By John Bombatch
XENIA — Two evenly matched teams were outmatched by penalty flags in a lengthy 54-40 Xenia Buccaneers win over
Fairb0rn, Friday night at Doug Adams Stadium.
Unofficially, the two Greater Western Ohio Conference foes racked up 26 penalties in the final regular season contest for both teams. Of that number, at least 10 of them were of the personal foul or unsportsmanlike conduct variety.
With the win, Xenia nabbed sole possession of second place in the GWOC’s American South division with a 3-7 overall record, and 3-1 in the American South. They lost to division champ Trotwood-Madison, but beat the other three teams in the division — Riverside Stebbins, West Carrollton and now Fairborn.
Fairborn fell to 2-8, 2-2 in the division, with their wins coming over division foes Stebbins and West Carrollton.
Warren Mahar took over as Xenia’s quarterback about midway through the first half, and had a big night throwing the ball. The Buccaneer sophomore unofficially had passed for 95 yards in the first half and had well over 200 yards through the air for the game.
Senior wideout Andre Grundy converted two of the Xenia touchdown passes. Mahar flipped to Grundy twice, and the wide receiver tossed TD passes of 30 yards (to Corey Burnette) and 36 yards (to Kobe Hughlett).
Fairborn’s offensive attack took a major hit in the second half, when the Skyhawks’ top running back, K.J. Redmon did not return to action after halftime.
Redmon rushed for 304 yards on 16 carries last week in a lopsided Week 9 win over West Carrollton. He entered Friday’s contest needing 96 yards to become the first Fairborn running back since Josh Copeland last did it in 2006 to get 1,000 yards rushing.
He surpassed that mark about midway through Fairborn’s final scoring drive of the first half. The Skyhawk junior had gained 115 yards by halftime.
But Redmon was noticeably limping off the field at halftime and did not return.
The first half was all about figuring out which team could stop the other’s offense.
Both teams scored four first-half touchdowns.
Redmon recorded three of the Skyhawks’ first-half TDs — from 22, 4 and 4 yards. The other came off an 8-yard Brandon Easterling run.
Corey Burnette scored two of the Buccaneers’ touchdowns, on a 71-yard kickoff return and a 34-yard TD pass from Warren Mahar. Jelani Tucker scored Xenia’s first TD on the second play of the game, when he stepped in front of Garison Secrest’s out pass and raced 42 yards the other way for the score. TeAndre Adams also had a first-half score with a 4-yard run late in the half.
Burnett was a later ejected, after picking up two personal foul penalties, with 8 minutes left to play in the fourth quarter.
The two GWOC rivals combined for 18 first-half penalties.
In his final football contest, Fairborn’s Brandon Eastling played in his 40th consecutive game. Easterling also caught a pass in his 20th consecutive game, to put him in the top-20 in the Ohio High School football record books for most consecutive receptions.
The game had a 7 p.m. start time and finished at 10:15 p.m. This newspaper had a 10:30 p.m. deadline, and so interviews with Xenia coach Bob DeLong or Fairborn coach Chris Roark were not possible.
Score by Quarters
Fairborn 14 13 6 7 — 40
Xenia 14 12 21 7 — 54
X — Jelani Tucker 42 interception return (Heath Throop kick)
FB — K.J. Redmon 22 run (Keegan Dierker kick)
FB — Redmon 4 run (Dierker kick)
X — Corey Burnette 71 kick off return (Throop kick)
X — Burnette 34 pass from Warren Mahar (pass failed)
FB — Brandon Easterling 8 run (Dierker kick)
X — TeAndre Adams 2 run (run failed)
FB — Redmon 4 run (pass failed)
X — Andre Grundy 30 pass to Burnette (run failed)
X — Grundy 36 pass to Kobe Hughlett (Meechi Harris run)
FB — Easterling 2 run (kick blocked)
X — Hughlett 26 pass from Mahar (Throop kick)
(Late scores were not available)