XENIA — In a normal season, Xenia would have likely missed the high school football playoffs.
But in a COVID-shortened season during which every high school team earned a spot in the coveted post-season and top teams received byes, the Buccaneers — who had won just one of six games — took full advantage Friday in New Carlisle.
The 17th-seed Bucs blanked No. 16 Tecumseh, 18-0, in a Division-II Region 8 game to earn their first football playoff win.
A year after making their first playoff appearance.
“It’s huge for the Xenia program because I think it’s something that they’ve had expectations, the community had expectations for for a very long time,” Coach Trace Smitherman said.
Those expectations seemed like they would carry over for another year as Xenia didn’t win a game until week five, a 17-12 victory at Butler. That finally got the Bucs over the hump after losing their first four games, three of them by seven points or less.
“For the young men to continue to come in and plug away and continue to do the right things and for it to pay off for this playoff win, it gives the coaches the feeling that we’re doing things the right way, that we haven’t lost our touch,” Smitherman said. “The kids understand we’re doing things the right way, and if you continue with your persistence then good things will happen down the road. It’s a vital part of the game of life.”
Running back Ramon Browder carried 28 times for 127 yards and a touchdown, while quarterback Tremell Wright ran 14 times for 91 yards and two scores. Xenia also threw the ball just enough — four completions for 97 yards — to keep Tecumseh from pinching its defense up toward the line.
Jamell Smith and Isaiah Hoyt led the ball-hawking Xenia defense with seven tackles each, while Zack Gaither had six, and Isaiah Goodrum and Jalin Adams five each. The Bucs intercepted three passes — two by Adams and one by Gavin Severt — and also had a fumble recovery from Gaither after Adams knocked it loose.
The Bucs held Tecumseh to just 91 yards rushing by chewing up clock on offense and being stingy at the line of scrimmage on defense. The Arrows had two of the Central Buckeye Conference’s top rushers and entered averaging 235.2 per game.
“The running game has really helped us,” Smitherman said. “It did not hurt us that we held the ball the first quarter, and the defense was out there for three plays.”
Xenia is at No. 1 Winton Woods — ranked seventh in the latest Division-II state poll — at 7 p.m. Friday.
Carroll 42, Celina 39
The No. 19 Patriots improved to 3-4 overall with a road upset of the No. 14 seed in the Division-III Region 12 playoffs.
Celina led, 13-7, after one, but the Patriots took a 21-20 lead at halftime and led, 35-32 after three. Ryan Chapman completed 16 of 23 passes for 199 yards and two TDs. Fanuel Uwishimwe ran 23 times for 140 yards and a touchdown, while Chapman ran seven times for 55 yards and a TD. Andy Walker and Sam Severt also had touchdown runs.
Steven Chapman caught 10 passes for 135 yards and two TDs, while Sever caught two passes for 41 yards.
Defensively, Severt had 13 tackles, Ethan Braun 10, and Walker nine.
Caroll is at No. 3 Trotwood-Madison at 7 p.m. Friday.
Dublin Coffman 57, Beavercreek 7
Beavercreek’s first Division-I playoff appearance ended pretty quickly as the top-seeded Shamrocks led 35-0 at halftime. Justin Hocker completed 11 of 20 passes for 122 yards, while CJ Crawford completed one of two for 13 yards.
Addison Culpepper ran 17 times for 34 yards and a touchdown. Cullpepper, Spencer Grandmont, and Allan Hopkins each had three catches. Hopkins totalled 41 yards, Grandmont 29, and Culpepper 10. JR Costello made one catch for 38 yards.
Joe Darrah led the Beavers with six tackles.
Beavercreek (0-7) has a game against Ponitz scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16. Games at Fairmont and against Xenia are scheduled for the following two Fridays, but those may have to be cancelled depending on the results of playoff games. The Firebirds and Bucs are in the second round Friday.
Other Greene County games are No. 16 Chaminade-Julienne at No. 1 Bellbrook at 7 p.m. Friday, No. 10 Greeneivew at No. 7 Bainbridge Paint Valley at 7 p.m. Saturday, and No. 16 Cedarville at No. 1 Marion Local at 7 p.m. Friday.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-457.