(photos courtesy Cincinnati.com)
The Varsity Football team welcomed their North Bend Rd rivals, LaSalle HS, to St. Xavier Stadium on Friday night. The Bombers entered the game with a 6-0 record and 2-0 in the GCL while the Lancers entered with a 5-1 overall record and 1-0 in the GCL. St. Xavier beat Moeller and Elder in the previous two weeks and with a win over LaSalle they would clinch the GCL title outright for the first time since 2012. The Lancers beat Moeller the previous week and looked to keep their hopes for a GCL title with a win and then they play Elder in Week 10. The King of the Road Trophy was also on the line which goes to the winner of the game each year. St. Xavier held a 41-19-1 record in the game throughout the years going into the night.
The Bombers' offense came on the field first and opened the game with a 6 play 65 yard drive that ended with a touchdown. Senior QB Chase Wolf (Wisconsin commit) found senior WR Nick Shamsi for a 21 yard completion on the 2nd play of the game to move the ball to the LaSalle 32 yard line. Senior RB Matthew Fox then carried the ball 3 times for 13 yards and then Wolf found senior WR Cameron Specht for a 19 yard touchdown pass. Senior PK Donny Stock converted the PAT and St. Xavier led 7-0 only 2:22 into the game. The LaSalle offense converted a first down on their first drive but could not get anything going after that and were forced to punt. The Bombers took over on their own 41 yard line and on the second play of the drive Wolf connected with junior WR Jared Kreimer for a 61 yard touchdown pass. Stock converted the PAT and St. Xavier led 14-0 with 7:23 left in the opening quarter. The Bombers' defense forced a three and out from the Lancers' offense after senior DL Bobby Jefferson and senior DL Jack Logsdon came up with a tackle for a loss of 5 yards on third down. After a short punt, the St. Xavier offense took over on the LaSalle 49 yard line. Wolf found Fox on the first play of the drive for a 21 yard completion and then Wolf rushed for another 1st down on the second play to put the ball at the Lancers' 16 yard line. Wolf completed three straight passes; two to Kreimer and one to Specht to pick up another first down and then on 2nd down and goal, he found senior WR Andrew Wittrock for a 3 yard touchdown pass. Stock converted the PAT again and it was a 21-0 lead for the Bombers with 5:58 left in the opening quarter. The St. Xavier defense was suffocating again as junior DB Nathan Stockman came up with a tackle for loss of 6 yards on 1st down and the Lancers were forced to punt after three downs. After a punt of only 7 yards, the Bombers offense took over at the LaSalle 25 yard line. Sophomore RB Kellen Newman took a hand off on 2nd down and gained no yards but the Lancers committed a personal foul penalty and the ball was moved to the LaSalle 12 yard line after the penalty. Newman carried the ball 12 yards in two plays and scored on a 1 yard touchdown run and Stock converted the PAT to make it a 28-0 lead with 1:35 left in the 1st quarter.
The 2nd quarter started much like the 1st quarter went as Jefferson came up with a sack on 3rd down and 4 and the Bombers' defense forced another punt. On the punt, junior LB Thomas Kiessling came up with a blocked punt and it only traveled 3 yards. The Bombers took over at the Lancers' 20 yard line and needed 4 plays to score another touchdown. After an incomplete pass, Fox rushed twice for 14 yards and then Wolf found Wittrock for a 6 yard touchdown pass. Stock converted the PAT and the Bombers led 35-0 with 10:14 left in the 2nd quarter. LaSalle was forced to punt again on the ensuing possession but the Lancers' defense kept the Bombers' offense off the scoreboard for the first time as St. Xavier punted as well. LaSalle took over on their own 34 yard line and marched down the field in 6 plays to get on the scoreboard with a touchdown and PAT to make it 35-7 with 4:37 left in the 1st half. St. Xavier's offense picked up a first down on the ensuing drive but then punted the ball again. The Bombers' defense came up with a huge play on 3rd down and 3 as senior DB Grant Kirby forced a fumble after a completed pass and junior DB BJ Ferguson jumped on it to get the ball back to the St. Xavier offense with 1:03 left in the half on the LaSalle 38 yard line. Wolf then completed two passes to Fox for 20 yards and then on 3rd down and 1 from the 18 yard line, Newman took a handoff and found the endzone with 25 seconds left in the half. Stock converted the PAT and the Bombers took a 42-7 lead to the locker room.
In the 2nd half, with a running clock because of the 35 point difference on the scoreboard each team could not get much going on offense. The Bombers missed a 36 yard field goal in the 3rd quarter and the Lancers turned the ball over when Kiessling picked up a fumble for the St. Xavier defense. Each team punted and turned the ball over on downs in the 4th quarter as the 42-7 score held up as the final score to clinch the GCL Title for St. Xavier and claimed the King of the Road Trophy back.
The St. Xavier offense scored on their first 5 drives to get the Bombers the early lead they never relinquished. They gained a total of 306 yards on the night with 267 yards in the 1st half. Wolf led the way as he was 16 for 21 for 194 yards and threw 4 touchdown passes. Wittrock caught 2 TD and finished with 5 catches for 25 yards. Kreimer finished with 4 catches for 75 yards and a TD while Fox had 3 catches for 41 yards. Shamsi had 2 catches for 30 yards while Specht had 2 catches for 23 yards and a TD. Fox carried the ball 10 times for 49 yards while Newman had 9 carries for 42 yards and 2 TD.
The Bombers' defense only allowed 181 yards on the night and kept the Lancers off the scoreboard while the offense scored on their first 5 drives to give St. Xavier a large lead. Logsdon led the way as he finished with 6 tackles (1.5 TFL) and 1 QB hurry. Stockman had 5 tackles (1 TFL) and 1 pass break up. Jefferson finished with 5 tackles (2.5 TFL) and 1 sack while junior DB Trevor Potts contributed with 4 tackles.
With the win, the Bombers improve to 7-0 on the season and finish the GCL schedule with a 3-0 record which gives them the outright title. The program is now on a 13 game winning streak dating back to last season that ended with a 6 game win streak and the OHSAA Div. I State Title. St. Xavier welcomes Football North from Ontario, Canada next Friday night at home for senior night. Senior night ceremony will start around 6:35 pm and kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm.