Sunday, November 14, 1999

Huber Heights Wayne, 37, St. Xavier 14


Bombers make too many mistakes

BY DAVE SCHUTTE
The Cincinnati Enquirer

sollmann
Steve Sollmann races to a 78-yard TD.
(Ernest Coleman photos)
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        DAYTON — Three turnovers, a roughing-the-kicker penalty and several mental mistakes were the undoing of the St. Xavier football team.

        Behind the passing of quarterback Derek Jones and the running of Earnest Tucker, Huber Heights Wayne defeated St. X 37-14 before an estimated crowd of 9,000 at Welcome Stadium.

        Ranked No.12 in the USA Today Super 25 poll No.2 in Ohio, St. Xavier closed out the season at 10-1. Wayne advances to next week's Division I, Region 4 championship game against Elder.

        Although Huber Heights Wayne scored only two TDs during the second half, its defense was more than up to the task, holding St. Xavier tailback Steve Sollmann to 58 yards on 19 carries and scoring itself on a safety.

kuhns
St. Xavier defender Paul Kuhns breaks up a pass in the endzone.
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        Wayne's secondary played a role in the outcome, intercepting three Marty Mooney passes and blocking a punt, leading to three TDs.

        “They put a lot of men in the box to stop Sollmann,” St. X coach Steve Rasso said, “and our passing game wasn't there tonight.”

        Sollmann made no excuses.

        “They shot the gap well and forced me to go to the outside,” he said. “They kept coming and were quicker than we thought.”

        Wayne held a 21-7 halftime lead and locked up the victory with a TD in the third quarter, a 36-yard pass from Jones to John Hollins with 7:14 remaining.

        St. Xavier drew within 14 on its next series, driving 70 yards in two plays. Sollmann scored on a 4-yard run, set up by a 66-yard pass from Mooney to Michael Larkin.

        Jones, who threw for more than 1,600 yards during the regular season, completed 9 of 22 passes for 131 yards. Hollins caught six for 94 yards.

        Tucker had 98 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. Wayne rushed for 161 yards against a St. X defense that allowed less than 75 yards a game.

        “It was one of those nights when everything clicked,” Wayne coach Jay Minton said.

        Mooney, who was under heavy pressure from a swarming Wayne defense, completed 13-of-31 passes for 213 yards, but was intercepted three times.

        It was obvious from the outset that St. Xavier was flat.

        The Bombers went three-and-out on their first possession and turned the ball over on their second when Wayne picked off Mooney and returned the ball to the Bomber 42.

        St. Xavier held, but on the next possession, Wayne's Carl Hayden broke through and blocked an attempted punt by Matt Merves. Will Allen took the ball and ran it in from the four. The conversion made it 7-0 with 2:22 remaining in the first quarter.

        Again St. X failed to move he ball and was forced to punt. The Warriors then put together a 15-play, 68-yard drive, taking advantage of several breaks and mental lapses by the Bombers.

        The first St. X mistake was roughing-the-punter penalty, giving Wayne a first down at midfield. Four plays later, Wayne picked up another first down on a fake punt.

        On a third fourth-down play, Wayne quarterback Jones ran 11 yards for a first down, keeping the drive alive. Tucker did the rest, rushing the final 18 yards on three plays, scoring from five yards out.

        St. Xavier finally got on the scoreboard with 5:40 remaining before halftime. Faced with a third and eight, Mooney lofted a screen pass to Sollmann, who went 78 yards for the TD.

        Wayne responded late in the quarter. Taking over on its 21, Wayne drove for the TD with Hogan catching a pass in the corner of the end zone for a 21-7 halftime lead.

        “We didn't play well as a team,” Rasso said. “Possibly, the cumulative pressure of the season may have taken its toll on Marty (Mooney) but he's the one who got us here.”

        Wayne ....... 7  14  7  9—37

        St. Xavier ....... 0   7  7  0—14

        W—Allen, 4 blocked punt return (McClain kick)

        W—Tucker 5 run (McClain kick)

        X—Sollmann 78 pass from Mooney (Nolan kick)

        W—Hogan 17 pass from Jones (McClain kick)

        W—Hollins 36 pass from Jones (McClain kick)

        X—Sollmann 4 run (Nolan kick)

        X—Mooney fumbled ball out of end zone

        W—Tucker 5 run (McClain kick)

        Records: St. Xavier 10-1; Wayne 11-1.

       



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