By John Bombatch
XENIA — When you play good teams like the Kettering Alter Knights, you don’t want to make mistakes and you don’t want to let them have any kind of an edge.
Alter took advantage of two Xenia Buccaneer first-half fumbles and an interception, and they rolled over the Xenia defense whenever they had the chance, for a 49-7 win, Friday night at Xenia’s Doug Adams Stadium.
“They’re really good,” Xenia coach Bob DeLong said. “That’s three good teams in a row that we’ve played, four if you go back to the scrimmage with Miamisburg, and Northmont was a pretty quality team we scrimmaged as well. So we’ve played some good teams.
“But we’ve gotta play better than we did in that first half. The difference in ability level was not reflected in that first half. We’ve gotta start playing as hard as we do when we practice.”
Depending on whether Kings Mills Kings won its game over Hamilton Friday night, Xenia’s three opponents so far (Beavercreek, Kings and Alter) have yet to lose.
Aptly named Knights senior running back Holden Rushing had gained 122 yards and scored three touchdowns by halftime, and that was on eight carries. Most of his yardage came on pitchouts to the right out of their three-back wishbone offensive attack.
Xenia seemed to always stop the wrong threat out of the backfield. The defense would flatten two of the three running and Rushing would be on the outside for big yardage.
One 25-yard carry later, Rushing had rushed for 147 yards on nine touches. He did not play any more after that big run.
“We were able to hit some holes that we don’t normally hit. Xenia did some stuff that caused us some problems, and we had to adjust to. Xenia is a young team, but I think they’re gonna be tough,” Alter coach Ed Domsitz said. “That was Rushing’s biggest game of his career. I was glad to see that. He’s a senior and he stepped up big time for us tonight.”
Xenia’s lone TD came with just over three minutes left in the first half. After the Bucs defense recovered a Knight fumble on the Alter 25-yard line, Christian Severt found Meechi Harris in the right corner of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass. Nate Higgins pooched a kick through the uprights for the extra point, but that was Xenia’s only score of the night.
With the 35-point halftime lead, the second half was played with a running game clock. And Alter used that to their advantage, too.
In the third quarter, the Knights reeled off 16 plays in comparison to one 3-plays-and-out series for Xenia. The Buccaneers did not gain a yard in the second half. Xenia had gained two yards at one point in the fourth quarter, but an unsportsmanlike penalty nullified that and the Bucs had to punt.
Meanwhile, 11 different Alter players touched the ball to gain 56 yards and five first downs in the half.
Alter begins Greater Catholic League play on Friday, Sept. 16 when they’ll play at Carroll. Domsitz said a hard-hitting Xenia team gave his team plenty of preparation for the GCL campaign.
“I think Xenia has some kids who play some good football,” Domsitz said. “They’re not afraid to step up and hit you in the mouth, and that’s the kind of football we’re used to playing in the GCL. … I knew it was going to be a physical game. The score might’ve been lopsided, but it was a very hard-hitting football game.”
Xenia is now 0-3 and will play on the road against Sidney on Sept. 16. Sidney, which played Carroll on Friday night, entered that contest with the Patriots winless as well.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Alter 21 28 0 0 — 49
Xenia 0 7 0 0 — 7
A: Holden Rushing 32 run (Matt Ruffalo kick)
A: Rushing 1 run (Ruffalo kick)
A: John Bivens 1 run (Ruffalo kick)
X: Meechi Harris 20 pass from Christian Severt (Nate Higgins kick)
A: Ryan Markoff 18 run (Ruffalo kick)
A: Rushing 30 run (Ruffalo kick)
A: Markoff 11 run (Ruffalo kick)
A: J.P. Schimpf 53 pass from Connor Bazelak (Ruffalo kick)