By Scott Springer, Cincinnati Enquirer
Football was first played on Carson Field at the University of Cincinnati in 1901. By 1924 the field was part of Nippert Stadium, named for Jimmy Nippert, James Gamble's grandson who had passed from a football injury the prior year.
Since then, the facility's been renovated several times and has hosted the University of Cincinnati's football Bearcats, the American Football League Cincinnati Bengals at their start, a few 1970s rock concerts, countless frisbee and softball games, FC Cincinnati, memorable high school football games and some UC women's lacrosse.
Friday night, April 5, was a first for "The Nipp" as Moeller and St. Xavier played the inaugural high school lacrosse game on the latest version of turf. The Crusaders won the first OHSAA Division I state title in 2017 and the Bombers won the hardware last season.
Early in 2019, St. Xavier looks to be in tournament shape as they pulled away from Moeller in the second quarter to win the historic encounter under the lights at Nippert, 16-8. Noah Reidy led the way with four goals, including three straight in the second period.
"We enjoyed it, it's always fun playing your arch rival," St. Xavier coach Nate Sprong said. "Playing in a stadium like this makes it even more special."
The game came together as Moeller Athletic Director Mike Asbeck was exploring more opportunities for the Crusaders. Last fall, Moeller had played football at Nippert Stadium with Elder and another one is scheduled this fall with St. Xavier. UC AD Mike Bohn has been extremely cooperative in allowing Moeller use of their NCAA Division I facilities.
"We figured out how to get the lines down, we coordinated it with the football practice," Asbeck said. "We painted the lacrosse lines. This paint's easy they wash it right off."
With UC football nor FC Cincinnati on the field, the door was open for the Crusaders and Bombers to set up the nets and allow the players to experience a college setting.
"Mike Bohn has been great," Asbeck said. "He wants to get us to play basketball here. Soccer's been over at (adjacent) Gettler Stadium. We played two games there last year. We've played a number of baseball games at Marge Schott. We may do some tennis and our league (GCL-South) track meet is here. It's just a good relationship and a great experience for these guys."
Scoring the first-ever prep lacrosse goal at "The Nipp" was St. Xavier's Jack Deeley just 42 seconds into the game. Theo Becker matched for Moeller about two minutes later and the rest of the period was tight until Luke Vrsansky and Tom Goslee broke a 3-3 tie near the final minute, making it 5-3.
Moeller would get within one on a goal by Cole Grilliot to start the second period, but the Bombers then reeled off four straight, three of those from Noah Reidy, to lead 9-4 at the break.
Just 47 seconds into the third period, Theo Becker's third goal pulled Moeller within four at 9-5, but late in the period, it was three goals in a little over four minutes as the Bombers took a commanding seven-goal lead at 13-6 forcing a timeout by Moeller coach Sean McGinnis.
Andrew Green's fourth quarter goal made the Bomber advantage eight, forcing another Moeller timeout. With substitutions and the churning of the clock, the final was 16-8 St. Xavier as Gilmore and Quinn Evans added late goals.