The race for the title in the “Super District” — also known as Class 6-A, District Four — will heat up at 7:30 p.m. Friday
After snapping a seven-game losing streak to rival Trinity last Friday, the St. Xavier High School football team had every right to be a bit full of itself this week.
But Tigers coach Will Wolford said it didn’t take long for his team to refocus.
“We had to get their heads out of the clouds early on, but they responded quickly,” Wolford said. “When you’re preparing for a team the caliber of Male, it certainly helps you to get back and concentrate.”
The race for the title in the “Super District” — also known as Class 6-A, District Four — will heat up at 7:30 p.m. Friday as St. X (5-2, 1-0) visits Male (6-0, 0-0). The Bulldogs are No. 1 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings. The Tigers are No. 5.
After struggling early in the season, the St. X offense blossomed in its 35-21 victory over Trinity.
Senior quarterback Noah Houk passed for 186 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore Blake Roshkowski, who entered the game with just one carry, rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown on five carries, mostly coming on jet sweeps.
“He’s only a sophomore, but he’s a very tough kid,” Wolford said. “He helps us in getting our best 11 guys on the field. He’s one of our fastest guys, so he certainly fits that role.”
The constants for St. X this season have been senior running back TaiJon Smith (467 yards, five touchdowns) and a defense that is allowing 12 points per game. The Tigers have gathered 16 turnovers this season, including three fumble recoveries against Trinity.
Male coach Chris Wolfe said holding onto the ball will be a focus for his team, especially with rain in the forecast.
“Watching the film against Trinity, you just see that you can’t turn the ball over and make those mistakes against a really good team,” Wolfe said. “I think the team that makes the fewest mistakes will win, not necessarily the team that makes the most plays.”
Male knocked off Meade County 17-0 last week, racking up 259 rushing yards along the way as Ellis Cain (35 carries, 164 yards) and Devin Gentry (20 carries, 93 yards, one touchdown) had big games.
Wolfe said he was disappointed his team scored just three times on six trips into Meade County’s red zone but added that ball control became the focus on offense because of the wet conditions.
He was most pleased with a defense that allowed Meade County just 34 rushing yards on 25 carries. With junior end Marcus Davis out for the season because of a knee injury, Wolfe has seen others fill in nicely.
“Our last eight quarters, our defense has been outstanding,” said Wolfe, whose team beat Ballard 50-13 two weeks ago.
Male beat St. X twice last season in a pair of barnburners — 44-40 in the regular season and 23-21 in the second round of the Class 6-A playoffs.
Wolford hopes the confidence gained by last week’s victory over Trinity will help close that gap on Male.
“Everybody knows how good they are, but the thing that sets them apart … is that they’re very good up front on both sides of the ball,” Wolford said. “They have big, strong kids. They’re really dominant up front.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and followed on Twitter @kyhighs.
GAME OF THE WEEK
• Who: St. Xavier (5-2) at Male (6-0).
• When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
• Jason’s pick: Male 21-16.