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Patriotic Night: A Salute to Our Troops

Photo by Jana Bollinger

Photo by Jana Bollinger

As many of you know, this Friday’s football game against Central has been deemed as our annual Patriotic Night. Patriotic Night has become our most popular themes over the year, as it should be. What’s better than supporting the Red, White, and Blue while cheering on your favorite football team? Absolutely nothing. This game truly is a special thing; looking up into the stands from the sideline just gives me goosebumps. Seeing thousands of people all cheering for the greatest school in the world, in the greatest country in the world, while they are playing the greatest sport in the world. It’s truly remarkable.

However, over the years I do think we look at this game as an opportunity to just dress up, taking away from the true meaning of the game. And while it’s all in good-fashioned fun to buy new outfits and socialize at a football game, there are other facets of the game at play here. Patriotic Night has so much more meaning behind it, and I wanted to take to the time to point out that fact.

Simply put, this game is for the troops, who day in and day out fight for our freedom. Whether that be the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Coast Guard, or the Marines. All of those who serve in the military deserve the greatest and utmost respect, and if we can pay a little bit of homage to them with a patriotic-themed game, then everyone should be on board.

Saint Xavier Athletics produce the best of the best. We produce men of character and honor, year in and year out. So much so, that this has translated to many athletes pursuing careers in the Armed Forces. So now, I want to give credit to where credit is due, and recognize a couple of guys that represent the greatness of Saint Xavier High School.

Donnie Bowers

Donnie Bowers was a member of the class of 2007. Bowers was a tight-end for the football team, a member of the National Honor Society, and took part in the Big Brother program at St.X. In high school, he had not thought of the possibility of attending a military school. The U.S. Naval Academy changed this, however, recruiting him to be a member of their football team. This opened a new world for Bowers, and he made the decision to attend the Academy.

After graduating from the Navy, he was selected into the Marine Corps. He attended basic training in Quantico, Virginia, and was designated as an artillery officer. He first worked with the HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) Unit in California from 2013-2016. He has most recently began to work in a Recruitment Office stationed in Baltimore.

Bowers attributed some of his success to the self-discipline instilled by Mr. Drury and Mr. Espinosa. He said that they taught him to, “do the right thing when no one is looking,” and ultimately it paid off in the long run.

Jeff Marks

Jeff Marks (Class of ’88) was an active member of the Saint Xavier Community. During his four years, he was a member of the Football, Wrestling, and Track & Field teams. On top of that, he was the Student Activities Council Vice President, and a member of the National Honor Society. Almost thirty years later, Marks still says his favorite moment at St.X was running out on the field every Friday night with his teammates.

After St.X, Marks attended the Air Force Academy. He said that flying airplanes, “drew his attention.” Like Bowers, Marks didn’t know he wanted to join the military until he was actually apart of it. He described it as a leap of faith, but that it ultimately was a great decision.

From ’94-’99, Marks flew C-141 at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. He then became an instructor in Texas. In 2002, he transitioned to the USAF Reserves where he has held jobs as an instructor, recruiter, AOC Staff, among other things. Entering his 25th year of service, Marks is still active in the Reserves as a Lt. Colonel.

Zach Cahalan 

Zach Cahalan is a graduate of the Class of 2009.  At St.X, Cahalan participated in a wide array of activities, including: football, wrestling, National Honor Society, Ryken Service Club, Spanish Club, and Saint Joseph of Arimathea Society. Unlike Bowers and Marx, the choice for Zach was always clear – that he was going to join the military.

Cahalan decided to apply to West Point, because he believed that West Point is, “the most challenging and developmental commissioning source the nation has to offer.” He went on to become an Aviation Officer, more specifically a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot. From 2013-2015 he served at Fort Rucker, AL. Presently, he is stationed at Soto Cano Airbase, Comayagua, Honduras. His brother, Brewer, is also a senior wide receiver for the Tiger Football Team.

He says that he had phenomenal English teachers at St.X, to whom he praised for teaching him to effectively express his thoughts. “The military and more specifically leadership, is founded on the principles of communication, and St.X was my bedrock in this regard.”

Kevin Meredith 

Lastly, we pay tribute to Kevin Meredith, Class of 1980. Meredith suited up for the Tiger Fùtbol Team in his tenure at St.X. Instead of joining the military, he had always thought that he may become a member of the police force, but after being introduced to ROTC at the University of Kentucky, his focus shifted.

Meredith served three tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. While he was stationed in Iraq in 2005, he was a Senior Adviser to the only Iraqi Armor Division in the Iraqi Army. Essentially, he was in charge of training, manning, and equipping that division. During his first tour in Afghanistan, he was a human terrain team leader. He served his last tour from 2011-2012.

Meredith is still a very active member at St.X today. All three of his sons have attended St.X, his youngest son Michael is a senior wide receiver on the football team. Kevin also serves as the defensive backs coach for the freshman football team. His military discipline and leadership has translated well to the grid-iron, and many of his players appreciate his work and ability as a coach. He emphasizes to his players, and to every St.X student to, “do the hard right thing, rather than the easy wrong thing.”


This iconic photo of Coach Meredith is inside of the Football locker room

Now these are only a couple of guys that have moved on from St.X and pursued careers in the military. There are so many more, all of whom I would’ve loved to talk with. Unfortunately, I can’t. Which is why Patriotic Night is so great; it makes it possible for myself, and everyone in the community to connect with the best of the best of our alumni. So come Friday, think about those who have come before you to serve your country, who left a legacy for you to inherit at the greatest school in the world. And to give them your whole-hearted gratitude.

To Donnie, Jeff, Zach, Kevin, and all St.X graduates that have served, this is just a small way to thank you for all that you all have done and still do… this is our salute.

God Bless the Troops. God Bless America. And God Bless Saint Xavier High School.



The X Men: Moeller Edition

Another Friday, another edition of The X-Men.  Phillip Freeman and Peyton Byrne were back at it this morning to tell Tiger Nation all about tonight’s game.  Joining them this week was special guests, linebackers Trace Amshoff and Dylan McFarland, Connor Crush and Oscar Gutierrez.

They tackle important topics like how can Moeller hang with us? (spoiler: they can’t) and who’s more patriotic?

Let’s bring the noise tonight, Rage Cage. See you in a few hours.

Patriotic Night


There is not much here that I need to say other than red, white, and blue. Tiger fans should come to the game tomorrow versus Moeller ready to support St. X and the USA.

Since its instatement in 2012, Patriotic Night has brought in some of the biggest crowds in Brother Thomas More Stadium’s history. 2014 will not be an exception.

This is a very versatile theme! There will be students dressed as Uncle Sam, George Washington, the Statue of Liberty, and GIs. Expect plenty of “Reagan Bush 1984” apparel, too.

SAC leaders in the front of the Rage Cage will bring out all of our classic cheers tomorrow night. They will throw in patriotic chants plus “Thor,” an original cheer.

WSTX Sports’ DO’s and DON’T’s for Patriotic Night

2012 Patriotic Night | Photo by Jana Bollinger

2012 Patriotic Night | Photo by Jana Bollinger

Patriotic Night is upon us and will take place tomorrow night at Br. Thomas More Stadium at the Tiger Football vs. Moeller game.  We know a lot of WSTX Sports readers will be in attendance for the game tomorrow, so we thought we’d put together a good list of advice for you, Tiger Nation.

Here are the official unofficial Do’s and Don’t’s of Patriotic Night…

DO dress as if you were standing in between a collision of Uncle Sam and George Washington riding a bald eagle.

It is important to know that the more red, white and blue paint you have on your body, the more right you are.  Tomorrow night is a time to dress up and have a little fun while cheering on your friends and classmates.  Be creative and come up with something so American, that even George W. Bush would be proud.

DON’T let the flag hit the ground.

If you do in fact bring a flag to the game, which is highly recommended because it looks super cool in the Rage Cage (see picture above), then make sure you treat Old Glory respectfully and not let it hit the ground.  Let’s honor America the right way.

DO sing the national anthem loud and proud.

When Coach Schweitzer cues up the National Anthem right before game after the players take the field, make sure to put your arm around the guy next to you and sing our country’s song like it was meant to be sung.  This will sound really awesome and surely someone will capture it on video.

DON’T stop cheering.

This is a huge game for the team even if it does not have post-season implications.  It’s Ohio vs. Kentucky, it’s big school vs. big school.  Take it upon yourself to bring the intensity from the crowd and have an impact early and often throughout the game.  We want some MOE!

DO recognize that our school colors change from Green and Gold to Red, White and Blue for one night.

Yes we are “proud of the green and the gold”, but on one night, we hold another set of colors to be more important.  Show off that awesome Red, White and Blue cut off you got over the summer or face paint yourself and others so that everyone knows just how proud you are to be an American.

DON’T forget why we are having Patriotic Night.

The theme was created two years ago to honor those in Tiger Nation who have served our country and they will be recognized tomorrow night.  Make sure that applause is louder than any after our touchdowns.  It is important to keep in mind that without the brave men and women fighting around the world, we could not have a chance to go to such a great high school, nor watch a little Tiger Football on a beautiful September evening.

DO respect our guests from the north.

Moeller travels really well and will most likely pack their side of the stands.  Don’t be surprised if you look out during G period and see the parking lot full of tailgaters from Moeller.  They like to do that kind of thing, and to be honest, it’s pretty awesome.  So acknowledge that they bring the same pride as we do and show our guests from Cincinnati a good time tomorrow night.

DO enjoy the game.

This is going to be a great game with a lot of big plays and heart stopping action.  Have fun taking some of the best high school football in the nation as we take on the #40 ranked Moeller Crusaders on our home turf at Br. Thomas More Stadium.

Go Tigers! We Are!