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Former Tiger Football Quarterback Noah Houk knew all along what he wanted to do in High School

Former Tiger Football Quarterback Noah Houk graduated yesterday with the rest of the Class of 2015. Today, he posted the above video on Instagram with him telling his mom in a home video that he wanted to be the Quarterback for the Saint Xavier Tigers. I guess dreams really do come true. Definitely worth a watch.

Good luck at UK Noah!

Noah Houk commits to Kentucky

Noah Houk | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Noah Houk | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Tiger Football Quarterback Noah Houk has committed to play at the University of Kentucky next fall. He will walk on and follow in his dad’s footsteps, who is a member of the St. Xavier football coaching staff, and become a Wildcat. Jeff Houk played in the early ’80’s in the blue and white.

Noah threw for 1,324 yards and 11 TDs during his senior season at Tiger Tech.  It was reported today that one of UK’s backup quarterbacks sustained an injury and will be out for quite some time, so this may open a spot for Houk to come in and be the third string quarterback this fall. Kentucky also has received a commitment from Male’s QB, Davis Mattingly, so those two will battle in practice this fall again, but this time as teammates.

Houk will be joining former teammate and current walk-on Charles Walker at the University of Kentucky.  He announced his decision via Twitter.

Also, while we’re talking about Kentucky, Former Tiger Spencer Foy has announced he will transfer from Louisville and become a Wildcat next season. Patrick Sermersheim has also hung up the cleats and will no longer continue his football career.

Opportunistic Tigers Advance

Noah Houk had a gutsy performance Friday night against Manual. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Noah Houk had a gutsy performance Friday night against Manual. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

It wasn’t easy at all, but Saint Xavier got it done once again.  They haven’t always looked sharp; there have been many mistakes.  But there have been very bright high points as well, and the Tigers keep finding a way to stay alive.

St. X defeated Manual for the second time this season, 12-7, in the second round of the 2014 Class 6A Russell Athletic/KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl.  This time, however, Tiger Football earned a victory with one of the oddest plays anyone will ever see.

With the Crimsons holding a 7-6 lead as the second half began, St. X signal caller Noah Houk threw his second interception of the game.  It looked like Manual defensive back Antonio Hassell had some running room, but junior St. X receiver Colin O’Daniel was covering ground quickly.

“I just knew when he got the ball that the play wasn’t over,” O’Daniel explained.  “I saw he wasn’t holding it right, and I went after it and ripped it.”

O’Daniel forced a fumble, and sophomore phenom Blake Roshkowski picked up the loose ball and scampered 50 yards for a touchdown that completely changed the complexion of the game.

Houk couldn’t get a two-point conversion, but the Tiger defense didn’t need it.

The game started perfectly for St. X, who started the game on defense.  On the first play from scrimmage, senior Tiger defensive end Will Edwards forced a fumble and recovered it.

St. X started its first offensive possession in the redzone, but could muster only a 29-yard field goal from Michael “Big Foot” Bennett.  Bennett would hit another field goal before halftime to make the score 7-6 in favor of the Crimsons.

“[Manual] isn’t scoring in the second half,” sophomore St. X manager Patrick Wantland said at halftime.

He knows his guys well.

Saint Xavier’s defense flexed its muscles when it mattered most, as they have many times before.  The Tigers snared three interceptions in the second half, and they were all at the most opportune times.

Jackie Arnold got his sixth pick of the year, Tyler Boarman stopped a redzone drive by Manual with a leaping grab, and Logan Butler sealed the game with an interception with just over a minute to go in the game.

“We just started reading their quarterback more,” Butler explained.  “We knew if we just came off a few times, he would make mistakes.”

Houk repeatedly gashed the Crimsons with his legs, rushing for 96 yards on just nine carries.  His effort was especially important because St. X was without two of its top running backs.  John Martinez missed the game with a finger injury, and TaiJon Smith injured his quadriceps on his second carry of the game and did not return.

Now, St. X is faced with a second meeting with archrival Trinity.  Game time is set for 7:30 PM next Friday at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

We will have much more coverage this coming week, so stay logged on, Tiger Nation.

Go Tigers! We Are!

Disappointing but Encouraging Results

Clark Campbell and the Tigers struggled early, but they showed that they have what it takes to win a State Title. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Clark Campbell and the Tigers struggled early, but they showed that they have what it takes to win a State Title. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Friday night in enemy territory was not a night that Saint Xavier Football will want to dwell on for too long.

The Tigers lost to district-rival Male by a final line of 30-13.  It was raining for most of the night, which made for less-than-desirable conditions on the field.  After the game, players were covered with dirt and mud.

This was a tough game.  In the first half, both the offense and defense were simply whipped by the Bulldogs.  Male led 24-0 at halftime.

St. X Head Coach Will Wolford was adamant during the break that the team could not continue to play the same way.  St. X is better than what they showed in that first half, and both Wolford and the players know it.

So, in the second half, the Tigers showed they were better.

“I think part of it was Kyle Oliver,” senior outside linebacker Clark Campbell said of his fellow senior linebacker.  “He always gets us motivated every game.  He said something that just ticked us off, and we needed that motivation in the second half.”

The Tigers took the second half by storm, as senior quarterback Noah Houk engineered a touchdown drive right out of the gate.  His 1-yard sneak into the endzone made it 24-7, and then all momentum completely shifted to St. X’s side.

Senior cornerback Davey Sermersheim blocked a Bulldog field goal attempt on the ensuing Male possession, and Campbell scooped up the ball and returned it into Male territory.  Although the Tigers didn’t get any points off of the stop, it reversed field position, which St. X later capitalized on.

After Male running back Ellis Cain fumbled inside his own ten-yard line, senior St. X running back TaiJon Smith cashed in with a 5-yard touchdown tote to make the score 24-13, after a failed PAT.

From there, though, the Tigers could not muster up any more points.  Houk threw three fourth quarter interceptions, and the Bulldogs picked up an impressive victory.

But this loss isn’t really anything St. X should worry about.  In fact, the Tigers should feel better about their chances of earning the school’s first football State Championship since 2009 after their effort against the top-ranked team in Kentucky.

Male features the most potent offense in the state.  Bulldog quarterback Davis Mattingly is special, and he has two elite weapons with him, in Cain and senior wide receiver Keion Wakefield.  But St. X intercepted Mattingly once in the first half, and allowed exactly zero points to the Male offense in the second half (Male’s second half touchdown was courtesy of a pick-six in the first quarter.  The Bulldogs’ two-point conversion failed.).

The St. X defense played well, but the effort wasn’t up to the players’ standard.

“I definitely think we can play better than that,” said Campbell.

For the St. X offense, we have seen that the one key that supersedes all the rest: turnovers.

When the offense doesn’t turn the ball over, great things happen; the best offensive performance of the season came against Trinity, which just so happened to be a game where the Tigers did not turn the ball over at all.

It does sound oversimplified, but it’s true.  Bottom line, when St. X’s offense doesn’t turn the ball over, it’s a great unit.  Houk, Smith, the receivers and the line just have to show it against more than one good opponent.

Although nobody can blame the weather conditions for the loss, the Tigers will obviously fare much better when the field is dry.

Fortunately for the Tigers, they have two big games to end the regular season; St. X takes on Manual at home next week, and after a bye week, the Tigers will travel up to Cincinnati to take on Cincy St. X.

I know this offense has the talent to match the defense.  It just isn’t quite there yet.  If the squad can have two more Trinity-esque performances to end the regular season, St. X will be that team that nobody wants to play in December.

St. X vs. Trinity Positional Breakdown: Quarterback

 

Noah Houk has an opportunity to make a statement against the Shamrocks. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Noah Houk has an opportunity to make a statement against the Shamrocks. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Quarterback play is always important, and it will be the most talked about aspect of Friday’s game and will assuredly help decide who reclaims the shillelagh.  Let’s take a deeper look at the guys lining up under center on Friday night.

St. Xavier Depth Chart

– #14 Noah Houk- 6’4”| 190 lbs.| Senior

– #8 A.J. Breit- 6’0”| 172 lbs.| Junior

-#13 Corey Chitwood- 5’10”| 170 lbs.| Junior

 

St. Xavier Overview

Noah Houk has been waiting for this moment for a very long time. Being the starting quarterback for St. X High School and leading them against Trinity on Friday night has been one of his goals since he was balling at St. Margaret Mary as a kid. Houk wants to follow in his dad’s footsteps and lead the Tigers to victory on Friday night in an attempt to break the current seven-game losing streak to the Rocks. And let me tell you, he is more than capable of doing so. Even though the stats might not show it right now, Noah is an elite passer. He can put the ball exactly where he wants to, when he wants to. Flashback to last year during this time, and Houk was resurrecting the offense against Central and then receiving monumental reps against Trinity as he replaced BJ Nagle. If any further proof is necessary that he can be “the man” for the Tigers against Trinity, click here to learn about how he was the last St. X quarterback to defeat the Rocks. Houk is confident, Houk is ready and Houk is the man.

In order for St. X to pull out a victory, Noah explained that ball security has to be the number one priority.

“We cannot have any turnovers. Turnovers have been the only thing that has stopped us this year.”

He went on to add that tomorrow night may be ‘The Game,” but that’s not going to cause him to change his mental preparation.

“Mentally I’m treating it like a normal game. I’ve been watching a lot of film and working hard in practice this week, but as far as my routine goes, I’m not changing anything,” he said.

Don’t worry, Tiger Nation, Noah’s got everything under control.

 

Trinity Depth Chart

– #16 Ryan Young- 6’0”| 181 lbs.| Senior

– #15 Larry Harper III- 5’9”| 163 lbs.| Sophomore

 

Trinity Overview

The Rocks have alternated back and forth between Harper and Young throughout the first half of the season and found success with both. Young started off the season with 235 yards passing through two games but failed to find the end zone and instead threw interceptions in two early season losses. Harper got the start in the next game against Imhotep (PA) and threw for 59 yards on 7-11 passing. The next game he went 15-25 for 245 yards but threw two interceptions. Young returned the next week and threw for a touchdown in a win over Cocoa (FL). Last week, Young put on a clinic against annual Indiana powerhouse Cathedral High. He threw for 323 yards and four touchdowns while only misfiring on one pass (27-28). Young will be the starter for Trinity tomorrow night and says he is confident entering into the game.

“I’m pretty confident. I just need to treat it like I would any other game,” Young said.

Young’s key to victory: “Establishing a solid running game to set up our passing game.”

Young knows how to lead a football team and has already proven that he can bounce back and handle adversity well.

The young but ultra-talented Harper cannot be overlooked here, though.  Although his size suggests that he might have problems playing around much bigger guys, he has already proven this season he can play and play well against tough varsity competition.  He is a very mobile quarterback with deceptive agility.  In the JV game on Monday, he repeatedly displayed his elusiveness, as he juked, spun, and hesitated his way out of several dropbacks that would have been sacks for most other quarterbacks.  Even when a lineman has a clear shot at him, he is extremely tough to actually bring down.

If Young cannot go for any reason at any point during the game, the Shamrocks don’t really have any drop off in talent and ability from starting quarterback to backup quarterback, a luxury that St. X simply does not have.

 

EDGE: There is no definitive option between Young and Houk as to who the better quarterback is. You can’t go wrong with either one. Whichever quarterback’s offensive weapons show up more will determine the winner of this QB battle. As Houk said, turnovers will also be a huge factor. I think it will all depend on which quarterback can lead his offense to success early and put points on the board. Three and outs will do no good in this game and whoever can avoid those more will likely be more effective. In a close battle that could go either way, I’m siding with Houk and predicting a big performance from the Tiger QB: 215 yards and 2 TDs, but most importantly, ZERO interceptions.

LCS gets to know Noah Houk

Noah Houk | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Noah Houk | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Our friends at Louisville Catholic Sports spoke with Tiger Football’s Noah Houk and got to know the starting quarterback a little better.  Houk is a Senior and has been dominating the Tiger’s opponents in the pocket thus far this season.

What is your proudest athletic moment? Being elected captain by teammates, and of course beating Trinity.

Which athlete do you look up to on a college/professional level? Why? Marcus Mariota. I not only respect his game, but the man he is on and off the field as well.

What is your favorite cartoon character? Batman, whether he’s animated or not, he is the man.

If time machines were real, and you could choose just one – to travel forward or backward – which would you select and why? I would go back in time and see who had a better head of hair, me or my Dad.

For more, visit LouisvilleCatholicSports.com and see all of Noah’s answers here.

Tiger Football handles Pioneers, takes home 24-14 Victory

Noah Houk threw two touchdown passes on Saturday. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Noah Houk threw two touchdown passes on Saturday. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

The match-up date was changed at the last minute, but the expected result stayed right were it was supposed to.

Saint Xavier Football defeated Simon Kenton 24-14 in an exhibition game Saturday morning in Independence, Kentucky.  Although it will not count for anything, it was certainly a sign that this year’s Tigers are heading in the right direction as the season starts up.

Senior wide receiver Jaylon Hibbs made the biggest splash of the day, catching two touchdown passes from senior quarterback Noah Houk.  His first grab came on a 78-yard bomb from Houk that he took right out of the hands of the Pioneer cornerback defending him, showing his great ability in jump-ball situations.

“I actually ran the wrong route on that one,” Hibbs said with a chuckle.  “I ran a go route, but I was supposed to run a post route.”

His second touchdown came on a quarterback bootleg, where he ran a crossing route and snagged a 22-yard score.

“I felt really good out there,” Hibbs explained, with shouts of “Randy Moss” and “All-American” coming in the background.  “That’s all I need to say.”

The other points were provided by junior wide receiver Corey Clements, who a took a slant pass from junior quarterback A.J. Breit 75 yards to paydirt, and kicker Michael Bennett, who added a field goal.

The Tiger defense was very solid as well, allowing an early touchdown and a touchdown late in the game.  They forced one interception, courtesy of senior linebacker Carter Mattingly  Senior linebacker Trace Amshoff was pleased with the unit’s effort.

“I thought we played pretty well,” Amshoff said.  “We forced a lot of three-and-outs and we were getting to the ball.”

The signature defensive series came with Simon Kenton driving in the red zone with St. X leading 14-7.  A pass interference penalty gave the Pioneers the ball at the Tigers’ two yard line.  On second and goal, junior cornerback Ian Kania initially stopped a Simon Kenton running back at the line of scrimmage, and after breaking a few more tackles, the Tigers gang tackled him for a 13 yard loss.  The series ultimately ended with Simon Kenton turning it over on downs.

“Coach Bruner has been telling us to buckle down in the tight moments down on the goal line,” Amshoff explanied.  “Fortunately, we were able to do that.

“That was so intense,” Kania said of the goal-line stand.  “It was awesome.”

As year number two of his tenure is getting ready to begin, Head Coach Will Wolford like what he saw out of his team today.

“It was great.  This was a lot of guys’ first rodeo, so it was good to get them out there.  I think we are ready.

That’s good to hear from the head honch0, because the regular season is under a week away!  Tiger Football opens the season on Friday, August 15th against Ballard on Alumni Night.

Tiger Nation, you too need to be prepared for Friday!  We Are!

 

Tiger Football Team Preview

Will Wolford will lead the Tigers into battle for the second season. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

It will be Will Wolford’s second season leading the Tigers into battle. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

It will be an interesting year for Saint Xavier High School Football to say the least.  The 2013-2014 Tigers finished the season with a disappointing 6-6 record.  Year one of the Will Wolford Era did not go according to plan.

However, year two will no doubt be different–if only because so many new faces will be on the field this season.  Only two starters return from last season. Everyone else graduated.  That means we are going to see a lot of new guys make an impact on this year’s team.  What’s good is that a lot of these new guys look like they’re going to be pretty good.

The offense looks poised to do some great things.  The two returning starters from last season, senior tackle Tyler Haycraft and senior center Nathan Scheler, will anchor the offensive line.  That group should be solid in both run and pass protection, which is very promising, because if the big guys up front are stout, this offense will be special.  It all starts with senior quarterback Noah Houk.  He’s got great size, a cannon for an arm, and pinpoint accuracy.  He will be fun to watch this year.

If he can stay healthy, Chase Rowan will be a barn-burner in the backfield. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

If he can stay healthy, Chase Rowan will be a barn-burner in the backfield. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Behind Houk are two stud tailbacks.  TaiJon Smith, a senior, and Chase Rowan, a junior, are very rare talents.  Smith is a gazelle in the open field; he has crazy speed and agility.  Rowan can also turn on the jets and has unbelievable quickness.  Both of these backs are super shifty; they can change direction in a heartbeat and turn on a dime.  The challenge for those two will be to stay healthy.  If they can avoid the injury bug, they will repeatedly break ankles and turn heads throughout the season.

The receiving corps is vastly underrated.  Jaylon Hibbs could be a star; he has the speed to take the top off of opposing secondaries and the size to win jump-ball situations.  Slot receiver Michael Ackerman is a quick water-bug in the open field and will wreak havoc on opposing defenses.  When you think of Ackerman, think of former stand-out Oregon running back De’Anthony Thomas; when the ball gets in his hands, there will be problems.  Additionally, senior tight end Davis Kannapell will be hauling in passes over the middle all season.  Look for this group of receivers to prove a lot of people wrong this season.

If the offense can stay upright and play with consistency–two big problems for last year’s team–this will be a prolific unit.  They can strike in so many ways.  Houk and Smith could put up huge numbers and contend for Kentucky Mr. Football.  This offense definitely has the weapons, but they will need to prove that they can work as a cohesive unit in order to tap into their full potential.

St. X could be equally as lethal on defense.  There are game-changers at each level, and this group could definitely put up a shutout or two.

Davey Sermersheim can take away one half of the field on defense. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Davey Sermersheim can take away one half of the field on defense. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

The defensive backfield will be the strength of this unit.  Although no starters return from last year’s secondary, senior safety Tyler Boarman and senior cornerback Davey Sermersheim got a lot of playing time last season and are ready to flourish in their last year as Tigers.  Boarman (6’1, 178 lbs.) and Sermersheim (5’10, 165 lbs.) both have fantastic size for their positions and are extremely versatile; both can be thumpers and help stop the run, and they have the speed to sit back and run with any opposing receiver.  Boarman is a prototypical centerfielder in the secondary that oversees everything, while Sermersheim is a nasty lock-down corner that will draw, and likely shut down, the other team’s best receiver.  Joining those two will be senior safety Jackie Arnold and senior cornerback Brandon Blaser.  Arnold is a speed demon with excellent instincts, and Blaser is a big, physical corner that will give opposing receivers fits.

This secondary is special.  Remember last season when Bowling Green and quarterback Devin Hayes torched St. X throwing to 2014 Kentucky Mr. Football Nacarius Fant and running back Ellis Cain?  That’s not happening on this unit.  This group is the perfect mix of physicality and finesse.  They can take control of games.  They may not be Legion-of-Boom-good, but Boarman and Sermersheim certainly do a decent Earl Thomas-Richard Sherman impersonation.  It will be exciting to watch.

Here’s more for you, Tiger Nation: the front seven will be just as good.

The defensive line will be fierce.  Senior defensive tackles Carson Kehres and Christian Fell will be disruptive forces, as each will demand double teams if opposing offenses want to keep them out of the backfield.  Accompanying them on the line will be defensive ends Will Edwards and Ethan Adams.  DISCLAIMER: these guys are scary.  Will Edwards is a beast; Ethan Adams is an animal, and he’s only a junior.  These defensive ends will have their ears pinned, and they will be in constant, ferocious pursuit of opposing quarterbacks.

Outside linebacker Clark Campbell will be ruthless coming off the edge.| Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Outside linebacker Clark Campbell will be ruthless coming off the edge. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

The linebacker corps will be a lot different than last year, but don’t expect the production to drop off.  Andrew McCormick, Malik Carr, Wes Parker, Spencer Foy, and Evan Caffee were a terrifying group of linebackers last year; they were big, strong, and fast.  This year’s linebackers won’t have the size of last year’s, but they bring everything else to the table.  Senior Connor Barnes and junior Logan Butler will be the inside linebackers, and they will be everywhere.  They play sideline to sideline and will do a lot of damage.  They will be accompanied by Dylan McFarland and Clark Campbell on the edge, two more assassins on the edges.

As a whole, the Tiger defense looks to be very promising.  Barnes and Butler will be the heart and soul of the unit; they make the players around them better.  There is so much talent here, but it remains to be seen if they can put it all together.  There’s a ton of potential, but much like the offense, this defense will need to figure out how play together.  Defensive coordinator Bart Bruner will have these guys ready to go on August 22nd, but what will separate this defense from others is if the guys on the field play for each other.

As for special teams, it’s pretty straightforward; this unit is pretty good.  Once he returns fully healthy from a ruptured spleen, senior kicker Ben Logsdon will be booting field goals of all distances through the uprights.  Senior kicker Michael “Big Foot” Bennett will regularly be kicking touchbacks.  Senior punter Mason King will constantly be pinning opposing offenses inside their own 20 yard line.  St. X has some weapons on special teams.

With so many new players in new positions, some early growing pains should be expected from these Tigers; they likely won’t be great from week one.  It will all come down to how well the guys can mesh as a collective unit.  If the players learn each other’s tendencies and play for the name on the front of the jersey, this will be a dangerous team.  If year two of the Will Wolford Era wants to be more successful than the first, team chemistry will be the catalyst for an energized and eager St. X team.