La Salle, St. Xavier One Win From State FB Semis

11/18/2016

Posted on 11/18/2016 at 9:09 a.m.

GCL South Teams Look To Keep Postseason Runs Alive In Finals

Greater Catholic League South Division members La Salle and St. Xavier look to take the next step on their respective postseason journeys tonight and earn berths in the state semifinals when the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Football Tournament continues with regional final matchups.

La Salle (10-2), the two-time defending Division II state champion and winner of eight straight games this season and 12 in the state playoffs the last two-plus seasons, plays Miamisburg (10-2) in the Region 8 final at 7:30 this evening at Mason’s Atrium Stadium.  St. Xavier (7-5), coming off its thrilling 29-23 overtime win over No. 1 Colerain last week, faces Sycamore (8-4) in the Division I, Region 4 final at Hamilton’s Virgil M. Schwarm Stadium.

The winners advance to the state semifinals on Friday, November 25.

La Salle is looking for a repeat of last Friday, when the Lancers handed previously undefeated Turpin its first loss, 34-3, in the regional semifinals at Lakota West.  La Salle’s defense turned in an impressive performance against a Spartan offense that was averaging nearly 35 points a game – limiting Turpin to  just eight first downs and 105 total yards.  On offense, senior Jarell White carried 16 times for 141 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

It won’t be easy against a Miamisburg team that, like La Salle, faces plenty of staunch Division I competition in its league.  The Vikings are a member of the Greater Western Ohio Conference, and one of their two losses came against Region 3 semifinalist and two-time defending state runner-up in Huber Heights Wayne.  Miamisburg is coached by Steve Channell, who previously coached at Edgewood – which gave La Salle a challenge in the opening round with its Wing-T offense, which is also run by Miamisburg.  La Salle defeated Edgewood, 23-21.

It’s been more than a decade since St. Xavier and Sycamore played – with the Bombers holding on for a 10-7 victory in the 2002 Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown held in August that year at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium.  The two teams meet tonight in somewhat of an improbable regional final considering where both teams were during the regular season.  St. Xavier entered the final game on a three-game losing streak, needing a win to make the playoffs (they defeated Louisville St. Xavier); Sycamore was sitting at 2-4 before rallying to win its final four regular-season games (a streak now at six) to qualify.

That said, both teams appear to be playing their best football when it counts.  The Bombers rallied from a 23-7 deficit late in the third quarter to defeat Colerain last week behind senior quarter behind Sean Clifford – who ran for 87 yards and one score, and also tossed the game-winning TD pass to senior Nicholas Moeller in overtime.  Sycamore continues to be led by its outstanding senior running back Ra’Von Bonner, who has rushed for 2,122 yards and 35 TDs.  Bonner averages 176.8 yards rushing per game.

The OHSAA announced its state semifinal pairings.  In Division I, the St. Xavier-Sycamore winner will play the Region 3 champion – either Huber Heights Wayne or Pickerington Central – in the state semifinals at a site to be announced Sunday.  The Division II semifinal pairings cannot be determined until after the regional finals have been played.

Tickets for tonight’s regional final games are available today at both La Salle and St. Xavier.  If purchased in advance, fans can save $1 with a portion of the advance sales benefiting the corresponding schools.  Advance tickets are $8 and are available from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today in La Salle’s main office.  St. Xavier will sell tickets from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. today in the Athletic/AP office.  Tickets to regional finals are $9 at the gate.