The Varsity Football Bombers finished the regular season with a 9-1 record with their only blemish coming in a road loss to Cleveland St. Ignatius in Week 9. St. Xavier earned the #1 seed in the OHSAA Div. I Region 4 playoffs which entitled them to a home game in round 1. The Bombers hosted the #8 seeded Fairfield Indians at St. Xavier Stadium on Friday night. St. Xavier and Fairfield played in the first round last year at Fairfield HS as the Bombers won 35-14 to start their climb to the 2016 OHSAA Div. I State Championship.
Fairfield kicked off to the Bombers to start the night. The Indians tried to kick it short and recover it but senior Ben Coffaro, a second line blocker on kickoff return, caught it and ran it 9 yards to the St. Xavier 48 yard line. The Bombers' offense could not take advantage of good field position as they went three plays and out. Junior WR/P Jared Kreimer, who won GCL South Punter of the Year, hit a punt that went 49 yards and was downed at the Fairfield 4 yard line. The St. Xavier defense capitalized as senior LB Will Childs came up with a sack for a safety on 3rd down to give the Bombers a 2-0 lead. On the ensuing free kick, senior WR Andrew Wittrock returned the kick 19 yards to the Indians' 49 yard line to give the St. Xavier offense good field position yet again. Unfortunately, for the Bombers, senior QB Chase Wolf was sacked and lost a fumble when going down that was recovered by Fairfield. The Indians took advantage as they drove 46 yards in 9 plays and scored a touchdown on a 9 yard run. The extra point attempt was blocked by senior LB Blake Bacevich but Fairfield led 6-2 with 5:10 left in the 1st quarter. The St. Xavier offense once again started with great field position as Kreimer returned the ensuing kickoff 43 yards to the Bombers' 46 yard line. This time the St. Xavier offense took advantage as Wolf completed a pass to senior RB Matthew Fox for 11 yards on 1st down and then found Kreimer down the left sideline for 42 yards to the Indians' 1 yard line. Fox finished the 3 play drive off with a 1 yard touchdown run and senior PK Donny Stock added the PAT to make it a 9-6 St. Xavier lead with 4:43 left in the opening quarter. The Indians came out and responded as they drove the ball down the Bombers' 43 yard line as the 1st quarter came to a close.
The 2nd quarter started with the Indians inside St. Xavier territory but the Bombers defense stepped up and forced a Fairfield punt that was downed at the St. Xavier 23 yard line. On the very next play from scrimmage, Wolf found Wittrock who found the open field and sprinted to the endzone for a 77 yard touchdown catch. Stock added the PAT and just like that, the Bombers' lead extended to 16-6. The St. Xavier defense allowed only 8 yards on the ensuing drive and forced another punt which led to the Bombers' offense to start at midfield. However, after one first down on a Wolf pass to Kreimer, the St. Xavier offense turned the ball over on downs as they could not recover from allowing a sack. Fairfield took over at their own 33 yard line but once again the Bombers' defense was up to the task as senior Sean Mesue and Childs came up with a tackle for a loss on 3rd down and 1 to force a punt. On the very next play, Wolf found Wittrock again for a 38 yard pass completion to move the ball to the Indians' 30 yard line. Unfortunately, the Bombers could not get another first down as they turned the ball over on downs once again after Wolf found Kreimer for a 9 yard completion that came up a yard short of a first down on 4th down. The Indians picked up a first down on a 15 yard personal foul penalty by the Bombers but the St. Xavier defense forced a punt that allowed the Bombers' to take possession with 1:07 left in the half at their own 15 yard line. After two incomplete passes, Fox took a hand off and rushed 11 yards for a first down. Wolf then connected with senior WR Nick Shamsi for 6 yards on the next play. He then found senior WR Cameron Specht on the next two pass plays that resulted in 15 more yards. Wolf then found Wittrock for 16 more yards two plays later to move the ball to the Indians' 37 yard line with 5 seconds left. St. Xavier took a timeout and sent the offense back on the field for one more play. On the final play of the half, Wolf launched a ball to the endzone that found Kreimer in perfect stride to get a foot down in the back of the endzone for a 37 yard touchdown pass as time expired. Stock added the PAT and the Bombers took a 23-6 lead to the locker room after a 9 play 85 yard drive in just 1:07.
St. Xavier outgained the Indians in the first half as they had 274 total yards to Fairfield's 125 yards. The Bombers had 262 pass yards while the St. Xavier defense only allowed 7 pass yards. The time of possession favored St. Xavier heavily as well as the Bombers had it 17:55 to the Indians' 6:50 at the half.
Fairfield started with the ball to open the 2nd half and came up with two first downs to move the ball to their own 45 yard line. Childs and junior Thomas Kiessling came up with a tackle for a loss on 2nd down and 10 and then Childs and junior LB Trevor Potts came up with a sack on 3rd down to force another Fairfield punt. The Bombers' offense started with the ball at their own 45 yard line. Wolf completed a pass to Wittrock on the first play of the drive and then the Bombers' faced a 3rd down and 12 but Wolf found Specht for 10 yards to make it 4th down and 2 at the Fairfield 30 yard line. St. Xavier decided to go for it and Wolf threw a pass towards Wittrock but if fell incomplete but the Indians were called for pass interference and the Bombers had new life. After a 3 yard completion to Wittrock, Wolf connected with Shamsi for a 12 yard touchdown pass to cap a 6 play, 55 yard drive. Stock converted the PAT to put the Bombers ahead 30-6 with 5:03 left in the 3rd quarter. On the ensuing drive, the St. Xavier defense forced the Fairfield offense backwards as senior DE Bobby Jefferson had a sack on 1st down. Kiessling and senior Jack Logsdon had a tackle for loss on 2nd down and Logsdon and Childs had a sack on 3rd down to force another Indians' punt. The punt only traveled 10 yards and the Bombers' offense started at the Fairfield 23 yard line. Wolf found Specht on a 23 yard touchdown pass on the very first play and with a Stock PAT it was a 37-6 lead for the Bombers with 2:59 left in the 3rd quarter. After a touchback by Stock on the ensuing kickoff, the Indians' took the first play 79 yards and looked to have a touchdown but junior CB BJ Ferguson chased the running back down and forced a fumble that senior CB Johnny Marrocco jumped on to give the ball back to St. Xavier and keep Fairfield off the scoreboard.
The 4th quarter started with St. Xavier at their own 33 yard line facing a 3rd down and 10 but Wolf connected with Specht for a 10 yard completion to pick up the first down. Three plays later on 3rd down and 13, Wolf completed a 33 yard pass to Kreimer to the Fairfield 27 yard line. St. Xavier picked up another first down on 4th down and 8 when Wolf connected with sophomore WR Marshall Lang for a 10 yard completion. The drive stalled out and Stock came on to make a 33 yard field goal to make it a 40-6 lead. With a running clock, the quarter went quickly but Fairfield drove down the field and scored a touchdown with 4 seconds remaining. Their two point conversion failed to make it a final score of 40-12.
The St. Xavier offense gained a season high 401 yards behind Wolf who finished the game 23 for 37 passing for 374 yards and 4 touchdowns with no interceptions. Specht led the team with 7 catches for 60 yards and a touchdown. Wittrock finished with 5 catches and a team leading 151 yards with 1 touchdown. Kreimer also finished with 5 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown. Shamsi finished with 2 catches for 18 yards and a touchdown as well. Wolf led the team in rushing with 4 carries for 21 yards while Fox had 3 carries for 10 yards and a rushing touchdown.
The Bombers' defense only allowed 274 total yards and forced 1 turnover and came up with 5 sacks. Childs led the swarming attack with 13 tackles (1 TFL) and 2 sacks. Kiessling finished with 9 tackles (2 TFL) while Potts finished with 8 tackles (1 TFL) and 1 sack. Jefferson had 7 tackles (2 TFL) and 1 sack. Bacevich finished with 6 tackles (2 TFL) and a blocked kick.
With the win, St. Xavier advances to the OHSAA Div. I Region 4 Semi Finals where they will face Sycamore HS at Mason HS on Friday, November 10 at 7:30 pm. The Aviators finished the regular season 8-2 and took down the Milford Eagles in double overtime by a score of 41-35 to advance. The Bombers faced Sycamore last season in the Regional Final game where St. Xavier came back from a 14 point deficit late in the game to win in overtime by a score of 35-28.