XENIA — Beavercreek used a tough running game to wear down the host Xenia Buccaneers, 35-6, Aug. 24 in the season opening high school football game for both schools.
Senior fullback Kaden Wenger rolled for 173 yards and two touchdowns to lead the attack. Stevie Llanas, Jake Maloney and Cody Hocker also had scoring runs in the win. Beavers coach Nic Black expected a big game from his fullback.
“I expect him to run for a bunch of yards against whoever we play against, and if he or whoever else we have back there doesn’t, then we’re gonna have a lot of trouble winning,” Beavercreek coach Nic Black said.
“Our defense just sort of hung in there, until our offense could find its rhythm,” Black said. “We’ve got guys who are learning to be winners, and learning how to win the tight game. … Offensively, we really finished out well, but there were some scoring opportunities that we missed. We’ve gotta have those.”
Wenger opened the scoring with a 3-yard plunge to cap Beavercreek’s first drive of the evening. The Beavers marched 69 yards on 12 plays to grab the lead for good. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior said establishing the running game was a key to the win.
“Especially, since we run the triple option. To establish just a smash-mouth game of football, it’s always nice when I get to get some yards and some touchdowns,” Wenger said.
Stevie Llanas dove in from a yard out to put ‘Creek out in front, 14-0 (two Marcella Cash extra points) with just over 5 minutes still left in the first half.
Xenia’s Jelani Tucker put the Buccaneers on the scoreboard for the first time in 2017 when he picked off a Hocker pass and returned the interception 22 yards for the score. The extra point clanked off the right goal post, but Xenia now trailed, 14-6 with 6:48 left in the third quarter.
Tucker snagged two interceptions in the game.
Beavercreek squelched any Bucs hopes of a quick comeback when Jake Maloney scored from 13 yards out to put the Beavers out in front, 21-6. Marcella Cash booted yet another PAT to cap the drive, and was a perfect 5-for-5 in the game.
Wenger rumbled in from 16 yards out with 7:34 left in the contest to put Beavercreek on top 28-6, then Beavers QB Hocker ran in from 11 yards out with 22.6 seconds left in the game for the final margin.
“(Having a solid line to work behind), it makes my job a lot easier. We try to pass the ball in order to set up our running game, and that was working tonight,” Hocker said.
Beavercreek gained 298 yards on the ground on 56 combined carries.
Xenia coach Nick Jones filled in for head coach Trace Smitherman, who had to sit out Thursday’s contest after being ejected from a recent scrimmage game. With the Bucs adjusting to a new coach with a new game plan, Jones said it’ll just take some time for the team to get comfortable.
“We came out and played very hard. I wasn’t upset about anybody’s level of play. They played really hard, we’ve just got a lot more work to do. Everything we do is different. These guys are all great kids, and they’re all buying into what we have. We just have to tighten some things up,” Jones said.
Xenia will have to wait another week to play on a Friday. The Bucs travel to play Thursday, Aug. 25 at Troy for their next game. Beavercreek has another day to rest before heading across U.S. Route 35 for a 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26 game at neighboring rival Carroll.
Score By Quarters
Beavercreek 7 7 7 14 — 35
Xenia 0 0 6 0 — 6
B — Kaden Wenger 3 run (Marcella Cash kick)
B — Stevie Llanas 1 run (Cash kick)
X — Jelani Tucker 22 interception return (kick failed)
B — Jake Maloney 13 run (Cash kick)
B — Wenger 16 run (Cash kick)
B — Cody Hocker 11 run (Cash kick)