Southwest Ohio Huddle: St. Xavier, Lebanon position themselves for the postseason


Southwest Ohio Huddle

One thing about Southwest Ohio is there is never a shortage of
storylines throughout the week. Whether it’s discussion about a
significant Greater Catholic League or Greater Miami Conference
football game, a recruiting update about Jordan Hicks and his college
list or the high-powered area soccer, golf, volleyball and tennis teams
– there is always plenty to report.

One thing about Southwest Ohio is there is never a shortage of storylines throughout the week. Whether it’s discussion about a significant Greater Catholic League or Greater Miami Conference football game, a recruiting update about Jordan Hicks and his college list or the high-powered area soccer, golf, volleyball and tennis teams – there is always plenty to report.

Even injury reports are newsworthy, as the Dayton Daily News reported Wayne junior QB Braxton Miller was scheduled to miss a second consecutive game last Friday night.

So when St. Xavier got upset by Highlands (Ky.) on Sept. 25, the message boards and blogs had a field day debating who was the best team in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

The Bombers responded with a 17-7 win over visiting Elder last Friday, but the St. X-Highlands game sent shockwaves throughout the region.

The St. X-Highlands game was nationally televised by the CBS College Sports Network and it was an opportunity of a lifetime for the Northern Kentucky program that is just across the Ohio River.

But, St. X coach Steve Specht, who has won two Division I state titles with the Bombers (2005 and ’07) managed to put everything in perspective. The upset loss was difficult to grasp, but Specht said it wasn’t “tragic.”

The St. X football team attended the funeral of a classmate the next morning at St. X.

Kevin Le, a junior at St. X, was reportedly hit by a car in suburban Cincinnati the night of Sept. 8 and the Cincinnati Enquirer reported the student was in a coma for more than a before he was declared brain dead on Sept. 17.

“After the Highlands game I simply told the kids that losses are heartbreaking, but they aren’t tragic,” Specht told the Enquirer last week. “We attended Kevin Le’s funeral at St. X Saturday morning as a team and that was tragic. It’s important to keep the game in perspective and that was one of the lessons we tried to teach the kids.”

Coach Specht’s perspective on life is refreshing. Too often we don’t view high school football as teaching life lessons – but this case is truly an inspiration.


Chase Cochran, Lebanon: The senior wide receiver had five receptions for 113 yards and two touchdowns to help the visiting Warriors past Springboro 21-20 last week. Cochran, who is 6 feet 2 and 170 pounds, is orally committed to Ohio University. Cochran has 27 receptions for 768 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. He had a season-high 11 receptions for 288 yards and three touchdowns in Lebanon’s 49-28 win over Piqua on Sept. 25. Lebanon plays at Troy Friday night.


Seven Hills boys’ golf team: Seven Hills won the Division III sectional at Walden Ponds last week. Seven Hills was first with a score of 338. Matt Post (80) and Carlton Zesch (82) helped to lead the Stingers. Seven Hills, which has won a total of five sectional golf titles in school history, will compete in the Division III district tournament Thursday morning at Weatherwax Golf Course in Middletown. “I expect (this week) to be a dogfight at Weatherwax because I know the other teams are going to come out well prepared, including Middletown Christian and Summit Country Day,” Seven Hills coach Doug Huff said. “If we play like we are capable of playing then we should be right in there with the rest of the group.”


Solid weekend: The Liberty Township Lakota East girls’ volleyball team won the prestigious Piqua Invitational recently. East defeated Dayton Belmont, Coldwater and Lehman Catholic in the tournament. Hanna Berling (15 aces and 62 assists), Meredith Garda (31 digs), Morgan Weinheimer (22 digs, seven aces) were among the top players for the Thunderhawks. “The girls’ played well,” East coach Emily Langan said. “Our defense stepped up and dug balls as well as blocked forcing the opponents to tip or send roll shots over the net. Our offense took advantage of that by putting the ball away.”

Golfer of the year honors:
Archbishop Moeller’s Andrew Dorn earned GCL South golfer of the year honors as he averaged a score of 37.1 over six rounds at Weatherwax. Moeller won the team standings of the tournament.

Nice efforts:
Finneytown senior Alex Murphy scored four goals to lead the Finneytown girls’ soccer team past Batavia 5-4 last week. Murphy is the school’s all-time leader in goals and assists.

Close to milestone:
Wyoming girls’ soccer coach Kellie Siler is nearing 100 wins for her career. Wyoming’s game against Cincinnati Country Day Saturday was postponed due to field conditions. Wyoming is scheduled to play at Taylor on Wednesday.

Going to the MAC:
Hamilton senior defensive tackle Darius Gilbert (6-2, 265) made an oral commitment to play at Bowling Green last week. Gilbert is an impact player for the Big Blue defense and should help the Falcons in the near future.

Lowery commits to Iowa:
Cincinnati Hughes Center senior quarterback/defensive back B.J. Lowery (5-11, 175) orally committed to Iowa last week. Lowery also had an offer from Akron.

Mason wins showdown:
Mason defeated Lakota West 1-0 in a highly-anticipated boys’ soccer game last week. Both teams are in contention for the GMC title. Senior midfielder Chad Carman scored the Comets’ only goal.

Wyoming wins:
Cincinnati Wyoming won the Division II boys’ sectional golf tournament last Thursday. Joseph Dulemba and Zach Galluzzo led the Cowboys.


Mason at West Chester Lakota West girls’ volleyball, 7 p.m. Tuesday: This match could determine the Greater Miami Conference title. Lakota West’s leaders include Liz McMahon, who has more than 140 kills. Mason has at least three players with 100 kills or more.

Harrison at Sycamore girls’ volleyball, 7 p.m. Wednesday:
  Both teams are among the best in Cincinnati and this will be a good match heading toward the postseason. Sycamore is led by senior Gaby Gray, who has orally committed to Northwestern. Harrison seniors Hannah Volkerding (119 kills) and Susannah Jonas (103) kills are among the leaders for the Wildcats. This is a Volley for the Cure match.

Centerville at Fairmont boys’ soccer, 7 p.m. Tuesday:
These teams along with Beavercreek with contend for the Greater Western Ohio Conference Central division title. Fairmont senior forward Adam Conlon had seven goals and three assists as of late last week. Senior forward Nathan Bias had five goals and five assists. Centerville junior forward Memme Onwudiwe had seven goals as of late last week.

St. Henry at Coldwater football game, 7:30 p.m. Friday:
This will be a classic showdown in Division V. Coldwater is ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Division V state poll, while St. Henry is No. 2. There is plenty at stake in this game. Coldwater is led by senior quarterback Keith Wenning, who has offers from Air Force and Ball State.

Beavercreek at Centerville football game, 7:30 p.m. Friday:
These two teams will contend for the GWOC Central division title. Centerville won 37-31 last year. The Elks (5-1) defeated Springfield 38-6 last Friday. Beavercreek (4-2) lost to Fairmont 10-7 last week.

Archbishop Moeller at Cincinnati Elder football game, 7:30 p.m. Friday:
This is Moeller’s first GCL-South game after playing several out-of-area opponents. Elder is a tough place to play, so Moeller will certainly be challenged. It will be interesting to see how Elder responds after the loss to St. Xavier last week.

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