Saturday, October 16, 1999

St. Xavier 30, Elder 13

Bombers show who's No. 1

The Cincinnati Enquirer

[st. xavier]
St. Xavier's Nick Larsen scores on a 33-yard pass in the first quarter.
(Saed Hindash photos)
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        As the St. Xavier students chanted, "G-C-L, G-C-L, G-C-L' in the final seconds Friday, senior wide receiver Michael Larkin and Co. doused Bombers coach Steve Rasso with ice water.

        In a dominating offensive and defensive display, St. Xavier, ranked No.2 in The Cincinnati Enquirer's Division I coaches poll, rolled to a 30-13 victory over No.1-ranked Elder before a record crowd of 11,100 at St.Xavier's Tom Ballaban Stadium.

        The victory gave St. Xavier a second consecutive Greater Catholic League South championship and set up next week's showdown at traditional state power Cleveland St.Ignatius.

        “It was a little sluggish in the beginning, but we started making some plays,” Rasso said. “I tell you, though, Steve Sollmann is our workhorse. By that, I mean he goes and goes and opens up everything we do on offense.”

[st. xavier]
St. Xavier's Brian Heizman stuff Elder's Kyle Koester for no gain.
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        Sollmann, who entered the game as St. Xavier's all-time rushing leader, scored one touchdown and rushed for a season-high 126 yards on 23 car ries.

        “The line did a great job blocking for me, which made it easy,” Sollmann said. “When we got down 7-0, the seniors stepped it up and turned the game around for us.”

        Sollmann was referring to Elder's score early in the first quarter following an interception of a Marty Mooney pass, which was returned to the St.X 36 by Elder's Andrew Dwyer. Elder scored on Phil Reuve's 7-yard reception from Collin Carey.

        Two possessions later, St.X scored on a 30-yard pass from Mooney to Nick Larsen. The point-after attempt was blocked, and Elder led 7-6. It was the first six of 23 consecutive points for St. Xavier.

        “I wasn't making plays early because I had some bad reads,” Mooney said. “I knew we could score, and I was relieved after I threw the pass to Larsen.”

        Inspired by the touchdown, the Bombers defense, spearheaded by linebackers Eric Scheidt and Mike Ferguson, forced an Elder punt that Larkin returned to the Bombers 46.

        “That first TD opened our eyes,” Scheidt said. “We came together as a defense and stopped them. But the key was holding (tailback Kyle) Koester and forcing them to throw the ball.”

        Koester, who rushed for more than 200 yards the three previous games, was held to 65 yards on 20 carries.

        With Koester slowed, Elder was forced to go to the air, which was uncharacteristic of the past seven games. Carey completed 21-of-38 passes for 317 yards.

        “Not taking anything away from their play, but we dug ourselves into a hole,” Elder coach Doug Ramsey said. “We couldn't run the ball, and we were forced to throw 40 times in the game. I'm very disappointed that we lost the battle.”

        Another key in the game came on St. Xavier's first possession in the second half.

        After Elder took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards on eight plays with Koester scoring on a one-yard run, the Bombers responded.

        They returned the kickoff to the 27-yard line and drove 73 yards on nine plays with Mooney throwing an 11-yard pass to Larsen for the score and a 30-13 lead.

        “That was a big series for us,” Rasso said. “I knew at that point that we would win the game.”

        The statistics tell the tale of St. Xavier's dominance during the first 24 minutes.

        Sollmann rushed for 75 yards on eight carries, while St.Xavier gained 90 yards rushing and 82 passing. Mooney was 7-of-15 passing.

        Elder managed only 17 yards rushing and 21 passing. Koester was held to 30 yards on 13 carries.

        “The entire defense was outstanding,” Rasso said. “They bent, but they didn't break. It's hard to point out one player in particular, but Joe Stephens knocked down three or four passes.”

        Elder ....... 7   0  6  0—13

        St. Xavier ....... 6  17  7  0—30

        E-Rueve 6 pass from Carey (DeFranco kick)

        SX-Larsen 33 pass from Mooney (kick blocked)

        SX-Nolan 35 field goal

        SX-Sollmann 8 run (Nolan kick)

        SX-Larkin 7 pass from Mooney (Nolan kick)

        E-Koester 1 run (pass failed)

        SX-Larsen 11 pass from Mooney

        Records: SX 7-0 (3-0 GCLS), E 7-1 (2-1 GCLS)

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How ranked teams fared
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Aiken 26, Woodward 20
Anderson 42, Amelia 18
Badin 28, McNicholas 13
Batavia 10, New Richmond 7
Beechwood 50, Holy Cross 14
Bellevue 28, Ludlow 6
Brookville 24, Middletown Madison 17
Bryan Station 41, Boone County 28
Chaminade-Julienne 42, Ontario St. Thomas Aquinas 6
CHCA 54, Landmark Christian 0
Cincinnati Country Day 50, Lockland 21
Colerain 42, Hamilton 21
Covington Catholic 24, Holmes 7
Fairfield 28, Princeton 7
Finneytown 21, Mariemont 14
Goshen 35, Norwood 28
Grant County 47, Montgomery County 27
Henry Clay 49, Campbell County 7
Highlands 24, Dixie Heights 6
Hillsboro 22, Bethel-Tate 7
Hughes 6, Withrow 0
Indian Hill 27, Deer Park 3
Indianapolis Cathedral Prep 34, LaSalle 24
Kings 42, Wilmington 7
Lakota West 38, Sycamore 34
Lebanon 49, Ross 21
Lima Senior 35, Lakota East 32
Little Miami 13, Loveland 7
Madeira 28, Taylor 0
Mason 35, Harrison 0
Middletown 14, Milford 7
Moeller 19, Franklin Co. 18
Newport 32, Lloyd 0
Newport Catholic 22, Dayton 0
North College Hill 44, New Miami 6
Northwest 19, Glen Este 14
Oak Hills 22, East Central 16
Purcell Marian 20, Roger Bacon 17
Ryle 35, Scott County 20
- St. Xavier 30, Elder 13
Turpin 35, Winton Woods 0
Walnut Hills 46, Mount Healthy 8
Western Brown 42, Summit Country Day 37
Western Hills 44, Taft 0
Williamsburg 37, Clermont Northeastern 6
Wyoming 42, Reading 3