BEAVERCREEK — It was clear which team was ready for The Backyard Battle right after the first play from scrimmage.
Xenia’s Trei’Shaun Sanders scored an 84-yard touchdown on the game’s opening snap and began a Xenia rout in winning at Beavercreek 40-3 on Friday.
“We came out and we did exactly what we wanted to do which was to start fast,” Xenia head coach Maurice Harden said.
Sanders rushed for more than 150 yards and had three touchdown runs in the game. He was honored postgame as the Bucs’ offensive player of the game, along with Spencer Johnson for Beavercreek.
“He is a dynamic running back and gives people a lot of problems,” Harden said of Sanders. “With how physical he is and his ability to get out in space to make things happen, if we’re able to get him to execute and stay locked in and focus, we’ve got a really good chance to do something with our football team.”
Sanders scored twice in the first quarter and Tremell Wright pulled in a 31-yard pass from Gavin McManus down the middle of the field to give the Bucs a 21-0 lead less than eight minutes into the game.
“We all expected to come out hot, but we didn’t expect to be that hot,” Xenia quarterback Gavin McManus said. “As soon as that happened, the energy level was up.”
Xenia went into halftime with a 27-0 lead having amassed 322 total yards of offense. Beavercreek’s defense allowed more yards in the second quarter than the first, but held strong on the scoreboard to give its offense a chance coming out of break.
Beavercreek came out with a renewed vigor to open the third quarter and had its most successful drive of the game moving of 49 yards over 14 players, but it came to an end on a third down interception by Xenia’s Trimonde Henry.
“I think we got a tad bit complacent,” Harden said of his defense. “I loved how we persevered at the end. We had some issues early on where the defense was struggling, but was able to manage and push past that.”
A 45-yard field goal by Shaun Morse in the fourth quarter scored Beavercreek’s only points in the game.
Elijah Johnson spelled the Xenia rushing attack in the fourth quarter and took over a seven-play, 80-yard touchdown drive by himself to close out the scoring.
The final touchdown allowed the Bucs to outscore the Beavers in all four quarters of the game and McManus said it was important for his team to not take its foot off the gas, which he felt they had issues with last season and needed an early lesson to playing through to the end of the game.
“We’ve grown as a team and it shows because we kept working in the second half,” he said.
Jamell Smith unofficially had two sacks credited and Ramon Browder recovered a fumble for Xenia on Beavercreek’s opening drive.
Xenia with the win takes a 12-9 lead in the overall series against Beavercreek.