FAIRBORN — The postseason tournament format for Ohio high school football has been around for 47 years. Now, Xenia finally gets to enjoy the fun.
The visiting Xenia High School Buccaneers jumped out to a big first-quarter lead, and rolled to a 42-0 win over the host Fairborn Skyhawks, Oct. 31 at Fairborn Memorial Stadium.
After the game, Xenia coach Trace Smitherman was asked whether it mattered who his team would play in the postseason first round.
“I just know that we are going to play hard no matter who we play,” he said, amid cheers from his players. “We’re just going to let the chips fall where they may. We’ll be ready to go, I know that.”
Buc running backs Andrew Pollender and Kevin Johnson scored three touchdowns each. Pollender rushed for 108 yards on 16 carries, and had touchdown scores from two, 12, and four yards away. Johnson gained 69 yards on nine carries, and had scoring runs of three, 12 and 12 yards.
Quarterback Brett Russell rushed for 55 yards on eight carries.
Unofficially, Xenia (9-1) amassed 257 yards in offense — all on the ground — on a very cold and windy day.
Xenia had one fumble lost, but Fairborn lost two, and had several bad snaps to rookie quarterback Patrick Parrish that resulted in lost yardage for the Skyhawks (3-7).
A definite bright spot for Fairborn (3-7) was the play of linebacker/running back Hunter Warner. While officials will pore back through game film to make it official, it was announced that Warner had at least tied the previous single-season tackles record in Thursday’s game.
Warner has at least 131 tackles this season, to tie former Skyhawk standout Brandon Easterling.
The Fairborn junior also is believed to be the school’s first 1,000-yard rusher. Warner rumbled for a 13-yard gain in the first quarter to surpass the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
With Xenia’s win, they have clinched a spot in the Division II, Region 8 postseason playoffs. Prior to the game, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh sent the team a video to encourage the team in winning its first playoff berth. (https://drive.google.com/a/greenonschools.org/file/d/1jTC65laObVe26BzzrsbA2VMzsxwt_7yB/view?usp=drive_web)
Fairborn and Stebbins are currently the only two schools in the 27-team Region 8 not to make the playoffs.
Official postseason game pairings will be announced by the Ohio High School Athletic Association on Sunday. Xenia entered Thursday’s game ranked fifth in the region’s computer ratings.
Score By Quarters
Xenia 22 13 7 0 — 42
Fairborn 0 0 0 0 — 0
X — Kevin Johnson 3 run (Johnson run)
X — Andrew Pollender 2 run (Hayden Falvey kick)
X — Johnson 12 run (Falvey kick)
X — Pollender 1 run (Falvey kick)
X — Johnson 12 run (Kick failed)
X — Pollender 4 run (Falvey kick)
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.