September 8th, 2018

Tigers hand Wallace win No. 300

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Paul Najjar

Senior Writer

Tigers hand Wallace win No. 300
Captains from St. Xavier and Fairdale meet for the coin toss; cover: St. X finishes off the game in "Victory" formation.

St. Xavier High School football is familiar with coaches reaching the 300-win milestone.

Legendary coach Mike Glaser secured win No. 300 on September 25, 2009 and nearly nine years later the Tigers celebrated new head coach Kevin Wallace’s 300th win with a 61-6 defeat over the visiting Fairdale Bulldogs Friday night at Brother Thomas More Stadium.

While Wallace earned win No. 300 for his career, the win over Fairdale counted as his first with the storied St. X program. Following two gut-wrenching losses by a combined six points to begin the season, it was a relief to get win No. 1 for his new team.

“I’m just glad to get (win) No. 1 at St. X because it’s been a long time coming for that,” Wallace said following a presentation of the game ball from Athletic Director Alan Donhoff. “I’ll think a lot about it when my career’s over with and think about the people involved who have helped me get to this point.

“Right now, it’s been a frustrating start to the season with a really good group of young men, but we’ve just got to learn about each other a little bit. They’ve got to learn about me and I’ve got a whole lot to learn about them. It’s a work in progress, but I’m proud of the effort tonight.”

That effort started early when a fumbled snap on a punt gave the Tigers (1-2) a first and goal at the Bulldogs’ 2-yard line and senior running back Anthony Moretti plowed in from there. Just a few minutes later Moretti scored again, this time from 3-yards out.

The Tigers would score four times in the second quarter with backup junior quarterback Doug Bodhaine involved in three of them. Bodhaine scored on a 68 yard run and snuck it in from one yard out following a Charlie Fussenegger fumble recovery.

He also linked up with sophomore wideout Grant Goodman for a 43-yard touchdown catch and run and finished the game and finished 11 of 16 for 163 yards passing. Running back Miles Harris got on the stat sheet with a two-yard run in the quarter.

The 42-0 lead at halftime prompted a running clock.

“We had a lot of guys flying around and doing some good things defensively,” Wallace said. “We dressed a lot of players and I think we got all of them in. We challenged the guys before the game and told them if you get a chance to play (to) put something on tape that will make your position coach think about you. We’ll analyze all of those kids because they deserve it.”

Wallace is a five-time state champion and has reached the state title eight times in his career that spans nearly three decades and includes stints at Warren East and Bowling Green. He’s built quite the resume and is thrilled to be a part of the St. Xavier tradition.

But, the consistent winning with which he was accustomed at prior stops may take a little time with his new squad.

“The transition has been rough because of the scoreboard,” Wallace said, lamenting the two close losses at DeSales and at home in overtime to his former Bowling Green team. “It hasn’t been rough because how I’ve been accepted here by everyone or how the young men have responded to me. It’s been rough because we haven’t been able to accomplish the things we’ve wanted to accomplish.

“I felt really bad after the DeSales game; I thought I did a really poor job in that one. The Bowling Green game obviously was a personal game for me and I didn’t want to lose that from a personal standpoint, but it’s not about me. It was a game that we had an opportunity to win and it was tough to walk off that field last week knowing we could have won.

“My concern is solely on our guys. They don’t know me all that well, but it’s a relationship that continues to grow. I want to make sure I still have those guys, those 50 or so seniors, are they going to believe in me and what we’re trying to do. Hopefully this win will help straighten out a few things for us and we’ll keep growing.

“In a way, the newness of the offense is a factor. In a lot of ways I’m trying to fit a round peg into a square hole not because I don’t think we have the guys to do it, we do have the guys, it’s just something that’s so foreign to them. I see that we’re getting better at that every day and it’s truly a day by day process.”

That process netted a 26-8 advantage in first downs for the Tigers. St. X compiled 487 yards of offense with 309 on the ground and 178 in the air while limiting the Bulldogs (1-2) to 145 total yards. The Tigers ground game kept chugging in the second half as junior running back Logan Davis rushed for touchdowns of 3 and then 62 yards and junior quarterback Luke Spears scampered for a 64-yard score.

Fairdale would get its touchdown on a 15-yard pass from quarterback Trey McCoy to wide receiver Jason Jackman with 8:42 left in the game. Jackman also picked off a Bodhaine pass midway through the second quarter.

With that 300th win behind him, Wallace is looking forward to making this debut season with the Tigers as good as he possibly can.

“All we can do is try to take one step forward every day,” he said. “The accumulative effect of that will make us a much better football team. But it’s not just about how we play; it’s about who we are. It’s about bonding together, developing leadership that’s going to be on the field and not just from the coaching staff.

“I’ve got to earn their trust and part of that is my performance and making sure that the guys have confidence in me. This game is a step in the right direction.”

Hosting the Central Yellowjackets next week, Wallace looks forward to the challenge of earning his team’s trust and stacking wins. One day, one step, at a time. 


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