November 13th, 2010

St. X Sets Up Trinity Rematch With 42-21 Win

Chris Jung

Senior Writer


St. X Sets Up Trinity Rematch With 42-21 Win
photo by Chris Jung

Tigers halt Ballard for berth in regional final game with Rocks

St. Xavier football Head Coach Mike Glaser is already dealing with an injured knee. The last thing he needs is continued stress on his heart.

For the second week in a row the Tigers quickly fell behind to its playoff opponent, as Glaser and the Tigers were staring up a 14-0 first-quarter deficit to Kentucky Mr. Football hopeful DeVante Parker and visiting Ballard High School.

But a huge night from Tigers senior Daylen Hall, that included a key interception, two offensive rushing scores, a two-point conversion, and a punt return for a touchdown, ignited St. X to a 42-21 comeback victory and a big win in round two of the state football playoffs.

“No, it’s not part of the plan,” Glaser said assuredly of spotting teams early points. “We probably got a little fancy in that first offensive series, as we kept running at them. But this team’s got some resiliency. They’re not self-motivated and need a reason to get them going, and I wish they would get to where they give everything they have from the get-go, but I’ll take their fight.”

And fight they did, as the Tigers (10-2) weren’t going to break the program’s 28-game winning streak over Jefferson County public schools.

On a third down and goal play with 1:13 to go in the first quarter, Ballard (8-4) was threatening to take a twenty-point lead at Thomas More Stadium. But St. X’s Hall beat Parker to Ballard quarterback Mo Crawford’s jump ball pass attempt in the corner of the endzone, and hauled it in for a Tiger interception and touchback.

St. X was unable to convert the turnover directly into points and quickly forced to punt, but Ballard’s Damonte Flippins fumbled the ball during the return and Tigers senior Mason Toohey recovered the ball at the Bruins’ 40-yard line.

Two minutes later, Hall scored on a sweep to the right for a 12-yard touchdown lead. The lead was cut to 14-6 after St. X kicker Scott Raque pulled the extra point wide.

Another Ballard turnover proved to be costly later in the second quarter, as Parker fumbled on an end around. It was scooped up and returned to the Ballard 23-yard line by Karl Roesler, III.

St. X was then facing a fourth down and one at the Ballard four-yard line, but an offsides penalty on the Bruins gave St. X an easy first down at the two, allowing St. X senior QB Luke Brohm the opportunity to dive into the endzone. Hall found success with the sweep again during the two-point conversion attempt, and St. X tied the game at 14-14 with 5:51 to go in the first half.

On the ensuing kickoff, Raque’s kick took a big bounce and a strange hop that Ballard was unable to control, and St. X’s Doss Dunn fell on the ball at the Ballard five-yard line for another Tiger fumble recovery. On the very next play, St. X senior running back La’mont McMurry (who also finished with 126 rushing yards) effortlessly dashed into the endzone for the five-yard touchdown run, giving his team its first lead of the night, 21-14.

Continuing the theme of crazy special teams moments on the night, Hall electrified the St. X sideline yet again with 4:15 to go in the second quarter when he took a punt return reverse handoff from McMurry and scurried 58 yards for his second touchdown of the night and 14th point of the Tigers 28.

The Tigers seemed to be on course for a blowout victory in the regional semifinal, but Ballard wasn’t ready to give up just yet. With 2:26 to go before halftime, Ballard ran a fake punt play and Tyler Owen found a wide-open Parker for the first down. St. Xavier’s McMurry, who had been back to receive the expected punt, provided the night’s most impressive hit, as the running back picked up Parker and slammed him to the ground for a big open-field tackle.

But Parker got up and recovered quickly, catching a 39-yard touchdown pass from Crawford on a 4th down and 12 to go with just 1:08 to go in the half. The Tigers took a 28-21 lead into the locker room as a result.

There were less fireworks in the second half, as both teams combined for five punts alone in the third quarter. Ballard’s game plan might have changed slightly at the 9:45 mark after Bruins QB Crawford was pressured and knocked down awkwardly by St. Xavier’s Cornelius Jackson on a 3rd and 11 play. Crawford would return to the game later in an offensive role, but was replaced at the position by Christian Wallace.

St. X extended its lead to 35-21 on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Brohm to John Allen – the same Allen who recovered another Parker fumble less than a minute later. Ballard had five turnovers on the night.

With 7:44 to go in the game, Ballard lined up to go for it in a 4th down and one yard to go situation, but a false start penalty pushed the Bruins back five yards, forcing Head Coach Mike Jackson’s team to punt. Less than two minutes later, Hall found the endzone for the fourth time of the night, this time for a 17-yard rushing touchdown that gave St. X a game-clinching 42-21 lead with 5:50 remaining.

“The seniors have got to carry you when it comes to playoff time,” said Glaser. “Daylen was BIG tonight, but they all did it. Daylen, (Davontae) Beach, La’mont (McMurray), Luke Brohm…the line up front, which is mostly senior, did a great job and that’s what it’s all about.”

St. Xavier did not allow a point to the potent Ballard offensive attack in the second half of play, but Bruins wide receiver Parker was as good as advertised (with the exception of his fumbles), as the University of Louisville-commit was brilliant in his swan song, racking up 184 yards on six cathces and scoring twice in the loss. He ended his season with 1,793 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns.

“He is a great one and I think he’s going to be outstanding,” said Glaser of Parker. “There’s so many good receivers (in Louisville), and we’re just very average in the secondary. There’s just not a lot of athleticism back there. The best play tonight (in the secondary) was the tackle by La’mont on the fake punt. We may have to think about putting him in the secondary next week.”

With the victory over Ballard, St. X became the sixth program in state football history to reach 700 wins, and also set up a rematch with archrival Trinity. Back on Oct. 1, the Rocks rocked the Tigers 48-0 during the annual rivalry game.

Next week’s rematch, which will also be played at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, will allow Glaser and his team to prove themselves to the rest of Class 6A….even if Glaser doesn’t think his team can match up with the Shamrocks.

Said Glaser: “We were humiliated by them, so it’s just a matter of going out there and playing with some pride and showing what you can do. I think we’re a better football team than what we showed back in October. Are we as good as them? I doubt it, but we could win next week. We’re not as good as them. We don’t match up along the line or with their athleticism, but we’ll show up to play.”

Kickoff time for the St. Xavier vs. Trinity state quarterfinal game will be determined later this week.

For video highlights of this game, visit the "CSN TV" section located at the right side of the site's main page.

 

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