This week's FOX19 Friday Prep Rally match-up will be at one of the biggest games of the season as the LaSalle Lancers welcome the St. Xavier Bombers in a GCL South showdown Friday night.
LaSalle is enjoying success like they've never enjoyed it before. The Lancers are off to a 6-0 start and bracing for a four-game stretch that will not only determine their playoff outlook, but help define this team in the school record books.
Despite suffering two losses already, optimism is high surrounding St. Xavier. The Bombers have little margin for error in this affair after already losing to Moeller in conference play two weeks ago.
Let's take a closer look at this week's featured game:
ST. XAVIER (4-2) AT LASALLE (6-0)
7:30 p.m. kickoff
TV: LIVE Pregame Show FOX19 (6:30 – 7:00)
PLAYERS TO WATCH: St. Xavier's Conor Hundley made a splash as a sophomore and enters tonight's game as the GCL's leading rusher with 924 yards through six games. Bombers' senior linebacker Steven Daniels leads the conference with 10 sacks and is considered one of the top players in the state of Ohio. LaSalle quarterback Drew Kummer has thrown 1,028 yards and 14 touchdowns with just five interceptions in his third year as a starter.
TEAM TRENDS: LaSalle has allowed a touchdown or less in four of their six games. The Lancers' 6-0 start is the best in the 50-year history of the school. LaSalle has gone 2-10 vs. GCL South foes since 2006. St. Xavier is only outgaining their opponents in total offense by 266 to 233-yard advantage. The Bombers have lost two of their last three games to GCL South opponents.
LASALLE'S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Lancers will need its high-powered offense to put points on the board and apply pressure to St. Xavier. LaSalle averages nearly 170 more total yards of offense per game than the Bombers this season. While some of that can be attributed to St. X's tough schedule, the Lancers are capable of scoring early and often. Receivers Rodriguez Coleman and Matt Woeste will need to make plays in the passing game and running back Matt Farrell will have to hold his own moving the ball on the ground if LaSalle is going to stay unbeaten. Joe Burger and Kyle Hearth will be counted on defensively to apply pressure on St. Xavier's young quarterback.
ST XAVIER'S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Bombers recipe for success is the same as always, run the football and play good defense. Hundley averages 7.3 yards per carry. If he can come close to that in this contest the Lancers could be in trouble. Young quarterback, Nick Albers, must take care of the football. He doesn't need to win the game for St. X, but the team can't afford for him to make too many mistakes. Sean Duggan will be counted on to aide Daniels in causing havoc up front and in the middle.
FINAL TAKE: This is the game the Lancers have been waiting for all season and the opportunity that this senior class has been waiting three years for. A win here sets them up nicely for a playoff spot and gives them the edge on the Bombers. St. Xavier will not be taken lightly though. They have played some tough opponents and have already enjoyed success on the road winning at Trinity and Elder. Look for their defense to slow down LaSalle enough to hang close, but LaSalle pulls out a magical win in the end…LASALLE 23, ST. XAVIER 21.
Written by: Dan Clasgens, TriStateFootball.com