By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
It was an up and down Friday night on the football field for teams in the Greater Catholic League South Division. St. Xavier got three touchdowns from senior back Chris Payne and two scoring throws from junior quarterback Wyatt Hudepohl to post its second straight win, defeating Clarkson North Football from Ontario, Canada, 38-19, at St. Xavier Stadium.
For the second straight week, Elder held a three-point halftime lead only to see its opposition rally in the final two quarters – this time Winton Woods scoring 21 unanswered points and coming up with some big defensive plays in the fourth quarter to knock off the Panthers, 28-10, at The Pit in Price Hill. The loss was the second straight for Elder, which led Moeller, 14-11, at halftime last Friday only to fall 24-21 on a late field goal.
Speaking of Moeller (6-1), which clinched the GCL South championship with the win against Elder, the Crusaders look for their fifth consecutive victory this afternoon when they travel to Northeast Ohio to face Cleveland St. Ignatius at 2 p.m. at Byers Field. Moeller is looking for its second straight win over St. Ignatius, after posting a 41-20 victory last season at Otterbein University in Westerville.
La Salle (4-3) did not play last night, the result of Category 4 Hurricane Michael that prevented International School of Broward, Fla. from traveling to Cincinnati and forced the game to be cancelled. La Salle returns to action next Friday when the Lancers host Trinity Catholic (6-2) from St. Louis. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Lancer Stadium.
St. Xavier (4-4) appears to be getting its offense untracked for a late-season run. The Bombers have scored 59 points in the first half of their last two games, putting up 28 in two quarters of a 42-7 road victory at La Salle a week earlier and then coming back to score 31 in the first half against Clarkson North Friday. Payne and Hudepohl got going early with TD runs of 19 and 6 yards, respectively. Hudepohl then threw two scoring passes in the second quarter, the last a 38-yard strike to Payne with 2:08 left in the half to give the Bombers a 31-7 advantage at intermission.
Payne – who had his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season with 144 yards on 13 carries with two TDs at La Salle last week, finished with 11 rushes for 97 yards and two scores, and had three receptions for 53 yards and the TD. Hudepohl was 12-of-19 passing for 190 yards and two scores without an interception. Hudepohl was coming off a strong performance against La Salle, too, when he connected on 9-of-12 passes for 193 yards and three scores. In the last two games, he is 21-of-31 passing for 383 yards, five TDs and no interceptions.
St. Xavier finished with 20 first downs and 392 total yards without committing a turnover for the second consecutive game. Senior Jared Kreimer has been Hudepohl’s favorite target in the two wins, hauling in eight passes for 151 and two scores. The Bombers close the regular season with home games against St. Ignatius at 2 p.m. next Saturday and then host Louisville St. Xavier at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 26.
In the other GCL South game Friday night in the latest less than desirable weather conditions for high school football, Elder held a slim 10-7 lead over talented Winton Woods at halftime. That was before the Warriors opened the second half with a 79-yard drive that culminated with junior Miyan Williams scoring on a 1-yard run on fourth down to give his team its field lead, 14-10. From there, the Winton Woods’ defense came up with big plays – one a blocked punt by Anthony Booker, who also had two-and-a-half sacks, to set up a 5-yard Williams’ TD run to make it 21-10, and later an interception in the end zone by Tyquan Fleming to keep the advantage at 11.
Winton Woods sophomore quarterback Mi’Chale Wingfield would score the game’s final TD, on a 30-yard run in the fourth quarter. Williams finished with a game-high 231 yards rushing on 25 carries and two TDs, while Wingfield ran for 111 yards on 13 carries and completed 6-of-10 passes for 105 yards for the Warriors (7-1), who won their seventh straight after a season-opening loss to Trotwood-Madison. Winton Woods has now defeated Elder three of the last four seasons, the lone setback an Elder 35-34 win in overtime last year at Winton Woods.
Senior quarterback Michael Bittner completed 14-of-31 passes for 239 yards, one TD and two interceptions for Elder (4-4), which has been held to just seven points in the second half of its last two games. The Panthers were limited to 82 yards rushing on 29 carries, an average of less then three yards per attempt. Elder’s four losses this season are to Lakewood St. Edward, St. Ignatius, Moeller and Winton Woods, which have a combined record of 22-6 going into play today.