatty may have been too concerned by every game to see the big picture as the season unfolded. But his his athletic director - and former Trinity coach - Dennis Lampley, certainly had his eye on the prize.
"National titles don't just come out of nowhere," Lampley said. "Not everyone gets them. A lot of things had to fall into place. We had a great schedule we were able to keep injuries at a minimum. We played great football and had some teams that started the season in front of us stumble."
Trinity never did.
In a year that saw the No. 1 team drop three times without a loss, Trinity was overwhelming.
"We didn't move backwards this year," Beatty said. "Our kids kept getting better and kept working hard."
Indeed. Trinity outscored its in-state opponents 280-33 during its five-game run to the state title.
Amazingly, much of the firepower that provided those points will return as the team had a junior at quarterback (Travis Wright), running back (Dalyn Dawkins) and wide receiver (James Quick).
But before you talk about back-to-back titles, realize this, the heart of the Trinity offense - an overpowering offensive line - will need to be completely replaced.
"We had a special group of juniors, but without our seniors, this doesn't happen," Beatty said. "Those 40 kids lead with their pads and not with their mouths. The offensive line was a group we could not have gone without."