Sunday, August 29, 1999

St. Xavier 54, Middletown 7


Bombers answer big questions

BY DAVE SCHUTTE
Enquirer contributor

[kelly]
St. Xavier's Patrick Kelly breaks away from Middletown's Mike Wilson.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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        Two important questions were answered in St. Xavier's 54-7 victory over Middletown on Saturday in the second game of the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown at UC's Nippert Stadium.

        The first centered around the race for the starting quarterback job. Keith Jackson claimed the spot after engineering two scoring drives in the first half.

        “I thought Keith did a good job running the team,” St.Xavier coach Steve Rasso said. “We decided this week that Jackson is our man, although we played him less than a half today.”

        Although Jackson, a 6-foot, 175-pound junior, threw the ball only five times, completing three for 85 yards and two TDs, he appeared poised and confident running the offense.

        The Bombers' major offen sive strength is at receiver, with Eric Arling, Nick Larsen and Michael Larkin.

[arling]
St. Xavier's Eric Arling breaks away from Middletown's Antwaun Rogers after catching a pass.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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        “I've don't know of any team in Cincinnati that has three receivers any better than ours,” Rasso said. “In fact, I doubt if there's a team in the state that has three as good as ours.”

        On defense, senior linebacker Eric Scheidt answered the second question.

        “We lost the entire defensive front and two outside linebackers,” Scheidt said. “The entire secondary is back, but we weren't sure how we'd be this year. We're satisfied with the effort and we answered some questions to ourselves.”

        Middletown coach Chip Otten was impressed with St.X.

        “Man for man, they were better physically than us,” Otten said. “We played well in a scrimmage last week against a decent team (Chaminade-Julienne), but today St.X kicked our rear.”

        The outcome was never in doubt after the Bombers scored twice in the first quarter, the first by the defense when Paul Kuhns picked up a fumble and returned it 18 yards.

        Larkin followed with a 16-yard pass from Jackson, climaxing a 69-yard, eight-play drive spurred by tailback Steve Sollmann, who carried the ball four times for 33 yards.

        In defeat, Otten saw some bright spots.

        “Nine of our 11 offensive starters are juniors,” Otten said. “If they keep getting better, we'll be all right.”

        Middletown ....... 0   0   0  7— 7

        St. Xavier ....... 13  14  20  7—54

        X—Kuhns 18 recovery return (Merves kick)

        X—M. Larkin 16 pass from Jackson (kick wide)

        X—Sollmann 1 run (Merves kick)

        X—Larsen 9 pass from Mooney (Merves).

        X—M. Larkin 95 kickoff return (Merves kick)

        X—Kelly 41 pass interception return (Merves kick)

        X—Arling 61 pass from Jackson (kick blocked)

        X—Ruther 45 pass interception return (Merves kick)

        M—Hunter 64 pass from Helvey (Hamilton kick)

       



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