In a game with a deceptive final score, number-five seed Glen Este was eliminated by number-one seed St. Xavier in the Division I Regional Football Semifinals. The Trojans were defeated 17-0 at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium.
The setback brought the Clermont countians’ season to a close with a 9-3 record that includes a quin-Fort Ancient Valley Conference Buckeye Division (FAVC-B) championship with a mark of 3-2.
Glen Este was trailing just 7-0 and in the thick of the battle with less than six minutes remaining in the game. The Bombers scored on a field goal and converted a Trojan turnover into the last ten points of the game. The final TD was tallied with just 1:39 remaining in the game.
Following a scoreless first quarter, St. Xavier, ranked second in the state and ninth nationally, led 7-0 at the half and 7-0 after three quarters of play.
Zak Taylor, GE head coach said, “Defensively we could have won the game, but we needed to have been able to do something offensively.”
Taylor singled out senior tackle Adam Chambers, senior nose guard Kevin Briggs, and junior tackle Dru Risk for their outstanding play on defense.
The Purple and White limited the vaunted Bomber offense to just 158 yards on 51 plays. All-state candidate Darius Ashley was shut down to just 42 yards on 18 carries.
St. Xavier coach Steve Specht commented that Region 4 (southwest district) plays some of the best high school football in the nation and that any team that gets to the semifinals in this region has got to be a great football team.
Chambers and Risk recorded sacks of St. X. Chambers made three tackles for losses, Risk two, and Alex Meagher, Cory Slater, Tyler Duncanson, and Matt Winegardner one each. Meagher and Slater broke up enemy passes. Meagher made nine total tackles (five solo), Slater eight (three solo), Chambers seven (four solo), and Winegardner four (all solo). Briggs and Sam Olberding made three solo tackles apiece and Duncanson and Risk two each.
Duncanson, a senior, was a valuable addition to the GE roster transferring for his final season from Batavia High School.
The GE offense was paced by senior fullback Donnie Talbott and freshman wingback Kyle Slater who both gained 39 yards rushing on 18 and 13 carries, respectively.
Taylor praised the Blue and White defense because “they stopped our inside running game.”
During the fall preseason workouts and practices, the GE mentor was not certain how his team would do, but they came through for him.
“The biggest thing for us doing so well was the kids on the offensive line. They especially came through for us.” Taylor lauded the play of junior tackle Eric Williams, senior guard Danny Gregory, senior center Alex Martin, senior guard Jeff Gaffney, senior tackle Ryan Meckstroth, and junior tight end Brad Griffith. He also noted the superb performances of blocking backs Jay Post, a senior, and Cody Pitzer, a junior, who were leaders in enabling fullback Talbott and wing back Kyle Slater to rack up such impressive stats.
The seniors also received well-deserved praise from their coach. “These seniors were the winningest group of seniors we’ve ever had here (19-7 overall three-year varsity football record). “This group was winners all the way from championships in the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades. These guys kept developing through the years.”
The senior members of the squad consisted of the before mentioned twelfth graders and Jerrick Boykin, Steven Wilson, Stephen O’Keefe, Matt Ferrall, Walter Garcia, and Dennis Back.
“This team overachieved a little bit. They played the toughest schedule we’ve played in the seven years I’ve been here. Four of these guys (Chambers, Cory Slater, Talbott, and Winegardner) are Division I college class players.”
Taylor had nothing but praise for his coaching staff. “My coaches are a hardworking bunch of guys who put in a lot of extra hours.” The staff consists of Ray Ayers, Gary Denton, Randy Hospelhorn, Kevin Spitznagel, Scott Reveal, Donnie Wilson, Ty Blair, Jeff Joffin, Ron Perry, and Nate Baughman.
“We’ve got a good corps of starters coming back. This junior class is a solid class of football players,” said Taylor. “The JV was 5-4 this year and finished really strong. They lost to the number one and two teams in the league, Anderson by one point and Mason by three points. The seventh and eight grade teams had good years, too.”