By Mike Dyer, WCPO.com
The St. Xavier football team reclaimed the "King of the Road" trophy Friday night with authority.
More importantly, the Bombers became the outright Greater Catholic League South division champions for the first time since 2012.
"It means the world," St. Xavier senior wide receiver Cameron Specht said. "We talked about last year how we let it slip through our fingers, and we knew we needed to come out hot and that's exactly what we did."
St. X scored touchdowns on its first five drives of the first half as the Bombers defeated La Salle 42-7 Friday night at Ballaban Field.
It was the most points for St. X (7-0, 3-0 GCL South) in the first half since it scored 43 against visiting Walnut Hills in Week 3.
The Bombers, winners of 13 consecutive games, had 267 yards of total offense in the first half including 179 in the air. La Salle had just 55 yards passing in the first half.
The third quarter started with a running clock after the Bombers led 42-7 at halftime.
"I say it every year: 'What's the most important thing?' " St. Xavier coach Steve Specht said. " 'Win your league.' These kids, God love them, they've never done that. The seniors -- they've accomplished an awful lot -- but they never won an outright GCL title. It's the first time since 2012, and the kids talk about it."
The Bombers' offense was virtually unstoppable in the first quarter when it scored four touchdowns. Those 28 points were the most in the first quarter since St. X scored 33 points against Covington Catholic in the 2015 season opener at Nippert Stadium.
The opening drive Friday night started at the St. X 35 after the opening kickoff went out of bounds.
Senior quarterback Chase Wolf calmly led the Bombers down the field and found senior Cameron Specht in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown pass connection.
Wolf finished 16 of 21 passing for 194 yards and four touchdowns.
"Winning GCL has been a dream come true, especially outright," Wolf said. "It was awesome tonight."
The Bombers struck again on their next drive after La Salle was forced to punt. Wolf found junior Jared Kreimer on a slant pattern for a 61-yard touchdown to help make it 14-0 at the 7:23 mark.
The St. X defense forced La Salle to punt again.
And the Bombers sustained a 7-play, 49-yard drive following that.
Senior Andrew Wittrock made a nifty one-handed 3-yard reception in the back of the end zone to help make it 21-0 with 3:03 left in the first quarter.
Wolf, a Wisconsin commit, was 9 of 9 passing for 144 yards and three touchdowns before his first incomplete pass at the 1:35 mark of the first quarter.
The Bombers made it 28-0 when sophomore Kellen Newman scored on a 1-yard touchdown with 43 seconds left in the first quarter.
Wittrock made his second touchdown reception of the night on a 6-yard catch early in the second quarter to help make it 35-0.
La Salle scored at the 4:37 mark of the second quarter when senior quarterback Griffin Merrit ran for a 21-yard touchdown. That came just four plays after sophomore Cam Porter had a 38-yard run.
The Bombers punted on their next drive and the Lancers had another opportunity to capitalize, but St. X senior defensive back Grant Kirby forced a fumble on third down and junior defensive back B.J. Ferguson recovered at the La Salle 38.
That helped to set up yet another score.
Newman scored his second touchdown run of the night just a few plays later on an 18-yard carry to help make it 42-7 at halftime. Newman finished with nine carries for 42 yards. Senior Matthew Fox had 10 carries for 49 yards.
"That went as perfect as it can go," St. X senior defensive lineman Bobby Jefferson II said of the first half.
Jefferson had five tackles including a sack. Senior defensive lineman Jack Logsdon had a team-high six tackles.
On a night when the 2007 state champion football team was recognized at the start of the fourth quarter, the Bombers moved to 7-0 for the first time since that undefeated '07 campaign (15-0).
Many members of the '07 team joined the postgame huddle when Steve Specht spoke to the current team.
St. X is No. 1 in the Ohio High School Athletic Association computer points ratings for Division I, Region 4.
Longtime playoff projections analyst Steve Shuck believes the Bombers will finish No. 1 in Region 4.
St. X, ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press Division I state poll, is ranked No. 13 nationally by the MaxPreps Xcellent 25. The Bombers will play host Clarkson Football North (Ontario) at 7 p.m. Oct. 13.
La Salle (5-2, 1-1 GCL South) is No. 1 in the Division II, Region 8 computer ratings. Shuck projects the Lancers at No. 3 in Region 8.
La Salle will play at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary at 7 p.m. Oct. 13.
La Salle coach Pat McLaughlin said his team is moving forward after Friday night and looking ahead to Week 8.
"This one is over, move on," McLaughlin said. "Our goals are still there; we need to rebound. We played the entire game. We didn't quit and this propel us to next week."