XENIA — The Xenia football team has already accomplished several milestones. And there’s still more to play for as the regular season nears its end.
The 8-0 start for the Buccaneers is the first time since the 1920s for the team to reach that record. A Miami Valley League Valley Division title is already wrapped up with an insurmountable lead over Sidney. Xenia, currently No. 2 in the Division II, Region 8, computer rankings, will not only compete in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year, but will also have home field advantage during the first two rounds.
It would be easy to understand why there should be some celebration for what has been attained so far. But according to head coach Maurice Harden, there’s no greater way to laud what has happened than what could be coming next.
“I keep going back to this. We’re going to just continue to keep being where our feet are,” Harden said. “We got to go prepare against West Carrollton, so we’re going to make sure we do that.”
West Carrollton is indeed the next task for the Buccaneers on Thursday at Doug Adams Stadium.
The only winless team in the MVL, the Pirates have struggled against all opponents this year in allowing 51.4 points per game. The team only has one loss within 20 points, but have twice reached 26 on the scoreboard.
The Pirates have a balanced option of attack on offense, but most of their yards and scoring production have come in the air.
Xenia’s rushing offense could be in for a big night if trends hold to form. Trei’Shaun Sanders, the school’s single season rushing leader with 1,400 and counting this year, leads the MVL’s top ground attack which has scored a league high 30 times. West Carrollton’s defense meanwhile has allowed more than four rushing touchdowns per game and ranks second to last in yardage against.
The short week of preparation with the game taking place a day earlier than the usual Friday night does present a unique approach for Xenia. Harden anticipated needing to change the approach which has become routine but doesn’t believe there won’t be any reason the team can’t be in good shape still.
West Carrollton stands between Xenia achieving a 9-0 record for the first time since 1921. The Buccaneers have never been 10-0. A chance to finish unbeaten in league play is on the line. How high of a postseason seed can be attained is still in qestion.
But they can’t get a chance at going for any of it without continuing what has happened in the initial eight games of the season first.
“We need to make sure we do that. Stay focused on that and try to take it all just a week at a time,” Harden said. “Allow everything else that we’ve worked for to kind of manifest itself for us right now. We’ve worked out butt off and I say all the time that winning is hard.”