September 16th, 2017

Tigers cruise past Central

Block_eric thorne

Eric Thorne

Staff Writer


Tigers cruise past Central
St. Xavier's Jack Albers sprints down the field / photo by Eric Thorne

Cameron Garrett fidgeted nervously waiting for the opening kickoff from Central High School Friday night, but 85 yards later the St. Xavier senior joyfully crossed the goal line staking the Tigers to a quick 7-0 lead on their way to a 42-7 road victory.

“I’m not going to lie kickoff returns are kind of scary, but in my head I wanted to score or at least get a long return since we haven’t been doing great on kickoffs this year,” Garrett said. “I ran full speed, found a hole and actually tripped up a little.”

“I kept thinking you are not going to fall because that happened in the Trinity game last year,” Garrett said with a huge smile.

Garrett and the rest of the Tigers (4-0) also had not forgotten what happened two years ago when the host Yellow Jackets won their only game ever over St. X 20-17 in a pouring rain.

“Oh yeah definitely, and when you get big plays like we did tonight it can take the soul out of a team and make them stop playing,” Garrett said. “That’s what we wanted to do.”

The St. X defense made sure there would not be a repeat of two years ago with some staunch defensive play despite some lack-luster emotion after Garrett’s score.

“Actually I think scoring like that to open the game took a little edge off of us,” St. X coach Will Wolford said. “People started to think this would we easy, but nah. The scoreboard is not indicative of how tough it was. This is a tough place to come and play, and they always play us tough.”

But after that opening score both teams struggled to move the ball. That was until late in the second quarter with six minutes to play when Brett Metzmeier rambled 15 yards for a touchdown giving the Tigers a 14-0 lead.

Metzmeier led the Tigers with 89 rushing yards on 14 carries.

After a three-and-out by the Yellow Jackets, St. X punt return specialist Ben Seger’s big return and a late hit out of bounds set the Tigers up at the 11-yard line. Jack Albers then connected with Jack Varga for a six-yard score making it 21-0.

“We came out a little flat and I’d say they were more aggressive coming out of the gate, and it took us awhile to get going but luckily we picked it up,” Albers said. “They really brought it to us early. Execution wise things were working fine for us, but we just didn’t bring it early on. I told them stop panicking, we’re fine, we just need to settle down and execute.”

Central (3-2) was again plagued by penalties and with the Yellow Jackets facing a third down and 48 yards to go at their 9-yard line, the snap went into the end zone and lineman Andrew Uhls scooped it up for another Tiger touchdown.

“Evan (Walker) actually almost got it but couldn’t quite handle it and pushed it back in the end zone and I picked it up,” Uhls said. “I’ll take it. Actually I had one (touchdown) against Central last year when I blocked a punt and I scored. Funny how it happened again against Central - but I like it.”

Central took the second half kickoff and drove deep into Tiger territory, but St. X forced them to turn the ball over on downs.

Midway through the final quarter it was Seger again with a big play taking the handoff on the jet-sweep and scoring from six-yards out.

Central then fumbled the kickoff with Aric Lyons coming up with the ball for St. X and Anthony Moretti capped off the Tiger’s scoring with a touchdown making it 42-0.

Central avoided the shutout scoring on the game’s final play on a fumble in the end zone.

“We actually thought they would pass more, but we did a good job I thought keeping their running game in check despite a slow start,” Garrett added. “I agree it was a slow game especially in the first half. We started slowish, but then we kicked it in gear and showed our true potential.”

Wolford agreed and liked what he saw from his defense.

“The defense has been really playing well and being opportunistic by putting pressure on people and making big plays because of it,” Wolford said.

Wolford said he knew coming into the game that Central’s strong point was there defense and their front seven is as good as any team the Tigers have faced this season including Indianapolis Cathedral.

“Anytime we get a win on the road by one point or more I’m happy – believe me,” Wolford said. “Mark down the eight biggest plays of a game and if you make five of them you are going to win and that’s what we did.”

Uhls echoed his coaches sentiment but still knows the Tigers must put together an entire game without letdowns.

“We still don’t like where we are just yet because we gave up too many rushing yards, and need to be more consistent throughout the game,” Uhls said. “We’d stop them on the first two downs and give up big plays on third down. However we kept pushing and finally wore them down and blew them out in the end. That’s something I like that we are doing. We’re getting better and better though each week.”

The Tigers will travel to take on Pleasure Ridge Park next Friday for a tough battle with the undefeated Panthers (4-0) who had this week off.

“There is a lot we take from this game tonight because we have to come out of the gates faster because against teams like PRP and Trinity that can’t happen,” Albers said.  “Those are good teams and when you come out flat we may not get a second chance to get things going.”

 

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