Centre College had an undefeated regular season with a 10-1 overall record including a Southern Athletic Association Conference Championship, which resulted in the Colonels receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. This was only their second appearance in school history, but their second in the last four years. They fell to John Carroll in the First Round of the Playoffs, but needless to say it was a big year for Centre.
How do you improve upon that? You go out and get more great players to add to the impressive group of talent that is already on campus in Danville. When you scroll through that list of talented players on the Centre roster, one thing sticks out and is repeated over and over. Hometown/High School: Louisville, Ky. / St. Xavier.
Four Former Tigers were on the 10-1 Colonel Football team last season and two of those were major contributors. Wide Receiver Jake Johnson ’12 and Defensive Back Alex Mattingly ’12 made huge plays throughout the season to keep that unblemished record for ten straight weeks. Ryan Askin ’14 and Sam Gray ’14 were new members of the team and will compete for playing time this fall.
That number of Former Tigers is about to double as FIVE of the Tiger Football Class of 2015 is headed to be Colonels this year. Jaylon Hibbs, Kyle Oliver, Michael Ackerman, Lowell Brown and Ben Logsdon have all committed to play for Centre. One other Tiger is also still deciding on where he wants to play and his choices include Centre and Kentucky. Lexington Catholic and Manual also have a handful of former players in Black and Gold, but not NINE. Head Coach Andy Frye must like what he sees coming out of Louisville, specifically Poplar Level Road. It’s like he’s trying to be Chip Kelly from the Eagles and take a whole bunch of kids from a Green and Gold school.
To get all of these guys headed in the same direction, there wasn’t a big meeting called by one of the five pledges to Centre, but instead they all came to the same conclusion on their own for the most part.
“Actually, I didn’t talk to anyone.” was the response Ackerman gave to the question of whether or not they teamed up and made the decision together. “I just love the atmosphere on the campus and on the field and the coaches accept you like family.” That family just gained five really good players.
The now Former Tigers all looked at their options on where they wanted to play at the next level and it just so happened that they all had roster spot offers from Centre and that was where each individual thought they would have the best opportunity to play at the next level.
For Oliver, it also had to do with the coaches, but mainly the academics. “A big part was how good of school it was,” he commented. “I really like the coaching staff especially Coach (Carter) Conley who is the defensive coordinator.” The Tiger Football linebacker also added, “We get to play football with each other for four more years and be a part of a great program.”
While Ackerman didn’t do much talking to the others about his decision, Oliver was helping recruit the guys to play with him at the next level. He said that it was a big deal for them to all get to play together again because they loved playing with each other. Kyle was even encouraging the others to take overnight visits down to Danville with him.
Once they were at Centre, they had plenty of familiar faces to welcome them. Oliver’s older brother, Ryan, played with Mattingly and Johnson, so they were always encouraging their friends little brother to come see what Centre had to offer. Ackerman said Johnson was a big help in his decision to go there.
The recent success of the Colonels obviously has stood out to these guys as they’ve made their college decisions. There is no doubt that Centre will have another big year and that will probably be thanks to some of our guys that will surely make an immediate impact, the minute they step on campus this fall. The college version of St. Xavier may be forming down the highway in Danville, Ky. They might as well go ahead and rename the 220 year old College, Tiger Tech.
With the overwhelming amount of Tiger Sports taking place in the past couple of weeks, many former St. X grads have been seen in attendance at various Tiger Sporting events. With the Lacrosse, Rugby, Tennis, and Track State Championships all going down in a matter of days, there has been no shortage of Former Tigers on hand to watch St. X do what it does best–win. We’ve managed to gather a few to try and keep Tiger Nation as up-to-date as possible!
We begin with one of our very own! WSTX Sports Founder Clay Bollinger was spotted at one of Tiger Football’s spring practices. Clay is finishing up a sterling freshman year at the University of Kentucky, where he has become a staple on the football field as a quarterbacks manager. After all, he was a quarterback under the tutelage of the great Mike Glaser during his time at Tiger Tech recently, Clay has also become a recruiting assistant for the Wildcats as well. Drew Barker and Co. are very lucky to have him at the helm! Congratulations on your recent success and good luck going forward Mr. Bollinger!
Another current Kentucky Wildcat was seen at the Rugby State Championship. Former Tiger Football safety Hunter Senn was seen catching the Tigers win their third straight State Title. Hunter is also coming to the end of his freshman year at UK. We wish you the best Hunter!
Coach J was also at the Rugby State Championship. It’s always great to see Coach J, but it’s even better when he brings Former Tigers with him! Former Tiger Baseball pitcher and third baseman Sam Melchior was in attendance as well! Sam is putting the finishing touches on a promising freshman campaign at Western Kentucky University. Although he has received little playing time, he has shown the potential to be a great arm in the Hilltoppers’ rotation for years to come. In his final year at St. X, Sam went 7-1 with a 1.58 ERA and 37 strikeouts while being an anchor on the St. X teams that won three consecutive seventh region titles. We here at WSTX Sports know you have an outstanding future ahead of you at WKU. Good luck Sam!
We still aren’t ready to leave the Rugby State Championship yet! With his brother Joey playing a key role in St. X’s bid for a third straight title, former Tiger Soccer standout Alex McSweeney was in attendance to witness the Tigers take home the hardware once again. Alex is almost finished with his freshman year at Hanover College, and he figures to be a big piece in the equation for Panther Soccer pretty soon. Keep doing your thing Alex!
The Lacrosse State Championship was filled with more than a fair share of former Tigers, but none stood out more than former St. X wide receiver Lincoln Bisig! Few people ever get more rowdy than Lincoln in the rage cage, and Tiger Lacrosse was glad to have another driving force to help them on their Road to Redemption! Lincoln will take his talents to Kentucky in the fall, and will no doubt have major success in his time as a Wildcat. The only thing we can hope is that Lincoln makes an impact at UK comparable to his illustrious time at Tiger Tech!
Two recent graduates fresh out of Tiger Tech were having fun at the Tiger Football Spring Game! Former St. X tight end Sam Gray and wide receiver Trey Dornfeld enjoyed the scene inside Brother Thomas More Stadium as Tiger Football went through its first tune-up for the regular season. Sam will play tight end in Danville this coming fall as a Centre College Colonel, while Trey will join Bollinger and Senn at the University of Kentucky in the fall. Best wishes to both of them as they begin life after St. X!
The three-sport star was also present at the Tiger Football Spring Game! Although he is still enjoying his last few weeks as a Tiger on the baseball team, former St. X linebacker and recent graduate Andrew McCormick was there to give some advice to the guys that will be replacing him in the middle of the defense this coming fall. When his time at Tiger Tech expires, Andrew will head to the University of Dayton to play linebacker. He can still bring back one more state championship trophy to St. X before it’s all over, but regardless, Andrew will without doubt go down as a legend in Tiger Sports lore. Good luck Andrew!
Joining Sam and Trey were a host of other just-turned recent Tigers. Among them, former St. X offensive lineman John Kurtz, Austin Askin, and Ryan Karrer, who will all go on to play in college for the University of Cincinnati, Eastern Illinois University, and Lindsey Wilson College, respectively. Also pictured are former safety Blake Isaacs, who recently finished his career at Tiger Tech by finishing fourth in the state in the Long Jump at the Track State Championship in Lexington, former wide receiver Ryan Gahafer, and former lineman Will Leffert and Colin Whelan. The Saint Xavier Class of 2013 has some special athletes, and here’s hoping for the best when they go their seperate ways in the fall!
The old and new faces seen at all the St. X sporting events simply shows that “Tradition Unequaled” doesn’t stop after four years. As is common around here, Once a Tiger, Always a Tiger!
We Are! St. X!