The St. Xavier Bombers, who began the post-season as the sixth-seeded team in Ohio's Region 4, came up with their second straight upset as they knocked off the Colerain Cardinals 24-23 Saturday night at Nippert Stadium to advance to the regional finals.
After one quarter of football it appeared as if St. Xavier (7-4) was dead in the water as they trailed Colerain 10-0. The Cardinals had outgained the Bombers 121-5 in total offense at that point in the game. Things started to change from there on out for the boys in white and blue.
A Colerain fumble helped open the flood gates for St. Xavier in the second quarter as they reeled off 16 unanswered points to take a 16-10 half time lead. Running back Conor Hundley put up 60 yards rushing and a touchdown in the stanza. Quarterback Griffin Dolle scored on a nifty 19 yard run as well.
"I like the fact were battled-tested," Bombers' head coach Steve Specht said. "We've faced adversity all year long and you saw our kids got down 10-0 they didn't quit and kept on battling."
Just two minutes after intermission the Bombers pulled of a 39-yard scoring strike from Kevin Milligan to Trey Kilgore on a beautiful wide receiver pass. The Cardinals were down 24-10 and their fans were shell-shocked at what had turned into St. Xavier domination.
--Postgame: Steve Specht, St. Xavier
--Postgame: Conor Hundley, St. Xavier
--Postgame: Jake Rumpke, St. Xavier
Colerain (11-1) still had some fight left in them though as they drove 80 yards in 2:15 with quarterback Tyler Williams scoring on a five-yard scamper.
The contest became an act of attrition for the next quarter. Colerain scored with just under six minutes left on a Williams to Chris Davis 31-yard pass. The Cardinals had the opportunity to tie the game, but botched the extra point attempt leaving them one point short of the lead at 24-23. They would end up with one more possession but the St. Xavier defense withstood the challenge.
"We were happy with win anytime, but to come away with win against them, that's the fastest team we've seen all year long," Specht claimed. "I take my hat to off our kids and I defer to our senior class, they played well tonight. That was no give-me."
Colerain dominated the ground game with 285 yards on the ground led by Williams who had 104. Trayion Durham and Davis each had 82 more yards. Hundley led the St. Xavier attack with 86 yards rushing.
The Bombers will take on Wayne, who won an overtime thriller over Centerville, next Saturday night with a chance to the state semi-finals on the line.
COMPLETE GAME STATS (GMCSports.com)
Written by: Greg Shoemaker, TriStateFootball.com