Sunday, August 27, 2000

St. Xavier 15, Fairfield 9

No. 3 Bombers escape with late TD

By Mark Schmetzer
Enquirer contributor

        The St. Xavier Bombers threw seven different runners at the Fairfield defense Saturday night. Senior Thomas Perazzo finally found a hole.

        Perazzo ran 4 yards around right end for a touchdown with 2:10 remaining in the game to give St.Xavier, the No.3 team in The Enquirer's coaches poll, a 15-9 victory over the fourth-ranked Indians in the finale of the annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown at Nippert Stadium.

        “We were rotating three running backs in there,” said Perazzo, whose 33 yards led all rushers. Two other Bombers backs each had 32 yards. “I came out in the first quarter, and by the fourth quarter, I couldn't stand on the sideline any more. I got my shot and took advantage.”

        Perazzo's touchdown scamper helped St. Xavier survive a mostly ineffective offense and upset-minded Fairfield defense. The Bombers played some strong defense of their own, swarming all over record-setting Fairfield tailback Earl Haynes.

        Haynes finished with 11 yards on 16 carries.

        “I've said all along he's one of the best backs in southwest Ohio,” St.Xavier coach Steve Rasso said. “We didn't do any thing special. We just keyed on him. He's a breakaway guy, and he didn't break away.

        Haynes' problems forced Fairfield to try another attack, and it worked briefly. Quarterback Brett Pogozalski was 4-for-11 before Fairfield embarked on a scoring drive late in the third quarter. He completed passes of 16, 21, 19 and 15 yards to help the Indians get to the St.Xavier 13, and he added a 12-yard scramble up the middle to move the ball to the Bombers 1-yard line.

        Pogozalski's run gave him more rushing yards in one carry than Haynes had at the time.

        Other than Pogozalski's one timely drive, neither quarterback was sharp. He threw two interceptions and was just 10-for-20. St. Xavier junior Marty Mooney, who set the school record for completion percentage last season, was 12-for-25 for 172 yards.

        The Bombers kept themselves in check with penalties that wiped out three touchdown passes, including one for an illegal formation halfway through the fourth and a turnover that led to Fairfield's only first-half score.

        Fairfield senior linebacker Jimmy Carty broke through and forced Mooney into a fumble, which Carty recovered at the Bombers 39. Junior Jason Brown drilled a 34-yard field goal to give Fairfield a 3-0 lead.

        That seemed to jolt the Bombers awake. They responded with an eight-play, 66-yard drive of less than three minutes. It was capped by Mooney's 37-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Buening, who made the catch between Haynes and Brian Michitti at about the 3-yard line and lurched into the end zone with 57 seconds left in the first half.

        The two teams combined for five fumbles and two interceptions.

        Total attendance for the four-game event was 21,347.

        St. X ....... 0   7  0  8—15

        Fairfield ....... 0  3  0  6—9

        F — Brown 34 field goal.

        X — Buening 37 pass from Mooney (Nolan kick).

        F — Haynes 1 run (kick blocked)

        X — Perazzo 4 run (Buening pass from Mooney)

        Records: X 1-0, F 0-1.


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