By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
Greater Catholic League South Division members La Salle and St. Xavier both look to take the next step in their respective state title defenses Friday when the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Football Tournament resumes with regional finals across Ohio. The neutral sites for the regional title games in all seven divisions, scheduled to be played at 7:30 p.m. Friday unless otherwise noted, were announced late Saturday afternoon by the OHSAA. Here is a look at the matchups and sites for the two remaining GCL South teams:
Division I, Region 4
No. 1 St. Xavier (11-1) vs. No. Colerain (10-2), Mason’s Atrium Stadium
Division I, Region 8
No. 1 La Salle (10-2) vs. No. 2 Winton Woods (11-1), Withrow’s Angus King Stadium
Tickets for the regional finals are $8 and available this week at the participating schools, with a percentage of the advance ticket sales benefiting the school. Tickets to all regional games are $9 at the gate.
This is the fourth straight year that St. Xavier has faced Colerain in the regular season and again in the postseason. The Bombers have won the last two meetings, including a 29-23 comeback overtime victory in the regional semifinals last season and then a 20-17 win – again in OT – in week two of this season, a game Colerain led 14-0 with six minutes remaining. The last three meetings, and four of the last five, between the two schools have gone into OT. The Cardinals have won nine straight games since falling to the Bombers, including a convincing 49-21 win against Mason in the regional semifinals. St. Xavier advanced with a 37-7 win against Sycamore behind a powerful ground game led by junior Chris Payne, who ran for 125 yards and two TDs and its stout defense.
La Salle is riding a 17-game postseason winning streak into its regional final, and the Lancers also own a five-game winning streak. The only teams to defeat La Salle this season are St. Xavier, which won the GCL South title outright in the process, and Winton Woods – which traveled to Lancer Stadium and scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to erase a 7-5 deficit and emerge with an 18-15 victory back in week five. Winton Woods’ lone loss this year is to GCL South member Elder, 35-34, in OT on a missed extra point. The Warriors also defeated Moeller, 35-14, the final week of the regular season. Winton Woods beat Anderson, 52-15, in the region semis; La Salle knocked off Sidney, 41-6. La Salle is the three-time defending Division II state champion.