by Jeff Robinson, Courier-Journal
St. Xavier shut down Moeller of Cincinnati for one half Friday night, but the Tigers could not do it for two.
St. X limited Moeller to a pair of field goals in the first 24 minutes, but the Crusader offense awoke in the second half and pulled away en route to a comfortable 26-0 win at Thomas More Stadium.
"They (St. X's defense) just got worn down in the second half," St. X coach Will Wolford said. "They're a very good football team, and when you give them that many opportunities against your defense, the defense is eventually going to break. Our defense played extremely well, but our offense just has to find ways to put some points on the board."
For the better part of three quarters, St. X limited Moeller to field goals. The Crusaders drove four times into the red zone, but each time the Tigers held them to three points and a 12-0 lead.
Moeller nearly broke through to the end zone on the first play of the second half when Matt Crable connected with a wide-open Chase Pankey on a long pass at midfield. Pankey broke away but pulled a flexor muscle at the 35 and fell near the St. X 25. Moeller wound up settling for another field goal to go up 9-0.
On the ensuing possession, the Tigers lost a fumble on their seven, but three plays netted three yards and again St. X forced a Matt Coghlin field goal to make it 12-0.
Meanwhile, Moeller's defense stifled St. X, largely keeping the Tigers on their own side of the field. The Tigers gained only 37 net yards on the ground - led by Taijon Smith's 38 - while Noah Houk threw for 156, but was sacked four times - all on third down-and was intercepted twice.
Moeller finally found the end zone with 2:45 left in the third on a 37-yard run by Sterling Noes. Crable hit Kyle Butz on a 13-yard scoring pass with 5:53 left for the final score. Crable completed 19 of 32 passes for 259 yards, most of the yardage coming in the second half.
"I knew they wanted to stop the run game," Moeller coach John Rodenberg said. "They brought their safeties in hard to stop the run and they did. Matt got some chances to throw the football in the second half. Those first two quarters, they were lights out. We had a hard time figuring out what we were going to do."
The game was played between each team's 30-yard-line in the first half. St. X marched to the Moeller 25 on the first possession of the game, but Moeller held on downs. Moeller reached the red zone twice in the first half, but managed only two field goals.
The Tigers' best scoring chance came midway through the second when they drove to the Moeller 13, but a sack on third down by Elijah Taylor pushed the ball back to the 24 and St. X missed a 41-yard-field goal.
MHS 3 3 13 7 --26
STX 0 0 0 0--0
MHS - Matt Coghlin 26 field goal, MHS-Coghlin 17 field goal, MHS-Coghlin 29 field goal, MHS-Coghlin 21 field goal, MHS-Sterling Noes 37 run (Coghlin kick), MHS-Kyle Butz 11 pass from Matt Crable (Coghlin kick).
Moeller St. X
Total yards 399 193
First downs 26 14
Rushes-yards 32-140 34-37
Comp-Att-Int 19-33-1 18-34-2
Passing yards 259 156
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1
Punts-yards 4-32 6-38
Penalties 5-52 4-19 [Read More]