Louisville Trinity had Plan B ready for the Class 6A state championship game just in case James Quick's rib injury prevented him from playing.
Turns out the Shamrocks were able to stick with their original strategy against Pleasure Ridge Park.
After being cleared to return earlier that week and catching a few balls during warmups, Quick went out and helped Trinity rout PRP 61-7 for its third consecutive state title. The senior wide receiver caught three passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns as the Shamrocks (13-1) won their 22nd championship.
For the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Quick, the game capped a stellar season including 1,416 yards and 16 TDs on 85 receptions.
It also clinched his selection as Kentucky's Mr. Football by members of the Associated Press.
"I was happier that we won the championship," said Quick, who closed his football career with 280 receptions for 4,209 yards and 52 touchdowns. "The key was just going out and having fun. I tried to touch up on my skills and improve in every area."
Already known for his 4.4-second speed in the 40, Quick said this season was focused on sharpening his ability to separate from defenders and running tighter routes. He also gained 10 pounds of muscle.
Then there was Quick's determination to return from the injury that caused him to miss two games. Trinity coach Bob Beatty said that typified his player's drive that was apparent as a freshman, earning his promotion from junior varsity to the big squad midway through the season.
"He just has this passion to compete," Beatty said. "My philosophy is, if you're good enough, you're good enough. His speed was great, he was a sponge for knowledge and it was an everyday process. Each year, he used that speed to get better and of course he has big receiving skills."
Beatty believes that Trinity had enough depth to fill the void if Quick didn't play in the state title game. But his availability allowed the Shamrocks to do what they planned, and Beatty said Quick's two TD receptions of 35 yards despite the injury showed the magnitude of his talents.
Quick's next step is deciding where to play in college. His choices are Louisville — where his father, Rhonyia, ran track and played football — Ohio State and Oregon.
He has also been chosen to play for the East squad in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 5 in San Antonio.
"It's a great honor to be able to participate in that game and be out there with so many great players," Quick said. "It's going to make me better."