Lakota West falls to St. Xavier in season opener

CINCINNATI — In 2022, the Lakota West High School defeated St. Xavier in the season opener in West Chester. The Bombers took revenge this year with a 10-0 shutout victory against the new-look Firebirds.

The scoring started in the first quarter — on the first drive of the game — when the Bombers marched 73 yards down the field.

St. Xavier utilized the ground game through running back Jacob Britt, as well as the passing game with Chase Herbstreit throwing for 53 yards before Britt marched 10 yards into the end-zone.

The woes for the Firebirds started on their opening possession. After a good start, gaining three first downs — one being through a roughing penalty called on the Bombers — freshman quarterback Jackson Smith was sacked, losing the ball in the process. The fumble was recovered by lineman Nate Brice, starting a new drive for the Bombers and ending a short one for the Firebirds.

The Bombers later scored again through their kicker, Jake Ceniga, who scored a 37-yard field goal after missing his first one short from 34.

From this point, the game’s goal for the Bombers was to run the clock out, and it was a game of defense. Lakota West forced the Bombers into three punts and one fourth-down stop for the remainder of the game.

Regardless, the Firebirds’ offense produced three interceptions to go along with the fumble in the first quarter, preventing them from putting any points on the board for the entirety of the game.

Lakota West coach Tom Bolden

The Bombers’ defense stepped up by constantly putting pressure on the young Firebirds quarterback, Smith, and forcing him to play passes quickly, leading to interceptions or just getting to him for two sacks on the night.

The most significant difference in the quality of the two teams is shown through two simple stats, the amount of rushing yards and the amount of receiving yards.

St. X led the way with 93 rushing yards and 137 receiving yards, compared to Lakota West’s 41 rushing yards and 137 receiving yards. While most people may have expected the Bombers to come out running the entirety of the game, that was not their plan. They surprised the Lakota West defense and proved to every one of their opponents that they have no problem passing the ball if needed.

Lakota West faces off against Princeton at home next Friday at 7 p.m.

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