XENIA — Too many late turnovers spelled trouble for the host Xenia Buccaneers, and enabled Beavercreek to rally to an exciting 21-20 win, Thursday Aug. 29 in the “Backyard Battle” high school football season opener for both Greene County schools.
Xenia fumbled three times in the game’s final 7 minutes and 5o seconds, deep in its own territory, and the visiting Beavers capitalized on the second miscue.
Trailing 20-14, after an 11-play, 64 scoring drive, Beavercreek regained possession of the ball when a Bucs player fumbled the kickoff return. Jacob Pfander pounced on the fumble, and the Beavers were in business at the Xenia 18-yard line.
But the stingy Buccaneers defense stopped Beavercreek’s drive at Xenia’s 3-yard line, with 4:26 left to play.
Two plays later, Xenia fumbled on a bad pitchout play and this time it was Beavercreek’s Jack Barnett who fell on the fumble.
Beavercreek back Elijah Howard rumbled in on the Beavers’ first play of the drive from six yards out, then Nick Crawford booted the go-ahead field goal to give his team its first lead of the contest.
Xenia actually fumbled the ball away again on its next possession, but the Beavers were unable to score. The Bucs then kept Beavercreek from running out the clock, stopping Beavers quarterback Nick Brown on fourth down, and took over possession at midfield for one last-gasp try at a go-ahead score.
On fourth down and four yards to go with 20 seconds left in the game, Xenia quarterback Isaiah Hoyt was forced out of bounds two yards shy of the first down marker.
Beavercreek’s Brown then took a knee to run out the clock. The Beavers now hold a 10-8 advantage in the Backyard Battle series between the two schools. The two teams did not play each other in 2013 or 2014.
Miscues were the key to this one.
Xenia out-gained Beavercreek with 208 total yards to 135 for the Beavers. Bucs fullback Andrew Pollander gained 84 yards on the ground on 16 carries and had first-half touchdown runs of 31 and seven yards. Hoyt rushed for 73 yards on 13 carries, but had a pair of fumbles.
For Beavercreek, Brown nearly surpassed the 100-yard mark in total yardage. He rushed for 52 yards on 19 carries, while throwing for 45 on 4-for-12 passing with one interception.
Unintentionally keeping with what has become an odd tradition of the season opening matchup, the visiting team has now won all by one of the last 10 Backyard Battle contests.
This year’s postgame awards were sponsored by the Beavercreek Kiwanis Club. The mayors of the two communities — Xenia Mayor Sarah Mays and Beavercreek Mayor Bob Stone — presented Beavercreek with the traveling trophy after the game.
Next week, Xenia hits the road for the first time this season to take on Eaton for a nonleague Friday, Sept. 6 contest. Beavercreek stays at home on Sept. 6 and will play host to Dayton Ponitz.
Beavercreek 21, Xenia 20
Score by Quarters
Beavercreek 0 7 0 14 — 21
Xenia 6 8 6 0 — 20
X — Andrew Pollander 31 run (run failed)
X — Pollander 7 run (Isaiah Hoyt run)
B — Nick Brown 1 run (Nick Crawford kick)
X — Hoyt 22 run (kick wide)
B — Addison Culpepper 4 run (Crawford kick)
B — Elijah Howard 6 run (Crawford kick)
Records: Beavercreek (1-0); Xenia (0-1).
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.