Flashback: Tiger Football vs. Henry Clay
Its rare that a St. Xavier-Henry Clay matchup arises even though the schools are only seperated by 81.8 miles. The two teams have met most recently in a scrimmage in 2010, but that’s all it was: a scrimmage. Now for the first time in all of the players that will be on the field’s life times, they will be a part of a Tigers vs. Blue Devils game.
The Tigers and Blue Devils haven’t lined up across from each other in a real game since the 1995 KHSAA State Championship at Old Cardinal Stadium. I say in a real game because they have scrimmaged recently a couple of times, but that was preseason and didn’t count for anything. Sam Simpson was still the head coach for Henry Clay at the time and is now in his 23rd season as the head man for the Blue Devils. He has yet to win a state title while in control of the program, but still has that sour taste in his mouth from when he last made a trip to the state finals. That empty feeling may give him the motivation to push his players a little harder to get this win over St. X that he couldn’t quite capture back in the day.
1995- St. Xavier 26 Henry Clay 0 (State Championship)
*KHSAA.org’s datatbase goes back to 1998, but State Championship records say this was the last time they played.
BLUE DEVIL ALL-TIME GREATS
Ryan Phillippi (Henry Clay 2005-2007)- Ryan was a four-year letterman who started two years at quarterback, leading Henry Clay to district and regional championships in both seasons. He completed 343 of 522 pass attempts to finish his high school career with the fifth-highest completion percentage in state history of 66 percent. Those completions totaled 5,054 yards. He threw 56 touchdown passes against only nine interceptions over his career including a stretch of 26 consecutive games that he threw a touchdown in which is good for sixth best all time in state history. Phillippi was also a scoring threat on the ground from the quarterback position. He totaled 1,531 yards on 286 carries while scoring 23 touchdowns. He was honorable-mention all-state as a senior and named to the all-district and all-city teams in his final two seasons along with being named District Player of the Year as a senior. In one game against Boyle County, he gained 479 offensive yards, scoring three touchdowns on the ground while completing two more through the air.
The historical difference in winning for these programs couldn’t be farther apart, but Henry Clay is ready to break out and has talent that they haven’t ever had. St. Xavier’s physicality has to be high Friday night for them to come home with a third consecutive Bluegrass Bowl win. Davonte Robinson will be the best player on the field and most of the time that is the deciding factor in a toss up game: the best player on either side tips the scale to their team. BUT, Tiger Football has a stud on their defense as well that goes by the name of Logan Butler. Butler can be the difference maker again like he was in last year’s game at Lexington Catholic where he picked off the Bryan Station quarterback three times on the way to their victory over the Defenders. Tigers win in a close one that may need a couple of overtimes to be settled.