Preview: St. Xavier at Lakota West

Lakota West DL Andre Proffitt (photo by Dan Bieneke/

It’s so appropriate, the top two teams in the Blitz 5 Top 25 square off Friday night as Lakota
West hosts St. Xavier for the Division I, Region 4 title. The home team Firebirds have never won
a regional crown. The visiting Bombers are looking for their first regional championship since
2016 and eighth in program history.

Kickoff: 7:00 p.m.
Firebird Stadium
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PLAYERS TO WATCH: The battle in the trenches will be intense. The Lakota West defensive
line has been stellar behind seniors Aneesh Vyas, Andre Proffitt and junior Bryan Henderson.
They have gotten a great push all year affording linebackers Jackson Kuwatch, Aden Miller,
Kam Vargas to unleash their wrath on opposing backfields. Miller and Henderson lead the team
with 5.5 sacks. St. Xavier starts five juniors on its o-line, Cam Collins, Jack Rennecker, Brian
Parker, Nick Uhl and Brody Koch from left to right. Collins and Parker have multiple Division I
college offers.

The St. Xavier receiving core has been a load to handle. Seniors Liam Clifford and Jalen
Patterson each have 54 receptions. Clifford, a Penn State recruit, also has 915 receiving yards
and 10 touchdown catches. The Lakota West secondary has two junior studs in Alex Afari and
Ohio State commit, Jayaire Brown. These one-on-one matchups are going to be worth the price
of admission.

TEAM TRENDS: The St. Xavier offense has been explosive during its current five-game
winning streak. They are averaging 51.0 points per contest in that span. Last week against
Elder the Bombers had eight touchdowns drives (44 total plays). None of them lasted longer
than 3:18 and four were 0:49 or less. Defensively, St. Xavier has 23 takeaways including three
pick sixes and a scoop-and-score.

The Lakota West defense is holding foes to just 5.2 points per contest. The Firebirds have four
shutouts and no one has scored more than 14 points on them. They have given up just 13
second half points all season, including six games with goose eggs by opponents after

St. Xavier: Steve Specht (151-58 at St. Xavier, 17th season, 151-58 overall)
Lakota West: Tom Bolden (15-4 at Lakota West, second season; 147-25 overall, 14th season)

St. Xavier (27th appearance, 49-23 overall) – 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 (State Champion),
2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 (Regional Champions), 2010, 2009, 2007 (State Champion),
2006, 2005 (State Champion), 2004, 2002, 2001 (State Runner-up), 2000, 1999, 1998 (State
Runner-up), 1997, 1994, 1993, 1992 (State Runner-up), 1987, 1981

Lakota West (seventh appearance, 5-6) – 2020, 2019, 2014, 2013, 2009, 2006, 2004

ST. XAVIER’S KEYS TO VICTORY: Just keep doing what they have been over the last five
weeks. The high octane, no huddle offense has set the tone and exhausted opposing defenses.
On defense, the Bombers need to stop the run and force Firebirds’ quarterback Mitch Bolden to
become one-dimensional with just the passing game.

LAKOTA WEST’S KEYS TO VICTORY: Keep the Bombers’ offense off the field. That can only
be done by the Firebirds sustaining long, extended drives when they have the ball. The defense
needs to find a way to score and disrupt the rhythm of the St. Xavier offense, multiple times.

Prediction: St. Xavier 28, Lakota West 10

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