October 2nd, 2020

Rocks defense, special teams stifle rival St. X

Block_eric thorne

Eric Thorne

Staff Writer

Rocks defense, special teams stifle rival St. X
Trinity's Wynton Johnson looks to score in Rocks 48-10 win over St. X (photo by Eric Thorne)

The Trinity side of the scoreboard showed 48 points, but in reality, it was the defense and special teams that produced half of those as the Rocks rolled past St. Xavier 48-10 Friday night at Brother Thomas More Page Stadium.

Michael Patterson and Kyle Feger each came up with pick-sixes while Bradley West and Roman White each returned punts for scores. Blake Ruffin’s interception at the goal line ended the Tigers only Red-Zone opportunity.

“It felt great to win this game and I loved it out there tonight,” White said. “Coach told us this week to turn them over and we did our thing and helped the offense.”

Trinity’s defense stymied the Tiger offense to just 48 total yards, including negative 9 yards on the ground and four first downs.

“It means everything to win this as a senior, and we prepared really good,” White said. “They came in the game thinking we was going to be big head and arrogant but we just staying calm, physical and executed the keys we prepared all week.”

The rivalry game was moved from its traditional Cardinal Stadium venue that draws 18,000 on average to the St. X campus where just 1,800 fans were allowed on hand due to Covid-19 restrictions with each school splitting tickets.

Trinity coach Bob Beatty still is not completely pleased with his offense but told his team they had to find other ways to win.

“You find other ways to win and the mark of a good football team it that everybody else picks up the slack and then some,” Beatty said. “You want your team to win the championship so have to run the ball and play defense.”

The game got off to an electrifying start as Mekhi Smith took the opening kickoff for St. X and rambled 88 yards for the touchdown that took just 12 seconds. Cameron Tegge added the extra point.

Trinity answered moving 80 yards in nine plays taking just 4:26 as Nathan McElroy found Wynton Johnson wide open down the right side for a 10-yard touchdown. Will Zanchi added the point after making it 7-7.

The Rocks (3-0) capitalized quickly as Patterson corralled a pass from St. X quarterback Giles Pooler that was tipped twice. Patterson sprinted to the endzone and Trinity led 14-0 just 5:35 into the game.

“I saw Branden Stearman tip it up and I was like ‘Oh I have to go grab it,” Patterson said.  The senior also had a sack and fumble recovery.

Patterson whose mom runs Lucretia’s` Kitchen in Louisville unfortunately missed the game vacationing in Jamaica.

“Oh, don’t worry she’ll see it for sure. She needs the vacation so its ok with me,” Patterson said with a grin.

From there it turned into a defensive stalemate until Trinity got possession with 2:30 left in the half at midfield and looked to stall until McElory hit Johnson down the right sideline and the senior drug defenders down to the 3-yard line. Two plays later West carried it in with 50 seconds left and a 21-7 halftime lead.

Poole and the offense misfired all night as he completed only 4 of 22 passes for 57 yards for the game and was picked off three times.

White scored his second varsity touchdown racing 79-yards outrunning everyone for a 28-7 lead with 5:31 left in the third quarter.

St. X took over and seemed to get its offense moving including a 33-yard pass to Michael Duddy at the Trinity 14-yard line as the senior reached over the Rock defender.

The Tigers (0-20 however had to settle for a 28-yard field goal from Teege.

Armon Tucker then raced 44 yards to the St. X 5-yard line and then carried it in making it 34-10 with 1:10 left in the third quarter. The senior finished with 99 yards on 13 carries.

With the Tigers punting to start the fourth quarter West fielded the one-hop bounce and took it 60-yards for the touchdown following a wall of blockers making it 41-10.

Feger snagged his interception and took it to the endzone for a 27-yard score prompting a running clock with the 48-10 lead. The Rocks ranked No. 1 in Class 6A have had a running clock in all three of their wins.

The Tiger defense was up to the challenge much of the night allowing just 138 yards rushing and McElroy to complete 12 of 21 passes for 116 yards. West pulled in four for 31 yards and Johnson three for 29 yards.

“I thought our defense played really well and has made great strides in the past three weeks,” said St. X coach Kevin Wallace. “I was really proud of them and our defensive staff. Unfortunately, the rest of our football program didn’t do much to help them.”


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