By Eric Hickey, Journal-News.com
As the St. Xavier High School football team celebrated at midfield Friday night, Fairfield coach Jason Krause sat in the end zone.
The top-seeded Bombers had just ended the Indians’ season for the second straight year courtesy of a dominating 40-12 win in a Division I, Region 4 playoff opener, but Krause was already eyeing 2018.
“Yes, we had a good season,” he said. “We won six games, we have five straight winning seasons and we have been to the playoffs three straight years, but it is time to get that first playoff win. We have set the standard that we will be in the top half of the Greater Miami Conference and play in Week 11, but our offseason has to be focused on getting to Week 11 and getting a playoff win.”
The Indians (6-5) used a punishing ground attack early to gain a 6-2 first-quarter edge, but failed to contain all-everything quarterback Chase Wolf as the Bombers (10-1) rolled off the next 38 points.
Wolf will continue his career next season at the University of Wisconsin, but put on a show in his last game at Ballaban Field.
The senior hit on 23 of 37 passes for a career high 374 yards and four scores, including a dagger on the last play of the first half when he connected with Jared Kreimer from 37 yards out. The Hail Mary put the Bombers up 23-6 and effectively took the Indians out of the game, according to Krause.
“Good teams make those plays at the end of halves,” Krause said. “These are high school kids. You try to talk about the positives at halftime, but that was a big shock. It really just took any momentum we had.”
St. X coach Steve Specht said he has become accustomed to Wolf’s heroics.
“This program has been blessed to have some great quarterbacks,” Specht said. “(Wolf) separates himself as he has such a quick release. Really, at this point, anything (Wolf) does on the field doesn’t surprise me. When he runs the offense like that, it is like a video game.”
The Bombers got on the board first when Will Childs buried Fairfield quarterback Jeff Tyus in the end zone for a safety.
Malik Vann sacked and stripped Wolf on the next possession, and the Indians cashed in when JuTahn McClain went over from 9 yards away.
Quick-play St. X then struck twice. Following a good kickoff return after the Fairfield score, Wolf completed a long pass to Kreimer (five catches, 127 yards) and Matthew Fox scored on a 1-yard run for a 9-6 lead.
Following an FHS punt, Wolf found Andrew Wittrock (five catches, 151 yards) with a 77-yard scoring toss, and the Bombers led 16-6.
Fairfield pinned St. X on its own 15 with 1:07 left in the half, but Wolf moved the Bombers up the field before hooking up with Kreimer on the last play of the half.
Fairfield had success running the ball early, picking up 118 first-half yards, but the hosts clogged the middle in the second half while blitzing Tyus, finishing with six sacks.
“We knew they had big-play potential, so we wanted to run the ball,” Krause said. “Give them credit. They shut us down between the tackles.”
St. X will meet Sycamore, a 41-35 overtime winner over Milford, on a neutral field next Friday night.