Bombers Finish Strong at “The Shoe”
By SSID Rich Hidy '12
Coming off a game where the Bombers rolled over Springfield in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown, St. X did not have quite as easy a time against the Pickerington Central Tigers. However, the team was able to outlast the Tigers in the Kirk Herbstreit Classic by showing their dominance at the end of the game and winning 38-21. The Bombers played on the big stage at Ohio Stadium, also known as “The Shoe,” on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus in front of a wet but energetic crowd of 8,000. The start of the nationally televised game on ESPNU was delayed thirty-five minutes due to lightning, and was delayed in the third quarter again because of the tumultuous weather. The Bombers went back and forth with the Tigers many times throughout the game. The two teams were tied at the half, and the Tigers were in the lead for a number of minutes in the third quarter until the Bombers scored to go up 24-21. Even with the long breaks in the play of the game and the back and forth scoring, the Bombers were able to come together as a team to take a large lead in the fourth quarter and come out victorious.
Despite the final score, the Bombers did not control the game for all four quarters. Pickerington Central jumped out to a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter on a forty-three yard pass from Nick Jensen-Clagg to Ohio State commit Roger Lewis. The senior wide receiver Lewis had five catches for one hundred and forty-three yards and two touchdowns. The Bomber defense was able to hold an explosive offense in check for the most part throughout the game by forcing a large number of turnovers. The Bombers were able to pick off three of Jensen-Clagg’s passes. Nate Gerbus, Sam Burchenal, and Andrew Arand each had an interception. The senior linebacker Gerbus had nine tackles (three and a half for loss) and two sacks along with the pick and a forced fumble for the Bombers. Burchenal also had five tackles for the Bombers, and junior linebacker Mark Jacob had three tackles and a sack. “Today we faced a lot of adversity, but as a team we were able to come together and play as a unit. We bounced back from our mistakes. In close games like this, it comes down to desire and who makes less mistakes,” said Gerbus on the win.
The St. X offense returned to its roots on Sunday by running the ball over thirty times against the Tiger defense. The offensive line plowed over the Tiger defenders as Conor Hundley ran for one hundred and fifty-seven total yards on twenty-four carries and scored four times. He averaged six and a half yards per carry. Griffin Dolle played tough while taking a number of hits, running the ball nine times for fifteen yards and also completing twelve of his twenty-two passes. He threw for one hundred and eighty-nine yards and a touchdown. Although he threw two interceptions, Dolle did a nice job running a Bomber offense which ended up with thirty-eight points. Dolle connected with Evan Ballinger five times for one hundred and twenty-four yards and a sixty yard touchdown to take the lead against Pickerington Central late in the third quarter. The Bombers also featured their Wildcat offense for two plays with wide receiver Trey Kilgore, who ran both times for seven yards. Kilgore also racked up thirty-seven yards on three catches. The Bombers were able to grind out a well-earned victory in the trenches to advance to the 2-0 mark on the season. “The second half, especially the fourth quarter, we came out, played Bomber football, and ended up with a win,” said senior right tackle Will Miller.
The Bombers will next face the Colerain Cardinals, ranked number one in the city. The Cardinals and the Bombers will renew their rivalry Friday, September 9th at 7:30 p.m. The game will take place at Colerain High School, giving the Cardinals an unusual home field advantage against St. X since the two teams usually face off at Nippert Stadium. Next Friday’s game between the Bombers and the Cardinals should be the most exciting matchup of this young football season. Expect both teams to come out ready to play.
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