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Moeller vs. Saint Xavier: The Preview

Coach Wolford | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Coach Wolford | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

A big game will go down tonight at Brother Thomas More Stadium.  It is St. X against Moeller.  It is Partiotic Night. Moeller is one of the most established programs in Ohio, and they are coming off of an OHSAA Division I State Championship last season. It will be a great game.  Other than the Trinity game, don’t expect to be a part of a better atmosphere than the one you will experience at Brother Thomas More Stadium this evening.

The 3-1 Tigers will take on the 3-0 Crusaders at 7:30 p.m. here on our own campus.  Both teams won easily last week with St. X defeating Fairdale 41-12 and Moeller cruising by Xenia 55-7. Both teams will want to extend their win streak and neither will go down easily.

Last year, Moeller defeated St. X 24-12 in Cincinnati. Charles Walker had a massive game and helped keep the Tigers in the game, as he had 250 yards and a touchdown on the ground while averaging 8.3 yards per carry. The Moeller pass defense limited former quarterback B.J. Nagle to only 45 yards through the air. They defeated us last year on their home turf, so it is our time to return the favor.

A very interesting match up to watch will be the Moeller offense versurs the Tiger defense. The Moeller offense has put up major points this season already, as they average 38.3 points per game through 3 games. On the other side, the Tigers have limited their opponents to only 7.75 points per game through 3 and a half games. It will be interesting to see who wins out in this battle, as the winner will most likely lead their team to victory.

Like in the Bowling Green game, St. X’s sceondary will have to step up. Seniors Davey Sermersheim, Jackie Arnold, Tyler Boarman, and Brandon Blaser will have to be a the top of their game in order for the Tigers to defend a very strong Moeller offense. Chris Beets, Ian Kania, Logan Butler and Brandon Blaser all had interceptions last week, and if they could pull down one or two tonight, it would certainly help the Tigers try and pull of the victory.

On offense, Noah Houk, Taijon Smith, Jaylon Hibbs and Colin O’Daniel will lead the charge for the Tigers. Moeller’s defense is very tough, but they haven’t seen the speed of Smith, Hibbs and O’Daniel yet. All three have the ability to turn a play into a touchdown, and it will be exciting to watch them work against an elite defense.

Tonight at Brother Thomas Moore Stadium will be one of the best atmospheres this year.  Moeller has defeated us four times in a row, but that ends tonight. It’s Patriotic Night, and if you aren’t there, then you better figure out why you aren’t. This will be the craziest the Rage Cage will be all year at home. If you have never been to a football game, and I don’t know why you haven’t yet, this is the game to go to. Two teams will give it their all trying to find a victory, so go and support your Tigers on the way to a thrilling victory.

Here’s hoping the Tigers can pull of the huge victory and end the losing streak against Moeller.  As always, Go Tigers! 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.