The Offensive lineman is the most disrespected and underrated position in football. Never praised, always scrutinized. But it all starts up front, and that means the offensive lines for both the Tigers and Shamrocks will have big assignments on Friday night.
St. Xavier Depth Chart
– #68 Michael Sehlinger LT- 6’2”| 250 lbs.| Senior
– #65 Palmer Thompson LG- 6’2”| 260 lbs.| Senior
– #62 Nathan Scheler C – 6’2”| 270 lbs.| Senior
– #64 Lowell Brown RG- 6’4”| 235 lbs.| Senior
– #70 Tyler Haycraft RT- 6’4”| 255 lbs.| Senior
– #85 Davis Kannapell TE- 6’3”| 230lbs.| Senior
St. Xavier Overview
The Tigers returned two starters from last year’s O-Line in Scheler and Haycraft. The offensive line has done very well this year in run blocking and has created some gaping holes for TaiJon Smith and John Martinez to run through. The average height of the Tiger O-Line is a modest 6’3” but they play bigger and more physical than that. Defenses have attacked with stifling blitzes on third downs this year, and the line has had trouble picking up those blitzes on third down a few times this season. In the loss to Moeller, the line gave up several critical third down sacks that cost the offense points, particularly in the red zone. Expect to see a lot of run blocking tomorrow night and an improved pass blocking scheme that has refocused and helped the offense put up 46 points last week against Central.
Senior tight end Davis Kannapell has shown flashes of brilliance this season. When the ball is thrown his way, he usually picks up the first down and then some. The thing that makes Davis so effective is his athleticism. For a tight end, he has good speed and is very hard to take down, not to mention his outstanding hands. Tiger Nation has seen him reel off some big gainers this season and it wouldn’t be a bold prediction to say that Kannapell will have a big impact on “The Game”. If the offense would go to “Big Wave Dave” more often, perhaps it would open up a whole new world of play calling opportunities.
Trinity Depth Chart
– #51 Bryant Colvin C- 6’3”| 255 lbs.| Junior
– #79 Max Martin RG- 6’4”| 275 lbs.| Junior
– #75 Justin Karem RT- 6’3”| 221 lbs.| Senior
– #76 Chris Tipton LG- 6’1”| 245 lbs.| Senior
– #61 Michael Hiestand LT- 6’5”| 215 lbs.| Senior
– #14 Andrew Delvisco TE- 6’2”| 210 lbs.| Senior
The Trinity offensive line has not slacked a bit this season as it has allowed Donald Brooks to lead the state in yards through the first six games. The pass blocking has been solid all season long as well, and most recently allowed Ryan Young to dissect the Cathedral defense.
“They are definitely more comfortable in run blocking situations,” Young said. “Our line is one of the offense’s strengths.”
Young appreciates his O-line’s performance up to this point and he has no reason not to.
Senior Andrew Delvisco started his Trinity career as quarterback but that’s not where you’ll find him today. Delvisco is now catching passes from Young as a tight end. He provides a big target for his quarterback and is an effective blocker as well.
EDGE: This is another tough one to call. The strength of both teams’ run blocking ability far outweighs their abilities in pass blocking. I’m going to call this one a draw, and here’s my reasoning. First off, the run blocking abilities are just about even because of each team’s success on the ground thus far. But the Trinity pass blocking has been better to this point than St. X’s has. So now the score is 1-0 Trinity. However, if you consider the tight end position away from blocking, then I feel like Kannapell has a clear advantage due to his sheer athleticism and physical play. St. X 1, Trinity 1. It’s a draw, but you know who I would put my money on if I had to.
St. Xavier Depth Chart
-#55 Dylan McFarland-OLB 6’2″ | 218 lbs. | Senior
-#49 Logan Butler-ILB 6’1″ | 190 lbs. | Junior
-#50 Trace Amshoff-OLB 5’9″ | 185 lbs. | Senior
#91 Parker Maddox-OLB 5’9″ | 185 lbs. | Senior
-#36 Andrew Lyons-OLB 5’8″ | 170 lbs. | Senior
-#6 Kyle Oliver-ILB 6’0″ | 190 lbs. | Senior
-#40 Connor Barnes-ILB 6’2″| 205 lbs. | Senior
-#32 Clark Campbell-OLB 6’2″ | 198 lbs. | Senior
St. Xavier Overview
All you need to know about the Saint Xavier linebacker corps is one word: depth. Linebacker is the deepest position of the entire team, and it shows on the field. Defensive Coordinator Bart Bruner expertly rotates these guys to create a machine that never gets tired. This machine is wild.
Junior Logan Butler had a signature performance against Bryan Station in week two with a trio of interceptions and a sack, but he wants to make an even bigger statement tonight. I don’t know about you, but it scares me that this guy could play even better than he did in Lexington, when he won the MVP of the Bluegrass Bowl.
St. X has speed everywhere. Clark Campbell and McFarland are ruthless coming off the edge, and Connor Barnes and Kyle Oliver sure up the middle of the defense with great leadership, smart decision making and uber sound fundamental skill. Oliver and Barnes play the game the way it should be played, no frills or flash, and it’s their play that anchors the defense.
The Tiger linebackers will be everywhere tonight–all eight of them. They will be flying from sideline to sideline with a chip on their shoulders. They want to end a drought of five years and seven games.
Trinity Depth Chart
-#8 Zach Berger-OLB 6’3″ | 235 lbs. | Senior
-#30 Brentton Ervin-ILB 5’11” | 215 lbs. | Senior
-#52 Damon Lowe-ILB 6’1″ | 225 lbs. | Junior
-#93 Matthew English-OLB 6’1″ | 180 lbs. | Senior
The Rocks’ linebackers are no joke either. They have stood up against some of the most athletic offenses in the country. The name to know in this group is Berger. He’s got fantastic size, and he is an animal when he pins his ears back to rush the passer. He sound against the run and the pass, and he can blow up a play in the backfield at any moment. Berger told me that the Trinity backers are first and foremost a group that loves to get after it, and they aren’t shy about it.
“We are a hard-hitting and in-your-face,” Berger said. “We all have a passion for this game.”
The tough competition to this point in the season has molded the corps into a balanced unit proficient in stuffing the run and shutting down passing lanes over the middle of the field. They’ve had to face pass-oriented teams and run-oriented teams, and they were successful against both.
It will be interesting to see how the St. X offensive line deals with this group; the Shamrock linebackers are bigger, stronger, and faster than most if not all the corps that the Tigers have gone up against.
Trinity’s unit should also be playing with a chip on its shoulder; the seniors are looking to put the finishing touches on a four-year period where there was nothing but dominance over St. X. I’m sure they would rather not lose their final game against the Tigers.
This group might even be a tad bit underrated because of the massive defensive line in front of them, so it should be a lot of fun to see this group play in front of the biggest high school football crowd in the country.
EDGE: Like the secondaries, these units are so close to each other. Each group has an advantage. St. X will have more bodies, and because of this, they will probably be as fresh and stout in the fourth quarter as they were at the beginning of the game. However, Trinity’s unit has fought tougher battles to this point in the season and should be more than well prepared to square off with St. X’s offense. I’m going to declare linebacker a draw.
If either Trinity or St. X wants to walk out of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium Friday night, they will have to execute a balanced offense, intelligently mixing play calling on the ground and through the air. If one defense can take away the opponent’s passing game, that defense’s team will have a huge advantage. That job falls upon the secondaries, and both the Tigers and the Shamrocks have some names back there that you want to get to know. There is a lot of talent in both defensive backfields, so it will be interesting to see which group will have the bigger impact on the outcome of this clash of titans. Let’s take a look at the St. Xavier and Trinity defensive backs.
St. Xavier Depth Chart
-#27 Davey Sermersheim-CB 5’10” | 160 lbs. | Senior
-#10 Tyler Boarman-SS 6’1″ | 178 lbs. | Senior
-#7 Jackie Arnold-FS 6’0″ | 170 lbs. | Senior
-#29 Brandon Blaser- CB 5’9″ | 162 lbs. | Senior
St. Xavier Overview
The Saint Xavier defensive backs have been nothing short of outstanding to this point in the season. They have gone up against high-level competition and made statement after statement, and against inferior offensive talent, they have not let up one bit. They have taken care of business week-in and week-out, and I don’t think fans will see anything different under the brightest lights these guys will see all season.
Sermersheim and Blaser are just so rangy and versatile. They can both be nasty, physical pitbulls in bump-and-run press coverage; they aren’t afraid to crash the perimeter running game, either. They can drop back in zone coverage and read the ball, and they all have a great feel for when to make a break on the ball. Sermersheim made an interception against Moeller that got him WDRB Sports Play of the Week. Blaser had a pick-six against Fairdale. These corners can flat out ball.
Arnold has three interceptions on the season and has shown amazing instincts in defensive centerfield. He is often the last line of defense for St. X, but he is not afraid to gamble for an interception or lay a big hit on a receiver. Remember Ed Reed when he was in his prime playing for the Baltimore Ravens? He was just scary; he could do it all. Arnold is that kind of safety for the Tigers, and he doesn’t get hurt as much as Reed did either.
Tyler Boarman deserves some choice words. In the very rare words of one of my favorite sports personalities ever to grace this wonderful planet, Stephen A. Smith, Boarman is a “BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD MAN.” But seriously, this guy can do it all. He is probably the most physical St. X defensive back, and he is almost built like a linebacker. Again, I compare Boarman to another frightening safety who could not avoid injury: Bob Sanders. He was a nightmare coming up to the line and stuffing run plays before they even started. Boarman has that kind of effect on offenses.
These guys are ballhawks. They are brash and unafraid of any stage. They have the ability to completely shut down the Shamrocks on the perimeter, and you very well may see just that.
This is a special unit.
Trinity Depth Chart
-#2 Blake Corbett-CB 5’9″ | 160 lbs. | Senior
-#7 Canon Jackson-SS 6’3″ | 210 lbs. | Senior
-#6 Calvin Fante-FS 5’11” |180 lbs. | Senior
-#10 Rodjay Burns-CB 6’2″ | 175 lbs. | Junior
The Rocks also feature a stout secondary. I have two words for you, Tiger Nation: Canon. Jackson. This guy is big time. He has elite size for a safety; St. X doesn’t have linebackers as big as Jackson. As a junior, Jackson played cornerback and locked down some receivers that are now playing college football. He is an absolute stud, one St. X must locate before every offensive snap. This is the kind of defensive back who can change a game. Jackson has the size of a linebacker with the quickness and coordination of a defensive back. He is dangerous.
Junior Rodjay Burns plays wide receiver, but he also covers receivers–and he does it really well. He has great size for a corner, and being a receiver on offense gives him an advantage almost any other corner doesn’t have, and that is knowing the ins and outs of the position which he is defending. He has great anticipation and will be a major threat to the Tigers’ passing game.
However, the Shamrocks are a bit bruised in the secondary. Senior saftey Alex Reisert, another agile defensive back built like a linebacker, will most likely miss the game. He started alongside Jackson in Trinity’s first four games, but he tore the Lisfranc ligament in his right foot making a tackle against Cincinnati Colerain High School. He is a big part of Trinity’s back end, and his absence puts a lot of pressure on backup Calvin Fante, pressure that Fante may not be ready for.
The Shamrocks’ secondary is strong, but without Reisert in the lineup, there may be some open holes or windows for the St. X passing attack that wouldn’t normally be there.
EDGE: This is a very close call. Both units are sound, but I am confidently choosing St. X here. Jackson is a monster for the Rocks, but with Reisert’s absence, I feel more comfortable picking the Tiger defensive backs, who are 100% healthy and out to prove a point.