Home Notice Box Sports Xenia cruises past Beavercreek in football season opener

Xenia cruises past Beavercreek in football season opener


XENIA — Only 10 seconds of action was needed in Thursday’s season opener for a case of deja vu to occur.

Check out more photos from the game.

A year ago Xenia scored on the the opening play of the season at Beavercreek. They only needed one offensive snap to do so again in 2023.

It got the Buccaneers on the board early and they continued to do so often in the first quarter in building a big early lead and ended up coasting to a win over the Beavers 36-0.

“We talked a lot this week about starting fast,” Xenia head coach Maurice Harden said. “We didn’t like our performances in the two scrimmages that we had felt were very lackadaisicial. We wanted to make sure out week one game we wanted to be extremely focused and prepared to play extremely fast from the start all the way to the end.”

Beavercreek started the season with the ball, but the rainy conditions as kickoff began caused quarterback Jack Minnick to mishandle the game’s first snap from scrimmage. The ball tumbled behind him where Torian Hill pounced on it at the two-yard line for Xenia. Jace Jones punched it on the next play to get Xenia off to the fast start.

Two plays into the next Beavercreek drive, Minnick attempted a pass into the flat but Xenia’s Victor Smith flashed into the ball’s path to make a spectular interception and went untouched to the endzone. Xenia held a 14-0 advantage just 43 seconds in and it didn’t get better for Beavercreek from there.

“Our defense can be spontaneous in terms of being able to just make plays and create havoc,” Harden said. “That just was a great play by Victor to go out and do what was he was supposed to and I’m proud of how the defense played and coach Kinser doing a great job.”

After Xenia settled for a field goal in the redzone to conclude its first sustained drive, another fumbled center-quarterback exchange late in the quarter for Beavercreek as a heavy downpour began saw Ronnie Butler make the recovery and also get the carry on the ensuing offensive play for Xenia that put them up 23-0.

Xenia only outgained Beavercreek 191-100 but were aided by five turnovers for short field position. The team’s combined to attempt 33 passes, but only gained 125 yards due to the treacherous conditions.

Beavercreek’s only scoring opportunity came in the final seconds of the first half after Laken Pierce snagged a 26-yard reception to get the Beavers down to the three-yard line. Chris Lay took a handoff up the middle on the next play and battled defenders at the goalline. As Lay was stopped, he reached out to attempt to extend the ball across the line but the ball was taken from him as he made the attempt. Torian Hill grabbed it for his second recovery of the game and was tackled at the one a few seconds later as confusion was apparent from both teams on what happened. Referees conferred for several minutes before determining a fumble was the correct call and awarded Xenia the ball.

Beavercreek head coach Marcus Colvin said despite the final score being what it was, he liked the way his team battled as he continues to challenge them in new ways during a game.

“I’m pretty sick right now because I felt really good about our plan,” he said. “It’s unfortunate the ball bounced that way in the first quarter as you can’t make that up. You live and learn and we’ve got a lot of football to play.”

Gavin McManus threw his first TD pass of the season for Xenia in the third quarter as Aiden Solis broke a few tackles on a slant to score from 16 yards out, and Elijah Johnson capped the scoring on the first play of the fourth quarter with a 67-yard run down the Xenia sideline.

Johnson was the game’s leading rusher with 111 yards on 13 carries. Quentin Youngblood had 66 yards on 14 attempts for Beavercreek, and Lay added 47 yards.

The game put an end to a prolonged buildup period for Xenia. Coming off its 10-0 regular season in 2022 with a disappointing finish, coupled with Thursday’s game being the first in the renovated Doug Adams Stadium, Harden said he wanted his team to stick to what he preaches of staying in the moment and only try to focus on what was ahead of them.

“We’re going to enjoy this time and embrace the moment of tonight, but when we wake up tomorrow we’re back to work,” he said. “Embrace this beautiful night of football that we had even with the rain and the weather he had as we still were able to have a great night.”

Xenia will begin MVL play next week when it travels to West Carrollton on Friday. Beavercreek has another non-league road game on Thursday when it plays Ponitz CTC.

Check out more photos from the game.

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.