La Salle, St. Xavier Open FB Postseason with Wins

11/06/2016

Posted on 11/6/16 at 10:38 a.m.

Elder Falls By One Point In Regional Quarterfinal Game At Mason 

La Salle opened its quest for a Division II state championship three-peat with a close victory, St. Xavier went on the road to post an impressive win, while Elder narrowly missed advancing to the regional semifinals as the three Greater Catholic South Division representatives played first-round games in the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Football Tournament at campus sites Friday night.

The Lancers (9-2), who entered the state playoffs riding a six-game winning streak this season and having won 10 consecutive games in the postseason the last two years, defeated Edgewood, 23-21, Friday night in a Division II regional quarterfinal game at Lancer Stadium.  The Lancers, the No. 3 seed in Region 8, advance to meet No. 2 Turpin in the regional semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday.  The OHSAA will announce the site for all games later today.  Turpin (11-0) defeated No. 7 Harrison, 40-14, in its playoff opener last Friday at Turpin.

St. Xavier (6-5) relied on its defense, which forced five turnovers, and a pair of touchdown passes from junior quarterback Chase Wolf going in and coming out of halftime to defeat Fairfield, 35-14, Friday night at Fairfield Stadium in a Division I regional quarterfinal game.  The Bombers, the No. 5 seed in Region 4, advance to meet No. 1 seed and the state’s No. 1-ranked team Colerain (11-0) in the regional semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday.  Colerain beat Springboro by the same 25-14 score at Cardinal Stadium last Friday.  The two teams met week two of the regular season at St. Xavier, with Colerain posting a 20-14 victory in overtime.

Here is a look at the playoff games involving GCL South schools:

La Salle  – Compared to La Salle’s previous 10 wins in the playoffs, the Edgewood game was tight.  The teams were tied 7-7 in the first quarter, Edgewood took a brief 14-13 lead in the second quarter and, after La Salle opened up a nine-point lead on a 30-yard field goal by Paul Young with 28 seconds left in the third quarter, Edgewood scored a touchdown with just over nine minutes remaining in the game to cut the deficit for the Cougars to just 23-21.  The Lancers’ defense came up big, stopping Edgewood at the La Salle 27-yard line with 4:22 remaining.

Senior running back Christian Turner rushed 21 times for 171 yards and a 34-yard TD in the victory.  Turner was named the GCL South Player of the Year earlier in the week.   Besides Turner’s TD run, coach Jim Hilvert’s team also scored on a 35-yard pass from junior quarterback Griffin Merritt to senior TreSean Smith, senior Tyler Richardson returned a blocked punt 10 yards for a score, and Young added the field goal on a good night for the Lancers’ special teams.

St. Xavier – The Bombers made the most of an interception by senior defensive back Eugene Stallworth late in the first half, as Wolf then connected with junior Andre Wittrock on a 14-yard scoring strike to give coach Steve Specht’s team a 14-7 lead at intermission.  Then, on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, St. Xavier forced and recovered a fumble and Wolf then hit sophomore Jared Kreimer with a 15-yard scoring strike on the next play to put the Bombers ahead 21-7.  Stallworth then picked off his second pass of the game and returned it 15 yards for a score with 34 seconds left in the game.

Stallworth, who also intercepted two passes in St. Xavier’s 31-7 win at Elder during the regular season, is now tied with teammate Colton Paul atop the GCL South, with four interceptions.  Wolf had another big games for St. Xavier, completing 21-of-33 passes for 247 yards and four TDs – his second straight game with four scoring passes.  He was 31-of-41 for 242 yards against Louisville St. Xavier the final game of the regular season, helping the Bombers erase a 3-0 halftime deficit with 28 unanswered points in the final two quarters to clinch a postseason berth.

Elder – The Panthers (6-5), vying to give the GCL South a perfect 3-0 record on the opening night of the postseason, came up just a point short at Mason, falling 21-20 to the Comets when senior back Matt Sora scored on a 30-yard run with 9:33 left to give Mason the victory.  There’s little question that Sora slept well Friday night, after carrying the ball 38 times for 245 yards and two TDs.  He carried 11 straight times on the game-winning drive.  also scored on a 12-yard run with 1:23 remaining in the second quarter to tie the game at 14.  Elder grabbed the lead again on a 25-yard run by senior TiAriq Dailey with 2:48 left in the third quarter, but the Panthers were unable to score after Sora’s game-winning TD.  Mason advances to meet league rival Sycamore in FRiday's regional semifinals.

Junior quarterback Danny Nieman completed 16-of-24 passes for 167 yards to lead Elder.  Receivers Danny Faillace (eight catches) and Kyle Trischler (six) combined for 156 receiving yards, with Trischler hauling in a 23-yard scoring pass.  Sophomore Michael Bittner led the Panthers on the ground, picking up 80 yards in 12 attempts and running 25 yards for a score with 33 seconds left in the first quarter to make it 7-7.  Elder, hindered by injuries, closed the season by losing four of its final six games.  The Panthers were making their fifth straight trip to the state playoffs.