The Hayslip Report: Ballard
Saint Xavier High School last played a meaningful game on November 15th, 2013. They lost that game to Male High School, and it left a bad taste in the team’s mouth. It wasn’t how the Will Wolford era was supposed to begin. Tonight, Coach Wolford’s second season as head coach of the Tigers begins, and it should be an interesting start to what will surely be an exciting year. St. X begins the 2014-2015 season against Ballard High School in Brother Thomas More Stadium.
Noah Houk emerging as the guy Tiger Football has needed. Standing at 6’4, 190 lbs., the senior signal-caller has the prototypical size to excel at the quarterback position. I asked him to rate his arm strength and accuracy on a scale of 1 to 10 compared to other high school QB’s. His answer: “Easy. 10 for both.” He’s confident in his abilities, and he certainly has the moxy needed to perform under pressure. It doesn’t hurt that his dad won was a state-champion QB himself as a Tiger.
Will the esteemed Tiger Secondary come to play versus the Bruins’ high-powered air raid? In last season’s matchup, Ballard finished the game in the negative for total rushing yards. However, the game stayed close for a while because of the Bruins’ potent passing attack led by quarterback Rex Wallace and wide receivers Will Bush and Rollin Green. Those three are all gone now, but the passing game will still be a threat to the Tigers. Senior Bruin wide receiver Moe Masden is a stud; will Davey Sermersheim be able to lock him up? That will definitely be the matchup of the night; make sure you keep your eyes on those two, as they will be battling on the outside throughout the game.
Inside linebacker Connor Barnes’ injury status. Barnes sustained deep bruises and a popped blood vessel to his left hand earlier in the week. He will still play, but his hand will be substantially taped and padded. He doesn’t think he will be bothered by it too much. “It’s one of those things that once the game gets going and the adrenaline starts pumping, I won’t even notice,” he explained. “The pain is something I can deal with after the game. I wouldn’t miss this game even if my hand was broken.” He sounds confident, but we will definitely be monitoring the anchor of the Tiger defense throughout the game.
–1998, 14: The last time the Bruins were victorious over the Tigers was 16 years ago. St. X has won 14 consecutive games against Ballard. Will the streak continue? We will find out tonight.
–5, 12: As we mentioned above, Sean Hammonds paced the Bruin defense with a dozen tackles for loss last season. He will be a handful for Tyler Haycraft, Nathan Scheler, and the rest of the Tiger O-line. If St. X allows him to make an impact on the game, Ballard could snap the aforementioned streak.
–21, 2: St. X senior wideout Jaylon Hibbs caught two touchdown passes of 78 and 22 yards against Simon Kenton in an exhibition last week. If he makes a similar splash in this contest, we could see the Tigers run away with this one early.
–For more of Jacob’s thoughts on all things Tiger Sports, follow him on Twitter: @JHsports