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St. Xavier football team wins the 2020 Division I state championship

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Posted at 9:36 PM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 22:17:02-05

OBETZ, Ohio — The Long Blue Line added another state football championship Friday night.

St. Xavier defeated Pickerington Central 44-3 in the Division I state final at Fortress Obetz to win its fourth state title in program history.

"We executed," St. X coach Steve Specht said. "I think you have to look at the execution of the kids and boy they were spot on tonight. What a night for the Bombers."

St. Xavier's win over Pickerington Central is a Division I state championship record for largest margin of victory (41 points), according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association records.

Colerain held the previous D-I state final record (40 points) with its 50-10 win over Canton McKinley in 2004.

Specht said he didn't expect the Bombers would score 44 points on Friday night against the nationally-ranked Tigers.

"Pickerington Central is a very talented group of kids," Specht said. "They are incredibly well coached by Jay Sharrett. Did we think this is going to happen? We never think this is going to happen. But we had a great week of practice. I really liked our plan offensively."

The Bombers led 30-0 at the end of the first quarter Friday night and set a Division I state championship record for most points in a quarter.

Mentor held the previous Division I state final record (26 points) in the fourth quarter against Moeller in 2013. The state final record is 34 points from St. Vincent-St. Mary in the 1981 Division III game.

St. X senior wide receiver Jalen Patterson scored four receiving touchdowns in the first quarter - all from junior quarterback Brogan McCaughey.

"A great night," Specht said. "I will tell you it helps when you have that guy wearing No. 2 (senior receiver Liam Clifford) flanking you taking a lot of that heat away from you. But, Jalen's had a great year. All year long it's just people aren't talking about him because Liam is so exceptional. But, Jalen is a great player in his own right and he will go on somewhere at the next level and have a great career."

Patterson tied an OHSAA state championship record for most receiving touchdowns.

He tied Kenton's Brice Fackler who had four receiving touchdowns versus Creston Norwayne in the 2011 Division IV state final.

Patterson finished the game with five receptions for 105 yards. McCaughey was 25 of 39 passing for 291 yards. St. X had 354 yards of offense.

McCaughey tied a D-I state final record with four passing touchdowns. Mentor's Bart Tanski had four passing touchdowns against Hilliard Davidson in 2006. McCaughey also scored on a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

The Bombers defense was also very strong, limiting Pickerington Central to just 76 yards overall.

Junior linebacker Grant Lyons had six tackles including 2 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble. He sacked Pickerington Central quarterback Garner Wallace in the end zone to force a safety in the first quarter.

Senior linebacker Matthew Devine and junior defensive back Brennan Bareswilt had five tackles each for the Bombers.

Friday night marked the fourth state championship for St. Xavier (10-2 record in 2020). The Bombers also won state titles in 2016, 2007 and 2005. It was the seventh state final appearance in program history.

Friday night's Division I state final was one of the nation's top 10 football games to watch this week, according to MaxPreps.

Pickerington Central (11-1), the 2019 Division I state champion, is ranked No. 11 nationally by MaxPreps.
The Tigers were ranked No. 1 in the season's final Associated Press statewide media poll.

St. X was ranked No. 6 in the AP poll. The Bombers had everything going right in all three phases of the game Friday night and led 44-3 at halftime with a running clock in the third and fourth quarters.

Everything came together at the right moment for the Bombers Friday night near Columbus. Offense, defense and special teams were the story after each shined during the season.

St. X scored 150 points (50 points per game) in its first three wins of the playoffs and 22 points in (11 points per game) over the last two wins to advance to the state final.

From Sept. 25 to Oct. 23 St. X had five consecutive games of 40-plus points.

St. X defeated Lakota West with a game-winning touchdown with less than a minute left in the regional final Oct. 30. Then, last week the Bombers defeated Springfield 12-10 in a state semifinal in Piqua.

But, there was no doubt in the state final.

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Friday night marked the first state football championship of 2020 in Ohio. The shortened season officially started Aug. 27 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I've said it before but this year has been so different because you had to focus so hard on the task at hand and clear, get rid of all the craziness," said Specht, who is 4-0 in state championship games as a head coach. "Clear the mechanism as we like to say and focus on the day at hand."

Divisions II-VII compete for state titles next week (Nov. 20-22) at Fortress Obetz.