St. Xavier Opens GCL South Weekend With Huge Win


Posted on 9/17/2016 at 6:36 p.m.

Bombers Hand Indiana’s Top-Ranked Class 6A Cathedral First Loss

Senior quarterback Sean Clifford engineered a late scoring drive, and senior defensive back Colten Paul followed the game-winning touchdown with a key interception to help St. Xavier post a 34-29 victory over previously undefeated Cathedral, the top-ranked Class 6A team in Indiana, Friday night at Butler University’s Butler Bowl.  The Bombers’ victory kicks off a weekend of difficult tests for all four schools in the Greater Catholic League South Division, with the remaining three set to play today.

St. Xavier (2-2), which narrowly missed knocking off Greater Cincinnati’s top team Colerain, falling 20-14 in overtime two weeks ago before winning 20-7 at Mentor last Friday, held multiple double-digit leads against Cathedral, but the Fighting Irish continued to rally.  Cathedral took its first lead of the game at 29-28 with 9:35 remaining on a 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Quincy Keller to Daijon Collins.  After both defenses held their ground for almost seven minutes, St. Xavier took over on its own 34 with 2:34 remaining.

The Bombers marched 66 yards in just four plays, capped by a 15-yard scoring run from Clifford with 1:16 to go, to put St. Xavier ahead 34-29.  Cathedral had a final chance to mount a potential game-winning drive, but Paul intercepted his second pass of the game to preserve the St. Xavier victory.  Last Friday, Paul intercepted a pass on the game’s final play and returned it 83 yards for a TD to negate a last-ditch scoring effort from Mentor and seal the Bombers’ first win of the season.

St. Xavier got a solid performance from Clifford, who was 13-of-22 passing for 224 yards and one TD.  He also ran for a couple of scores, the game-winner and a 19-yard TD early in the third quarter that game St. Xavier a 28-16 lead at the time.  St. Xavier’s defense was opportunistic, forcing three turnovers and coming up with the big stand in the game’s final minute.  The Bombers were led in rushing by senior Quinn Earley, who finished with 15 carries for 67 yards and one TD – a 15-yard scoring run to give St. Xavier an early 7-0 lead.

The Bombers’ three GCL South colleagues will also attempt to win big games today.  La Salle (2-1) is in action first, traveling to Memphis to face Christian Brothers, Tenn. (3-1) in a game that is set to kick off at noon.  Elder (2-1), riding a two-game winning streak, is the lone league team at home as the Panthers host two-time defending Ohio Division I state champion and top-ranked Lakewood St. Edward (3-0) at 7 p.m. at The Pit.  Elder knocked off St. Edward, 21-14, two years when it came to Price Hill as the state’s No. 1 team.

Finally, Moeller travels to New Jersey to face nationally regarded Don Bosco Prep (0-2), which is winless in its first two games for the first time in 22 years.  Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. in Ramsey, N.J.  The GCL South is hoping for a repeat of last weekend, when its teams posted a 3-1 record against elite competition – the lone loss being La Salle’s hard-fought 6-0 setback at neighborhood rival Colerain.  The GCL South takes a combined 8-5 record into today’s play.