St. X Football Game Recap

St. X Football Game Recap

Nick Johnson

Friday night was a big night for our Lakota West Firebirds as they made their return to the field to take on their new rivals, the Saint Xavier Bombers. Lakota West and St. X have had a back-and-forth rivalry over the past few seasons. Friday was the rematch of a huge playoff game from last year, in which the Firebirds defeated the Bombers 12-2.


As the game started, there is no doubt that the first half of the game was a struggle for the Firebirds. The very first drive of the game showcased this, as West’s defense was able to pick up a TFL (tackle for loss) on the very first play, taking down St. X running back Steve Napier– a back who would give them fits for the rest of the game. However, the rest of the first X offensive drive would not go so smoothly for the defense. In fact, on third and thirteen on that same set of downs, first-year starting quarterback, Jack O’Malley, would throw a great pass to his tight end moving St. X from their own 17-yard line all the way down to the Firebirds’ 25. On the rest of the drive, not much else was done in the way of offense, but St. X did end up kicking one through the uprights to make the score an early 3-0.


After a Firebird 3-and-out on their first offensive possession, the first quarter would continue to go scoreless on both sides; however, once a fresh 12 minutes were put on the clock in the second quarter, O’Malley was able to execute about a 17-yard touchdown pass to his tight end, Doran Mason, to make it a 9-0 X score before the PAT (point after attempt). 


Once X was up 10-0 early in the second, the game really started to die down; however, X would end up putting 3 more on the board on a 30-yard field goal with 5:23 left in the half. Entering halftime, heading into the locker room, Coach Bolden and the West Firebirds were not happy trailing by 13 points at the half. In fact, in an interview I conducted with Coach Bolden, which can be found on the Lakota West Sports Broadcasting Twitter page, he said that there were “Some broken chairs.” 


Apparently, the sacrifice of innocent chairs is exactly what was needed for this West Football team to come out firing on all cylinders in the second half of play. The third quarter was fairly forgettable on both sides. After a huge blocked punt from the Firebirds’ special teams unit, Tyler Bohn was able to put West right back on the scoreboard with a 25-yard relative chip-shot field goal that changed the score to 13-3.


The fourth quarter, however, is where things started to heat up. Within the first 4 minutes of the fourth quarter, Mitch Bolden was able to connect with WR Brennan Remy on a 47-yard reception that resulted in a touchdown. It is worth noting that Remy had been dealing with nagging injuries all night, however, he kept coming back out and coming up clutch. Unfortunately, after the monster touchdown pass, Bohn would miss the PAT on what looked like a bad snap and/or bad hold. At this point, the score was 13-9, which means the Firebirds would need a touchdown to win the game.


It was late in the fourth quarter when the Friday night lights shined the brightest. After multiple big stops from our Firebirds defense, they got the ball back with two minutes left on the clock, while still trailing by four. They would have to march down the field with great efficiency, however, with guys like Remy playing their hearts out on offense, that wasn’t exactly hard for West to do. Eventually, the Firebirds would march down to the red zone and get inside the five-yard line. But on 3rd down from the four-yard line, St. X would commit a holding penalty- giving West a first and goal from the two-yard line. On the very next play, Mitch Bolden would connect with the Notre Dame commit, Ben Minich, on an incredible play giving the Firebirds a 16-13 lead with 20 seconds remaining in the game.


The game did not end there. Up next was the “hit heard ‘round the world” on Saint Xavier’s final offensive drive. Malik Hartford, an Ohio State commit, received an ejection after ramming into an X- receiver and the penalty flags started flying. This hit had to be reviewed by OHSAA and has since been deemed a clean hit. Thus, there will be no suspension or any form of other disciplinary action taken toward Mr. Hartford. This hit ended the game with the Firebirds winning 16-13 over St. X. 


Honorable mentions from Friday night’s game include Brennan Remy, upholding his team spirit to put up 6 receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown.  Other shining stars were Teabron Bennie-Powell who had 6 tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss (TFLs), and Mike Brankamp with 8 tackles and half a TFL.


West will now turn their attention to their district rival, the Lakota East Thunderhawks, this Friday night on the road. Lakota East finished their game this past week against Centerville taking a 9-6 loss at home. Students hope that the Lakota team that came out on top will continue their streak against the Thunderhawks and give West another win to start the season.