St. Xavier Vies To Wrap Up GCL South Title Tonight

10/06/2017

Posted 10/6/2017 at 2:09 p.m.

Bombers Host La Salle in King of North Bend; Elder-Moeller Meet At The Pit

After defeating Moeller and Elder, respectively, the last two weeks, St. Xavier will attempt to earn its first outright Greater Catholic League South Division football championship since 2012 when its hosts La Salle, the league’s defending champion, in one of two league games tonight.  Kickoff is 7 at St. Xavier Stadium.  Elder and Moeller, both looking to end losing streaks, meet in the other GCL South game at 7 at The Pit in Price Hill.

St, Xavier (6-0, 2-0 GCL South) moved to within one win of the league title with a hard-fought, 14-6 win over Elder last Friday night at home.  A pair of touchdown passes from senior quarterback Chase Wolf to senior Cameron Specht and a late defensive stand was enough to extend the Bombers’ winning streak to 12 games dating back to week 10 of last season.  St. Xavier is ranked No. 1 in The Enquirer’s Division I weekly area coaches’ poll, sits atop the Division I, Region 4 Harbin computer ratings, and remains rated No. 2 behind Cleveland St. Ignatius in this week’s Associated Press DI state poll.

The King of North Bend Road features two teams that are defending state champions, with St. Xavier earning the DI state crown with an improbable five-game postseason run last year, and La Salle capturing its third consecutive Division II state crown last December.  La Salle won the GCL South title outright last season, buoyed by a 17-14 win over St. Xavier at La Salle.  In that game, La Salle scored two TDs in the final 11 minutes to erase a 14-13 deficit and go on to win the league crown.  St. Xavier also shared the coveted league championship in 2014 and 2015.

La Salle (5-1, 1-0) opened defense of its league title with a 28-24 win against Moeller last Friday in Lockland.  The Lancers, ranked No. 3 in The Enquirer’s DII coaches’ poll and currently on top of the Region 8 computer rankings, put together a 13-play, 98-yard drive late in the fourth quarter that culminated with a game-winning, 1-yard TD run from senior quarterback Griffin Merritt with 21 seconds left.  The win gives La Salle a chance to win the league again should it defeat St. Xavier and then beat Elder when the two close the GCL Regular season in week 10 with a matchup at La Salle.  La Salle has won 16 of its last 17 games, the lone loss, 18-15, to Winton Woods two weeks ago.

Elder (3-3, 0-1) and Moeller will attempt to snap losing streaks tonight.  Elder started the season 3-0 before losing three straight to the top three teams in the AP Division I state poll – all of which are undefeated and a combined 18-0 in No. 3 Lakewood St. Edward, No. 1 St. Ignatius and No. 2 St. Xavier.  Elder narrowly missed beating St. Ignatius, losing 30-28 two weeks ago at The Pit, and then outgained St. Xavier in total yards, 313-197, and had more first downs, 20-12, than the Bombers in the GCL South opener for the Panthers last Friday.

Moeller  (3-3, 0-2) has lost two straight, first to St. Xavier and then the tough last-second defeat to La Salle a week ago.  The Crusaders played La Salle without starting quarterback Miles McBride, who suffered a season-ending foot injury in the 30-7 loss to St. Xavier a week earlier.  McBride, who entered that game having tossed 16 TD passes with only two interceptions, was replaced by junior Mitch McKenzie – who had a solid performance against La Salle, completing 15-of-24 passes for 219 yards, two TDs and no interceptions.  Moeller beat Elder, 49-42, in a wild game last year at The Pit, as the teams combined for 51 first downs and more than 1,150 total yards.