August 29th, 2015

Tigers roll to season-opening win over Blue Devils

John Spears

CSN Contributing Writer


Tigers roll to season-opening win over Blue Devils
St. X QB Desmond Ridder calls out the signal / photo from WSTX / cover by Clay Bollinger

With only three starters back from an 8-5 season, there were a lot of questions for the St. Xavier football team heading into Friday nigh'ts opening game in Lexington.  Most of those questions were answered in a big way as the Tigers dispatched the Henry Clay Blue Devils 40-13 in the Traditional Bank Bluegrass Bowl at Lexington Catholic High School.

Junior quarterback Desmond Ridder, who won a three-way quarterback battle in the summer, ran for 151 yards and 2 touchdowns and passed for 122 yards and another TD to lead St. X.  The signal caller certainly impressed Tigers head coach Will Wolford.

“He’s a kid that has grown and just gotten better and more consistent with the offense every day,” Wolford said.  “His decision making gets better and better every time he takes the field in practice, and that translated tonight.”

Senior running back Chase Rowan rushed for 95 yards and a score. Junior Sam Taylor added 53 yards on the ground and senior John Martinez pitched in 39 yards on only four carries for the Tigers, who amassed 560 total yards in offense, 400 of them on the ground..

St. X took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards to take the early lead on a 5-yard run by Ridder. Sam McDonough, who was perfect on the night in PAT conversions and hit a 43-yard field goal, kicked the extra point to give the Tigers a 7-0 advantage with 8:27 to go in the first quarter.

After the Tigers were stopped at the Blue Devils’ 1-yard line on their second drive, the defense got in on the scoring.  On the first play, Henry Clay quarterback Marcus Tyler could not escape the end zone and was trapped for a safety to give St. X a 9-0 lead after one quarter..

The offense then took the Blue Devils’ free kick and drove 53 yards, capped off by Taylor’s 9-yard TD scamper for a 16-0 cushion.

Ridder then hit Trey Clements over the middle for a 24-yard touchdown catch and run to cap a 70-yard drive to put the Tigers up 23-0. Rowan followed that march with a 12-yard touchdown run, after a Henry Clay fumble, to make it 30-0 in favor of the Tigers.

The Blue Devils finally got on the board with 3:32 left in the half on a 3-yard run from senior Austin Bledsoe.

As time was running out in the first half, a 53-yard Ridder run set up McDonough’s 43-yard field goal to give St. X a 33-7 cushion.

“I thought our guys played a solid first half,” said Wolford.  “But I also think we made a lot of mistakes that most casual fans couldn’t see. We’ve got a long way to go and a lot to clean up in practice. But overall, I was pleased.”

Bledsoe added another 3-yard run for Henry Clay in the fourth quarter, while Ridder ended the scoring with a 19-yard highlight-reel run with 8:18 to play.

The Tigers' brand new up-tempo offense rang up 75 offensive plays and had the Henry Clay defense on its heels most of the night. St. X converted 9 of 14 third-down opportunities while the Blue Devils were only 1 for 10 on third down.

St. X will host traditional Class 5-A power Bowling Green in their home opener next week. 

 

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