By: William Beal
INDIANAPOLIS – Under the lights at Lucas Oil Stadium, the St. Xavier Bombers defense pitched a shutout, defeating the Cathedral Fighting Irish 27-0.
The Bombers were most successful against the run, limiting the Irish to 50 yards on 33 rushing attempts.
The Bombers also won the turnover battle 3-0; forcing five fumbles, recovering two, and getting an interception.
With 1:20 left in the third quarter, senior Rashon Edwards intercepted a tipped pass from Cathedral quarterback Max Bortenschlager, and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown, putting St. Xavier up 13-0.
The play energized the Bombers offense, which only produced seven points through the first three quarters, as they scored 14 in the final quarter to secure the game.
The first play of the fourth quarter was a 74-yard pass by Bombers quarterback Sean Clifford to fellow sophomore Colton Paul for a touchdown.
That was the first touch of the game for Paul, who then took a jet sweep for 34 yards on the next drive to set up the final score of the game, an 11-yard run by Clifford.
Clifford finished the game on 10 of16 passing, for 159 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions and a rushing touchdown.
The Irish were rattled from the start of the game, when senior running back Caleb Cross fumbled on the first play from scrimmage.
The Bombers capitalized quickly, when Clifford connected with senior running back Ronnie Fricke for a 12-yard touchdown three plays later.
The Irish suffered from unforced errors as well, fumbling on high snaps three times, however, losing the ball only once.
One of those high snaps led to possibly the most exciting play of the game, when Bortenschlager corralled the loose ball and scrambled to his right, finding sophomore receiver Luke Sanders on the run for a 26-yard gain.
Bortenschlager finished with 131 yards on 11 of 21 passing with no touchdowns and one interception while being sacked five times.
Not to be understated in the game was the work on special teams by the Bombers.
Senior punter Jack Hannan finished with seven punts, averaging 43.1 yards. The longest being a 56-yarder to pin the Irish on their own 6 in the third quarter, setting up the pick six by Edwards two plays later.
Bombers senior linebacker Cole Jones was awarded the player of the game for his defensive contributions.
St. Xavier (0-0, 3-1) will face the Archbishop Mueller Fighting Crusaders (0-0, 4-0) next Friday, while Indianapolis Cathedral (1-0, 1-3) will face the Trinity Shamrocks (0-0, 3-2) on the same day.
St. Xavier Bombers 27, Cathedral Fighting Irish 0
St. Xavier 7 0 6 14 — 27
Cathedral 0 0 0 0 — 0
- XAVIER – Fricke 7 pass from Clifford (Homan kick), 10:22.
- XAVIER – Edwards 22 interception (Kick failed), 1:23.
- XAVIER – Paul 74 pass from Clifford (Homan kick), 11:50.
- XAVIER – Clifford 11 run (Homan kick), 8:47.
Team Statistics St. Xavier Cathedral
First downs 6 10
Rushes-Yards 34-109 33-50
Passing yards 159 147
Passing Comp-Att-Int 10-16-0 13-23-1
Punts-avg 7-43.1 7-37.7
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 5-2
Penalties-Yards 6-49 2-10
RUSHING: St. Xavier – Glines 16-33, Fricke 8-20; Cathedral – Cross 15-35
PASSING: St. Xavier – Clifford 10-16-0-159; Cathedral – Bortenschlager 11-21-1-131
RECEIVING: St. Xavier – Fricke 2-27, Paul 1-74; Cathedral – Whigham 5-40, Dotson 1-44