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HS football: No. 1 Cathedral falls short vs. Cincy power

Cathedral's Daijon Collins looks for running room against St. Xavier at the Butler Bowl on Friday night.

Cathedral’s Daijon Collins looks for running room against St. Xavier at the Butler Bowl on Friday night.

After jumping out to a two-score lead in the first quarter, it looked like St. Xavier (Ohio) might run away from Class 6A No. 1 Cathedral at the Butler Bowl on Friday night. But after a ferocious Cathedral comeback, it took a 2-minute drill clinic and a big defensive stop for the Bombers to come out on top 34-29.

“That was a great game,” St. Xavier coach Steve Specht said. “You’ve got two schools that are very similar. There’s no quit in either side. We made some key play at the end. … We did enough defensively to get by, but we have a long way to go with that.”

Cathedral took its first lead of the game with 9:35 to play, as Quincy Keller found Daijon Collins for a 7-yard touchdown grab. Cathedral’s defense stood strong for several drives, forcing two St. Xavier punts and getting the ball on downs.

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But Sean Clifford took over   at his 34 with 2:16 to go. Less than a minute later, the Bombers had the lead.

Clifford engineered a four-play, 66-yard drive that culminated in Clifford scoring from 15 yards out on a keeper. The touchdown gave the Cincinnati school a five-point lead with 1:16 to go.

“We went with the hurry-up offense, let my guys get open and fired it down the field. It worked pretty well for us,” Clifford said. “My offensive line gave me so much time that it wasn’t even funny sometimes. My wide receivers did a great job getting open.”

Clifford finished 10-of-17 passing for   168 yards and a touchdown. He added 28 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

Cathedral started driving and got to the St. Xavier 47, but Colton Paul picked off a Keller pass attempt to seal the win for the Bombers. It was Paul’s second   interception  of the night.

St. Xavier took a 14-0 lead into the second quarter thanks to a 15-yard run from Quinn Earley and a 13-yard quarterback keeper from Chase Wolf. But the Irish bounced back quickly and scored two touchdowns in just over four minutes. Keller scored on a 1-yard keeper, then he found Collins on an 11-yard connection.

Andrew Wittrock gave St. Xavier the lead again midway through the second quarter on a 25-yard touchdown reception  from Clifford. Cathedral inched close before the half, getting on the board thanks to a safety.

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After a high-scoring first half, both teams stalled in the second half. Clifford gave the Bombers a 12-point lead with a 19-yard scoring scamper midway through the third. Then Keller answered with a 2-yard TD run to pull the Irish within five points and set up their go-ahead score in the final quarter. But it wouldn’t be enough.

Keller finished with 235 yards and touchdown through the air and two touchdowns on the ground, and Cathedral coach Rick Streiff said he was proud of his quarterback despite the late interception.

“He’s trying to put the ball in the spot and he’s not the tallest guy in the world, so sometimes it’s hard for him to see,” Streiff said of the late interception. “But he’s a scrappy guy and made some plays for us.”

ST. XAVIER 34, CATHEDRAL 29

St. Xavier

14

7

7

6

34

Cathedral

0

16

7

6

29

St.X – Quinn Earley 15 yd run (Michael Bruemmer kick),

St.X – Chase Wolf 13 yd run (Bruemmer kick)

Cath – Quincy Keller 1 yd run (Tyler Sylvia kick)

Cath – Daijon Collins 11 pass from Keller (Sylvia kick)

St.X – Andrew Wittrock 25 yd pass from Sean Clifford (Bruemmer kick)

Cath – Ben Stewart safety

St.X – Clifford 19 yd run (Bruemmer kick),

Cath – Keller 2 yd run (Sylvia kick), 3-12 0:21 28 – 23

Cath – Collins 7 yd pass from Keller (2-point attempt failed)

St.X – Clifford 15 yd run (2-point attempt failed)

 

StX

Cath

First downs

28

23

Rushes-Yards

23-41

18-12

Passing

219

235

Comp-Att-Int

13-24-0

19-32-1

Fumbles-Lost

1-1

1-1

Penalties-Yards

7-64

4-25

Rushing — St. Xavier, Quinn Earley 10-60, Sean Clifford 7-28, Chase Wolf 2-15, Matthew Fox 1-(minus-2). Cathedral, Chon’Dre Cissell 6-21, Tony Johnson 5-6, Ben Stewart 1-1, Quincy Keller 6-(minus-16)

Passing —St. Xavier, Sean Clifford 10-17-0, Chase Wolf 3-7-0. Cathedral, Quincy Keller 19-32-1

Receiving —St. Xavier, Cameron Specht 5-103, Andrew Wittrock 4-77, Micah Farrar 3-35, Chris Payne 1-4. Cathedral, Daijon Collins 9-81, Luke Sanders 5-102, Tony Johnson 2-21, Luke Saum 2-9

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